Our Services - Estate & Wealth Conservation

How Do You Transfer Your Wealth to the People You Love Most?

Your family is important to you. You´ve worked hard to accumulate assets that can be used to take care of your loved ones. So, then why is the IRS one of your beneficiaries?

 

  Learn More About Proper Beneficiary/Heir Designations (Video)

 

What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the ongoing process of creating a written plan for the distribution of your assets at your death. A well thought out estate plan can help organize the resources of your estate and relieve your loved ones of the burden of struggling through your final affairs.

Without proper estate planning, your money could be subject to federal and state death taxes that could significantly reduce the size of the inheritance you want to leave to your children, grandchildren or others. To make sure your beneficiaries get the maximum possible amount from your estate, we can help you to:

•  Define your objectives
•  Set up a plan
•  Periodically review your plan

 

Step 1: Define Your Objectives
It´s first wise to build a team of experts to help you evaluate your assets and develop a plan.  The number of experts will depend on you and on what you are trying to accomplish.  With over 39 years of experience working with other professionals throughtout the country, we can provide you with a great deal of help and insight as to how you would go about assembling this team. 

Once established, you and your team of experts, (which may include your attorney, accountant, financial advisor,  trust officer, estate—planning specialist, CFO of your company (if applicable) and your life insurance specialist), will want to sit down and review your assets to see how much of your family´s inheritance could be reduced by estate taxes.  Once this is done, we will be able to put together a customized plan.

Step 2: Set Up A Plan
Creating a comprehensive plan will help you make sure that a loved one is not accidentally disinherited and can also reduce or eliminate the taxes that your beneficiaries have to pay on their inheritance.  To get an idea of how much your taxes could be, please use our Estate Tax Calculator.

To help diminish the impact of taxes, inflation and unexpected expenses on your estate, you should:

•  Create a will
•  Consider a trust
•  Establish a Power of Attorney
•  Choose an Executor

We can help you review and understand how each of these elements fits in to your overall estate plan.  Contact us to learn more!

Step 3: Review your plan periodically
As time passes, you may need to reevaluate your plan to make sure that it still meets your objectives.

The following events should trigger a review of your plan to make sure that your assets are distributed the way you desire:

•  Has the value of your estate changed dramatically?
•  Have family events such as births, deaths or marriages occurred?
•  Have tax-law changes left your plan outdated?
•  Can your investment strategy be altered to possibly increase your estate?

 


Business Owners Should Make Additional Plans
Key-Person” life insurance and “Buy-Sell” agreements can help you protect both your family and your business in case the unexpected happens.

Contact us to learn more about the tools available for dealing with your business upon your passing.

 


Basic Estate Planning Arrangements

One of the primary objectives of an estate plan is to ensure that your assets are transferred in accordance with your wishes. A qualified attorney can help you determine which estate planning arrangement will work best for you.

Estate Planning Guidance

In many cases, a simple will can suffice as a way to ensure the desired transfer of assets and guardianship of children. Estates of a larger size or that contain illiquid assets such as real estate, may require the guidance of a qualified attorney to structure the most appropriate planning arrangement. An estate planning attorney can also arrange your estate in a way that can eliminate any potential friction among heirs. If the estate is of a significant size that might subject it to estate taxes, then an attorney can suggest arrangements that will minimize them.

Estate tax laws change periodically as do the individual’s financial situation which can make an estate plan obsolete if it is not reviewed periodically. A good estate planning team, consisting of an attorney, a trust administrator, a life insurance agent and an investment advisor representative, can provide the necessary guidance to ensure that your estate plan is current and operable.

Will

A will is a legal document drafted in accordance with state laws wherein the estate beneficiaries are named. A will is subject to probate which means that all assets are distributed under the supervision of the court. An executor is named in the will and is responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the will are followed. Absent a will, the state becomes the executor of the estate and will name guardians and beneficiaries according to its laws.

Trust

A trust is a form of ownership that is set up by the estate owner to receive and hold title of the assets prior to their distribution to the heirs. A trustee is designated to manage the trust in accordance with its provisions. There are several different kinds of trusts, each designed to serve a specific purpose such as to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, or manage the assets of the estate.

Titling Assets

There are several ways to title assets that will result in different methods of asset transfer. A common form of asset title is Joint Tenancy which allows the asset to transfer, automatically and without probate, to the person named jointly in the title.

Contractual Transfer

Assets such as life insurance and qualified retirement plans transfer by contract to named beneficiaries outside of probate.

For more information on planning your estate, Contact us today.