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Resolve to plan ahead in 2017

With 2017 in full swing, you very well may have made, or are thinking of making, some resolutions for the year ahead. For most people, these resolutions are a little easier to keep if they are fairly simple and provide a great benefit.

For example, if your goal is to be better at planning ahead, managing assets or taking better care of your family, you can start by creating a basic estate plan. This doesn't have to be an overly complex process, especially to start off. You can work with an attorney and make some of the more basic decisions that can still have an enormous impact on your future.

If you are creating an estate plan from scratch, some of the basic documentation you will want to have includes:

  • A will: This document allows you to specify instructions for guardianships, inheritances and even funeral planning.
  • Power of attorney for property: Giving someone power of attorney means that you are allowing that person to make financial decisions on your behalf. If you are unable to do things like pay bills, manage bank accounts and file taxes, a person with powers of attorney can take care of these things. 
  • Medical directive: This document allows you to appoint someone to make your medical decisions, should you become incapacitated. 

Completing a will and assigning powers of attorney are not decisions to be made lightly. However, they do not need to be overly complex.

Having these basic planning documents in place can give you -- and your loved ones -- considerable peace of mind in knowing that there are contingency plans. Once you have these in place, you might even consider examining with your attorney other estate planning tools like trusts and long-term planning solutions.

As with any resolution, it can be difficult to take that first step. However, consulting an attorney sooner, rather than later, can help you get started and be one step closer to completing an important resolution.

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