How to Begin Your Estate Plan In 5 Steps
Protecting loved ones from elder financial abuse
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How To Begin Your Estate Plan In 5 Steps

Estate planning can be a daunting task to begin. They force you to face your own mortality and examine the relationships you have with those closest to you. Here are five simplified steps to take when you set out to make an estate plan.

1. Make a will

This is the be all end all of estate planning. Designate where and to whom you want your assets to go. Whether or not you are wealthy, you are going to need a will, especially if you have children who are still minors.

2. Make a durable power of attorney

If you become incapacitated, you will need someone to handle all of your assets. With durable power of attorney, you can designate someone capable and trustworthy who you will act in your best interests.

3. Make a living will and medical power of attorney

A medical power of attorney will allow someone you trust to make medical decisions in your stead should you ever be unable to do so yourself. A living will specifies your wishes for end-of-life care. You will need both of these if you want to have the final say in these matters.

4. Title your assets accurately

No matter what your will says, assets such as life insurance and trusts will go to those named beneficiaries. Take the time now that the beneficiaries named are the ones you want to receive those benefits when you pass.

5. Check with family

Do your parents have an estate plan? If the answer is no, ask how you can help them get their affairs in order. Will someone feel snubbed with your plan as it stands? If yes, what plan will make everyone feel they were thought of equitably.