Estate planning: Protect your assets and beneficiaries

When you begin to age, you realize that there are people who depend on you or who you want to take care of that you won't always be there for. Estate planning helps you make sure those people receive the assets you want them to have, so they're supported or have something tangible to remember you by after your passing. Estate planning is as much about life as it is about death, and it's important to do it as early as possible.

In the event of a life-altering event, an estate plan can help others understand your wishes. For example, if you're in a coma, an estate plan can help others realize that you don't want to be kept alive artificially, or you might indicate that you do. You can give information on your taxes and business needs, so those items are attended to even when you cannot take care of them yourself.

One important part of an estate plan is the beneficiary designation. This designation states who receives what after you pass. You should consider your heirs carefully, and remember to think about tax consequences of certain assets.

You may also want to write down information about tax requirements, your guardianship wishes and even what you want to see happen with your pet. These and other factors need to be addressed in your estate plan. You'll also need to create a will, and you may want to designate a Power of Attorney.

Our website has more information on estate planning. It doesn't have to be complicated if you get the right help.

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