Bigstock-Family-Portrait-At-Christmas-4881212If you don't make arrangements for what will happen after you are gone, the government will step in and make all those decisions for you—and they may not be the decisions you'd choose. The process will also be more difficult and costly for your family, so it's important to do it yourself while you still can.

Too many otherwise responsible adult Americans fully intend to get their final “affairs in order.” Unfortunately, far too many never get around to it.

I guess you could say this sums up estate planning in a nutshell: if you fail to plan ahead and protect your assets for your heirs, the state and federal government will be happy to take a chunk of your estate by way of taxes—taxes on your estate, taxes on the gifts you make to others, and taxes on the income that is generated from those gifts and investments.

This truth was explored in a recent CNBC.com article titled “Where there's a will, there's a way.

Be smart and contact an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can help you design a plan with the right types of documents, such as a will, trust, and appropriate powers of attorney.

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