Estate planning is a lifelong process in which you evaluate your situation and plan for the future. It includes planning for your retirement, for the possibility of disability, and for death. The estate planning process requires that you consider a wide range of legal, financial, emotional, and logistical issues.

Estate planning can be a positive experience, since it involves reviewing your situation and planning for your future. Although most people also find it unpleasant to think about the possibility of disability or death, advance planning is also a way to show your love and to reduce potential distress later.

Because every person’s situation is unique, there is no single “checklist” to follow for estate planning. Proper estate planning also includes financial planning, which is not discussed in this booklet. Financial planners, accountants, and insurance agents can help you identify other estate planning issues not addressed in this booklet.