Estate planning General Rule is the act of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life. Estate planning helps eliminate uncertainties.

Estate Planning

What Constitutes an Estate?

The General Rule

Internal Revenue Code Section 2031(a) defines an estate (for tax purposes) as including all of a person’s real or personal, tangible or intangible property. This includes property in which a person has a beneficial interest (the person has, is, or would receive an interest in a property).

Beneficial Interest Properties

A beneficial interest in property can include:

Certain life insurance proceeds

Retirement plan benefits


Property subject to a general power of appointment

Property interests held in joint tenancy

Lifetime transfers (pursuant to IRC §§ 2035-2038)

Contingent claims arising before death

Lifetime gifts in excess of the annual gift tax exclusion amount

Partial value of gifts if the gifts were incomplete or partial

Gift tax on gifts within 3 years of death

A by-pass trust or marital deduction trust