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Safeguarding the future of your family and business

The future is unknown and preparing now for the future is a responsible decision that may guard your family and your wishes down the road. If you are thinking of creating your own estate plan, one of the key documents to any estate plan is the last will and testament.

Protecting your family is of paramount importance, and even though it is a difficult task to undertake, the earlier you deal with it, the better. Wills should provide instructions for the distribution of all your personal assets and property. Your wishes will be safeguarded if a will is complete, but if there is no will, your home state will draft one for you through probate court. If that happens, your estate may go to people who you would have not chosen.

The whole process may be drastically different from what you would have wanted. In addition, you should leave instructions with sufficient and accurate details as to where important papers are, such as life insurance policies.

Part of planning for the future is also planning for the future of a business as well. If you own a business, you should have a succession plan that is only revealed to advisors or key business associates. You need to consider the tax issues your estate will need to deal with. You also should choose a key leader or team that would take on more responsibility that would build confidence to the employees, as well as board members.

Protecting your family and business may be easier to tackle then putting things in place for you if you can't manage your affairs by yourself. A power of attorney will allow someone to act on your behalf if you are debilitated. You can also leave medical directives as well.

It would be wise to seek out the guidance and assistance of a skilled lawyer and be precisely clear about your wishes. This is the best way to ensure your family has as little stress as possible on your passing.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Hit by the Bus: How to Protect Your Business, Your Family and Yourself" Jack Garson., Dec. 11, 2013

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    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
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Weinstein & Randisi - estate planning

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