Asset Transfer Checklist
Planning for the distribution of a lifetime of accumulated wealth can be complicated.
The process involves drafting and regularly updating your will and making the necessary
trust arrangements. It requires understanding exactly what you own and how to transfer
what you own (and in what manner) to family members or other beneficiaries.
Meetings with professionals—your attorney, accountant and trust officer—will help
shape the plan that’s best for your personal circumstances. Here are some points
that you’ll want to consider as you do your planning: ***
- How do you wish to divide your personal property among your loved ones? What items
do you want to go to specific people? Are there any items that you wish to be sold?
- What dispositions do you wish to make of real estate that you own (other than jointly
held property)? Should the property be left outright or in trust? Should a spouse
or other relative be given a lifetime use of the property, and then should the property
be passed on to another beneficiary? Should any real estate be sold or any mortgages
- How much of your assets should be left to your spouse outright or in trust? If left
in trust, what provisions do you want to make for your spouse’s use of trust principal
to supplement the income that he or she receives from the trust? (If you own community
property, ask your attorney how this fact affects your planning.)
- What should happen to property left to your spouse in trust after he or she dies?
Do you want to make the decisions or give your spouse the right to dispose of the
property in his or her will?
- What is the best way to leave assets to your children? Should they share equally
or according to their needs? Are there circumstances (disability, lack of financial
responsibility) that may suggest that you should make special arrangements for the
transfer of your assets to your children?
- What provisions do you want to make for any of your other relatives or dependents?
To charities that you wish to favor?
- If you own a business, either as a sole proprietor, partner or as a majority shareholder
of a closely held company, what steps do you need to take to transfer your
interest in a way that won’t disrupt the operation of the business? Or, if you plan
to sell your business, what arrangements do you need to make now?
- What special powers, if any, do you want to give your executor (or, as the position
is sometimes referred to, personal representative) and trustee? You might want to
give specific instructions to them in several areas, for instance: the retention
or sale of your investments; selling, mortgaging or leasing real estate; distributing
bequests in kind; or the management of an ongoing business during the estate settlement
- Do you want your estate and inheritance taxes to be charged proportionately to all
of your beneficiaries or allocated in some other way? Your attorney can explain
the impact of your choice.
- Whom do you wish to name as your executor and trustee? Have you determined if they
are willing to serve and have the requisite capabilities? Have you considered naming
us to settle your estate and provide for the continuing management of assets that
you place in trust?
We would be glad to discuss your estate planning needs with you and your other advisors.
Most especially, we would like to tell you more about our capabilities and qualifications
and why we are a wise choice to serve as your executor and trustee.