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Here are some simple, effective tips for estate planning

There are so many people all across the country that either don't have a will (or an estate plan) or have an incomplete or insufficient will (or estate plan). That is an unfortunate fact, and it should motivate you to get a will (or complete one), depending on your personal situation.

Having a will is absolutely vital, as it dictates how your assets, property and estate are handled upon your death. You get to dictate how that happens through your will. In the absence of a will, state laws and probate will dictate how that happens, which can be costly and time-consuming, as well as failing to reflect your true intentions for your estate.

That's just a general tip for estate planning: have a will. Getting slightly more specific, if you have kids, you should make sure to get life insurance. In addition, you need to update your will (if you have one) to reflect the fact that you want your kids as the beneficiaries of your estate.

You will also want to establish a trust (or even multiple trusts) to reduce the tax implications of your estate being distributed upon your death. It will also ensure that your beneficiaries are receiving your "nest egg" under the proper circumstances.

Ultimately, to ensure that you are doing everything properly and that your estate is proper and compliant, you should have a lawyer advising you throughout the process. This will protect your rights and interests as you craft your personal and unique estate plan.

Source: FindLaw, "Estate Planning Tips: Find the Right Estate Plan for You," Accessed Feb. 16, 2016

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