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Estate Planning

Estate Planning:

Transferring Wealth the Right Way

One of the most rewarding benefits of wealth is the ability to make a lasting impact long after you're gone. To this end, you could set up trusts that provide a financial cushion, pay educational costs or provide business seed capital for multiple generations of family members. Maybe you want to have your name on a library or to fund scholarships at your alma mater.

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Loss of a Spouse or Partner

Most of us have had friends or family members who have endured the loss of a loved one. The pain we have seen them experience underscores the need to devise a financial and legal plan to support a surviving spouse or partner. Illness and mortality are sensitive topics, and people often avoid talking about them and/or postpone addressing them in their financial plan.

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Tax Considerations:

Don't Waste Your Federal Credit

People are sometimes surprised to learn that the government not only taxes the income they earn while working, but it also may tax the accumulated estate built from their work. What can you do to help reduce federal estate and gift taxes and protect your family's inheritance? Start by looking at your will and beneficiary designations.

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Preparing your Estate Plan for the Changes in Tax Rules

Federal estate tax laws have changed four times since 2008. The constant flux can make it hard to know when to adjust your estate plan and what changes to make.

Currently, the first $5.34 million of your estate is exempt from estate transfer taxes. Amounts after that are taxed at a rate of 40%. Regardless of what happens with estate tax laws, you can still draft an estate plan that stays relevant and reflects your wishes by telling your lawyers you want something flexible.

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Charitable Giving:

Philanthropic Sensibilities

Like most wealthy individuals, you’d probably like to pass as much of your estate as possible to your heirs. At the same time, you may have one, or many, charitable interests to which you’d like to donate money. To find the balance, considering a structured philanthropic giving strategy for your estate is a must.

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Leave a Legacy of Charitable Contributions

For millions of Americans, "charity begins at home." Many have decided to make a difference by donating money to local religious, educational, social, or cultural organizations. In addition to the immense satisfaction that comes from giving to others, charitable giving can provide tax benefits for the donor and his or her heirs when done as part of an overall estate plan.

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Beneficiaries:

The ABCs Of Beneficiaries

When you buy life insurance or an annuity, join an employer's retirement plan, or open an Individual Retirement Account, you'll be asked to designate a primary beneficiary to receive the proceeds or benefits at your death. Too often, people give little thought to this decision.

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Choosing the Right Trustee

Trusts can be used to help accomplish any number of estate planning goals. But the success of a trust strategy often depends on how well the trust is managed - and that depends on the abilities of the person (or institution) named as trustee.

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Holding a Family Meeting

If you've been working hard and investing for years, you probably have enough resources to live well and feel confident in your financial future. Your next consideration may be how to build a legacy for your family and future generations. No matter what your asset level, holding family meetings to clarify your values and plans for the transfer and management of your wealth can be an essential part of this process.

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