Proper estate planning allows you to plan for yourself and your loved ones without giving up control of your affairs. It should give what you own to whom you want to receive it, the way you want them to receive it, and when you want them to receive it. Your estate is everything you own in your name and your share of anything you own with other people.
You need to know what it adds up to because the value determines whether any death taxes will be due, how much will be left to pay the taxes and other expenses, and the value of the remaining assets to leave your heirs. If you own your home, have invested money, are a participant in a retirement plan, or own life insurance policies, the value of your estate is likely to be greater than you think.
A properly designed estate plan can: