People in Iowa often put off doing their estate planning for a number of reasons. It’s not fun to think about the inevitability of mortality, and estate planning is the only area of financial planning that does not have an expected return during the lifetime of the planner. With that said, it is important to make sure that key estate planning documents are in place, and there are some items that are commonly left out. Among the things that people often forget are a financial overview, a master directory and a plan for pets.

A financial overview is one of the most important steps in any estate plan. It sets forth the basics of the person’s finances in a way that can be viewed quickly. Generally speaking, a financial overview might include headings for the estate plan, key financial assets, insurance coverage, the home, any vehicles and regular household bills. The master directory may be thought of as a more detailed version of the financial overview. It might include the different account numbers of retirement accounts, for example, or the usernames and passwords for online accounts.

For people who have pets, it’s important to have a plan for the pets after the person dies. A pet plan might be as elaborate as establishing a trust for the care of the pet or as simple as verbally communicating to a trusted friend how to take care of the pet.

People in Iowa who have questions about estate planning or who want to set up an estate plan might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer may help by reviewing the specifics of the client’s situation and suggesting planning instruments to meet his or her needs and goals. A lawyer might help the client create a will, powers of attorney, trusts or other estate planning documents to protect assets and ensure their proper distribution after death.