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For Legacy Assurance Plan, "estate planning" is an ongoing process to develop and maintain a plan for lifetime events, asset management and the distribution of your assets after your lifetime that places you and your family in control.

An effective estate plan authorizes someone to manage your assets and care for you if you become incapacitated. Incapacity occurs when you are no longer able to manage your own affairs or maintain your own physical well-being. This includes managing your finances when you're unable to do so and making decisions about your person — like where you live and what type of medical treatment you receive.

An effective estate plan transfers your assets at the time of your death to the people you designate. In the absence of a valid estate plan, your assets will likely pass to your heirs as determined by the state in which you live, regardless of your wishes.

Finally, an effective estate plan protects your assets from third parties. This might be accomplished by minimizing taxes and shielding the estate to the extent possible from creditors. It often involves protecting assets from the overwhelming expense of long-term care or nursing homes. A solid estate plan can also protect your beneficiaries from losing the assets that you leave them by controlling the timing of any distributions.

Graphic of our What is Estate Planning? booklet

For more information on the death probate process, request your free copy of "What Is Estate Planning?" today.