Don't Neglect Estate Planning

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By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)
July 23, 2002

Q. Do I really need to learn about estate planning?

A. Well, according to the estate planning section of financial firm Prudential's website, you do only if one or more of the following is true for you:

  • You want a say in who receives your assets after you're gone.

  • You want your kids or grandkids to receive their share of assets when they are mature enough to handle the responsibility -- and not all at once.

  • You want someone you know, not a court-appointed administrator, to handle the distribution of your assets.

  • You think it's important to maximize the amount of money you provide to your beneficiaries, and minimize court costs and taxes.

  • You want to select the appropriate guardian for your child.

  • You want your business to continue after your death.

If you're thinking to yourself, "Jeepers... that includes just about everyone," you're right.

Learn more about estate planning at Estate Planning Links. Of related interest is info from the Funeral Consumers Alliance and the long but enlightening Funerals and Ripoffs. Also, check out our previous "Ask the Fools" on how much funerals cost and how to plan your will. To talk things over with others, visit our Death and Grieving and Funerals and Cemeteries discussion boards.

And finally, if all this death talk is depressing, cheer yourself up by dropping into our What Every Fool Needs area, to see which discounts and freebies are available to folks who register with us (for free!).

If you have any questions, thoughts, or opinions on this topic, share them with others on our Ask the Fool discussion board.

This question and answer is adapted from The Motley Fool Money Guide: Answers to Your Questions About Saving, Spending and Investing. For answers to this and 499 other common money questions, check it out -- it's a handy resource.