Erin Grabe

Feb 12 2018

Wealth Management Spotlight: Starting Your Estate Plan


Creating an estate plan – 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 should be a comfort to know that your goals are protected.

Learn more about estate planning: 

Hi, my name is Erin Grabe, and I’m a First Vice President with Hills Bank Trust and Wealth Management Group, and I’m going to share with you five easy steps to get an 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 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 contact those institutions and get a copy of whatever you have on record, right now.
  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, 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 have a corporate executor, such as Hills Bank and Trust Company.
  5. Meet with your estate planning attorney.

If you are interested in learning more about estate planning, visit us at

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.
Erin Grabe

About Erin Grabe

Erin Grabe is a Trust Officer at Hills Bank’s North Liberty Location on Forevergreen Road. She serves customers in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, and personal trust administration. Erin earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas and is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law. Erin can be reached at

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