Estate planning creates a master plan for the management of your property during life and the distribution of what you own at death. A well-designed estate plan will:
- Give you more control over your assets during your life
- Name who will manage your assets if you are incapacitated and how your assets will be managed
- Establish what you want to happen after you are gone
- Provide for the kind of care that’s important to you if you are disabled or chronically ill
- Allow for the transfer of wealth to whom you want, when you want, at the lowest possible cost
Common estate planning strategies that we address in the wealth management process include:
- The transfer of wealth
- Asset protection
- Charitable giving
- Minimizing potential taxes in the transfer of wealth
Wealth transfer planning involves the smooth transition and distribution of wealth according to your wishes. With proper estate planning, you decide to whom, how, and when your assets will be distributed, as well as who will manage your estate or business. Special issues you may deal with are providing financial security for others, planning for children of a previous marriage, equalizing inheritances fairly, and retiring from your business. Wealth transfer planning also involves the management of assets during disability or incapacity.
If you own substantial assets and/or are a business owner, creditor protection may be a concern. We work with our clients to create an asset protection plan that first identifies potential exposures and then identifies preventive tools and strategies to reduce exposure. Asset protection planning deals with ownership issues, liability insurance, statutory protections, special needs trusts, trusts, prenuptial agreements, divorce, and business dissolutions.
One major goal of estate planning is to minimize potential taxes without interfering with other financial goals. Giving away wealth, during life or at death, may result in the assessment of Federal—and possibly state—taxes. It is possible to protect the assets that are transferred from excessive depletion by understanding what these taxes are and the various strategies available to minimize them.
Charitable giving is motivated by both personal goals and tax incentives. Charitable planning involves selecting the gifted property and charitable structure that will target your needs.
Our process does not end with the establishment or review or our clients’ estate planning documents. We review beneficiary designations regularly as well as any changes in the laws that affect estate plans and we coordinate your estate plan with your overall plans for your business, investments, insurance, and employee benefits.