What is an “Estate Plan?”

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estate plan

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What is an “estate plan?”


Estate planning lawyers use a lot of words that may be confusing to nonlawyers — will, trust, durable power of attorney, health care directive and “estate plan.” An estate plan includes all these documents. But it’s not just the documents that make up the plan. They are simply the end result of the plan, the tools that put it into effect. Your estate plan is your statement of what you want to happen to your assets in the event of your incapacity or death, the appointment of the individual or individuals you want to carry out your wishes, and the creation of a structure that will enable your representatives to be successful.

Depending on your situation and your wishes, your plan may or may not include steps to reduce taxes or to provide creditor protection for yourself or others. It may or may not include planning for a child or grandchild with special needs, to provide for a spouse or partner as well as children from a prior marriage or relationship, to keep a vacation house in the family, or to make gifts to your most important charities.

It all depends on the legacy you want to leave.

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