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Sound estate planning broadly benefits all individuals, families

In a recent Forbes article, the CEO of a leading online platform offering financial education to individuals and families sums up a mainstream misconception that persists regarding estate administration.

In a nutshell: It's only for the wealthy.

Liz Davidson takes that even a step further by enlarging the prototypical image that many "common" Americans associate with estate planning, namely, that of the tycoon, well-heeled industrialist or long-moneyed family concerned with sheltering mansions and other pricey investments.

In fact, Davidson says, "estate planning is really something we all need, no matter our age or level of wealth."

That statement flatly rings with truth, given the number of broad-based decisions that virtually all individuals and families -- regardless of station -- need to make as age advances and the sage administration of wealth becomes of vital concern.

Health is often centrally implicated in planning decisions, as an experienced estate planning attorney will readily note and provide sound counsel concerning. Family members need to know how end-of-life decisions will be dealt with and who will be empowered to act on behalf of a loved one who can no longer act independently. Establishing a clear understanding on such important matters in advance of their occurrence can provide for clarity and peace of mind.

Finances are of course a key component in most estate plans. That means the identification, preservation and disbursement of wealth, often with an eye on legally avoiding tax implications to the fullest extent legally possible. Astutely assisting on such matters is at the core of what a proven estate attorney does for clients.

A will is often of central importance for dealing with issues related to wealth and inheritance. This blog has noted in past posts that the creation of one or more trusts is also of great utility to many families as they seek to optimally manage wealth and resources into the future.

As Davidson notes, a person doesn't need a yacht to benefit from sound estate planning. What he or she does need is due appreciation for the need to prepare and an understanding of how tailored planning can optimally promote an individual's and family's best interests.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning for the rest of us," Liz Davidson, Sept. 12, 2013

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