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Is it too late to start my estate plan?

Estate planning helps people ensure that their wishes for the distribution of their assets and their future care are honored. But are estate plans right for everyone? And when is it too late to start with the estate planning process?

Everyone can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan, regardless of age, income level and individual circumstances. Estate planning tools can be used to customize your intentions for property transfers, care for minor children, end-of-life decisions and other considerations. It is never too early or too late to plan for the future.

Here are some of the primary benefits of a comprehensive estate plan:

  • You can identify the loved ones you want to receive your assets after your death. Without at least a will in place, your property will pass through state intestacy laws.
  • You can ensure your property will transfer to those you have identified as quickly and painlessly as possible.
  • You can minimize the amount of estate taxes that will need to be paid to transfer your assets.
  • You can avoid the costly and time-intensive probate process by using living trusts and other estate planning tools.
  • You can appoint a guardian for your underage children and appropriate funds to help with their future care if something happens to you and their other parent.
  • You can let your loved ones know what types of end-of-life or life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive, if any, should you become mentally incapacitated.
  • You can name a durable power of attorney to make financial and health care decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so for yourself.
  • You can determine your preferred funeral arrangements and designate funds to pay for them. This will save your loved ones a great deal of guesswork when you are no longer around to ask.

By creating an estate plan now, no matter what your age, you can have peace of mind that your future and children's future is being taken care of and your family will have the benefit of knowing your wishes and that they are being followed as planned.

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