No matter your net worth, it's important to have a basic estate plan in place.  Such a plan ensures that your family and financial goals are met after you die.


An Estate Plan Has Several Elements.


An Estate Plan may include: a will; an assignment of power of attorney; and a living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). And, for some people, a trust may also make sense. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.


Taking Inventory of Your Assets is a Good Place to Start


Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you're ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?


Everybody Needs a Will

A Will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you pass away. It's also the best place to name guardians for your children. Passing away without a will -- also known as dying "intestate" -- can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a Will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when your gone.