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estate planning

what is estate planning?

If you have a family, it is important to protect them ahead of time before you pass. With an Estate Plan, you can plan for the health and happiness of your children by selecting the right guardians and specifying how they will then be raised.  Your Estate Plan can structure your assets to make sure they are the most beneficial for your children and secure your finances to avoid in-family conflict later on. Whether you are a new parent or have adult children, an Estate Plan provides the greatest protection for them in the case you are suddenly absent.

Most people think of estate planning merely in terms of preparing a will or family trust. However, effectively planning your estate involves much more than wills and trusts. Estate planning is the process of planning for the creation, conservation, use, growth, and distribution of your assets both during your life and at your death.

Most people understand the purpose of a will or a living trust, and they realize the importance of planning for death. A properly prepared estate plan, however, takes into account a number of circumstances that can occur during your life.

what should I plan for?

Matters that should be planned for while you are living include:

  • Health Care documents or naming someone to make medical decisions for you and your children if you cannot make them for yourself and your children

  • Powers of attorney allowing someone to take care of your real estate, money, and other assets if you become disabled or otherwise unable to manage your affairs

  • Protecting your assets from creditors

  • Creating a retirement plan by putting money into retirement accounts or obtaining life insurance

  • Preparing buy-sell agreements for businesses and assets you own with others

  • Planning for disability or long-term care

  • Creating liquidity for the purpose of payment of estate tax

Matters that you should plan for at your death include:

  • Minimizing estate taxes, gift taxes, and property 

  • Avoiding probate

  • Making beneficiary designations for your trust and non-trust assets

  • Deciding when beneficiaries will control their inheritances

  • Selecting who will be the trustees to administer your trust

  • Protecting your beneficiaries’ inheritance from their creditors, spouses, and future estate taxes

  • Choosing guardians to raise your minor children

why not just write a will?

While a will can legally establish your wishes for your family and assets after your death, it does not protect your family or estate from probate court. Estate planning is the most responsible means by which one can protect your assets, your family and their inheritance for many reasons including the following:

  1. While estate planning costs at the front end, in almost every case, it saves thousands of dollars after someone dies in court. If you or a loved passes away without an estate plan, the consequences include excessive administration and legal costs that surface in probate court.  

  2. It can take many years to take a will through private court, delaying the distribution of assets and delaying emotional closure. 

  3. After probate court, documents declaring your assets will become public record making you and your family vulnerable to people and creditors who aim to benefit off your families inheritance. 


Even with a will is in place, without a trust your family can expect to spend much unwanted time, money, and anxiety in court during a time better spent mourning with loved one. There is no better way to ensure you and your family are taken care of.

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