Taxes and Estate Planning—Estate Planning for Women
by NORMAN R. KERTH Partner, New Orleans Office
Presented before the 5th Annual Seminar of The Newcomb Alumnae Association and Estate Planning Committee, Tulane Development Council, New Orleans—March 1963
WHEN WE speak of an estate we are not necessarily referring to the property of one who has died. As a matter of fact, almost everyone has an estate while he is still alive. An estate is simply the sum, at any given time, of one's assets, together with their income production, plus the owner's present and probable future earning power. The estate during life may consist only of earning power together with some savings or life insurance.
As the term indicates, estate planning is the arrangement of a person's property during life to accomplish his wishes or objectives concerning his estate most economically.
The most common objective, of course, is to take care of the estate owner and his dependents, particularly after the owner's death. On the other hand, objectives of people vary—one person during his life may want to pass on part of his estate to his children either to test them or to make them financially independent; another may want to make gifts to a favored charity or school for the satisfaction of seeing some worth-while project accomplished during his life; and then there are those who after consideration prefer to rock along and let the chips fall where they may.
The important thing to do is to think about your estate, however small; then make a decision and do something about it. The next important thing is to review your circumstances, periodically, at least every two years, to determine if your planning still meets your objectives.
In the definition above, I mentioned that estate planning attempts
to accomplish the estate owner's objectives most economically. Ordinarily, "most economically" means with the least amount of tax, although there are expenses other than taxes. But taxes are important
and should be considered by everyone. However, I never attempt to convince any estate owner to do something merely to save taxes.
THE ESTATE PLAN
To begin our estate plan we must assemble facts. These may be grouped as—