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Estate planning involves more than just making a will

Planning your estate isn't something that you should do without putting a lot of thought into it. You have to decide what will happen to your belongings once you pass away. You also have to determine what you want to happen as part of your end-of-life care. Failing to plan properly is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you are taking care of your estate planning documents.

While most people associate estate planning with simply making a will, there are three other documents that you must consider as part of a basic estate plan. The will, of course, is the backbone of an estate plan because it lets those you leave behind know how to distribute your assets. If you don't have one when you pass away, your assets will be divided in accordance with the intestate laws of the state. The intestate laws might have a dividing formula different from what you want to occur.

A durable power of attorney for financial decisions ensures that your finances will be cared for when you are unable to care for them on your own. This person will have control over all assets that are in your name when the power of attorney goes into effect.

A durable power of attorney for health care ensures that your wishes for end-of-life care can be executed even if you are unable to relay those choices on your own. This person should know what types of treatments you would like to consent to or decline.

A living will lets your end-of-life decisions be known to those who are in charge of your care. This document will serve as a guide for doctors and your family members if you become terminally ill.

Making an estate plan that ensures your desires are effectively conveyed can be challenging. When you first create these documents and when you update them, it is important that you get questions about Michigan laws answered prior to making the estate plan.

Source: Fox Business, "The Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make" Kelly Tregeser, Apr. 07, 2014

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