Estate planning and probate law is the procedure by which a person or household sets up a legal process to turn over specific possessions in expectation of demise. An estate plan aspires to protect and safeguard the greatest measure of funds possible for the prospective inheritors and flexibility for the person, prior to passing away. Custodians or caretakers are often chosen for minor children and inheritors in disability.
Bequeathing or handing down assets in the form of a will or a trust is a normal way in which people deal with settling their resources. Unlike a will, a trust has the advantage of averting probate, which is an extended and expensive legal procedure that manages the relocation of possessions. Occasionally, however, it will be practicable to make inter vivos gifts (gifts made while the individual who wants to give is still alive) as a means of reducing taxes.
After extensive judicial proceedings and media reportage concerning the Terri Schiavo trial, estate planning lawyers now make it a point to counsel clients to also make a living will. Precise terminal preparations, such as whether to be entombed or cremated, are also frequently part of the wills. More elaborate estate plans are known to deal with postponing or lessening estate taxes or ending off a business.
In the United States, in the absence of a beneficiary statement, the natural condition in the caretaker-arrangement will come into being, which may be the estate of the owner ensuing in elevated taxes and additional charges.
Estate planning is generally a judicial and tax forte for a lawyer or a certified public accountant.