Estate Planning Basics
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  1. Estate Planning: Introduction
  2. Estate Planning: Estate Planning Basics
  3. Estate Planning: Introduction To Wills
  4. Estate Planning: Other Types Of Wills
  5. Estate Planning: Will Substitutes
  6. Estate Planning: Introduction To Trusts
  7. Estate Planning: Marital And Non-Marital Trusts
  8. Estate Planning: Charitable Trusts
  9. Estate Planning: Estate Taxation
  10. Estate Planning: Life Insurance In Estate Planning
  11. Estate Planning: Health Problems, Money Matters And Death
  12. Estate Planning: Conclusion

Estate Planning: Introduction

by Cathy Pareto, CFP®, AIF®

When most people hear the words "estate planning" they usually think that wealthy individuals are the only ones who need it. But they couldn't be more wrong. Regardless of how much money you have, you need to think about what will happen to your assets and who should receive the things you own after you pass away.

An estate plan can be as simple as having a will and naming a beneficiary for your 401(k), or as complicated as having several trusts for different purposes in addition to your will. Let's explore why you need to think about having an estate plan regardless of the value of your assets.


For basic information on estate planning, read Getting Started On Your Estate Plan.

For more estate planning dos and don'ts, read Six Estate Planning Must-Haves and Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes.

Estate Planning: Estate Planning Basics

  1. Estate Planning: Introduction
  2. Estate Planning: Estate Planning Basics
  3. Estate Planning: Introduction To Wills
  4. Estate Planning: Other Types Of Wills
  5. Estate Planning: Will Substitutes
  6. Estate Planning: Introduction To Trusts
  7. Estate Planning: Marital And Non-Marital Trusts
  8. Estate Planning: Charitable Trusts
  9. Estate Planning: Estate Taxation
  10. Estate Planning: Life Insurance In Estate Planning
  11. Estate Planning: Health Problems, Money Matters And Death
  12. Estate Planning: Conclusion
RELATED TERMS
  1. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment ...
  2. See-Through Trust

    A trust that is treated as the beneficiary of an individual retirement ...
  3. Settlor

    The entity that establishes a trust. The settlor also goes by ...
  4. Personal Representative

    The executor or administrator for the estate of a deceased person. ...
  5. Contingent Beneficiary

    1. A beneficiary specified by an insurance contract holder who ...
  6. Laughing Heir

    A distant relative who has inheritance rights despite not having ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between an intervivos trust and a testamentary trust?

    Estate planning offers tools to establish and maintain effective control over cash, investment and real estate assets during ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How are contingent beneficiaries informed of a payout?

    One of the greatest tools in estate planning is beneficiary designation. Listing primary and contingent beneficiaries is ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the restrictions for naming a given individual as my contingent beneficiary?

    Life insurance is an important part of estate planning. It allows you to ensure that you can financially take care of the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do you mediate a dispute between primary and contingent beneficiaries of a trust?

    There may be a dispute between beneficiaries whenever the proceeds of a trust or other transfer on death (TOD) account are ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What does U.S. law say about contingent beneficiaries?

    In the United States, posthumous asset transfers only require the listing of a primary beneficiary. Contingent beneficiaries ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between a national and a regional investment brokerage?

    National and regional investment brokerages differ in several ways. National firms, also known as wire houses, maintain networks ... Read Full Answer >>

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