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Think carefully about your estate plan's components

Your estate plan is meant to make life easier for your loved ones when you pass away. The benefit doesn't end there. You might find that you can rest easier when you know that these plans are made. You should make sure that you think carefully about each aspect of the estate plan.

One of the things that you have to realize about setting up your estate plan is that you need to minimize the amount of money the estate has to give away. Remember, the government is going to want to collect taxes on estates that are valued at more than a specific amount. The estate tax is large and can cut a chunk out of what your loved ones end up with if you don't take steps now, such as setting up trusts or handing out allowable gifts.

Another thing you need to know is that the estate plan includes more than just wills and trusts. You also need to include your medical directives, which let your medical care team and those involved in your care know what you want and don't want. Powers of attorney designations go hand-in-hand with medical directives since you can give someone the power to make medical decisions for you and someone the power to make financial decisions for you. These are only valid if you can't make the decisions on your own.

Don't assume that you have time to decide what you are going to do. Instead, now is the time to get your estate plan established since you don't know when your time on Earth is going to be over.

Source: Investopedia, "Estate Planning," accessed Aug. 31, 2017

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