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Focus on the basics when creating your first estate plan

Regardless of your age, creating an estate plan is a detailed process that requires your full attention. If you make all the right decisions, it will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. However, if you make any mistakes, it could result in trouble down the road.

When creating your first estate plan in Colorado, it's important to focus on the basics. Here are some things to do:

  • Create a will: This is where most people start, as a will is the most common estate planning document. With this, you can outline who gets what upon your death. Even if you do nothing else in regard to your estate plan, it's critical to create a will.
  • Name beneficiaries: This all comes down to whom you want to receive your assets when you pass on. Some people name one beneficiary, while others name several. There is no right or wrong approach, so consider everyone in your life before making a final decision.
  • Choose an executor: The executor of your will is the person responsible for carrying out your final wishes. This person will review your will upon your death, assist with the probate process and make sure everything is taken care of based on the details of your will.
  • Create a durable power of attorney: This document gives another person the ability to manage your finances should you be unable to do so as the result of incapacity. This is much better than letting the court decide.
  • Create an advance health care directive: If you're unable to make your own medical decisions, such as toward the end of your life, you want to know that the right person can step in to do so on your behalf. An advance health care directive allows you to name an agent to ensure that you receive the type of treatment you want.
  • Name a guardian: If you have any children under the age of 18, have a plan on who will raise them should you and your spouse pass on. The best way to do this is to name a guardian in your will.

Many challenges can come into play when creating your first estate plan. Fortunately, when you understand what you want to accomplish, it's much easier to do so.

Even though you want to put this process in the past, there's no rush in doing so. What matters most is that you make all the right decisions. When you do this, you'll end up with an estate plan that you and your family in Fort Collins can rely on.

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