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Checking off each step in the estate planning process

For most Florida residents, the first part of estate planning is to “demystify” the process. After all, most people aren’t familiar with the various aspects of estate planning that can have a significant impact on your assets. A recent article came up with a “checklist” to help Americans understand what needs to occur on a step-by-step basis in the estate planning process.

The first step is to compile a list of all of your assets and all of your liabilities. Most people have more assets than they realize, when they take into account retirement funds, valuable personal property and investment accounts. Liabilities include all of your debts, including credit cards, mortgages and car loans. Having this list available when you begin the estate planning process is a big part of accomplishing your goals.

Next, Florida residents will need to determine who their beneficiaries will be – who will receive your assets upon your death. Obviously, this isn’t all that pleasant to consider, but, without designating beneficiaries, your assets may not be distributed as you intend. After that, those Florida residents with minor children will need to designate a guardian for those children if tragedy should strike. Naming a guardian ensures that your children will be raised the way you want if the worst should happen.

Lastly, Florida residents will need to determine which type of estate planning documents they need. Most people are fine with a will, while others may want to look into the benefits of trusts. Power of attorney documents will be needed as well.

Source: Morningstar, “An Estate Planning Checklist,” Christine Benz, July 27, 2017

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