A well-crafted estate plan is very similar to a well-crafted battle plan in that it is much more likely to be successful when you keep it simple. The more variables you add to your plan, the greater the odds of it failing, either partially or entirely, upon entering probate. And even if such an estate plan does not fail, it will surely inflict the kind of stress and tension you hope to avoid by creating an estate plan in the first place.
Just as is true with a battle plan, you have to know what you have at your disposal in order to be able to craft your estate plan accurately and as simplistically as possible. Try meeting with your estate planner to begin inventorying your assets. You will want to know what sort of bank accounts, benefit plans, personal property and real estate you own.
Do not become obsessed with trying to take advantage of every possible tax loophole. There’s a reason it is said that “the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes,” so you may as well get used to the idea of having to pay some tax from your estate. However, when you’re picking and choosing the tax loopholes you want to use to your advantage, remember that the tax code changes yearly and you want to have some flexibility built into that plan to accommodate for any future changes to the code.