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What goes into the creation of your first estate plan?

Creating an estate plan is a big step in your life. While many people put this off, some realize how important it is to tackle the task as soon as possible.

Although there are challenges associated with creating your first estate plan, there are some basic steps you can take:

-- Take inventory of all your assets, as you need to decide where these will go upon your death.

-- Decide on a will or trust. There are pros and cons of both estate planning strategies, so learn more about each one.

-- Choose an executor. Who will administer your estate upon your death? This is an important question to answer when creating your first estate plan.

-- Update all beneficiary forms. These are associated with many documents, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

-- Create the right types of power of attorney. For example, a financial power of attorney can make important financial decisions if you're incapacitated due to injury or illness.

Along with all the above, you need to do two other things:

-- Leave yourself enough time to patiently and methodically move through the process.

-- Consult with an attorney who can answer your questions and ensure that you're on the right track.

Creating your first estate plan may not be something you look forward to, but you'll feel much better once this task is off your plate. At that point, you can look toward the future. And of course, if you need to make any changes down the road, you're able to do so.

Source: Forbes, "How To Write Your First Estate Plan," accessed May 11, 2017

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