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Understand the Principles of Estate-Planning

The following are a few important principles of estate planning.

1. Understand yourself

What are your personal and family goals? What are you trying to accomplish with estate planning? Make sure what you are planning to do is in the best long-term interests of those you love.

What is your budget and balance sheet? Is what you are planning to do reasonable in light of your available resources? Will it still allow you to live in a dignified manner for the rest of your life.

2. Understand the estate planning process and all applicable laws

Once you understand what you are trying to accomplish, you must next understand the estate-planning process and applicable laws. Make sure what you are doing is legal and in keeping with applicable laws. Recognize the tax consequences of your actions, and plan for adequate liquidity to meet those tax needs.

3. Start early

Start estate planning early. Once you are married, write a will to make sure your assets will go to who you want. Once you have children, make sure you articulate who you want to be the guardian and executor of your children. As your assets reach a critical mass, determine how you want to dispose of those assets, and do it in a way that is most consistent with your goals and objectives.


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