This module provides an overview of the basics of estate planning. Since we know that two things in American life are certain (death and taxes), having a plan that spells out what happens to your assets when you die makes sense. In addition to your heirs (if any), other parties that would like to share your assets include the federal and state governments, legal advisors, and others. Estate planning defines who gets how much of what. In this module, we'll look at tools that any taxpayer can use to pass the maximum amount of assets to a chosen beneficiary, as well as expenses that reduce the net amount of those assets. We'll also consider issues that are important in the case of incapacity of an individual.

About the Author

Michael Angell, CFP®, EA is an associate professor at the College for Financial Planning. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Creighton University. His 20+ years of work experience includes banking, insurance, investments, retirement, and estate planning. In addition to his responsibilities at the College, Michael also serves as a private client services advisor with an independent investment firm and is also a federally licensed tax practitioner with a nationally recognized company. You can contact him at

Complexity Level: Overview