Estate Planning

Estate planning is the practice of accumulating and preparing for the distribution of an estate to capitalize on the goals of the estate owner. In addition, estate planning normally reduces any possible fees and taxes and sets up a contingency plan for the proper execution of the intended goals of the grantor. The various goals of estate planning consist of making sure the maximum amount of the estate passes to the estate owner’s anticipated beneficiaries. Another strategic purpose of estate planning is for the avoiding or minimizing of probate court involvement. Additional goals commonly consist of providing for and assigning a guardian for minors or disabled persons and planning for asset distribution after death.

TThe following documents are some of the customary documents used as part of the estate planning process, they include:

  • A Will: Used to transfer assets or personal property you hold in your name to another person, after your death.
  • A Livings Trust: A document used to hold a legal title to and/or provide a mechanism to manage your property and/or assets.
  • A Living Will: A document with advance instruction that gives doctors and hospitals a record of your wishes regarding the nature and extent of health care you want, should you not be able to make a conscious health care decision.

An estate plan consists of one or more documents that set stipulations and instructions for implementation by the trustee. Some documents serve to manage health care decisions, others manage a donor’s property in the event of donor incapacity, and still other documents will manage the distribution of your property in the occurrence of your death.

An estate planner serves to draw up a formal contract that stipulates what would happen with your home, your business, investments, life insurance, employee benefits, and other property in the event you became disabled or expired. In addition, estate planning can include information designed to carry out your wishes concerning health care matters, so that if you ever were unable to give the commands yourself, a person of your choosing would implement your desires for you.

The estate consists of all the assets a person controls or owns and includes any property, assets, or funds in the person’s name, held in a partnership, through a trust, or joint ownership arrangement.

These assets may include any of the following:

  • Real property and things attached to it such as houses, buildings, barns, etc.
  • All personal property and business interests such as automobiles, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, stock options, cash, furniture, jewelry, art, collectibles, etc.
  • Business interests such as partnerships, corporations, joint ventures, sole proprietorships etc.
  • • All claims you have against others, such as pain and suffering from an auto accident.
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