Estate planning entails the creation of a master plan for the management of your property during your life and the distribution of that property at death. Estate planning aims to:
- Give you more control over your assets during your life
- Provide care if or when you are disabled
- Allow for the transfer of your wealth to whom you want and when you want it, at the lowest possible cost
- Reduce stress and confusion for your loved ones
In the wealth management process, we will address common estate planning issues in order to achieve all of the above points. These issues include:
- The transfer of wealth
- The minimization of transfer taxes
- Asset protection
- Charitable giving
Transfer of Wealth
Wealth transfer planning seeks to achieve the smooth transition and distribution of your wealth according to your wishes. With proper estate planning, you decide to whom your assets will be distributed--as well as how and when it will happen--and who will manage your estate or business. In some cases, you may also wish to plan for the financial security of family members or for children from a previous marriage, for the fair equalization of inheritances, and for retirement from your business. It is important to note that in addition to these scenarios, wealth transfer planning also involves the management of assets during any disability or incapacity you may face now or in the future.
Minimization of Transfer Taxes
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 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. An asset protection plan will first identify potential exposure and then identify preventive tools and strategies to reduce that 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. The process of charitable gift planning involves selecting the gifted property and charitable structure that will target your needs. Our process does not end with estate planning but instead coordinates your estate plan with your overall plans for your business, investments, insurance, and employee benefits.