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Estate-Planning Educational SeriesLASTING LEGACY

Estate planning is the process of making and documenting critical decisions about what you own, how your healthcare and financial affairs are managed and what happens if you die or become incapacitated.

About 60 percent of Americans die without leaving a will or any other document to convey their instructions. When you choose to live without the documents of an estate plan, you allow the laws of your state to make decisions for you. -Frequently, the decisions reflected in state law are not what you would expect — or want.

By the time you're ready to visit an estate-planning attorney (we'll provide tips on how to choose one), you'll have organized personal information that will keep you in control of the process and may even lower your legal costs.

Ready to start?

Click on any topic below.

Not sure you're ready?

Check out our assumptions in Part 1 and see if we address your doubts. Go

  • Part 1, Designing Your Legacy, discusses the "what" and "why" of estate-planning: what constitutes a good estate plan (it's not just a will!) and why every American adult, regardless of age, can benefit from one. Read
  • Part 2, Maintaining Control Over Life and Financial Decisions, introduces you to the "how to" aspects of estate-planning, discussing information and tools that help ensure your wishes are carried out during your lifetime if you become incapacitated, even temporarily. Tools include powers of attorney for health care and/or financial affairs and living wills. Read
  • Part 3, Controlling the Disposition of Your Assets, focuses on wills, living trusts and other tools that help ensure your wishes are carried out after your lifetime. Read
  • Part 4, Building Your Planning Team, offers insights and information on finding, choosing and working with an estate-planning attorney and if necessary, other members of your estate-planning team. Use our most popular tool, the Confidential Organizer, with this information to gather and organize your personal estate-planning information. Read

Do you have causes and organizations you care about?

Helping them with a gift through your estate plan could be part of your legacy.

Check out our charitable legacy workbook, Celebrating My Charitable Legacy and decide!

Used by permission of Steenhusyen Associates, all rights reserved.


a senior woman holds a file folder full of papers

Discover our most popular estate planning tool



Our Confidential Estate Organizer helps you collect and organize your personal information, simplifying the planning process and putting you in control. Go

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