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7 basics for creating your first estate plan

The idea of creating an estate plan may not thrill you, but once you complete the process, you'll look back and realize it was the right thing to do. Furthermore, with an estate plan in place, you'll have more peace of mind in regard to the future.

Here are seven basics for creating your first estate plan:

  • Understand the process and laws: Learn as much as you can about the steps for creating an estate plan, as well as the federal and state laws that come into play.
  • Take inventory of your assets: You need to know what you'll leave behind upon passing, as this helps you make other key decisions.
  • Create a will: This is one of the best and simplest ways to determine who gets what upon your death.
  • Name a beneficiary: It's not good enough to create a will. You need to name a beneficiary or beneficiaries, as this outlines who will receive your assets.
  • Choose an executor: Who do you want to be in charge of carrying out your final wishes? This is the person you should name as your executor. Your spouse or an adult child may be a good place to start.
  • Sign a power of attorney: This gives another person the right to act on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated.
  • Execute all forms and store in a safe place: Once you create an estate plan and sign all the necessary forms, store them safely for future use by your executor.

By taking these steps, you'll find yourself in a position to create an estate plan that protects your legal rights and allows you to feel better about the future.

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