Estate Planning is a process to increase the likelihood of having assets to transfer at death, and to transfer those assets efficiently. Several things should be done including:
- organizing finances, arranging assets and doing financial planning to meet goals
- planning for current or possible future incapacity or disability
- protecting assets against creditors
- maintaining appropriate insurance policies including life, property, liability, and long-term care
- making lifetime gifts and implementing strategies to reduce or avoid taxes.
Then, a will or trust can be prepared to guide the distribution of property to the persons, and in the manner, desired. Specific instructions and wishes can be communicated to guide a trustee to act as the deceased might have acted if still living. Estate planning documents allow for the selection of specific, qualified persons to serve as the guardian of a child, the guardian of yourself if you become incapacitated or disable as you age, and the personal representative of a probate estate or trustee of a trust.