Estate Planning – The Critical Plan Everyone Needs

Estate Planning – The Critical Plan Everyone Needs

Most individuals may incorrectly think the term only applies to the exceptionally wealthy but we understand there is a broad and current scope to what is considered “estate planning”. Prior to recent law changes it was acceptable to approach estate planning with the narrow focus of simply saving estate taxes. Now, however, saving estate tax is not the primary factor for many individuals and focus instead has shifted to these very important areas:

Control of your assets investing and preserving your assets for the next generation

  • Plan for the disposition of your assets at death whether outright or in trust;
  • Asset protection planning to shield your assets from ‘predators and creditors’;
  • Business succession planning for family and closely held businesses;
  • Changes to the way in which title to property is designated (rights of survivorship, pay on death, etc.);
  • What should be done with retirement plan benefits?

Tax Planning a hallmark conversation in estate planning, tax planning is only as effective as it serves to further your goals and should not be considered in isolation

  • Income tax basis planning to minimize capital gains;
  • Harvesting gains and losses;
  • Managing distributions from trusts to minimize income taxes;
  • Income tax planning for assets during the estate administration;
  • Planning for possible decreases in estate, gift and generation-skipping tax exemptions;
  • Portability: transferring unused federal estate tax exemption from a deceased spouse to the surviving spouse;

Charitable Contributions and Gifting help define your legacy through gifting and philanthropy

  • Using a trust as a vehicle for charitable giving;
  • Avoiding or minimizing gift taxes;

Planning for the next phase

  • Reviewing and evaluating existing estate plans to see if they can be improved.
  • Planning for retirement

Whether you need to establish an estate plan or have an older plan in need of review, we have the experience to allow us to help craft or update the ideal estate plan to accomplish your goals amid complex estate tax and income tax issues. Although we do not prepare or draft legal documents, such as wills or trusts, we are instrumental in the drafting stage and can navigate you around tax issues to reach your desired overall estate goal.