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Put together an estate plan that reflects your wishes

An estate plan should be a reflection of your life, your wishes and your intentions. With an estate plan in place, you're establishing rules for how you want to have your assets handled and giving instructions on how to handle situations where you're injured or unable to provide care for yourself or your dependents.

A good estate plan has many different documents contained inside, like:

  • A good will
  • A trust or trusts for your dependents or heirs
  • Your health care proxy
  • Beneficiary designations
  • A long-term care plan
  • The name of the person you want as an executor
  • The names of guardians for yourself or your dependents

Of course, this isn't all your estate plan should include. Every estate is different, so it's essential that you speak with your attorney about how you can do the most to protect it and set the stage for the transfer of your estate in a simplified manner after your death.

Isn't a will enough? Why do you need so many documents?

Wills are good in their own ways, but it's normally a better idea to have multiple documents in place that protect you and help guide those who are taking care of your estate after you pass or while you're unable to care for it or yourself.

Having more documents may give you more control and shows that you've taken steps to plan for long-term care, that you had or have wishes that you want to see carried out and that you were interested in creating the best-case scenario when it's time to distribute your estate. Your attorney will work closely with you to make sure all your goals are met during the estate planning process.

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