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Important steps to take in the estate planning process

Planning and preparing for the future is often avoided. Residents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere do not like thinking about their aging life and what will happen after their death. Nonetheless, taking the time to consider and assess these important end-of-life factors can help individuals protect assets and provide for loved ones upon their death.

The estate planning process might seem daunting, but it is an important step to take. And if individuals take the time to detail their estate plan and regularly update their information, he or she should have no concerns regarding its execution at the time of their death.

Having proper beneficiary designation means that your assets will be transferred to the proper heirs and loved ones quickly and easily at the time of your death. This also helps your loved ones avoid probate, which can be a lengthy and complex process. Additionally, beneficiary designation can assist with reducing estate taxes.

While many assets provide the ability to name a beneficiary, most people still include a will in their estate plan. Doing so can help provide more in-depth or specific designations or even help establish a trust. For those with larger estates, they will likely have a more complex estate plan. This could mean including numerous documents providing protection and designations.

One pitfall that individuals should ensure they avoid no matter the size of their estate is beneficiary designations that do not match their will. This creates a conflict among beneficiaries, and it will result in it becoming a matter for the courts to decide. Because most people seek to avoid any issues following their death, it is important to update beneficiary designations and wills regularly.

The estate planning process can be challenging, especially when you are making difficult decisions that require you to consider what will happen after your death. But you do not need to do this process alone. Those with questions regarding the estate planning process can seek the assistance of an estate planning attorney, who can advise you on what steps to take.

Source: Fidelity.com, "Estate planning must dos," March 27, 2017

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