Typically, there are numerous goals of estate planning. Three of those goals include:
(1) To reap the maximum benefit from the use and possession of property during the client's lifetime, (2) to minimize transfer costs and to minimize income, gift, estate and inheritance tax costs during the client's lifetime and at death; and (3) to ensure the transfer of that property upon death without fighting among beneficiaries while minimizing estate taxes, income taxes, and other transfer costs.
Estate planning cannot be reduced to a purely mechanical process if it is to be successful. In planning an estate, the client should define the results he or she is seeking to accomplish. Any plan developed should reflect the client's values, philosophy, and attitude toward risk, and especially the needs of intended beneficiaries.
The development of a comprehensive estate plan is complex. Because of the diverse tax, investment, and conservation techniques involved, we cannot over emphasize the use of outside advisors. At a minimum, you need an estate planning lawyer because the implementation of a plan requires compliance with many complex and technical legal requirements and knowledge of the effects of state and federal law. In addition, the use of an accountant, life insurance agent, investment advisor, and a financial planner are virtually always beneficial. In no event should an individual, couple or family with a sizable estate undertake the estate planning process without the use of outside advisors.