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Happy National Estate Planning Week!

OK, so "National Estate Planning Week" doesn't exactly roll off of the tongue. Despite the clunky-sounding name, the organizers have the best of intentions: reminding people that estate planning is the creation of a strategy to protect yourself and your family.

This kind of thoughtful, purposeful planning is especially important for those of us who have children.

We all know this is a litigious world we live in; a fact that makes this sort of protective preparation more important than ever. Yet a 2011 survey showed that two-thirds of baby boomers haven't created a living will.

Perhaps you're one of those who haven't yet taken the step of creating a living will. If so, you should know it's simply a legal document laying out your wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments should you be incapacitated by an injury or illness.

These are clearly among the most personal of decisions and a living will enables a person to make clear their wishes when they cannot speak for themselves.

It's just one part of estate planning that can protect your family in the event you are taken ill, are injured in an accident or die.

Estate planning helps you protect your assets that have taken a lifetime to create, so that they might be passed on to family or charities or whomever you designate to be beneficiary.

Estate planning can range from the creation of a living will to the creation of documents establishing guardianships, simple trusts, joint trusts, marital trusts, insurance trusts, durable powers of attorney, gift tax strategies, estate tax strategies and much more.

With this week designated as Estate Planning Week, it's a good time to think about where you and your family stand in regards to having a plan for tomorrow.

Source: Forbes, "The Forbes Guide To Estate Planning," Oct. 14, 2012

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