Estate Planning Attorney
In everyday terms: Estate Planning is how a person makes sure their assets and family are taken care of as they would want - when they are no longer able to do so themselves.
In more complex terms: Estate planning is the methodical development and maintenance of a plan for the disposition of a person's estate at their loss of competence or death, along with the legal documents necessary to implement that plan. Often, a married couple is best served by an integrated plan to address both spouse's estates.
If your estate is large enough to potentially incur an estate tax obligation, your estate plan will likely include arrangements to reduce that tax to as close to its legal minimum as possible. Often, this kind of planning will include lifetime gifting structured to limit your exposure to the gift tax.
Estate planning can include:
- Creating a will
- Creating one or more trusts
- Designating guardians for your minor children
- Disability planning
- Transferring assets by gift during your life
- Establishing and maintaining appropriate beneficiary designations on insurance plans and retirement accounts
- Establishing a durable power of attorney
- Addressing the risk of you becoming incapacitated through illness, accident, or age
- Pre-planned and/or pre-paid funeral arrangements
- Establishing succession plans for each of your business interests
- Charitable planning; and
- Any other planning necessary to address your unique desires for the disposition of the assets in your estate, all tailored to reduce or eliminate transfer taxes.
Note how estate planning goes beyond just planning to reduce gift tax or estate tax exposure. This is why estate planning is important to everyone.