When most people hear the term Estate Planning, they typically think of their "Will". While a valid Will is a fundamental component of any estate plan, there are several other elements that must be considered. Given the wide range of objectives you may wish to achieve, proper estate planning requires careful consideration of many factors. Often in an effort to minimize income taxes or avoid probate taxes, another objective is thwarted. For this reason it is important to weigh and balance the cost and benefits of different courses of action. Ultimately, the issues addressed in the Will are a reflection of all elements of the estate plan. Some of the elements of an estate plan that must be considered include:
- Valid and current Wills for all adults in the family
- Different types of Power of Attorney for all adults in the family
- Evaluation of insurance strategies to ensure sufficient coverage
- Ownership structure through the use of Joint Tenancy agreements
- Incapacity planning and advanced estate planning opportunities through the use of living trusts
- Taxes at death
- Planned gifting
- Pre-planned funeral arrangements