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Making estate planning work for you

People naturally think sometimes of what will happen after they die and how their legacy will be passed on. Death is certain, and being unprepared for it can result in resentment and disputes among the heirs. That is the reason why people in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-or anywhere-should prepare an estate plan.

The first step in such a plan is to put your wishes in writing by drafting estate planning documents, such as wills and trust documents. The documents should state your wishes, name the entity who will act as fiduciary, designate the properties to be transferred and name who will be the heirs. An estate planner can help to ensure that these documents are valid, conform to state inheritance laws, and properly address tax issues. Dying without a will or any form of estate planning can result in the distribution of the estate that deviates from your wishes. In addition, probate cost-not only money, but also time-can increase significantly.

The estate plan should assign a guardian for minor or incapacitated children. Investing in insurance to cover survivor income and loan repayments is also recommended. Adjustments should be made to investments so that their benefits match the needs of the heirs. For instance, updating beneficiary forms of annuities and 401(k) plans ensures that the intended recipients are given what you intend them to have.

Lastly, an estate plan should deal with the possibility of mental and physical incapacity. Assigning a power of attorney for financial and health directives not only helps the grantor, but also relieves the heirs of the burden of making difficult decisions and avoids difficult disputes between family members.

These several estate planning strategies can help in estate planning, but an estate plan involves numerous considerations that should be resolved well in advance of incapacity or death.

Source: Ahwatukee Foothills News, "Put These Estate Planning Moves to Work," Joseph B. Ortiz, July 17, 2013

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