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Estate planning is the process of planning for the accumulation, conservation, and distribution of estate assets; this process should help you accomplish your personal and family goals. Every estate is planned, either through an individual plans for the estate, or by default through rules established by the state and local governments. The purpose of estate planning is to ensure that you—and not others, such as the government or lawyers—choose who will inherit your wealth. Through proper estate planning, you can take care of those you love even after you die. The LDS Church’s family guidebook states the following:

Brigham Young said: A fool can earn money; but it takes a wise man to save and dispose of it to his own advantage (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 292). Estate planning is the way we manage our major financial resources and properties to “dispose of it to [our] own advantage.” This kind of planning, begun early in life, can help provide financial security for a family throughout several generations. (“Preparing for Emergencies,” Ensign, Dec. 1990, 59)

When you have completed this section, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Understand the principles of proper estate-planning goals.
  2. Understand the importance of estate planning and the goals of estate-planning.
  3. Understand the estate planning process.
  4. Know how trusts can be used to your advantage in the estate-planning process.
  5. Realize the importance of wills and probate planning.

Understanding estate planning is an important part of retirement planning.


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