Trust Planning

Trust Planning

Estate Planning and Wealth Management

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the collection of tasks necessary to smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively pass your assets onto the people and/or organizations you choose. The process of planning your estate starts, at a minimum, with writing a will. Your estate plan should include directions in case you are incapacitated, empowering someone to make decisions for your healthcare and finances. If you have young children, guardians are designated.

For the wealthy, there are many sophisticated estate planning tools, most of them designed to minimize taxes. An estate planning checklist includes:

  • a detailed will for each person
  • a private and confidential letter, separate from your will, telling your family how much you love them and giving personal information and requests you don't want made public. Not being a part of your will, this is not legally binding.
  • life insurance plans
  • gifts
  • trusts: revocable "living" trusts, irrevocable trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, charitable remainder trusts, special needs trusts, etc.
  • beneficiary designations and powers of appointment
  • choice of executor
  • designation of guardians for minors
  • property ownership transfer techniques
  • designation of IRA beneficiary or beneficiaries
  • financial power of attorney
  • a living will (end of life directive) and medical power of attorney
  • specification of final arrangements (cremated or buried)
  • instructions on what to do with specific assets or businesses

Basic estate planning can be done by yourself after reading guides such as Nolo's trust and estate planning software and books. However, anything more than the basics requires a specialized estate planning lawyer and/or tax accountant. We can help you find an estate planning lawyer for your state. Once you have drawn up a will and trust documents, our Trust Check service can double-check your estate documents for potential problems your lawyer might have missed.

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