Estate planning is the creation of a definite plan for managing your wealth while you’re alive and distributing it after your death. These assets may be owned by you separately or jointly with others.
Estate planning is the preservation and the distribution of your assets, both during your life and upon your death. It is accomplishing your personal and family goals and easing the management of your financial and legal affairs, as well as minimizing taxes if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern. To learn more about gift and estate taxes click here.
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,” generally, refers to the means by which your estate is passed on to your loved ones on 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
Estate plans can range from very simple to quite sophisticated. 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. More importantly, you can avoid the devastating effects of the hefty estate tax.