An estate is the entirety of property and assets, real and personal, owned by an individual prior to its distribution to beneficiaries through a trust or will.
It is no secret that virtually everyone seeks to maximize the assets which will pass to family or other heirs upon his or her death. In addition, we want to accomplish this goal in the simplest and most cost effective manner possible. This is the essence of estate planning. The legal steps in which we protect our estates and our heirs are numerous, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney and joint tenancies.