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What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan generally includes a will along with other documents working together to help maximize your control of the distribution of your assets, while minimizing taxes and strain on your family.  It is a statement of what you want to happen to your family, your assets and your remains once you pass.  There are many documents that can consist of an estate plan, such as a will, trusts, a power of attorney, a living will, beneficiary designations of various insurance and retirement accounts that work together along with your various types of assets to plan for the smooth and efficient transfer on your death.  Effective estate planning takes into account the laws of wills, taxes, insurance, property and trusts so as to gain maximum benefit of all laws while carrying out the persons own wishes for the disposition of their property on their death.

There are many common goals of estate planning, such as avoiding probate, providing for minor children, tax planning, etc.  Depending on the goals of the client, as well as the nature and quantity of assets/debts, the documents necessary to plan properly the estate for transfer can vary.  Some estate plans are relatively simple, but others are not.  Do not assume that just because you are leaving everything to a spouse or child that your estate is simple.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning