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    5 Steps to Start Planning Your Estate

    Ladies, regardless of your age, it’s never too early to plan your estate and ensure last wishes are met. Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy – it’s a process that allows you to determine how your assets are bequeathed and managed upon incapacitation or death.
    Discuss these basic estate planning steps with your loved ones and consider consulting an attorney for individual guidance.

    Document Wishes

    Although not typically legally binding, preparing a letter of final wishes allows you to share information and requests, like funeral arrangements, which often fall outside of the will. It may also include an explanation of will provisions or suggestions for how funds you’ll leave behind should be used.

    Prepare a Will

    A legally binding last will and testament is often considered the most important aspect of estate planning. This involves naming guardians for minor children and pets, listing all property, designating people and organizations that should receive assets, directing funds to charities and naming an executor.

    Consider Causes Important to You

    As part of will creation and estate planning, consider charitable causes you’d like to support after passing. Talking with loved ones can be a way to gather input on important causes, and those conversations can act as a springboard for generations to support a particular cause or organization, based on their shared values.

    Assign Beneficiaries

    Naming people who should inherit assets like life insurance policies or retirement accounts is something you may have completed long ago when creating those assets. However, it’s important to ensure the beneficiaries named align with your will to avoid conflict as designated beneficiaries often take precedence over a will, which could create confusion and legal headaches.

    Regularly Review Your Plan

    Establishing your estate plan is important for ensuring last wishes are met, but it’s also beneficial to revisit the plan regularly to update when necessary. For example, many people review their plans every couple of years or at major life events, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, marriage or divorce, purchasing a large asset, changing life insurance coverage and career changes.

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