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Do you feel the time has come to start your estate plan?

Getting started on an estate plan is not always easy. Some Florida residents may have had some vague ideas about what they would include in their plan, but they may not have made specific decisions. You may feel that the time has come to really focus on a solid estate plan, but you may not know where to start.

Before you feel overwhelmed, remember that you can take estate planning one step at a time. You can begin with a relatively simple task and move on toward more difficult decisions. It may help to start with the assets and people closest to you.

What steps can you take first?

Your family members are likely some of the most important people in your life. As a result, you undoubtedly want to ensure you address their needs in your estate plan. For example, if you still have minor children, you will need to name a guardian for those children in your will. You may also want to ensure that your life insurance policy will cover expenses that will likely carry on after your passing, such as mortgage payments.

Because estate plans often address how individuals want their assets distributed, you may want to start by making an inventory of your possessions. You may have physical assets to account for, like real estate, vehicles or collectibles, and you may have intangible assets to consider as well, such as life insurance policies, stocks or ownership of a business. If some of your assets may fluctuate in value, it may be a good idea to have appraisals or valuations done.

Think of yourself

You may not be a particularly self-centered person, but when estate planning, it is important that you think of your needs as well as your family's. Certain aspects of your estate plan could go into effect while you are still living, especially if you suffer serious health issues or become incapacitated. You may need someone to make important decisions on your behalf, and creating a durable power of attorney and health care directives could prove vital in such a scenario.

Remember, you do not have to make every decision about your estate plan right away. In fact, you may not even know some of the decisions you need to make. Fortunately, you can enlist the help of an experienced estate planning attorney who can go over your ideas and help you create a plan that best suits your needs and wishes.

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