The Estate Planning Process
Why plan your estate?
- You decide who receives your assets and property
- You decide when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance
- You decide who will manage your estate as executor or trustee
- You can select a guardian for your minor child and yourself
- You can plan for and reduce income and estate taxes
- You can provide for the orderly sale/continuation of a family business
- You can elect to avoid probate and guardianship court proceedings
- You can relieve your family from the burden of difficult health decisions
The three parts of estate planning
- Asset planning and management
- Business interest or qualified plan/IRA planning
- Health care planning
Reasons to update your estate plan
- Family changes--births, deaths, divorces, second marriages
- Financial changes--retirement, changes in income or net worth
- Geographic changes--estate and property laws vary from state to state
- Tax law changes--new federal and state tax laws, statutes, regulations, and court decisions all impact the effect of an older estate plan. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 is a good example.
- Special circumstances----physical or mental health problems, disability, and financial management problems often require special planning
You choose your estate planning team
The client is the captain of the estate planning team, working with any number of professionals as estate planning advisers. The attorney is a member of the team, which may also include the client's accountant, insurance agent, stockbroker, banker, investment adviser, and/or certified financial planner.
Choosing your estate planning attorney
Much like doctors, attorneys choose to practice law in different areas of concentration. Would you go to a general practitioner doctor if you needed brain surgery? No! It is extremely important that your attorney be one who devotes a substantial amount of his or her practice to the trust, estate planning, and probate fields, in order to keep up with the fast-changing and complex revisions in federal and state tax laws.
Jones Law Offices is an Oklahoma law firm that focuses its practice in the area of trust and estate law, which includes wills, trusts, probate, guardianship, estate planning and administration, and related tax and property law.
Estate Planning FAQ