Estate planning creates a master plan for the management of property during life and the distribution of that property at death.
For most clients, estate planning will:
Common estate planning issues addressed in the wealth management process include the following four areas:
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.
A major goal of estate planning is to minimize potential taxes without interfering with your other financial goals. If you give away wealth, during life or at death, you may incur federal—and possibly state—taxes. You can help protect the assets you transfer from excessive depletion by understanding these taxes and the various strategies you can use to minimize them.
If you own substantial assets, creditor protection can be a concern. Creditors can come in many forms. An asset protection plan first identifies potential exposure and then identifies preventive tools and strategies to reduce exposure. Asset protection planning deals with ownership issues, liability insurance, statutory protections, special needs trusts, offshore and domestic trusts, prenuptial agreements, divorce, and business dissolutions.
Charitable giving is motivated by both personal and tax incentives. Congress encourages charitable giving through tax legislation that can minimize your income and estate taxes. Charitable planning involves selecting the gifted property and charitable structure that will target your needs.
We work with our clients’ estate planning attorney to help coordinate their estate plans. For clients without an advisor, we can refer them to a qualified attorney.