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Planning your estate doesn't have to be complicated

Many people think about trusts, wills and other estate planning documents and grumble about their potential complexity. Often, estate planning isn't as complex as people think it is. Sometimes, there are complex plans that can be discussed with an attorney to accomplish very specific goals regarding what happens to certain assets after you die. However, many people can start their estate planning by speaking with an attorney about basic estate planning documents.

Gathering an accounting of your assets is one of the first steps in estate planning. After you understand what you have, and what you might owe to creditors, you can start to formulate goals. Speaking with an attorney can help make sure proper legal documents are created to help control what will happen to your assets.

Making sure any documents that overlap beneficiaries are consistent is important in avoiding confusion in the future. Sometimes estate planning documents might seem to overlap, but each document can serve a specific purpose. One the biggest obstacles in estate planning can be a person's motivation to follow through with the planning. Most people put off estate planning because they don't want to think about their own death, or think the process will be too complex.

Speaking with an attorney can help ensure all proper documents are made to accomplish estate planning goals. They can also help you understand how these documents will work when they are needed. These documents can provide peace of mind that if something unexpectedly happened, your family would have a plan that they can act on.

Source: Fox Business, "Five Steps for Preparing Your Estate for Inheritance," July 13, 2012

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