The first step in the estate planning process is to gather comprehensive and accurate information on all aspects of the family. Next, the information must be categorised in to general problem areas, and the estate transfer costs estimated. This will enable the formulation of the estate plan. The objective of the plan should be to maximise the usefulness of people's assets during their lifetime and to achieve their personal objectives after their death. The final step will be to test and implement the proposed plan. Once the plan has been implemented, remember that it is only good as long as it fits the needs, desires and circumstances of the parties involved.
The estate plan must be modified when these factors change. A change in your career, divorce, the birth of a child, are just some of the events that will require a review of the plan. Even if none of these took place, reviewing your insurance needs should be done at least once every two years. A full estate audit should be made at least once every three to five years. Because of the complexity of the laws relating to estate transfer, it may be advisable to engage the help of estate planners, lawyers, accountants, and life insurance professionals.