A trust takes effect as soon as you create it and can be used to begin distributing property before death, at death or afterwards. A trust covers only property that has been transferred to the trust and  passes outside of probate, so a court does not need to oversee the process, which saves time and money. Unlike a will, which becomes part of the public record, a trust can remain private and can be used to plan for disability or to provide savings on taxes.

An estate consists of all property owned by you at the time of your death, this can include:

  • Real estate
  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks and other investments
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement accounts
  • Personal property such as automobiles, jewelry, artwork, antiques, and collectibles

What does Estate Planning entail?

Estate Planning: Essential to your future

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How Can an Estate Plan Help?

what is included in an estate?



RLF Estate Planning Packages

What is Probate?

The official process of proving of a will, which is overseen by the Court.


Proper preparation and planning of your estate is the most important step you can take to make sure that your final property, and health care wishes are honored. Estate planning is also a sure way to ensure that your loved ones are provided for in the event incapacitation or death occur. While people often procrastinate their Estate Plan for a variety of reasons, a comprehensive estate plan is critical in resolving a number of legal questions that always arise whenever a death occurs. These questions can include:

  • What is the state of their financial affairs?
  • What real and personal property do they own?
  • Who gets what?
  • Does a personal guardian need to be appointed to care for minor children?
  • How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership?
  • What funeral arrangements are appropriate?


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A will goes into effect only after you die and still passes through probate. A will allows you to name a guardian for children and to specify funeral arrangements, and covers any property that is only in your name when you die. It does not cover property held in joint tenancy or in a trust.

Regardless of your age, or the size and complexity of your estate, an estate plan can accomplish the following:

  • Identify the family members and other loved ones that you wish to receive your property after your death.
  • Ensure that your property will be transferred to those you have identified, as quickly and with as few legal hurdles as possible.
  • Minimize the amount of taxes that will need to be paid in order for your property to pass to others after your death.
  • Avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process by utilizing estate planning devices like living trusts and "payable on death" bank accounts.
  • Dictate the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.
  • Set forth the kind of funeral arrangements you would like, and how related expenses are to be paid.

Understanding the estate plan options that are right for you can be a complex undertaking. This is why it is so important to have an experienced Estate Planning Attorney review and prepare your Estate Plan.