What exactly is Estate Planning?

Often times, I am asked about what estate planning encompasses.

In developing an estate plan, a person articulates their wishes for the disposition of their assets at the time of their death. Also, estate plans often indicate the deceased’s wishes for their remains, make provision for loved ones, and coordinate these dispositions at death with other financial devices such as payable on death accounts. When developing an estate plan, many do so with the aim of minimizing financial burden in the form of taxes, and in decreasing strain on their heirs in a difficult time. An estate plan also encompasses planning for the disposition of assets and care for the person who created the estate plan should she or he be incapacitated.

Sadly, in periods of grief and loss a person’s final wishes may spark disagreement despite the best of intentions when testamentary plans are made. Conflicts can arise when allocations are deemed to be unfair to recipients, or multiple recipients have sentimental attachment to the same possessions.

A qualified estate planning attorney can help clarify a person’s last wishes and enforce them if there is disagreement.