The term “estate planning” is used today in many different aspects. Attorneys, financial institutions, accountants and insurance companies all promote themselves as providing estate planning. But what does estate planning really mean?

Many people incorrectly believe that estate planning means drafting a will or a trust, or avoiding probate or taxes on death. While these goals may be important, they are but a small part of estate planning. Everyone has different estate planning goals, that may or may not involve wills, trusts, probate and taxes.

A good definition of estate planning we use is being able to control your assets while you are alive and well, making sure you and your loved ones are cared for if you become incapacitated, and then leaving what you have to whom you want, the way you want, when you want, and, if possible save as much taxes, attorney fees and court costs possible.

A proper estate plan should meet this definition. In order to meet this definition, we often use a variety of tools. The following is a partial list of estate planning tools we often use to help our clients:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Medicaid Protection Trusts
  • Asset Protection Trusts
  • Veteran’s Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
  • Buy Sell Agreements

However, all of the above estate planning documents are useless tools unless accompanied by professional advice and counseling.

In choosing Polito | Rodstrom | Burke LLP as your attorneys, we envision a relationship that will last for your lifetime; you are choosing counselors who will craft a plan that your family must live with after you are gone; you are choosing advisors upon whom your loved ones will depend at their most difficult times; and your are creating a plan that not only leaves your assets to your heirs, but leaves a part of you to them as well.