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Estate Planning - Protecting Your Future First

More often than not, estate planning is looked at as a way to ease the transition of an individual's assets to the custody of friends and loved ones. This is, indeed, what estate planning can and should be used for, but should it be the first priority of the forward-thinking estate planner?

Before you start to look at splitting up your assets and naming an executor for your will, think about how you would like to live off your assets. As Bob Carlson points out in his article "The Four Goals of Estate Planning," one is best able to provide for others when he or she has already provided for him or herself.

If that does not sound like an estate plan, then perhaps it is time to look at estate planning in another way. Instead of looking at your estate plan as a way to distribute your assets, look at it as a way to preserve your wealth. Part of planning for the preservation of your assets is ensuring they are used efficiently and effectively to support your own standard of living.

After you have provided for your own financial security, then it is time to look beyond yourself. Working with an estate planning attorney, come up with a distribution plan for your assets. As always, it is usually advisable to discuss your estate plan with close family members, clearing up any confusion or questions that might lead to arguments after your passing.

In planning for your financial future, do not forget to account for your health. Advance healthcare directives, such as those which might fall within a living will can help ensure that you are able to stay or go on your own terms.

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