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Financial Answer Center

Understanding the Basics

What Is Estate Planning?

The object of estate planning is to conserve your assets while making sure they are properly distributed, either during your lifetime or after you're gone. You want to be sure that your family and loved ones will be provided for after you die.

Estate planning lasts a lifetime. You'll need to monitor your situation to ensure it is current and meets your wishes.

Providing for your loved ones in the event of your death is an extremely important process that cannot be delayed. While we all hope to live long, happy, and productive lives, the reality is that death can occur at any time. If you haven't taken steps beforehand to make your wishes clear, those decisions will be made by others, perhaps in a much different way than you would want.

Estate planning requires you to invest your time and effort today to provide for your loved ones in the future. We will focus on steps you can take to protect and transfer your assets to your heirs, before and after you die.

Estate planning, simply put, is the collection of steps you need to take to make sure that your loved ones are provided for in the best possible way, including lifetime planning and disposition of your property at death. It may not seem obvious, but your obligations to your family and friends continue even after you die.

Estate planning is carried out with legal documents such as wills and trusts; it typically involves a lawyer and may be very complicated if you have a lot of assets. However, every estate plan should start at the same point: You will have to decide who needs your financial support after you die and how you want to protect them. As difficult as it is to sit down and plan for the day you die, it is essential and a real show of love for your family and friends.

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