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Florida residents can take a few steps to enact an estate plan

Estate planning is often viewed as a myriad of confusing forms, trusts, regulations and difficult decisions. In reality, most estate planning can be done with a few, mostly painless, steps. By knocking out some of the more fundamental exposure areas, local Lee County residents can set up a plan that surpasses that of many individuals.

One of the easiest things to do is put your wishes in writing. Known formally as a "last will and testament," a written document explaining who gets what when you die, as well as any instructions you may have for your burial or cremation, is the first step to having a solid estate plan. It is not the only step, however, as there are other documents that are part of a comprehensive end-of-life strategy. Known as a durable power of attorney, healthcare proxy, advance directive, and living will, these other documents will help create the conditions for your wishes with regard to your property and your person to be carried out.

Aside from preparing these legal documents, local Fort Myers residents can take simple steps to erase some of the financial concerns they may have about estate planning. For instance, life insurance may be an inexpensive way to ensure expenses are paid and assets are present for loved ones after you are gone. By naming a beneficiary of the policy, or verifying other assets like a 401k or bank account are payable on death to a certain loved one, you may even be able to avoid the burden of probate proceedings.

While these types of decisions are often uncomfortable, it is a boon to most people's peace of mind to know that their family will have as few complications as possible during a difficult time. Anyone with questions about their own plan should consider asking a local estate planning professional for advice about their specific situation.

Source: Kiplinger.com, "8 Smart Estate Planning Steps to Die the Right Way," November 17, 2014

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