The Basics of Estate Planning


There are a lot of misconceptions about estate plans. The most common… Is that you don’t need one unless you have significant assets. But the truth is almost everyone has an estate, and everyone needs a plan. It may be as simple as a last will and testament. But remember, a will is subject to probate. That means in goes through the court process… So it will be public information — potentially costly… And may delay transfer of assets to your beneficiaries. A revocable trust will streamline the process. If you put all of your assets in a revocable trust… The “trustee” is in charge, not the court. It’s faster, less expensive and private. Within your revocable trust you can establish a continuing lifetime trust for your children. That trust will hold and protect the money they inherit from you… From creditors, divorce, lawsuits, bankruptcy and estate taxes. That’s because they don’t technically “own” the assets. The trust does. So it can’t be taken away from them. It makes a lot more sense than leaving the money to them outright, where it won’t be protected. You can also customize the trust to establish exactly what the money can and cannot be used, for. Aside from the revocable trust… There are other important estate planning documents to consider:

  • A durable power of attorney allows someone to handle your assets outside the trust
  • A health care proxy is a person you designate to make medical decisions for you… If you are incapacitated.
  • A living will establishes what measures you want and don’t want in end of life decisions.

If you have questions about this process, or any estate planning issue… Call Doane and Doane… Or visit