By Sarah Stewart Legal Group

As an Estate Planning attorney, I often get questions about what documents are needed to form an estate plan, and to keep together for your heirs.  I have compiled a list of items you will need to have knowledge of at an estate planning meeting, and also keep in an easily accessible fire-resistant safe, safety deposit box, or with a trusted advisor, for your heirs.


-Trust (optional.  Can be revocable or irrevocable)


-Power of Attorney (optional, depending on your estate planning needs)

-Advance Directive for Health Care

-Letter of Instruction

Account Information

-List of banks where accounts are held

-List of usernames and passwords for online accounts

-List of automatic pay accounts

-List of safe-deposit boxes and combination code for safes

-List of retirement accounts (401Ks, ROTHs, IRAs, Mutual Funds, Pensions, etc)

-Annuities and Life insurance policies (include those owned privately and through your employer)

-Stock and Bond accounts and brokerage information

-Any long term care policies

Additional Documents

-Property Deeds

-Cemetery Plot info

-Mortgage accounts

-Information on loans given and/or received

-Title to automobiles and other vehicles

-Tax returns from the past three (3) years

-Marriage License/Decree of Divorce

-Any paperwork concerning discharge from the military

-Contact information, including names and addresses, on accounts, people named in your legal documents, and professional advisors (attorney, CPA, financial advisor, etc.)

Be sure to leave a key, or combination, with the person you chose to manage your estate, in case anything happens to you.  Nothing is more stressful than trying to untangle a loved one’s estate and assets during a time of mourning.  Leave your family a gift and make it as easy as possible for them to handle your estate and affairs once you are gone.