Estate Planning Basics

Estate Planning at its most basic is the process of determining how your wealth and assets should be transferred to the heirs of your choice: your children, grandchildren, friends, families, charitable causes, etc. and then deciding which legal tools and structures to use to best meet your basic estate planning goals.

Estate planning is not simply reducing or eliminating taxes and avoiding probate.  Only after establishing how you want your estate’s assets to be distributed should you consider ways to reduce taxes and avoid probate. From there, good estate plans deal with a host of other issues. Now, with all but a few estates exempt from the federal estate tax, those other issues are, or should be, at the forefront of estate planning.

An estate plan is to ensure that you are taken care of the rest of your life and that your wealth is transferred to the people you want to have it. A good estate plan ensures these goals are accomplished with as much efficiency and as little cost as possible. An estate plan addresses the management and distribution of an individual’s property and financial obligations after he or she dies with financial tools such as wills, revocable living trusts and power of attorney.

For a comprehensive overview of Estate Planning Basics, please start with our article:

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estate planning

Estate Planning Basics – The Foundations Of A Great Estate Plan

June 23, 2020

Everyone needs an estate plan, no matter how much or how little money is involved. For example, you need an estate plan even if you don’t expect to owe taxes on the estate. It is more important to decide who should receive the wealth, how much each should receive and when and how the wealth […]


Estate Planning Basics – The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan in 2020

January 7, 2020

It’s now 2020, and many people still have their estate plans on the backburner. They know the estate tax has changed a lot in recent years, and probably will change again. Many believe that since today’s generous estate tax exemption exceeds the value of their estate, they don’t need to worry about an estate plan. That’s a big mistake, and needs to be emphasized. […]

estate planning

Free Estate Planning Basics Course – What to Know and Why

December 20, 2019

Estate planning can be challenging, but this free course on the basics of estate planning makes the process easier to understand. This free estate planning course is designed to educate people on the basics of estate planning. This free estate planning course breaks down the complex process of estate planning into smaller, more understandable parts. […]

Estate Planning

The Ultimate Will and Estate Planning Checklist and Basics Guide

December 18, 2019

The Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist and Basics Guide – Table of Contents Identifying Loved Ones Assets and Property Non-Financial Issues Legacy The Will Estate Planning Documents Estate Asset Identification and Tracking Health Care Directives Financial Power of Attorney IRA and Retirement Beneficiaries Avoiding Probate Living Trusts QTIP Trusts Spouse’s Estate Considerations Life Insurance Business Ownership […]

Estate Planning

Estate Planning Basics: What is estate planning?

December 16, 2019

It is not avoiding taxes or probate. Estate planning is deciding how your wealth should be transferred to the next generation (or other heirs of your choice), then determining which legal tools to use to meet those goals. Only after establishing how you want the assets distributed do you consider ways to reduce taxes, to […]

7 Estate Planning Twists Everyone Should Know

October 24, 2019

You learn a lot of interesting things in estate planning. Most estate planners like what they do because of the variety of issues they face and the interesting things they learn about people. Here’s a collection of issues I’ve come across recently and questions I’ve been asked. When I was in law school, the transfer […]

Estate Planning

Estate Planning Basics – What Are the Most Used Definitions and Terms in Estate Planning and What Do They Mean?

August 16, 2019

Estate planning uses a wide range of terms and definitions. As a result, it is crucial that an individual understand the meanings of these terms and definitions to fully grasp the estate plan that is recommended and what it will do. An estate plan is created to ensure that you are taken care of the […]

Estate Planning

What Is Estate Planning? A Comprehensive Overview of the Basics

August 16, 2019

What is Estate Planning – Contents: What is Estate Planning? Components of an Estate Plan The Will Probate Trusts Revocable Living Trusts Power of Attorney Medical Care Documents Other Estate Plan Documents Lifetime Gifts Life Insurance Burial and Funeral Estate Planning Mistakes Beginning the Estate Planning Process Estate Planning Forms and Documents Estate Planning Checklist […]

November 2020:

Congress Comes for your Retirement Money

A devastating new law has just been enacted, with serious consequences for anyone holding an IRA, pension, or 401(k). Fortunately, there are still steps you can take to sidestep Congress, starting with this ONE SIMPLE MOVE.

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