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Home Estate Planning
Estate Planning - Lawyer - San Diego - Irvine
Article Index
Estate Planning
What is estate Planning?
What is involved in estate planning?
Who needs estate planning?
What is included in my estate?
What is a will?
What is a revocable living trust?
What is probate?
To whom should I leave my assets?
Whom Should I name as my executor or trustee?
How should I provide for my minor children?
When does estate planning involve tax planning?
How does the way in which I hold title make a difference?
What are other methods of leaving property?
What if I become unable to care for myself?
Who should help me with my estate planning documents?
Should I beware of someone who is a
What are the costs involved in estate planning?
All Pages

What is included in my estate?

Your estate consists of all property or interests in property which you own. The simplest examples are those assets which are in your name alone, such as a bank account, real estate, stocks and bonds, and furniture, furnishings and jewelry.

You may also hold property in many forms of title other than in your name alone. Joint tenancy is a common form of ownership which takes assets away from control by will or living trust. Beneficiary designations on securities accounts and bank accounts are alternatives which must be carefully considered as well. Finally, assets which have beneficiary designations, such as life insurance, IRAs, qualified retirement plans and some annuities are very important parts of your estate which require careful coordination with your other assets in developing your estate plan.

The value of your estate is equal to the "fair market value" of each asset that you own, minus your debts including a mortgage on your home or a loan on your car.

The value of your estate is important in determining whether, and to what extent, your estate will be subject to estate taxes upon your death. Planning for the resources needed to meet that obligation at your death is another important part of the estate planning process.