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    Estate planning is often overlooked by those who are younger or don’t have many assets. However, nearly everyone has an estate, no matter how much money you have in the bank. An estate is not simply a piece of property or certain assets; it can encompass multiple items. Your car, home, bank accounts, and even personal possessions can all be considered your estate. Therefore, certain planning will be necessary to properly distribute your assets to your heirs. This estate planning will consist of documents known as a will or living trust.  

    Estate Planning Requires Thinking Ahead 

    When we pass, our belongings cannot pass on with us. So, we must choose how we would like to distribute them. To ensure that your wishes are carried out properly, you need to provide clear instructions. These instructions will lay out who receives what, how much you want them to receive, and when you want them to receive it. However, estate planning is more than just distributing your possessions to heirs. According to estate planning, you should also consider: 

    • Naming a guardian for your minor children’s care and inheritance 
    • Including instructions on care procedures if you become incapacitated towards the end of your life 
    • Minimizing taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees 

    It is important to note that estate planning is not a one-time event. Your documents will most likely need revisions as you age. Updating your plan regularly will ensure that you avoid any unwanted errors, costs, and extra time. 

    It is Never Too Early to Start Your Estate Plan 

    There is a common misconception that estate planning is only for the elderly population or wealthy. This is simply not true. Because we all have an estate and some have a family to care for, an estate planning is a must. Starting on an estate plan early is a great way to make sure your assets and family’s care are secure. Your own health care and end-of-life care could depend on your estate plan as well. Unfortunately, if tragedy strikes and you are not prepared, your family will be left picking up the pieces. If you pass without a plan, the state you live in has pre-determined laws to determine how your assets are distributed. However, the process can be long drawn out, confusing, and complicated.  

    Estate Planning Essentials 

    If you’re ready to begin estate planning, then you may need a will and/or a revocable trust. A will provides your instructions on which of your assets will get distributed to your heirs. However, a will alone does not avoid probate. The assets must still go through probate court to pay off your debts before they can be distributed. Having a revocable living trust paired with a will is the best way to go to maintain your estate and avoid probate. When a revocable living trust is established and paired with a will, your estate is protected. Since the living trust is revocable, you can change it at any time you deem necessary.