Settling the estate of a high-net worth individual may seem like a daunting task; nevertheless, it can be accomplished by taking certain steps.

This process may take many years and may involve a number of legal, tax, and financial considerations that you may not feel prepared to deal with; however, there are a number of professionals who should be used to make this process run more smoothly.

In the end, it is important to remember that each estate and situation is unique but the following checklist may provide some guidance on the steps that may be helpful when planning and working through the process of settling the estate of a high-net worth individual.


Estate Checklist
Attain an attorney to help with probate and asset distribution.
Locate descendants will and probate it if necessary.
Ensure family members immediate financial needs are taken care of.
Acquire copies of proof-of-death certificate.
Investigate life insurance.
Speak with descendants banks: close descendant’s accounts and open an estate account.
Attain an accountant to help with estate taxes and inventories.
Attain an appraiser to support estate tax calculations.
Attain an investment advisor to assist with the planning of future investments.
Create an overview of descendant’s assets on the date of death.
Determine the value of all assets and make sure they are insured.
Gather assets or documentation of assets (investment certificates, stocks, bonds, property deeds).
Satisfy any credit liabilities.
File federal and state estate and income tax returns (Individual Form 1040, Estates Form 1040, and Estate tax return IRS Form 706 and 709).
Pay tax liabilities (may need to borrow funds or sell assets).
Distribute remaining assets to beneficiaries (should approve and sign an accounting release form).
Have bank close estate account.
Beneficiaries should consult with a financial advisor.


Disclaimer: This document is educational information based on general legal principles. Specific facts can and often do drastically change legal results. You should not rely on this information except as a trigger to contact your attorney and obtain advice specific to your circumstances.