Estate planning has always included much more than simply strategizing about how to minimize estate taxes. Estate planning is needed to address a multitude of other nontax matters,including:
- Custody of minor children upon the death of their parents, as well as custody of their assets;
- Charitable goals and objectives;
- How assets will be administered for the benefit of a surviving spouse;
- Determination of which heirs will receive estate assets after the second death;
- Structuring of asset distributions to these heirs, whether outright or in trust;
- Structuring asset ownership to avoid probate;
- Addressing complex family structures, including second marriages, stepchildren, etc.;
- Addressing special needs or financially irresponsible family members;
- Drafting of a durable/financial power of attorney;
- Drafting of a health care power of attorney and living will; and
- Review of beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts.
Also consider that financial institutions and medical providers are hesitant to accept power of attorney forms signed in the late 1990s. The path of least resistance is to provide copies signed in the last few years, so it is best to update these periodically.