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Get started with estate planning with these 4 documents

Planning ahead is a great way to protect yourself, your beneficiaries and your heirs. Some people put off estate planning because they believe that it is costly or time-intensive to create an estate plan, but the truth is that it can be pretty simple and affordable.

Even those without many assets should consider creating an estate plan so that they have a basic will, living will and power of attorney in place.

There are a few documents that are essential for anyone looking to plan for their injury or death. These may include:

  • A will
  • A health care proxy
  • A power of attorney
  • A living will

Each of these has its own purpose. Here's a little more about them.

1. Your will

The first document to put in your estate plan is your will. Use this to designate guardianship or to provide directions on how to handle your estate once you pass away.

2. Your health care proxy

With a health care proxy, you establish an agent who will be responsible for making health care decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself.

3. Your power of attorney

With your power of attorney, you choose a person you trust to manage your financial affairs if you can't manage them yourself.

4. Your living will

Finally, your living will. This provides instructions on what to do if you are badly injured or are critically ill. You can use this form to tell the medical team your wishes if it needs to take life-saving measures.

These four documents are important parts of your estate plan. At the very least, try to set these up.

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