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Get an estate plan in order with step-by-step goals

Financial advisers recommend that people in Ohio set up an estate plan based on four important elements. They should have a will, financial power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney and advance healthcare directive. These basic documents could help prevent problems when people become incapacitated due to disease or injury and direct the distribution of an estate after death. Although people might feel tempted to put off estate planning, they could overcome procrastination by setting priorities and pursuing goals step by step.

One certified financial planner suggests that people address financial matters first. This process includes titling trusts and making sure that all assets have the desired beneficiaries named. After attending to finances, healthcare represents the next step. People should name healthcare surrogates who make medical decisions when people are unable to do so for themselves. People also need to document how they want to receive or not receive healthcare under certain circumstances.

Even people who have created their estate plans need to revisit them periodically. A survey from Wells Fargo revealed that one in six respondents believed that their financial documents needed updating. An up-to-date financial estate plan could insulate people from the possibility of financial abuse when they are elderly. As many as 20 percent of people over age 65 have been abused financially.

Whether someone needs to update a plan or begin the process, an estate planning attorney may provide crucial insights. Legal research might inform someone about how to protect assets from taxation when passing a legacy to heirs. An attorney may be able to help someone design a trust strategy to maintain privacy and place controls on the spending of money by future generations. After creating a plan, an attorney may draft all of the necessary documents and recommend how to store them safely.

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