Your Dream, Our Mission - Your
Gateway to a Brighter Future
Your Dream, Our Mission - Your
Gateway to a Brighter Future

Estate Planning Library

Estate Planning Resources

Creating Your Estate Plan
238 pages
  • Preparing to Create Your Estate Plan
  • Probate and Probate Avoidance
  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Providing for Your Minor Children
  • Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes and Tax-Saving Strategies
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Matters
  • Advance Medical Directives
  • Reviewing and Revising Your Estate Plan


34 Common Estate Planning Traps and How to Avoid Them
20 pages
  • Neglect, Avoidance, and Procrastination
  • Do-It-Yourself Disasters
  • Missteps with Beneficiary Designations
  • Poor Planning for Young or Special Needs Beneficiaries
  • Ignoring the Possibility of Your Own Incapacity
  • Tax Blunders for Those with Substantial Estates
  • Neglecting to Maintain Your Estate Plan
  • Other Common Oversights and Omissions
  • Relying on the Wrong People

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children
4 pages
  • Types of Guardians
  • Qualities to Look for in a Guardian
  • Selection of Alternate Guardians
  • Speak with the Person You Have Chosen as Guardian
  • Create a Written Record of Your Selection
  • Naming Someone Other Than Your Child’s Other Parent

Choosing an Executor for Your Will
4 pages
  • Probate: A Brief Overview
  • An Executor’s Duties
  • Desirable Qualities in an Executor
  • Specific Suggestions and Cautions
  • Choosing an Alternate Executor

Defining Your Estate Planning Goals and Identifying Your Assets
8 pages
  • Planning for Disposition of Your Property
  • Planning for Your Minor Children or Disabled Dependents
  • Planning for Your Incapacity
  • Tax Planning
  • Planning for Estate and Trust Administration
  • Making an Inventory of Your Estate

Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Matters
16 pages
  • What Is a Durable Power of Attorney and Why Do You Need One?
  • Choosing an Attorney-in-Fact
  • What Powers to Give Your Attorney-in-Fact
  • When a Durable Power of Attorney Takes Effect
  • Executing Your Durable Power of Attorney and Storing and Distributing the Document
  • Changing or Revoking Your Durable Power of Attorney
  • What Happens if the Attorney in Fact Abuses Power?
  • 7 Common Misconceptions About Durable Powers of Attorney

Estate Planning After a Divorce
4 pages
  • Estate Planning Is for Everyone
  • Distribution of Your Property
  • Avoiding Probate
  • Providing for Minor Children
  • Preparing for Incapacity
  • Reducing Estate Taxes
  • The Four Essential Estate Planning Documents You Need

Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions
28 pages

I. Wills
II. Trusts
— All Trusts
— Revocable Living Trusts
— Other Types of Trusts used for Estate Planning
III. Durable Powers of Attorney
IV. Advance Directives: Living Wills and Health Care Durable Powers of Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Wills
8 pages
  • Why Do I Need a Will?
  • Can I Make a Handwritten Will?
  • What Are the Requirements for a Legal Will?
  • What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Living Will?
  • Who Can Make a Will?
  • Do I Have to Have a Certain Amount of Assets to Make a Will?
  • What Property Passes Under a Will and What Property Does Not? and 12 more

A Guide to Putting Your Affairs in Order
8 pages
  • Gathering and Securing Important Papers
  • Checklist of Important Papers
  • Where to Put Them
  • Preparing Your Instruction Manual
  • Digital or Paper?
  • What to Cover
  • Additional Help

Health Care Directives
16 pages

I. Living Wills
— Why You Need a Living Will
— Treatment Choices in Your Living Will
— Executing and Distributing Your Living Will
— When a Living Will Takes Effect
— Changing or Revoking Your Living Will
II. Health Care Durable Power of Attorney
— Why You Need a Health Care Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
— Choosing Your Health Care Agent
— What Decisions Your Health Care Agent Can Make
— Executing and Distributing Your Health Care DPOA
— When a Health Care DPOA Goes Into Effect
— Circumstances Under Which Your Health Care DPOA Might End
— Changing or Revoking Your Health Care DPOA
III. 8 Common Misconceptions About Living Wills and Health Care DPOAs

Probate: What It Is and Ways to Avoid It
16 pages

I. What Is Probate?
II. Property That Must Be Probated
III. What Happens During Probate
IV. Making the Decision
V. Ways to Avoid Probate
— Revocable Living Trust
— Joint Tenancy
— Transfer on Death Deeds for Real Property
— Transfer on Death Registration for Cars
— Transfer on Death Designated Bank Accounts and Securities Registrations
— Beneficiary Designations for Life Insurance and Retirement Accounts
— Lifetime Gifts

Protect Yourself and Preserve Your Business with a Buy-Sell Agreement
20 pages
  • Buy-Sell Agreements: An Overview
  • What a Buy-Sell Agreement Can Accomplish
  • Events That Can Trigger a Buy-Sell Agreement
  • Types of Buy-Sell Agreements
  • Methods of Setting a Price for the Buyout
  • Buyout Funding and Payment Terms
  • When to Adopt a Buy-Sell Agreement

Quiz: Do I Need an Attorney to Draft My Will?
4 pages
  • Are You Married and Do You and Your Spouse…?
  • Do You Have Minor Children Who…?
  • Do You Own Significant Assets That Might Be…?
  • Do You Have Heirs You Wish to Disinherit?
  • Are Your Family Dynamics Complicated and…?
  • Do You Have a Beneficiary with Special Needs Who…?
  • Do You Want to Leave a Portion of Your Estate to Charities?

Saving for College with a 529 Savings Plan
8 pages
  • Introduction
  • How a 529 Savings Plan Works
  • Frequently Asked Questions About 529 Plans
  • Choosing a Plan

Should Your Estate Plan Include a Revocable Living Trust?
8 pages
  • How a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) Works
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of an RLT
  • Common Misconceptions About What an RLT Can Do
  • What Property You Should Transfer into Your RLT
  • Federal Taxes and Your RLT
  • Reasons Why a RLT May Not Be the Right Solution for You

Tax Savings Trusts for Married Couples
4 pages
  • Marital Deduction Trusts
  • Bypass or Credit Shelter Trusts
  • Portability of Exclusion

What You Should Know About Wills
8 pages
  • Why You Need a Will
  • Requirements for a Legal Will
  • Common Provisions Found in Well-Prepared Wills
  • Property That You Can Pass by a Will
  • Property That You Cannot Pass by a Will
  • Where You Should Keep Your Will