What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the process by which a person can:
- Provide for themselves and their loved ones through any period of disability;
- Leave what they have to whom they want in the way they want;
- Minimize taxes and avoid unnecessary attorney fees and court costs;
- Care for themselves and their loved ones;
- Share their hopes, fears, dreams, values, and aspirations with their loved ones when they're gone; and
- Support the causes they value most.
An estate plan should include both lifetime and at-death planning components to account for the possibility of incapacity and the certainty of death.
- Estate planning is a process, not an event.
- The estate plan is a combination of legal strategies that address a client's concerns and achieve their goals.
- The plan is not the documents. The documents merely memorialize the plan.
Lifetime Planning Objectives
- Provide for the client's care during any period of disability
- Minimize family conflict
- Coordination with tax or other legal planning strategies
- Provide for smooth succession of key decision-makers
- Avoid conservatorship/guardianship
At-Death Planning Objectives
- Avoid the need for probate
- Efficiently handle after-death administration of assets
- Preserve family harmony
- Maximize tax planning options
- Protect beneficiaries for as long as possible
- Allow children to “grow into” their inheritances