Estate planning creates a master plan for the management of your property during life and the distribution of that property at death.
For most people, estate planning aims to:
- Give you more control over your assets during your lifespan
- Provide care if you become disabled
- Allow for the transfer of wealth to whom and when you want, at the lowest possible cost
Common estate planning issues addressed in the wealth management process include:
- Wealth transfer
- Minimization of transfer taxes
- Asset protection
- Charitable giving
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.
Minimization of transfer taxes without interfering with your other financial goals is a major objective of estate planning. 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.
Asset protection is vital if you own substantial assets. It can shelter you from creditor concerns. 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.
Our process does not end with estate planning but coordinates your estate plan with your overall plans for your business, investments, insurance, and employee benefits.
This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Investors should consult with a tax or legal professional regarding their individual situations.