Benjamin Franklin famously stated: “There are only two certainties in life–death and taxes.” Estate Planning deals with both. A common definition of estate planning for married couples is provided below:
We want to:
- Control our property while we are alive and well
- Take care of us and for our loved ones if we become disabled
- Give what we have to whom we want the way we want and when we want
- And save every tax dollar, professional fee and court cost, legally possible
Despite it’s popularity, I think the definition is incomplete. Sure, a key component of effective estate planning involves the careful consideration and arrangement for the orderly transfer of assets at the time of death. But I always advise my clients that estate planning is more than just simply drawing up a will or trust document to avoid probate. Rather, a well-drafted plan can ensure family harmony, preserve family values and traditions, and provide a powerful sense of comfort and satisfaction for an individual to know that their loved ones will be adequately provided for in accordance with their wishes.