What Is Estate Planning?


Estate planning is the process by which a person can:

  • Provide for themselves and their loved ones
  • Leave what they want to whom they want
  • Minimize taxes and avoid unnecessary fees and court costs
  • Care for themselves and their loved ones
  • Support the causes they care about

Estate planning is a process, rather than an event. Your clients’ plans will combine legal strategies that help them achieve their goals, address their concerns, and provide peace of mind. These plans will evolve over time and might include both lifetime and at-death components.

Typically, a basic estate plan will include:

  • A valid and legally enforceable will that names your heirs
  • A revocable living trust, which enables your family to avoid probate as well as guides asset management and decision-making if you become incapacitated during your lifetime
  • Powers of attorney for financial management and health care decision-making in case you are unable to handle these yourself at some point
  • Nomination of guardians for minor children

Estate planning is more than just death planning. Incapacity is also a concern:

If you cannot manage your own finances, who is going to ensure you and your minor child have adequate resources?
If you cannot physically care for your minor child, who will care for the child?