Estate Planning Basics

When you hear the phrase “estate planning” the first thought that comes to the mind of most people is planning for large wealth and taxes. But estate planning is about more than reducing taxes for the wealthy. It is about ensuring your assets are used for your care and the care of your loved ones during a disability or illness and then distributed according to my wishes at the time of my death. We define estate planning as:

  • Giving what I have
  • To whom I want
  • When I want
  • The way I want
  • During my lifetime; and
  • At the time of my death.

In reality, estate planning has less to do with taxes and more about protecting and providing for the ones we love.

This information will help you start preparing your personalized estate plan. If you already have an estate plan in place, it will show you if your plan is complete or show you how to make the adjustments necessary to take advantage of a written estate plan and suggest strategies you currently may not be employing. We begin this first section by offering you an overview of basis estate planning principles. Then we will discuss more advanced estate planning strategies.

This information is no replacement for professional financial, tax and legal advice. Because each of these topics is very complex and constantly changing, regular counsel from each of your financial, tax and legal advisors is strongly recommended.