The process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate. Estate planning typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. Often times life insurance is used to help minimize taxes and/or the impact of taxation on an estate.
Estate planning involves the wills, trusts, beneficiary designations, powers of appointment, property ownership (joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety), gift, and powers of attorney, specifically the durable financial power of attorney and the durable medical power of attorney. Specific final arrangements, such as whether to be buried or cremated, are also often part of the documents. More sophisticated estate plans may even cover deferring or decreasing estate taxes using life insurance, or winding up a business.