Estate Planning

Overview

Estate planning arranges for the transfer of an individual's estate at the time of death. An estate consists of all property owned at death before it is distributed by will, trust, or intestacy laws. An estate may contain both real property (real estate, including houses and investment properties) and personal property (all other property, including bank accounts, securities, jewelry and automobiles). Typically, the process of estate planning involves extensive consultation with a number of professional advisors, including lawyers, financial counselors, accountants and life insurance representatives.

Purpose of Estate Planning

Estate planning benefits those with large estates, as well as those with modest assets. Creating an estate plan ensures that all property will be distributed according to the personal wishes of the deceased, and that those who are benefiting from the estate receive the largest distribution possible with a minimum amount of delay. Specifically, estate planning allows an individual to decide exactly who will benefit from their estate, and to what extent. Estate planning also ensures that the estate will not be destroyed by taxes imposed on the transfer of assets at death. In addition to providing financial security, estate planning encourages individuals to make important decisions, such as appointing a guardian for minor children, choosing healthcare preferences, and securing funeral arrangements.

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  • Ensuring Donor's Intent is Followed April 21, 2014 In a recent post, Bryan Cave Fiduciary Litigation details a Georgia State case in which a family made a $1.5 million dollar donation to a church and later sued for breach of fiduciary duty because of the church's failure to...
  • CLE on the POLST Paradigm April 21, 2014 The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) is presenting a CLE entitled, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment: What Estate Planning, Elder Law and Health Law Attorneys and Health Law Professionals Need to Know About the…
  • Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Beneficiaries April 21, 2014 As we see the greying demographics take shape, more older parents are coming in to our office to make arrangements for their adult disabled children. Last week's couple were a joy to work with, but I was a little anxious that they had waited until…
  • Undue Influence by Some Beneficiaries Invalidates Only the Portions of Will Benefitting Those Beneficiaries April 20, 2014 The testator's will gave his estate to five friends and expressly excluded his family. Two family members filed objections to the will and the jury found that the testator had capacity but that three of the five beneficiaries exercised undue...
  • Article on ATRA and the Heckerling Institute April 20, 2014 The changes wrought by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 were at the forefront of the 47th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, a week-long conference for estate planning advisors. For a summary of the speakers' remarks on…