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Estate planning is the process of planning for the accumulation, maintenance and distribution of your property in a manner that most effectively addresses both your personal desires and financial goals. All estates are planned. Smart people plan ahead to control the ultimate distribution of their property. The others let the state and federal government do the planning for them.
Everyone should engage in some type of estate planning. If your estate is small your objectives may be accomplished by the execution of a simple will. If your estate is larger, or if you have children, you may want a living trust or other more sophisticated document. No matter what the size of your estate you should arrange for events such as incapacity and death. If you do not think through and plan for these events before they happen the federal and state governments will take charge and make decisions for you. These decisions may not be consistent with your own wishes.
At a minimum all estate planning involves a careful analysis of the following: