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Estate planning involves making plans for the transfer of your estate after death. Your estate is all the property that you own. It can include cash, clothes, jewelry, cars, houses, land, retirement, investment and savings accounts, etc. Estate planning usually has several objectives: preserving the maximum amount of wealth possible for the intended beneficiaries and flexibility for the individual prior to death.

An estate plan may include various documents such as a Last Will and Testament, Trust agreements, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will. It may also include the titling of property, beneficiary designations, and instructions for your care if you become disabled.

Yes, everyone needs estate planning if they have any assets to their name. It’s not just for the wealthy. Without a plan, the state law determines what happens to a person’s assets and even their minor children, which might not align with their wishes.

A Will is a legal document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. However, a will covers only probate property.

A Trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a ‘trustee,’ holds legal title to property for another person, called a ‘beneficiary’.

f you die without a will or an estate plan, your estate will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. This could result in distributions that don’t align with your preferences, and potentially more of your estate going to taxes or legal fees.

While it’s possible to create your own will or estate plan, it’s usually best to consult with an estate planning attorney. They can help ensure all documents are correctly drafted and meet all legal requirements. Mistakes in a will or estate plan can lead to disputes and delays in executing your wishes.

As a general rule, it’s good to review your estate plan every three to five years. However, significant life events, like the birth of a child, a marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse, should trigger an immediate review of your plan.

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