What Is Estate Planning?

by Jackie Bedard on March 10, 2009

in Estate Planning

Estate planning can encompass different things to different people.  It depends on each person’s life status, goals and desires.  For each individual estate planning may include one or more of the following:

  1. Recognizing that although you may be young, disaster can strike at any time and it is important that you ensure that your family and loved ones are as best equipped as possible to handle whatever curve balls life may throw your way.
  2. Legally documenting who will take care of your children if you are in an accident.
  3. Ensuring that your assets will not get tied up in the court system and that your family and loved ones will be protected and will avoid unnecessary expense, angst and frustration.
  4. Passing on not just financial assets, but memories, special family heirlooms, letters, hopes and desires.  Especially for your children, your mementos will be cherished for years and years to come.
  5. Making things easier for your family by making sure all relevant information is gathered in one place where your family knows how to access it.
  6. Making sure your business is set up in such a way so that it will never be taken from you if you are sued or if you get divorced.
  7. Making sure that your business will be preserved after your death in the manner that best suits your desires and your business.
  8. Peace of mind that you haven’t just “gone through the motions” by preparing a will, but that you’ve taken the time to make the best decisions for your family so that they can have the most safe and secure life possible.
  9. Preserving and managing your assets for your children until they are mature enough to manage them themselves.
  10. Keeping your family’s assets private from public record and prying eyes.
  11. Reducing familiar disputes and confusion, especially in the case of blended families or second marriages.
  12. Taking extra precautions in planning for a family member with special needs.
  13. Making sure that your pets will be loved and cared for if something should happen to you.
  14. Acquiring adequate life insurance to provide for the needs of your family.
  15. Planning to reduce or eliminate estate taxes, gift taxes, income taxes, court fees and/or administrative fees.
  16. Leaving a legacy to a foundation, university, religious institution, or other non-profit entity that is near and dear to your heart.
  17. Taking control of who will manage household affairs on behalf of you and your family if an accident should occur.
  18. Appointing a person to make your health care decisions if you become unable to.
  19. Making sure family keepsakes and heirlooms are properly preserved and are not sold to cover administrative expenses.

What aspects of estate planning are most important to you?

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