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3 Steps to Estate Planning

Protecting your LegacyIn its simplest form, estate planning is the structuring of your legal and financial affairs so you can provide for your family after your death.

Whether it involves passing along a business to the next generation, leaving a lasting gift to a favorite charity, or something completely different, planning ahead makes it easier for your family to wrap up your affairs if they know your wishes. A good estate plan ensures that everything you have worked hard to build will be managed according to your wishes. Here are three elements to keep in mind when planning your estate planning.

  1. Set out your priorities.

    • Will your family have a source of income?
    • If you become disabled will there be a source of income?
    • Do you know what your income will be from various sources?
    • Do you know what the tax exposure will be on your estate?
    • Have you specified how assets should be distributed?
  2. Do an inventory of your estate.

    • Do you have all the important papers together in one spot?
    • Do you have an up-to-date net-worth statement?
    • If you own a business, is there a buy/sell agreement in place?
    • Do you need a trust agreement?
  3. Organize important documents and share information.

    • An up-to-date Will and a Health Directive.
    • Life Insurance Policy and up-to-date beneficiary information.
    • Information about your appointed Executor, who knows where your Will is located and what your expectations are.
    • Information about pre-arranged funeral plans.
    • Have a discussion with your family about your preferred funeral arrangements and the role of your Executor.

Learn more about Tax and Estate Planning.

Excerpt from asterisk print version June 2012.

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