Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person’s life, for the disposal of an estate. Estate planning typically involves the preparation of documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. These documents can have a significant impact on how a person’s estate is distributed after their death.

List of Goals an Estate Plan Can Help Accomplish

• Distribute assets to heirs according to your wishes
• Minimize taxes and other expenses associated with the transfer of assets
• Provide for the care of minor children
• Provide for the management of assets if you become incapacitated
• Protect assets from creditors or lawsuits
• Avoid the delays and costs associated with probate

Estate Planning Goals

The primary benefit of an estate plan is that it can provide you with peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out upon your death. An estate plan can also help reduce the tax burden for your heirs, avoid the delays and costs associated with probate, and protect assets from creditors or lawsuits. It can also provide for the care of minor children and the management of assets if you become incapacitated.

Steps in Developing an Estate Plan

1. Gather information about your assets and debts.

2. Identify your goals and objectives.

3. Choose an estate planning attorney.

4. Create a will.

5. Consider setting up a trust.

6. Create powers of attorney for financial and medical matters.

7. Create an advanced health care directive.

8. Consider life insurance.

9. Plan to avoid probate
10. Review your plan regularly.

Common Estate Planning Documents

• Will- A document that specifies how your estate will be divided upon your death.

• Trust- A legal entity that can hold assets on behalf of another person or entity.

• Power of Attorney- A document that authorizes another person to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters.

• Advanced Health Care Directive- A document that allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Who Can Help with Estate Planning?

A qualified estate planning attorney can provide invaluable assistance in developing an estate plan that meets your goals and objectives.

A qualified estate planning attorney can provide assistance in developing an estate plan. Additionally, a financial advisor or accountant may be able to provide helpful advice regarding tax and financial matters. It is important to seek the advice of professionals in order to ensure that your estate plan is created properly and that it meets all applicable legal requirements.

Establish A Trust

Setting up a trust is one of the first steps in estate planning. This involves creating a legal document that outlines the terms of how the trustor's assets will be managed, distributed, and passed on after their death. The trustor typically names a trustee to manage the trust, and the trustee is responsible for ensuring that the trust is managed according to the trustor's wishes. This includes making sure that the trust's assets are properly invested, used for the purposes outlined in the trust, and distributed in the manner specified.

Schedule a Meeting with an Estate Lawyer

The second step in estate planning is to meet with an attorney. An experienced attorney can provide you with the advice and guidance you need to ensure that your estate planning goals are met. An attorney can help you understand the legal aspects of estate planning and can advise you on the best ways to structure your estate plan. An attorney can also provide you with the necessary documents needed to create a trust or will. Having an attorney review your estate plan and provide any necessary legal advice can help you make sure your estate plan is properly executed and that your wishes are properly carried out.