McCarthhy & Akers Northern Viginia Attorney Lawyers
Your Trusted Attorneys for Life
Licensed in Virginia and West Virginia

Estate Planning Checklist

Gathering and bringing the items on this checklist isn’t necessary for your first appointment, but they will make the meeting more productive and move things along:

  • □ Existing wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, healthcare powers of attorney, and medical directives;
  • □ retirement plan, group life insurance, IRA, and annuity documents;
  • □ individual life insurance policies;
  • □ lists/information on other liquid assets, including cash, checking, and savings accounts, securities, money market accounts, certificates of deposits, and other personal property;
  • □ trusts of which you or a family member are a grantor, trustee, or beneficiary;
  • □ gift tax returns;
  • □ financial statements for businesses, farms, partnerships, etc.;
  • □ partnership agreements and buy-sell agreements;
  • □ pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements;
  • □ separation and/or property settlement agreements and divorce decrees;
  • □ life-insurance policies; and
  • □ designation of beneficiary forms for your life insurance policies, IRAs, and retirement plans.

Personal information will be needed for any spouse who will be included in your estate planning. Please be prepared to provide:

  • □ full names,
  • □ aliases,
  • □ social security numbers,
  • □ birth dates,
  • □ marital status,
  • □ citizenship status,
  • □ contact numbers (home, cell, work, fax),
  • □ contact addresses (email, home, work), and
  • □ employment information (job title, annual earnings).

Personal information will be needed for children—adult, minor, and/or adopted—who will be included in your estate planning. Please be prepared to provide:

  • □ full names and addresses,
  • □ birthdates,
  • □ telephone numbers,
  • □ marital status, and
  • □ numbers of children.

Information related to your current financial status and potential future inheritances will be needed. Please be prepared to provide information regarding:

  • □ your estimated total net worth;
  • □ whether or not you have a child/beneficiary with special needs,
  • □ whether you expect to receive a gift or inheritance of $500,000 dollars or more,
  • □ whether you are the beneficiary of any trusts (if so, be prepared to provide trust documents and a list of assets in each trust),
  • □ whether you have any continuing financial responsibilities from a prior marriage (if so, be prepared to provide the property settlement or separation agreement),
  • □ whether you’ve lived in certain states during your current marriage, and
  • □ whether you own subchapter S stocks.


Please be prepared to list the person(s) and backup person(s) you may designate to handle the following in the event of your disability or death: 1) Finances; 2) Medical decisions; 3) Raising your children, if any. Please use full names, including middle initial (or middle name), and include any suffixes such as “Jr.,” “III,” etc. No nicknames, please.

Be assured that you do not need to understand all the legal aspects of these decisions. This list is for discussion purposes only. We will discuss these decisions when you are here for your conference. Please be prepared to provide:

  • □ name,
  • □ relationship to you,
  • □ possible role (finances, medical decisions, child-rearing),
  • □ address, and
  • □ telephone number.