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Does your will include all your assets?

When you begin estate planning, one of the first things you might do is work with a professional to create a will. A will is a critical component to estate administration, especially if have anything to pass on to others when you die. To be effective, though, your will has to include as many of your assets as possible.

It might seem like a simple requirement: include all your assets in your will. But it can be easy to overlook certain types of assets, and sometimes you don't even realize you have some assets when you make your will. For example, you might have an old rolled-over retirement or investment account from a job you left years ago, or you might have a life insurance policy you've lost track of. Sometimes an estate planning professional can help you with research tips and assistance to find accounts you might own.

Even physical assets can be overlooked, though. You might forget about family heirlooms packed carefully away in the attic or items that you loaned to others. It's even possible that you didn't forget property you own, but it's not included in your will simply because you don't realize that you own it.

All of these are good reasons for not rushing the estate planning process. We've discussed the critical need for estate planning in the past and how you really shouldn't wait to put things in motion. While early action can help save a lot of hassle -- for you and your heirs -- do take some time to think out your will and ensure you include everything in it. An estate planning lawyer can help you understand what provisions you might put in place now for peace of mind while you take time to create a strong will.

Source: Realtor.com, "7 Things Your Estate Planner Wants You to Know Before You Die," Jamie Wiebe, Aug. 29, 2016

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Suzanne P. Nicholl
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