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Securing your Family's Future

How often have you wished you'd done things differently? Everyone has regrets, but when it comes to securing your family's financial future, you don't want to have any doubts. That's why it's important to know all your options for preserving your estate and to start planning earlier than later.

Estate planning is more than just writing a will, though a will plays a key part. An estate plan is the complete package of how you'll provide for your family and loved ones while you're living, and how you'll transfer and preserve the value of your assets after you die. A will is essential to any estate plan. It outlines exactly how you want your assets to be distributed. With a will in place you can choose your heirs, make specific bequests, and choose an executor for your estate.

You can also set up powers of attorney (POA), which authorize another person to act on your behalf. There are two types of POA; a financial POA decides who will manage your money and under what circumstances, while a medical POA determines who will make your healthcare decisions if you can't make them for yourself. Both must be enduring-a legal term meaning they have to outlast you-to be useful.

If you have children, your estate plan should also include a guardianship appointment. By appointing a guardian, you can rest assured that your children will be raised by someone chosen by you.

You might also include a trust as part of your estate plan. A trust describes a relationship that exists when one person (the trustee) holds title to property on behalf of  (the beneficiary). A trust outlines how and when your beneficiaries will receive your bequest. Whether you wish to protect a same-sex partner from the prying eyes of family, or you want to manage your children's inheritance, a trust can solve the problem. And, if you're giving the money to a child who may be disabled and financially dependent, a trust is invaluable in allowing you to state clearly state your wishes and protect your child's financial interests.

Estate planning, can go hand-in-hand with retirement planning-and you're never too young to start preparing for retirement. By creating an estate plan today, you'll save on taxes and fees later.

A well-thought-out, well-executed estate plan will allow your loved ones to tie up loose ends in a timely and painlessly a way as possible.. So, talk to your lawyer, discuss your goals with your partner and family, but most importantly, consider the advice of a financial advisor.