Estate planning is the process of arranging for the orderly disposition of a person’s assets at or prior to death, with the least possible adverse tax effects. Estate planning eliminates the uncertainties of what happens to a person’s property and assigns responsibility for the gathering of that property. Estate planning may involve the creation of a will or trusts, gift planning during life, the designation of guardians for minor children, and the creation of powers of attorney and advanced medical directives.
Estate Administration occurs following death and may include the probate of a person’s last will, the marshalling of the person’s assets, the determination and payment of legitimate debts, the preparation of various tax returns for the deceased person or that person’s estate and the distribution of the assets to those who have been designated by will, trusts or other disposition techniques to receive such property. Probate may involve the filing of a will with a probate court and the appointment of a personal representative whether there was a will created prior to death or not.