An estate plan likely includes a Last Will and Testament but also contemplates something much more comprehensive, addressing far more than just the disposition of assets at death. It is an orderly plan designed to transfer assets both during life and at death through such means as living trusts, testamentary trusts, life insurance contracts, and joint tenancies and other ownership documents.
Documents possibly needed for a full estate plan include a Will, trust agreements, durable powers of attorney, deeds, beneficiary designation forms, retirement benefit elections, pay-on-death instructions, a marital agreement, a living Will, and a designation of a health care surrogate.
An estate plan provides for effective accumulation, growth, and retention of assets during your lifetime and for disposition of assets at the time of your death in accordance withyour objectives. In other words, it is a method for you to maximize control of property during your life and to take advantage of the law to dispose of the property at death as inexpensively as possible.
In estate planning, your attorney may work as a team member with the accountant and financial planner to draft requisite documents to meet your needs and accomplish your clearly identified financial goals.