Estate Plan Goals
Power your estate plan with these important legal documents.
There are certain key documents you should create for your own peace of mind. These documents help to keep you in control of your assets, avoid unnecessary costs and delays, and execute your wishes upon your passing.
An estate plan is documentation created and designed to protect and manage your assets (your estate). These documents help to keep you in control of your assets, avoid unnecessary costs and delays, and execute your wishes upon your passing.
An estate plan is so much more than transferring your assets when you die or avoiding taxes. When properly drafted, an estate plan helps you stay in control, protects your assets, and executes your goals or wishes. The bottom line is that developing an estate plan is important for everyone, regardless of their personal situation. Sometimes, a simple will is all you need, but depending on your specific situation, estate planning can become more complex.
Your estate includes everything you own when you die: investments, bank accounts, vehicles, primary residence, collections, personal property, etc. It may also include government benefits, life insurance, a legal interest in property, and other things.
Federal and state laws regarding estates are complex. If your situation is already complex, consider hiring an attorney who specializes in estate planning.
Military Service members and retirees can access legal services free of charge through their local installation. You may also want to search for state-specific and local legal aid resources on your state’s website.
The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) are organizations that help people find an estate planning specialist. Both organizations also offer helpful resources on their respective websites.
Oftentimes, people have concerns about estate taxes. The truth is that very few people end up paying federal estate taxes. In 2021 there were 6,158 returns filed with the IRS of which 2,584 were taxable according to the Tax Foundation. For context, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 3.5 million deaths in the that same time period, making only .075% of deaths taxable.