Learning More About Estate Planning

What is estate planning?

An estate plan concerns an individualís estate, which is all of the property owned by an individual, or any property in which an individual has an interest.

An estate plan concerns the management of an individualís estate during life while disabled, and the distribution of the estate at death.

What are the different types of estate planning tools?

Last Will and Testament

  • A Will is a document that distributes probate assets to heirs upon death. ďProbateĒ is a court proceeding in which a judge determines the validity of a Will, a personal representative collects the decedentís assets and pays the bills, and then distributes property to heirs.
  • Wills are useful in distributing property to heirs. If you do not have an estate plan, your estate will likely pass according to state law.
  • Wills are also useful in appointing someone to act as personal representative, the person who is in charge of the estate.
  • A Will is also useful to name guardians for minor children. A guardian cares for your children in the event you are deceased.



  • A gift is the transfer of property to another without receiving any compensation.
  • Federal gift tax is imposed on gifts of a certain amount.
  • At present, you can give away up to $13,000.00 to any person, or number of persons, without tax.
  • Gifted property is removed from the estate of the donor.

Powers of Attorney

  • What is a power of attorney?
  • A power of attorney is a document that allows another person or institution to make decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated.
  • Why do people adopt a power of attorney?
  • A power of attorney allows someone to collect income, pay bills and manage assets when you are unable to do so yourself.
  • Some powers of attorney allow other people to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated.

Why do people adopt an estate plan?

  • An estate plan allows you to minimize estate and inheritance taxes.
  • An estate plan will help you reduce administrative or other transfer costs.
  • Estate planning allows you to distribute property to your heirs.

All of the information contained herein is for informational purposes only. The material is not intended to constitute legal, tax, investment, or financial advice and may not be used as such.  Effort has been made to assure that material presented herein is accurate at time of preparation; however, this material is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area or all of the tax, investment, or financial options available. You should consult a lawyer or tax professional to insure that the same is accurate and appropriate for your unique situation. Pursuant to IRS Circular 230 you are informed that any tax information contained in this communication is not intended as tax advice and is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.