Your Guide to Estate Planning

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Though you may know that you need to plan for the future, you may not realize what that entails. You may have heard the term estate plan and figured that you still had time to decide what you want to be done with your things. In fact many prefer not to think about it, though that can be a costly mistake for your loved ones. Because your wishes should be followed, you need to start making an estate plan. Here are some things to consider while doing so.

Start with a will
Your will is a document that states what you want to happen when you are gone. You can decide who gets which assets when you are gone. This doesn’t just include your house and vehicles. It includes the money in your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and much more. You also can’t forget your other assets. You may own a winter or vacation home, along with boats and vehicles that stay there.

For this reason, you shouldn’t make a will on your own. Your lawyer will help to ensure that everything is done properly so your family will be taken care of when you are gone.

If you have young children, decide who you want their legal guardian to be
Unfortunately, many children lose their parents at a young age, so you can’t pretend that it won’t happen to you. Instead, you have to decide who you want to take care of them if you can’t. This can be a tough decision because you are going to want someone who is going to raise them the way that you would have. It is also a lot to ask of someone, so make sure that you talk to any potential legal guardians. You don’t want them to feel blindsided if you pass away, so you should make sure that they know what your plan is.

Decide on a power of attorney
You may want more than one power of attorney, which may be a good idea. Some people prefer one for their health care needs and one for their financial needs. Your health care power of attorney will make any decisions on your health if you are unable to, while your financial power of attorney will be able to take care of your finances and affairs when you can’t.

Make a living will
If you have certain wishes (or you don’t want to put your family in the position of making health care decisions), you may want to write out a living will. This will give your doctors specific instructions of things that they can and can’t do with you if you can’t make that decision. Many people don’t want extraordinary measures taken if the outlook doesn’t look very promising. They want to be taken off life support (or never put on it) if they are severely injured.

If you don’t have a living will, your loved ones will have to make these decisions for you. They may choose to keep you alive because they can’t stand to let you go.

Planning your estate isn’t easy. There are many decisions to be made, including writing a will and a living will. You may also need to figure out who you want to care for your children if you are severely injured or deceased. These are all serious decisions and you shouldn’t take it lightly

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