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How can you set estate planning goals?

Did you know that the first step to estate planning is setting goals? The types of goals you set for your estate depends on your situation, income, assets, family and when in your life you sit down to plan for your estate. If you plan early, for example, your goals might include wealth building and saving. If you begin estate planning later in life, then your goals might be more about protecting what you already have or ensuring your assets are passed on following your wishes. Whatever goals you have for your estate, we've provided some tips for strong goal setting below.

Start setting goals by brainstorming. Sit down with a paper and pen and write down all you want to accomplish with your estate and estate planning. During this portion of the planning, don't worry about whether goals are realistic. Write down anything that comes to mind.

Take a short break and then come back to your goals. You might find it helpful to involve a close friend or trusted legal professional in this next step. Review what you've brainstormed and select goals that are realistic, challenging and measurable. A legal professional can help you understand whether there are legal tools to do some of the things you want to do with your assets or estates.

Once you've chosen appropriate goals, take action to make them reality. Work with a legal professional to create a will and other estate documents that cement your goals. You'll also want to talk with your loved ones so they know why you made the decisions that you did and how those decisions might impact everyone in the future.

Source: Psychology Today, "How to Set Goals," Will Meeks, PhD, accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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