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No matter what stage of life you are in, it is wise to create and update an estate plan for your family. This plan will ensure your family members are taken care of if something happens to you. A few aspects to your estate plan should include getting a will, buying life insurance, and designating a power of attorney.

Get a Will

A will is a legal document that identifies when and how your beneficiaries will inherit your property and assets. If a beneficiary dies before you, you also have the opportunity to name other alternatives. Additionally, a will provides instructions for how you’d like your executor to settle your final affairs. Your will must meet state requirements set by state law, if it does not, the probate court will not honor it. These requirements generally include the number of witnesses and how the will should be signed to be considered valid. If you are unsure how to fulfill all the requirements, consider hiring an attorney to assist you.

Buy Life Insurance

Parents with children and homeowners should especially consider purchasing life insurance policies. Life insurance will protect your dependents from the loss of your income when you are gone. In your absence, your family will be financially secure with a life insurance payment. Investing in life insurance can help pay off any previous debt, cover funeral expenses, build cash value, and give your family financial stability

Designate a Power of Attorney

Power of attorney is given to the person you designate to have authority to make decisions for you if you cannot. Power of attorney is generally given to spouses but should always be granted to someone you can trust to handle your finances, healthcare, and any other legal matters. Who you designate to handle affairs can be one or multiple individuals. After you have designated your power of attorney, bring them in on your situation and make your wishes known regarding the management of your affairs.

Preparing for the unexpected is the best way to make sure your family is well taken care of in the event of your death. After you have put together your estate plan, notify family members what your wishes are so they can be better prepared. Keep in mind, with the proper legal action your plan can change at any time. Ultimately an estate plan protects your assets, and more importantly your family.

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