Th (2)Nobody wants to contemplate his or her own mortality. And you may even feel that, in the context of death, questions about who gets which of your assets seem trivial. That might explain why numerous recent studies have found that only between 35% and 45% of Americans have a will or estate plan. But the fact is your loved ones will have to address those questions when you're gone. By executing a will, trust, and signing a couple other basic documents you can save them loads of aggravation and unnecessary expense -- and grant them the ability to focus on their loss.

CNN says that is doesn't have to hurt. In a recent online CNN Money article, they highlight 10 steps to painless—that's right PAINLESS—estate planning. The article, “10 steps to painless estate planning,” gives some very useful advice when trying to get your arms around what you need to do.

The article recommends taking an inventory and picking your team. If you think about it that way, you have several roster spots you need to fill: beneficiaries, guardians, executors for your will, as well as attorneys-in-fact to make your important business decisions if you become incapacitated. While you are at it, don’t forget to appoint someone to follow through on your healthcare directive.

One of these positions on your team is easy: a beneficiary simply takes ownership of a bequest designated to him or her in your will.

The other team members will have to do some heavy lifting. As a result, you will want to discuss the intended role with those whom you select. Better to find out now whether they will be able and willing to accept when needed. Terminating life support or taking responsibility for your children are big responsibilities. Have the conversation and then call our office to get all of your paperwork in order.

Reference: CNN Money, March 3, 2014: 10 steps to painless estate planning

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