On the surface, estate planning isn’t very exciting. But, it’s actually an important part of your financial plan. It ensures that your assets are protected and that your final wishes are carried out correctly. Here are five essential pieces that you should include in your plan:

  1. Consult with a financial advisor and other experts: It’s very important to obtain as much information as possible so that your estate plan is solid and legal. You’ll want to meet with a financial advisor and a lawyer — and possibly other experts — to ensure that you obtain the most current advice to ensure your estate plan is complete.

  2. Take an inventory of your financial situation: Have a good understanding of your total assets and liabilities. The goal is to provide your heirs with the information they need will to effectively settle your estate.

  3. Take an inventory: Do you know what you have locked away in your safety deposit box and other boxes scattered around your house? Take some time to document what you have of value, as this will help you when you are creating or updating your will.

  4. Create a will and a living will: A will and a living will are different but equally important parts of your estate plan. Your will outlines how you would like your assets to be divided and the living will defines your medical instructions. These wills can easily be completed with help from a lawyer or notary. Fill-in-the-blank wills and living will templates can also be found in most business supply stores or on the internet.

  5. Select a power of attorney and an executor: Your power of attorney and executor are two essential people in your estate plan. The person with power of attorney will have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. At the time of your passing, your executor becomes legally responsible for ensuring that your estate is properly settled. Choosing the right people for these roles is important and your loved ones should be kept informed of your decisions.