What is Estate Planning?

Everyone has an estate. Let me repeat that: Everyone has an estate! Regardless of who you are or what amount of money you have, you will have an estate. Estate planning is about protecting your family and your assets. So, the sooner you start planning your estate, the better off you and your family will be. Proper estate planning starts early in life and is a natural progression of your family financial planning, retirement planning and tax planning. Estate planning is really about life long financial planning. Estate planning not only benefits you at the end of your life but can have a big impact throughout your entire financial life. Thus, an estate is not something you tend to at the end of your life, as by then it is usually too late to put in place many of the elements of estate planning.

What is an estate? An estate is comprised of everything you own, including real estate, assets, investments, vehicles, furniture, jewelry and other personal possessions. Your estate also includes all your liabilities and debts. And since you can’t take it with you, the question then becomes what do you want to do with it? If you choose to do nothing, then it will be decided for you and not likely the way you want it dealt with, plus you will pay more taxes and legal fees than necessary, and your family’s cohesion will be disrupted as family members fight over your assets and possessions.


While the choice is yours, I don’t think this is what you want your legacy to be. So, when it happens, and yes it will happen, you will want control of how your estate is handled and distributed to those you care about. Like other things in life, planning can make a difference and take you a long way towards accomplishing your goals. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions about who gets what and when they receive it. Your Will provides those instructions. You will want your wishes carried out in the most efficient manner possible with the least amount of taxes, legal fees and executor fees. And with a goal of achieving ongoing family peace and harmony.

That is estate planning! A good estate plan will also include the following:

  • Instructions in the event you become incapacitated and cannot look after yourself;
  • Name a guardian and a trustee for any minor children;
  • Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to injury, critical illness insurance to help you though a serious illness and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury;
  • Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits;
  • Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce;
  • Provide for the transfer of your assets in a tax preferred manner;
  • Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death;
  • Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees; and,
  • Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.

As you can see, and since we do not know when we are going to die, we need to make provisions in the event that we pass away at any age. This is why estate planning is important and why it is important to start building your estate plan as early as possible.

The best time to plan your estate is now.

No one thinks that anything is really going to happen to us, but it does; and when it does, it causes a huge strain at an already stressful time. Don’t wait. You can put something in place now and change it later…which is exactly the way estate planning should be done. Estate planning is an ongoing process.

The best benefit is peace of mind.

nowing you have a properly prepared plan in place will give you and your family peace of mind. This is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love.


Schedule a free initial consultation!