Estate Planning

** What is Estate Planning?

Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions etc. You probably want to control how those things are given to the people, you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it.

That is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die.

** How Can an Estate Plan Help?

An estate plan can accomplish the following:

1) Identify the family members and other loved ones that you wish to receive your property.

2) Ensure that your property will be transferred to those you have identified, as quickly and with as few legal hurdles as possible.

3) Minimize the amount of taxes that will need to be paid in order for your property to pass to others.

4) Avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process by utilizing estate planning devices like living trusts.

5) Dictate the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.

Estate planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.