Starting Your Estate Plan

Starting Your Estate Plan

March 26, 2020

Tagged As: Wealth Management

Creating an estate plan is definitely not everyone’s favorite thing to do. It’s uncomfortable to talk about your own death and to make plans for it, but once a plan is in place, it can be a comfort to know that your assets are protected. With that in mind, here are five steps you should take to get your estate plan started.

1. List your assets.

Think in terms of big categories like real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts. Assign a dollar amount to each of these. It doesn’t have to be exact, just a ballpark figure. Also, consider how each of these assets are titled, for example: do you own it individually or with a spouse?

2. Gather beneficiary designations.

Things like life insurance and retirement accounts don’t pass by your will. They pass by beneficiary designation. So you should contact those institutions and get a copy of whatever they have on record.

3. Know your goals and who should receive your assets.

Think big picture: do you want to make sure your family is taken care of? Or do you have a charity that you want to support? Your estate planning attorney will help you sort through the details.

4. Consider who you want to serve as executor.

The executor is responsible for carrying out the directions of your will and they must take certain steps under Iowa law, including the following: petitioning the court, filing legal notices, gathering assets, paying final debts, filing tax returns, distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, and selling a business or home. It’s a time consuming job! You can select an individual to serve as your executor, such as a family member. You can also designate a corporate executor, such as Hills Bank.

5. Meet with your estate planning attorney.

If you are interested in learning more about estate planning click here.


Some trust products and IRA contributions/balances are not a deposit, not FDIC insured by any federal government agency, not guaranteed by the bank, and may go down in value.