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Don't forget the plans required before your estate plans kick in

When you think of estate planning, you probably think of considerations such as wills, funeral plans and what you want to leave behind for heirs. While all of those are valid considerations for your estate plan, don't forget to make plans for the years before those needs occur. How do you want to spend the last years of your life, and how will those plans impact your end-of-life and estate plans?

First, it's a good idea to make a plan and then have several contingency plans in place. Be realistic about your goals and plans -- are you really going to be healthy enough for international travel the last years of your life? If not, what's your plan B?

A big consideration has to do with where you are going to live? Do you plan to occupy your current home for your remaining years? Do you have a secondary plan in case you need medical assistance that can't be supplied in the home? If you do plan on leaving the home -- or think there is a possibility you will have to -- what are you going to do with the home?

If you own the home outright, options might include selling it to fund late-life care or passing it on to someone earlier than planned. If you still owe money on your home, then you might consider selling it to reduce your monthly expenses, especially if you have medical or care expenses.

It's important to note that you have many options, especially when you start planning early. Incorporating such concerns into your San Diego estate planning early helps you keep options open. Working with an estate planning lawyer helps you incorporate those options into your estate plans in a way that ensures best qualify of life for you while protecting the legacy you want to leave for beneficiaries.

Source: National Caregivers Library, "Choosing the Right Place to Live," accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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