Creating an Estate Plan is a selfless act. It is about protecting your family and providing for them upon your death. A good estate plan can decrease your family’s stress about the unknown, and increase certainty for when time gets tough. One thing in life is certain, death comes to us all. While none of us like to think about dying, the fact is that improper or no planning leads to family disputes, assets going into the wrong hands, long court litigations, large amounts of dollars in federal tax and not to mention all those fees spent on probate.

The end of the year is a good time to reflect and plan for the future. Estate planning is a good idea for families at all stages, and it’s particularly important at certain milestones like marriage, having kids, and reaching retirement age.  Basic estate planning documents like a Will, a Power of Attorney, and a Living Will allow you to clearly set out your wishes.

Not every estate plan need be complicated. As long as the basics are covered, these documents can always be reviewed and updated as time goes on and your estate evolves. There are two very basic packages: A Will Package and A Trust Package.

A Will Package includes:
Living will,
Durable Power of Attorney,
Mental Health Power of Attorney,
Health Care Power of Attorney.

A Trust Package includes:
Living Revocable Trust,
Pour-over will,
Durable Power of Attorney,
Medical Power of Attorney,
Mental Health Power of Attorney,
Living Will.

While a simple will is a good start, it certainly does not address some of the most important “what ifs” that life may have in store. For example, a will without a living will and health care power of attorney cannot direct medical professionals to make life-saving measures. However, when you nominate your health care power of attorney and write the specifics of your plan, you can prepare your loved ones with what to expect.

The most important item to keep in mind, is to make estate planning a priority for your family this year, and you will have peace of mind for all holidays to come.

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