Step 3: Develop Objectives

One of the most important steps in doing an estate plan is to determine your objectives.

What do you want to accomplish? Your objectives may be very different from those of your neighbors or even from other family members. You and your spouse should do this sheet separately. It's important to remember that your objectives may change as you experience changes in your life.

  1. Provide security for surviving spouse.
  2. Relieve surviving spouse of estate management responsibilities.
  3. Provide security for both spouses after retirement.
  4. Retire at age _____.
  5. Provide security for an incapacitated family member.
  6. Assure continuity of farm, ranch, or other business.
  7. Provide educational opportunities for beneficiaries.
  8. Assist beneficiaries, including in-laws, to get started in business.
  9. Minimize federal and state estate or inheritance taxes.
  10. Name guardians, conservators, or trustees of minor children.
  11. Name a personal representative for the estate.
  12. Provide a means for paying expenses of estate settlement, taxes, and other debts.
  13. Provide equitable (not necessarily equal) treatment of family members.
  14. Transfer specific property to specific people.
  15. Make gifts to family members and others during lifetime.
  16. Reduce income taxes by disposing of income property during life.
  17. Transfer property during life by installment sale.
  18. Provide for charitable bequests to favorite charities or organizations.
  19. Minimize probate and settlement costs.
  20. Other:

There are many ways to accomplish your objectives. No one way will be right for everyone. Your objectives will guide you through each step of the estate planning process.