The art of continuing to prosper when you’re alive, and passing your property to your loved ones with a minimum of fuss and expense after you die. Planning your estate may involve making gifts, buying insurance, and creating a will, living trust, health care directives,durable power of attorney for finances, or other documents.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
Estate planning is essentially making a definite plan for managing your wealth while you’re alive and distributing it after your death. The assets may be owned by you individually or together with a spouse or with others.
Planning accomplishes your personal and family goals and easing the management of your financial and legal affairs, minimizing taxes if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern, maintaining privacy, or ensuring young children will be well taken care of. When we talk about an estate, we mean all assets of any value that you own, including real property, business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal property and even your personal effects. An “estate plan,” usually, refers to the way your estate is passed on to your loved ones at your death. Estate planning can be accomplished through a variety of methods, including:
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Last Will and Testament / Probate
- Lifetime Gifting
- Joint Ownership
- Beneficiary Designations
- Life Estates
Problems can arise when people don’t coordinate all of these methods for passing on their estate. If you have a well-drafted estate plan in place, you will ensure that your estate passes to whom you want, when you want, and is carried out in the manner you’ve chosen. You can rest assured that your family won’t have to endure the public process and costly matter of probate. The government won’t be able to take what you’ve spent a lifetime building. But you need to be aware of the many options that exist in estate planning – and you must choose your estate planning attorney wisely.
We believe that if you are well informed, you will feel confident in the choices you make. That is why we provide so much free information and free estate planning workshops in our area. We view this as our purpose to make an impact on peoples lives and families for generations to come. Read our Estate Planning Articles or join us for a free Estate Planning Workshop.