James Royal’s MSN Money article gives the following definition of estate planning: 

Estate planning is the process of arranging who will receive your assets when you die. One goal of estate planning is to make sure your wealth and other assets go to those you intend (and not to others), with a particular emphasis on minimizing taxes so that your beneficiaries can keep more of your wealth. But good estate planning also can reduce family strife, and provide clear end-of-life directives should an individual become incapacitated before ultimately passing away.