In simple terms, estate planning means preparing a plan whilst you are alive and well to protect your wealth, your wishes and the interests of your loved ones, once you are no longer able to do so.
There are a number of objectives in estate planning.
- To communicate your wishes regarding your assets for now and upon your death,
- To protect your family,
- To reduce your taxes, and
- To protect your business.
Estate planning is sometimes complex and is an ongoing process, because things in life continually change, and so does the legislation which applies to it.
An estate is the property or assets you own. That includes land and buildings (real estate), and personal property, such as investments, shares, retirement savings, life insurance, business interests, bank accounts, cars and household items. How you deal with these on your death is the main focus of estate planning in this country. How you deal with them during your lifetime can also be part of your estate planning but may be more related to business, retirement or investment planning and can be then more a matter of dealing with financial planning and accounting.
The best advice we can give you is to have a combination of advisers, being your financial planner, your accountant and your lawyer. All of these professionals have a part to play in such important decision making processes during your lifetime both for your lifetime and after your death.