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Why estate planning should be a priority

Talking about what happens to your assets after you die can be an uncomfortable conversation. However, every Indiana resident should have this practical discussion. Planning your estate now will simplify life for your loved ones after you are gone.

A comprehensive approach to your estate

Estate planning is more than drawing up a will. While this document is important, it is only one piece of a comprehensive plan. Your long-term planning should include several considerations like:

  • Health care if you are incapacitated
  • End-of-life decisions
  • Support and care for minors

Planning an estate means organizing your assets while you are alive and providing the information people need to access them. The legal documents will list account numbers and provide any necessary documentation to streamline distribution.

A final gift

After you are gone, people can only make guesses about your final wishes. Documents like living wills, trusts and durable powers of attorney let you make those decisions now. Taking this step can prevent conflicts and misunderstandings when you are no longer available to consult.

Establishing a trust as part of your plan alleviates issues like probate. This legal process requires the state to approve your will and can add weeks of complicated court time to the dispersal process. Trusts also help avoid some estate taxes because you establish them while living.

Dealing with the unexpected

Life and death are unpredictable. Your estate plan needs some flexibility to deal with the unexpected. You will also want to review the documents periodically to ensure that they reflect the current life situations of your loved ones.

Major life events should always be accompanied by an examination of your estate plan. Situations that merit another look include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth of a child or grandchild
  • Retirement

It is never too early to plan your estate. Taking the time to make decisions now is a gift your loved ones will appreciate in the future.