Estate planning will involve the solicitors sitting down and going through your affairs, personal and financial, to get an accurate and complete picture of your life, wealth and wishes. This helps them advise options that work best for you and your situation. Each situation is unique, so each person will need specific advice and an individualised solution to their particular circumstances.
It will include reviewing any existing wills that you may have made and making sure valid and suitable wills are in place.
It may look at life planning or lifetime gifting, either outright or into a trust. This can be important to reduce the value of the estate left on death and make efficient use of lifetime exemptions and reliefs to ensure proper planning for minimising Inheritance Tax exposure.
It will likely include advice on making plans for later life needs including Lasting Powers of Attorney so that, should you no longer be able to make decisions for yourself, someone you trust and choose can make these for you in your best interests.
It may involve a Financial Advisor where you need to explore taking out investments or re-ordering those assets you already own in a more tax-efficient way.
It will only ever involve taking steps that are legal. Particular attention must be given to not falling into the trap of deliberate deprivation rules, particularly where someone may be already ill or elderly. In such a situation someone may be tempted to give away assets to reduce the possible need to fund future care costs that may arise, but a solicitor will advise on what may or may not be possible in this situation.
Estate planning can also take place after death in certain situations and again legal advice should be taken as soon as possible after death if this is what is sought.