Effective estate planning begins with learning about what you can do to stay in control of your stuff (i.e., everything you own) and assure that your wishes are carried out during your lifetime and after you are gone.  Certainly, you have views about the kind of health care you want to receive, and you have views about who should enjoy your stuff when you are done with it.  The only way to make effective choices about those things is to know what your choices are. 

Learning about your choices is a lifelong process, because your choices will change as your circumstances change.  Your health is going to change.  Your assets are going to change.  Your comfort with your list of designated decision makers (such as your health care agents and successor trustees) is going to change.  The laws that affect your estate plan are going to change.  As those things change, you will need to stay on top of the choices you can make in order to be confident that your wishes are going to be followed.

Let’s say you are taking a trip.  Where do you want to go?  How do you want to get there?  Are there any better destinations you might want to consider?  Is there a better means of getting you there than the one you originally chose?  The only way to know the answers to these questions is to do some research, talk with people who have taken similar trips, and, better yet, talk with folks who have helped lots of people take all kinds of journeys.  The sooner you learn about your estate planning options, the sooner you can implement the solutions that will head off problems for yourself and your loved ones as you reach life’s inevitable—and unpredictable—transition points. 

For more information, check out www.est8planning.com.

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