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When should you start planning your estate?

If you have an estate in California, you need to take steps to protect it. When is too soon to start planning, though? What if you don't have much to your name?

The first step is to plan your estate from the moment you realize it's something you need to do. It is never too early to start; even if you don't own much, naming a beneficiary or beneficiaries can help you make sure that any assets you do have go to the people you love. Whether it's a car or a collection of Beanie Babies, your assets are yours to distribute as you see fit.

The next thing to think about is how you want to divide your assets and what you want to see happen with them. If you have a small business and want to pass it on to someone else in your family, you'd want to note this one your estate plan. You also want to discuss what you want to happen with the business; are there any affairs you want handled in a certain way? For example, if you own a 50's restaurant, you might indicate that the asset can be transferred as long as the theme of the restaurant isn't changed.

After you take the steps above by working with your attorney to make an estate plan, you should talk to the heirs. You should talk to heirs now, because it lets you work out any disagreements and make changes if they need to be made. Explaining yourself and your actions can help eliminate disputes in the future.

Source: CNN Money, "Ultimate guide to retirement," accessed Sep. 27, 2016

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Law Office of Jeffrey B. Pape, P.C.
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