Estate Planning 101: The Basics of Estate Planning

So who gets your wealth? Have you thought about who will receive your  assets and how your loved ones will be taken care of when you are gone?  The process of putting together these specific directions is called estate planning.

What Is an Estate?

In the simplest terms, an estate is everything you own—money and assets,  including your home and your car—at the time of your death. When you  decide, in advance and in writing, who will get your assets and money,  that’s estate planning.

Do you have dependents? You may want to explore a durable power of  attorney, letter of instruction, living will, healthcare power of  attorney, will, and defining beneficiary designations.

Asking Yourself the Following Questions Before Estate Planning

– Who is the executor? Be sure it’s someone you can trust with your life. Literally.

– Who will receive my assets? In most cases it’s children or next of  kin, but you can leave your assets to anyone or anything, including  charities.

– Who gains custody of my children? Basically, who are your children’s  godparents? Who is responsible for and worthy of raising your children  if you are no longer there?

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