Introduction to Estate Planning

In order to properly define the term "estate planning", we must first determine what an estate is. Estates aren't just for the rich and famous. Everyone has an estate but no two are exactly the same. Simply put, an estate comprises all the things you own (real estate, business interests, bank accounts, investments, personal items) and all the things you owe (mortgages, consumer debt, judgments). Estate planning inventories all these items and sets out a method for their distribution upon your death.

Proper estate planning is more than writing a will. A proper estate plan should minimize applicable taxes and fees while ensuring that all assets are passed on according to your wishes. The plan should also establish documented parameters to make sure your wishes are known regarding health care treatment and how your affairs are handled in the event you become incapacitated.

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