Estate Planning Strategy
If you look up the word “strategy” in an online dictionary, you likely will find something akin to the following:
- A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim
- A carefully developed plan or method for achieving a goal or the skill in developing and undertaking such a plan or method
- A general direction set for an individual, a family, or a company and its various components to achieve a desired state in the future
Based on the above, it’s pretty obvious that strategies are irrelevant unless and until you have a goal in mind that you want a strategy to accomplish. Bingo! Now you’re talking about estate planning!
What is Your Estate?
Simply put, your estate is everything you own. If you’re young and just starting out, your estate likely isn’t very large yet. But it’s going to grow as you get older and accumulate more assets and wealth. For instance, your estate probably will eventually include the following:
- Your home
- Your vehicles
- Your bank and investment accounts
- Your retirement accounts
- Anything you inherit from your parents or other family members
- Any gifts you receive
What is Your Estate Plan?
Again simply put, your estate plan is the way in which you want your ever-growing estate to work for your benefit and the benefit of your family. In other words, you need to set goals for what you want your estate assets to accomplish. Once you have those goals in mind, you can then choose which estate planning strategies best accomplish those goals.
Estate Planning Strategies
Dozens of estate planning strategies exist, each one designed to accomplish one or more goals. Some common estate planning strategies include the following:
- Making your last will and testament
- Making wise use of beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies and retirement accounts
- Making wise use of payable on death (POD) and transfer on death (TOD) designations on your bank accounts, vehicle titles, and other assets you own in your name alone
- Titling your home and other real estate in the most advantageous manner
- Establishing trusts to not only benefit your designated beneficiaries but also to avoid probate and reduce – or even eliminate – the amount of estate taxes your probate estate must pay when you die
Obtaining Legal Help
The above represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to estate planning strategies. Once you discuss your goals for your estate plan with your estate administration lawyer from a law firm like Kaplan Law Practice, LLC, he or she will suggest more strategies to help you in your particular case.