Skip to Content
Investing Specialists

An Estate Planning Checklist

'Estate planning' evokes complexity and high costs. What you need to know to get it done.

"Estate planning" is off-putting on so many levels. Let's start with "estate," which conjures up images of the uber-wealthy setting aside giant tracts of land for the next generation. (Do I even have an estate, you wonder?) And once you delve deeper and find out that estate planning revolves around organizing your affairs in case of your death or incapacity, the project sounds even less compelling than cleaning the gutters or shredding those giant piles of paperwork that have been accumulating in your office. Then there are the costs: Properly drafted estate plans usually involve attorneys, and they like to get paid for their services.

So let’s see … a potentially costly exercise that involves contemplating your demise and may be mainly for rich people anyway. Is it any wonder that so many people put off estate planning, and less than half of the U.S. population has drafted a will?