Estate Planning Overview

overview

Estate planning is, generally, the manner by which a person arranges the transfer of assets upon death, or in anticipation of death. One possible goal of estate planning is to preserve the greatest amount of the deceased person’s (also known as a “decedent”) assets for those whom the decedent intends to give such assets, also known as beneficiaries. A well crafted estate plan can also give the person creating the estate plan a great deal of flexibility in managing the assets of his or her estate.

Generally, estate planning involves the creation of a Last Will and Testament. A decedent must create and sign a valid Will before death in order for it to be probated, or validated, upon death. If this is not done, then the assets of the decedent will pass according to the state laws of intestate succession.

Probating a poorly written will can be expensive, reducing the assets of the estate and the assets transferred to beneficiaries.

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Trusts & Taxes

living-trust
A trust is defined generally as a property right held in a fiduciary relationship by the trustee for the beneficiary. The trustee holds title in the property for the benefit of the beneficiary. The person who creates the trust (or “settler”) may create a trust giving assets to a beneficiary upon the settlor’s death. Until the settlor’s death, the trustee will hold title to the property for the beneficiary.

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