July 01, 2013

Estate Planning: Benjamin Franklin Said We Certainly Need It

Regina L. Rathnau

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” America’s famous founding father Benjamin Franklin wrote this popular adage in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789, and it still holds true to this day. When considering the things most precious to us—our loved ones and our assets—estate planning creates certainty in safeguarding our treasures for present and future generations.

Proper planning achieves multiple goals. It allows one to provide guardians and financial support for children when one can no longer do so oneself. A well-drafted document instructs heirs how assets are to be distributed upon death, thus minimizing confusion and family feuds. The client can name a fiduciary to make important decisions on his or her behalf, even while still alive. Depending on the assets of the client (and assuming the federal laws do not change dramatically), an estate plan will minimize how much Uncle Sam gets and will keep your assets in your family.

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