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Put estate planning on top of your New Year's resolution list in 2014

Utah residents should have estate planning as a top priority on this year's New Year's resolution list for many reasons that you may not have previously considered.
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    January 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Put estate planning on top of your New Year's resolution list in 2014

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January is the time when many Utah residents take stock of their lives. Those wanting to get into better physical shape buy gym memberships. Some evaluate their finances and set up plans to deposit portions of their paychecks into savings or retirement accounts.

Some resolutions are frivolous but others are quite serious and may make a world of difference to your loved ones. Whether or not you make a New Year's resolution list for yourself, you should still plan to create or update your estate plan this year.

Why have an estate plan?

Estate planning is not just for those who have a lot of money or a number of valuable assets. An estate plan lays out your wishes for your family when you are no longer able to make your own decisions and after you are gone. Following are some primary reasons to establish an estate plan:
-Children: If you have minor children, you should designate a guardian for them in case you pass on while they are still young.

-Relatives with special needs: If you provide care for a child, sibling or other relative who has special needs, a trust can ensure he or she receives continued support.

-Divorce and remarriage: Blended marriages and divorcescan make the distribution of your estate a messy affair. Trusts can allow you to provide for grandchildren without interference by former in-laws.

-Illness and injury: In the event of a debilitating illness or injury, powers of attorney and directives designate who will make your medical and financial decisions on your behalf.

-Family businesses: Estate plans also allow you to address the succession plan of a family business, taking issues of tax liability and asset preservation into account.

What goes into an estate plan?

As you can see, estate planning involves much more than avoiding probateor designating who receives grandmother's good china after a death. Although those issues are important, an estate plan encompasses a number of aspects that can help a family while a loved one is still alive and for many years after his or her death.
-Last will and testament: A will takes effect only upon a person's death. While a number of provisions make this the most important document in your plan, it will not cover all you need.

-Trust: Varying circumstances require different types of trusts. Charitable, life insurance and special needs trusts are just a few examples of the various types of trusts that can be tailored to fit your situation and preferences.

-Living will: Living wills -- also called health care or medical directives -- allow you to designate who will make medical care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

These are just a few of the estate planning documents available to people living in Utah and elsewhere around the country. You have the power and the right to have you wishes carried out.

An estate planning lawyer can help

If you do not have an estate plan, or have not recently reviewed your existing plan, consult an experienced estate planning attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about probate avoidance, estate and gift tax consequences and the numerous aspects of distributing an estate can help.

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