What is Estate Planning?

In simple terms, Estate Planning is the process by which you execute the documents needed to ensure that your desired beneficiaries receive your assets upon your death (and also to make sure that your assets are properly taken care of prior to death, but while you are incapacitated).  This can be accomplished in a variety of ways and through a combination of different documents (which documents are ultimately used depends on the circumstances involved). The most common elements of Estate Planning are documents such as Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Financial Power of Attorneys, HealthCare Powers of Attorney, and Charitable Trusts, as well as titling/beneficiary instruments (i.e. jointly owned real estate, payable on death bank accounts, the beneficiary designations of a retirement account, etc.).