Estate planning is one of the tasks that many people seem never to get done. Yet as the new year gets rolling, now is a great time to address this key element of your financial planning.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, talks about the essentials of getting estate planning done. Dan points to key documents like your will, durable powers of attorney, and health-care directives as essential first steps toward building an estate plan that will protect you and your family. Dan goes on to discuss how those with children will want to protect them with guardians and trusts, and he concludes with advice on checking your beneficiary designations to ensure all your assets go where you want them to go. Dan concludes that estate planning isn't hard once you actually get started.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.