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Estate planning includes more than preparing for death

When Floridians address their estate planning, there are some musts to accomplish. Preparing for the inevitable requires more than just planning on who will inherit what and how money should be distributed. In fact, everyone should create an estate plan early in life but also a list of other things to do before they die.

Here are some helpful tips of things people planning their estates must not forget:

•1. Do all the paperwork: Young people should sign health-care proxies since parents cannot make medical decisions for them past age 17. If a young person sustains a serious injury, a parent could need to go to court to get approval to make medical decisions. They also should have a living will that states preferences about care, as well as a power of attorney to make financial decisions.

•2. Make a will to pass property on to loved ones: People who die without a will must have their estate distributed according to state law. The state will decide who should inherit an estate, which isn't always the person or people the deceased would have chosen.

•3. Take a look at beneficiary forms to make sure accounts are being left to the proper person: Name both primary and alternate beneficiaries. If recently divorced, people likely will want to file an amended beneficiary statement to change the designation.

•4. Find the silver lining in every day and appreciate every day as if it were the last one.

•5. Write a bucket list, stating everything to be done before death. Write the fun things so that there will be no regrets at life's end.

•6. Make sure people you love know it. Knowing they were loved will help survivors through their grief.

No one likes to plan for death, but these tips help to plan for living, as well. It is smart not to neglect the essentials on the list or else you may leave your loved ones with more grief than necessary.

Source: Forbes, "Six Things To Do Before You Die," Deborah L. Jacobs, Oct. 12, 2012

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