Estates are not a privilege reserved for the ultra-wealthy, but the property, savings, and assets owned by any individual at the time of their passing. That also means, estate planning is not a privilege, but a necessity.
There is no doubt that estate planning can seem to be an unpleasant topic to discuss, and therefore most people usually do nothing about it. Unfortunately, if you ignore those issues now, you may cost your family thousands or even millions of dollars later, as well as cause considerable anguish. Proper estate planning takes far less time and effort than most people imagine, and it can help protect your loved ones financially today, tomorrow, and for a lifetime.
1. No matter your net worth, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place. Such a plan ensures that your family and financial goals are met after your passing.
2. An estate plan has several elements. They include: a will, assignment of power of attorney, and a living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). For some people, establishing a trust may also be included in your planning. When putting together an estate plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.
3. Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start. Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests.
4. Finally, ask yourself three questions: Who do you want to inherit your assets? Who do you want to handle your financial affairs if you’re ever incapacitated? Who do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?
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