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Estate Planning

Everything you own — car, real properties, savings, investments and other personal possessions — is your estate. In the event of your death or incapacitation, all of these assets will be given to your family or your heirs. As the owner, you can designate who gets to receive your assets when you die or become incapacitated.

What is Estate Planning?
The process of distributing who gets to receive your assets or who takes over your responsibilities is called estate planning. It's not always exciting to plan what happens when you die, but it's incredibly important. You want to make sure that the things you've worked hard for years go to the people you care about. Without estate planning, you don't get to have a say on who receives your property, cash, financial assets and other belongings. With estate planning, you can carefully arrange your affairs and leave a written note of your intentions and desires. Regardless of your financial status, estate planning is important, and you can benefit from it.

The Benefits of Estate Planning
When you don't plan your estate, it means that you have died "intestate," and the state laws would determine what happens to your real properties and other assets. This can be really time-consuming because it's a long process. It will involve court appearances and a lot of paperwork. Without estate planning, the court decides how to allocate all of your assets. By creating a will, you can decide to name your executor. Estate planning ensures that your investments, such as 40a(k)s, bank accounts, IRAs, etc., go to the right beneficiaries.

Estate Planning Protects Your Children
When you die without an estate plan, the court gets to decide who becomes the legal guardian of your children. A child may even enter the foster care system, especially when the child is a minor and there are no surviving family members. With estate planning, you can decide who will care for your children when you're gone or incapacitated. Most importantly, estate planning doesn't just protect your children, but it also takes care of you. When you're incapable of handling your affairs, you can appoint a trusted relative and even a friend who can make decisions on your behalf.

Basics of Estate Planning
When planning your estate, it's imperative that you write down your goals first. You can speak with a financial estate planner who can assist you. Do you have family members who may need special care? How about succession planning for your family business? Write down your objectives are and communicate this to your advisor or attorney.

Evaluate Your Asset
Before doing financing estate planning, make an inventory of all your belongings. You may start with tangible assets such as real properties, collectibles and vehicles. Be as specific as you can. If possible, provide the market value of the assets too. Intangible assets include your savings or current account, life insurance policies, health savings, retirement plans, mutual funds, stocks, bonds and other investments. As soon as you have all of them listed, you can try to estimate their value. You may need some help, especially with real properties. Home appraisals may be needed. The next step is to name a guardian for children. Just in case, consider naming a backup guardian in your will. To protect your children, ensure that you document your wishes for them.

Understand How Taxes Works
Estate planning can help you avoid huge taxes. To maximize your savings, consider speaking with a financial estate planner. Advisors are knowledgeable on everything about estate planning, including the taxes involved. Depending on the value of your estate, taxes may impact the amount that passes to your beneficiaries. You need to familiarize yourself with three taxes: estate tax, gift tax, and GST tax. A financial advisor can enlighten you about how estate taxes work. He can help you make an informed decision on how to go about your estate planning.

Contact Casement Financial
Casement Group is committed to helping you carefully plan your estate. We have experienced and knowledgeable financial advisors who can walk you through the entire process of estate planning. Our ultimate goal is to help you plan and protect your family at the time of your death or incapacity. Contact us today for assistance.