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

by Cathy Pareto, CFP®, AIF®

This tutorial covers the basic aspects of estate planning, one of life's most important processes. While you should now be equipped to understand the fundamentals, it is always recommended that you discuss your options with an estate planning attorney or other professional. Mistakes can be costly to your loved ones, and investing in hiring a professional will pay off in the long run for those you leave behind.

Let's take a look at what we've learned:

  • Proper estate planning is the best way to protect your interests and those of your loved ones after your death.
  • Everyone needs an estate plan, not just the wealthy, but larger estates will likely require more complex plans.
  • Key components of any estate plan are a will, one or more trusts, life insurance and a variety of end-of-life documents, such as a living will, powers of attorney, etc.
  • A will is a document that describes how you want your property and owned interests distributed after your death.
  • What constitutes a valid will can vary by state, so it is important to verify your state's regulations before drafting your will.
  • There are several types of will substitutes that can allow you to bypass the probate process, each with advantages and disadvantages.
  • A trust is an agreement that describes how assets will be managed and held for the benefit of another person, and they come in many different forms.
  • A properly set-up trust can create tax benefits for its beneficiaries, especially when it comes to charitable trusts.
  • Life insurance serves as a source of support and liquidity for paying taxes and end-of-life expenses.
Other important end-of-life documents are an advance medical directive, healthcare and financial powers of attorney, a living will and a letter of instruction.

If you have all of these documents in order, you will have peace of mind in knowing that the important people in your life are being properly taken care of.

Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Will Your Estate Plan Create Stress for Loved Ones?

    When it comes to financial planning, many people overlook the critical aspect of estate planning.
  2. Retirement

    Estate Planning Basics

    Deciding what will happen to your assets when you pass away is a must - no matter how wealthy you are.
  3. Retirement

    In-Depth Guide To Estate Planning

    The process of planning your estate takes careful consideration. Skip any of these important steps, and your estate could be mishandled.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Why Estate Planning Is Easier Than You Think

    When done properly, estate planning ensures that your beneficiaries receive your assets in a way that is controlled by you. Here is how to do it right.
  5. Retirement

    10 Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

    If you want what's best for your spouse and/or children, it's imperative that you ask an estate planning attorney the following questions.
  6. Financial Advisor

    5 Ways to Mess Up Estate Planning

    There are several ways to make an estate plan defective, most of which can be easily avoided by periodic plan reviews.
  7. Retirement

    Make It Legal When You Retire

    If you haven’t done your estate planning, named a power of attorney and considered your legacy, you still have some pre-retirement tasks to address.
  8. Retirement

    4 Estate Planning Documents You Need to Have

    Here's the lowdown on the four essential legal documents you need – right now – to have in place before you die.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the history of the S&P 500?

    Discover the history of the S&P 500, which sophisticated market participants consider to be the best index to understand ...
  2. What is the formula for calculating weighted average cost of capital (WACC) in Excel?

    Learn about the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) formula and how it is used to estimate the average cost of raising ...
  3. Where do most fund managers get their market information?

    Many fund managers, whether they manage a mutual fund, trust fund, pension or hedge fund, have access to resources that the ...
  4. What's the difference between short-term investments and marketable securities?

    Understand the difference between short-term investments and marketable equity securities, and learn the importance of short-term ...
Trading Center