Broadly defined, estate planning is the process by which someone decides how his assets are to be passed on to others at his death. Estate planning has two general objectives: to ensure that the assets are transferred according to the owner’s wishes and to minimize state and federal taxes.
People have at their disposal four basic estate planning tools: (1) wills, (2) trusts, (3) gifts, and (4) joint ownership
Estate planning not only provides for the spouses and children, other relatives and friends, the children’s education, payoff of the mortgage, and so on, but also serves as the principal means by which liquidity can be guaranteed for taxes, expenses for administering the estate, and the like, while preserving the assets of the estate. And whenever a business is formed, estate planning consequences should always be considered, because the form and structure of the business can have important tax ramifications for the individual owners.