What is “estate planning?”

Most people do not think of themselves as having an “estate,” thinking that the term is reserved for only the highly wealthy. But it is simply a term that refers to the assets you own, including your interests in all real and personal property. In this sense, everyone has an estate. “Estate planning” involves implementing strategies so that your wishes are carried out in the case of your disability or death. Among other things, estate planning involves putting in place decision makers to handle financial and medical decisions when you are unable and directing your assets to your intended beneficiaries following your death in a manner that minimizes such things as taxes, state reimbursement for nursing home fees, and settlement costs.