Estate planning involves the tax efficient transfer of accumulated wealth to a designated recipient, usually an heir.  State law governs most transfer mechanisms. Property transfer mechanisms include a simple or complex will, a revocable living trust, and will substitutes.


Probate and probate administration is a mechanism to handle the distribution of property. Two common alternatives to probate are joint tenancy and living trusts. Intestate succession laws vary: many are modeled on the Uniform Probate Code. The two statutory methods to distribute intestate property are per stirpes or per capita.

Estate planning has financial and non-financial goals including:

  • Caring for dependents
  • Accomplishing fair and proper distribution of property
  • Attaining privacy in the property transfer process
  • Attaining speed in the property transfer process
  • Maintaining control over assets
  • Non-tax goals
  • Tax-related goals

Estate Planning Basics



Life Cycle Financial Planning