Estate planning helps you determine how your assets will be transferred to your family, heirs and/or charity and safeguards your legacy, ensuring your wishes will be followed after your death. Careful planning also allows you to minimize estate taxes, which can be as high as 55%. Estate taxes have not been repealed! Proper planning is more important than ever and without it, you and your family could still lose a large share of your estate to taxes.
Our team of estate planners work with you and your advisors to develop the right plan for you and your family. Our expertise ranges from traditional planning, including charitable and non-charitable trusts; to truly outside-the-box thinking to help business owners and families minimize estate taxes. We integrate estate and financial planning to create comprehensive solutions for our clients.
Estate planning is about reducing taxes as well as ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. You and your spouse may have different ideas about your family’s legacy and it’s important to work together to develop a plan. Depending on your family’s needs, you’ll need to consider the basics as well as the advanced issues below:
Basic Items To Consider:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Simple Trusts and Trustee Designations
- Appointment of a Health Care Representative
- Proper Asset Ownership
- Title Assets Correctly
Advanced Items To Consider:
- Shift Assets Outside of Your Estate
- Leverage Valuation Discounts on Real Estate & Closely Held Businesses
- Create Tax-sheltered Trusts of Marital & Family Assets
- Charitable Gifting
Plan For The Estate Tax Payment:
- Pay Them: Write a check to Uncle Sam
- Fund Them: ILIT - Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust funded with life insurance
- Reduce Them: Discount & Tax Planning
- Avoid Them: Charitable & Tax Planning
Estate planning is an ongoing process and the tax laws are constantly changing. A proper estate plan must reflect your current financial and family situation and you must also regularly update your plan to make certain that it keeps pace with any changes in your personal circumstances. We will help you monitor your plan and check in regularly to ensure that it keeps abreast of important life changes.
It is easy to put off developing a detailed estate plan or updating an existing one. But if you postpone planning, some of your hard earned assets could end up in the hands of Uncle Sam. Call us with any questions you may have about estate planning and how you can minimize your estate tax liability.