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Everyone Needs an Estate Plan, Regardless of Wealth

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By Pamela Yip

—Declaration of guardian: This document enables you, instead of a court, to select who will be your guardian if you become incapacitated.

DISTRIBUTING ASSETS: This isn’t always as simple as just leaving everything to one person, Blum says.

“You want to think about causes, charitable bequests, that may be meaningful to you,” he says. “You want to think about specific bequests of jewelry or personal effects.”

Blum advises people to keep their will simple and put details in a separate document, such as a codicil

“You could have a will that says, ‘I leave everything to my wife and if she’s deceased, then I leave it to my two children 50-50,’ ” and not go into detail about your gun collection or your wedding ring, Blum says.

Spelling that out in a separate document makes things easier, he says.

“People change their mind on those and it’s just easier if they want to continue to update that list not to have to redo the whole will,” Blum says.

Also think about the nonfinancial assets you want to pass on.

“How do you want to be represented in the world after you’re gone?” says Michelle Brennan Hall, president of Brennan Wealth Advisors LLC in Addison, Texas. “Who’s likely to carry on the family name and the essence of your heritage and who you are?”

©2014 The Dallas Morming News
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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