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Planning Your Estate: It Does Not Have to be Difficult

Posted on in Estate Planning

electronic accounts, family feuding, legal guardianship plans, master document, new estate plan, planning your estate, Wheaton estate planning attorneyMany people do not like to think about estate planning because of the subject matter—facing one's mortality. They put off making plans or they just never actually sit down with an attorney to formulate what needs to be done. This inaction can often have negative consequences for the family that is left behind. However, estate planning does not have to be a difficult process. In fact, most planning can be done relatively simply, and once done, it can leave everyone involved with peace of mind.

To begin, first prepare what is called a "master document." This document should include information regarding all of your assets and debts. Additionally, include any pertinent information such as account numbers and passwords, as these accounts will need to be closed out. The master document should also contain information regarding any electronic accounts you may have, such as a digital music library or social media accounts. Include instructions regarding how assets are to be handled, as well as copies of a living trust, will, and additional estate documents.

Next, if you do not yet have a will, you should one drawn up to ensure that your property and possessions go to those whom you wish them to go to. Although we would like to believe that our families would honor our wishes, most of us have heard or read about the intense family feuding that can occur without a will. Often times, these disagreements end up in court and much of an estate's worth is eaten up by legal fees—something that could have been avoided had the decedent included a will. Also, parents with young children should include legal guardianship plans in the event of sudden death.

Depending on the makeup of your estate, you may want to consider other plans as well, such as trusts, powers of attorney, special needs trust or living wills. An experienced Wheaton estate planning attorney can go over all your options and help you choose what is right for you and your family.

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