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Estate planning is many things. In order to present a solid definition of this particular type of planning, a recent Forbes article posed the question, “What Is Estate Planning?”

The article concludes that “Estate planning is the process of legally structuring the future disposition of current and projected assets.” The operative words in this definition of sorts are “structure” and “process.”

“Structure” is an essential component of your estate plan. Why? Because, much like a building, estate planning requires putting many diverse things into place to accomplish a goal. A building can be an office, or a home, or a retreat, depending on the pieces you choose and where you choose to put them. Consequently, your estate plan can structure your assets to protect them from creditors, to duck beneath a tax ceiling, and to protect your loved ones for years to come. In essence, like a good building, your estate plan can perform many functions.

Likewise, “process” is equally essential. Unlike a static building, your estate plan is constantly building, sometimes evolving, and sometimes outright changing course completely. In this light, estate planning is abstractly simple. Accordingly, you must keep your estate plan current with the many changes in your life, the lives of our loved ones and the plans you have made.

At Idaho Estate Planning we have always maintained that a proper estate plan most importantly ensures and provides detailed, clear, comprehensive, customized instructions for handling your affairs in times of mental disability or death. A proper plan coordinates beneficiary designations for your life insurance and retirement accounts to maximize plan benefits in accordance with your goals.

Proper planning starts with a thorough understanding of your needs, goals, dreams and aspirations. It takes into account your Values not just your Valuables. It starts with a thorough understanding of your family – those who you care about and who will someday receive the benefits of your success – and your family’s dynamics. Family can be defined in many ways. For some people, family includes children and grandchildren. For others, it may be friends or community, nieces, nephews or other loved ones. Unfortunately, most plans are built on tax planning instead of family planning; resulting in plans that don’t work. Let’s work together to put together an estate plan that works for you. Remember, good planning is no accident.