Estate Planning—Your Way

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When you face the final curtain will your assets be transferred your way? Like the old Sinatra song, the answer could be yes—if you’ve taken the time to make your wishes clear.

Here are tips that can help ensure your goals are met.

Provide details. Let your family know the location of legal documents such as your will, Durable Power of Attorney for health care, living will and trusts. Talk about your investments and other assets.

If you prefer not to divulge the full extent of your holdings, create an itemized list, detailing cash accounts, pensions, savings deposits, life insurance policies and real estate. Include account numbers and the names of financial institutions, as well as the identity of financial advisors. Be sure to leave the list with your other estate documents so your heirs can find it.

Keep up-to-date records. In addition to maintaining a current record of your assets, identify your beneficiaries by name. If you’re disposing of tangible property, you can add a separate attachment to your will stating what each of your heirs is to receive.

Make it easy for your representative to comply with your last wishes. Provide written directives for carrying out funeral or cremation services. You might choose to document certain instructions on video or audiotape.

Hopefully, as the song goes, you’ve lived a life that’s full, and traveled each and every highway—and best of all, you did it your way. By communicating your final desires, you can transfer your estate assets your way, as well.

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