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Exploring the reasons for setting up a comprehensive estate plan

California residents who have an interest in estate planning may be interested in an article discussing why it is needed. By following a few principles, a plan can be set up to help ensure that a person's estate is disposed of as they wish.

An estate plan is a series of legal documents that directs what happens to a person's assets and personal affairs when they die or are incapacitated. Most often, these documents dictate actions related to disposing of the person's property, taking care of their minor children, deciding what to do medically and financially if they are unable to make those decisions themselves and continuing to run a business when they are no longer there to do so. Estate planning experts recommend that people face these end-of-life issues head-on and actually create their estate plan with the assistance of an attorney, rather than avoiding the issue. A properly-designed plan can help to give the person peace of mind.

People should not wait until they are older to begin their estate planning. Even younger people or those without large estates can benefit from an estate plan, as can those who suffer from terminal illnesses. Estate planning professionals recommended that the person consult those who will benefit under the estate throughout the process. This will avoid any surprises for the beneficiaries or challenges to the will or other document after the person's death.

It is important that the estate planning documents be revisited and updated periodically. Marriages, divorces, children and changes in the maker's financial circumstances can lead to the need to alter or add provisions, and an attorney can be helpful in the review process.

Source: Springfield News-Leader, "Bears Business Brief: Remember your financial endgame", James Philpot, August 02, 2014

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