Posted on Friday, 9th February 2024 by

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Shanaz, one of newsletter subscribers, wrote, “I have been trying to read the ‘Estate Planning Guide’ from the link you have provided in your newsletter. Is it possible for you to email the document so I can read it without distraction from all the ads.”

The guide is only available online and I removed the majority of ads and reduced the frequency to improve our site visitor’s experience. Personally, ads that rotate and are imbedded in the content are distracting to say the least. I also updated the guide and checked the links to the resources we include.

My goal with our retirement planning site, blog and newsletter, is to provide federal employees and annuitants with the answers and clarifications they need to make informed benefit decisions.

Estate Basics

Your personal estate is simply all of the property you own, tangible and intangible, and valued at its current market value. The planning that is needed doesn’t require you to be a mathematical wiz or rocket scientist, anyone with average intelligence can plan their estate, even without an attorney for smaller and less complex plans. The vast majority of estates are much smaller than the 2024 federal estate tax limit of $13,610,000!

The key is to have the proper references and resources to help you through the process. I developed and used the 11-part guide to complete my first estate plan in 2004. The 11-sections take you through the entire process. At the time I used NOLO’s Will Maker Plus to complete all of the documents. NOLO’s interview process walks you through every step, removing all of the guesswork.

As my business grew, I eventually hired an attorney to complete our updated wills, trusts and other documents ten years later. I still had much to complete over and above the obvious documents the attorney provided.

More Info Please

Even after hiring an attorney there is considerably more information needed to complete your estate plan. Our guide will assist you with the additional data collection that is necessary for your heirs to know where everything is: contacts, insurance policies, investments, obligations, monthly bills, annuity information, detailed final arrangements, online login user names and passwords, etc.

None of the documents an attorney provides includes this personal information; if you don’t compile it, your heirs will have a difficult time managing the estate, no matter what the size.

Getting Started

Start by visiting our Estate Planning Guide, read the introduction and then click on the 11-Part Guide link under the page menu.

The guide reflects What I did to finalize my estate plan that is needed regardless of whether or not you hire an attorney to draft your wills, trusts, health directives and powers of attorney. These documents can be economically completed for smaller and less complicated estates using Quicken Will Maker Plus 2024.

Their Will Maker Plus version walks you through creating your wills, health care directive, final arrangements, durable power of attorney, letter to survivors, living trusts, and transfer on death deeds. All in one downloadable package for Just $139, a drop in the bucket compared to an attorney’s $300 or more hourly fee.

I suggest using Nolo’s Executor’s Bundle to help you through the process.


After receiving the request from Shanaz, I evaluated the ads rotating on our sites. I had auto ads activated. With this feature, Google ads are rotated to areas most frequented by our site visitors. I turned off this feature for the Estate Planning Section so site visitors will be able to use the guide to develop your plans with few distractions.

I also reduced auto ads for the entire Federal Employee’s Retirement Planning site. A limited number of fixed ads will still display; without them we couldn’t continue to offer this free service. We don’t require registration to use our site or collect any personal data.

Even if you have an estate plan, it’s best to review it on a regular basis. I update my information binder as needed, more frequently if major changes are needed.

To find information on our website, use the top menu bar, click on the item of interest and a dropdown menu appears. You can also use the search box in the upper right-hand corner of every page. Use our site to find the information you need to better understand your retirement benefits and so much more.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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