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Wills and Estate Planning

It's never too early to start planning for life's big changes. When you're ready to think about the possibility of death or incapacity, creating a Will and an estate plan is the best way to take care of your family. Even if you don't have a lot to pass on, it will be easier on everyone if your wishes are known.

The first piece of most estate plans is a Will. We all know Wills let everyone know who gets your stuff, but Wills are also crucial for protecting your family from unnecessary expenses, estate taxes, potential disagreements, and helping determine the custody of your children. If you don't have a Will, the state determines how your property is distributed and who cares for your kids.

Don't separate Wills and estate planning in your mind, because an estate plan should be more than just a Will. For example, a Living Will is another important document that spells out your wishes for medical treatment when you can't make decisions yourself. Especially in difficult end-of-life scenarios, it'll help your family know exactly what you want.

A Power of Attorney is another estate planning essential. It specifies who can fill your fiduciary shoes -- signing checks, deeds, official documents, etc. -- if you can't do it yourself. As with most Wills and estate planning, courts will appoint someone to make these decisions if you don't. There are also an array Trusts that can have tax benefits and give you more control over how your assets are distributed.

To dive deeper into Wills and estate planning, check out the Estate Planning Basics. If you have any questions about estate planning, we're also happy to help you find a lawyer in your area who can help.