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Estate Planning 101

Estate is a rather grand word when you consider than most everyone, including a minor, has some form of an estate that can be passed on to someone at the time of their death.

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Anyone who has something of value that they hold in their own name has an estate that can be bequeathed or otherwise transferred to someone else upon death. The law has already taken this fact into account and has set up a process by which the estate of someone who does not have a will can be processed (intestacy). The downside is that the law decides who receives your estate based solely on proven relations, no matter how distant. If you want to plan how your estate will be distributed, here’s what you need to consider and know.

In addition to dictating the disposition of assets upon death, a good estate plan should also address the accumulation and conservation of the assets of the estate, thus helping to maintain and increase the financial security of the estate owner and beneficiaries. At a bare minimum, your estate planning education should cover the broad topics of wills, trusts, estate taxes, the prevailing law of the moment, gift taxes, and state death taxes, if any.

It is never too early to start planning your estate and its distribution. Far from being a maudlin exercise, it is a vitally important step to understanding your assets and goals and making those goals a reality. We do not know what the future may bring, but at the very least, you can plan for it. I strongly encourage all of my clients to engage in some form of estate planning no matter their position and time in life.

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