Do I need a will? What is a trust? To answer these questions and more, one must have at least a basic level understanding of estate planning. According to Investopedia, "Estate planning is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage an individual's asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death. The planning includes the bequest of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes."
Vanguard has put together a detailed guide to help you understand the basics of estate planning. The 28-page document will explain why estate planning is important and touch on topics such as:
- Sizing up your estate
- Tax laws that affect your estate
- The documents you'll need
- Some common estate plan designs
- How your assets will transfer when you die
- Designating beneficiaries
- How to get started on your plan
Note: This guide is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or tax advice. The information provided was accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change without notice. We recommend that you consult an estate planning attorney or a tax advisor to discuss how current laws apply to your situation.