Plan to Preserve and Protect Your Estate

Seven Estate Plan Basics

When it comes to planning for your financial future, a basic estate plan can spell the difference between assuring whether your wishes are carried out as you see fit or not.

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Estate Planning

Seven Estate Planning Basics


Many think they have nothing worth passing on or are intimated or confused about the idea – that’s hardly ever the case. People generally have more to lose than they realize and very often simple planning can usually minimize or eliminate this. The primary goal of an estate plan is that it enables the estate owner, regardless of income or assets, to control their legacy.

The aim of every estate plan is to assure that your wishes are fulfilled. Think of it as your best chance to make everything official, including keeping assets in the family and in the way in which you believe they will be best kept.  But like with many financial planning matters, an estate plan should not be intimidating, nor should it be something to postpone. The most important thing to do is to get started.

Today estate planning is no longer “only for the wealthy.” This is largely due to rising, long-term real estate values and other investments, however, stratospheric medical costs can erode even a hefty nest egg – which is why estate planning makes sense. Remember that the efficient transfer of what you’ve very often spent a lifetime earning should be a key part of your long-term planning.

Consider the alternative: if you don’t make decisions for your estate, the government -- federal and sometimes state -- will do so, with little regard for tax liability or your considerations and can take years to complete. And best of all it’s relatively quick and painless.


Financial planning experts recommend that your estate plan should include:

  1. Appointment of a guardian for any dependent or special-needs children as well as a successor guardian
  2. A will covering your final wishes, without one probate court makes these decisions for you
  3. Nominating someone to execute your estate
  4. A financial power of attorney also called a durable power of attorney, allows your designee to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated
  5. A health-care power of attorney enabling your representative to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so
  6. A living will, which can prohibit extraordinary medical procedures in treating irreversible illness
  7. Gifts plans of property or money for favorite charities.


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