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One of the obstacles to creating an estate plan is knowing where to start. This can be difficult considering one the main barriers to meeting one’s goals in this regard is understanding the costs behind what you might need. This is especially important considering your means and how much you might think a full-fledged estate plan may cost.

It is the cost of a lawyer that prevents many people from following up on their ideas and doing what they think is right not only for them, but for their families. However, knowledge is power and it can help you fulfill those New Year’s resolutions we said you should not focus on in our initial post of the year.

With that said, this post will focus on the basic documents you may need to establish an estate plan.

A Will – Contrary to popular demand, a will does not have to be elaborate or expensive. Remember the purpose of a will is to detail how your assets will be distributed upon your passing. This includes explaining who the main point of contact will be (i.e. the executor), how expenses will be paid, and if specific people will be given particular items.

A Durable Power of Attorney – You don’t have to pass away in order to have someone assigned to act as your agent in the event you become incapacitated. A power of attorney allows such a person to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf.

Healthcare Directive – In the event you are not able to voice your wishes or make medical decisions for yourself, a healthcare directive can also help. This document is also called a living will.

If you have questions about these documents, an estate planning attorney can help.