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Special Report

Morningstar's Guide to Estate Planning

The steps to take and the documents you'll need to help ease the complexity.

Estate planning is complex in many respects. For starters, it can be emotional, since it requires thinking about your own mortality--or about a time when you might be unable to make decisions on your own.

It's also overwhelming. Do you need a trust? A power of attorney? A will? All of the above? And who will you ask to fill many of the key roles in your estate plan--executor, powers of attorney, and guardians if you have young children?

And lastly, many bristle at the thought of working with attorneys and paying their fees.

"Your estate plan will be most effective if you spend some time at the outset finding the right attorney for your needs and thinking through what you're trying to achieve as well as whom you trust to see your wishes through," says Morningstar director of personal finance Christine Benz.

To help you, we've pulled together a series of videos, articles, and worksheets.

How to Develop Your Estate Plan
Creating a plan can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Get Your Estate Plan in Gear
Don't put off this important piece of the financial-planning process.

An Estate Planning Checklist
'Estate planning' evokes complexity and high costs. What you need to know to get it done.

Do You Have a Plan for Your Digital Estate?
Transferring digital assets is an increasingly important aspect of the estate-planning process.

Do You Need a Trust?
Estate planning expert Deborah Jacobs shares her guidelines for determining whether a trust is right for you.

Do's and Don'ts for Beneficiary Designations
What you need to know about IRAs and 401(k)s, taxable brokerage accounts, bank accounts, and more.

Morningstar's Master Directory Worksheet
Use our worksheet to document key contacts, assets, and liabilities.

How to Create a Succession Plan for Your Portfolio
Even dedicated do-it-yourselfers should follow these key steps.