Some people believe that financial planning is limited to building a nest egg and making it last through retirement. However, we help our clients grow and manage their estates in a tax-advantaged way to deliver benefits beyond their retirement and produce a legacy for their children and grandchildren.
Why Estate Planning is Important
If you wish to leave behind a lasting legacy, whether it's to provide for family and loved ones, protect your business interests, or make a bequest to a charitable institution, then you need to put in place a well-thought-out Estate Plan. Without such a plan, strangers (e.g., the Federal Government, State Government, Judges, and Lawyers) that don't have your wishes and interests in mind could determine what happens to your estate, and your loved ones could face significant tax liabilities.
What We Can Do For You
Our Estate Planning service includes referrals to professionals that can assist with:
- Helping you understand the importance of a Will and Estate Plan: Your Will is the cornerstone of your Estate Plan. We can help your legal team understand your financial interests so that they can structure the best Estate Plan for you. A comprehensive Estate Plan allows you to determine who will make decisions about your personal, financial, and healthcare needs should you become ill or incapacitated. Your Will ensures your estate is disposed of in a manner consistent with your wishes, avoids probate, and minimizes tax liabilities. From a simple Will to a Testamentary Will, or Joint Wills and Living Wills, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, Revocable, Irrevocable, and Funeral Trusts, we can help you navigate the complexities and implementation of your Estate Plan to make the process as stress-free as possible.
- Creating Durable Powers of Attorney (POA): Whether it's to manage specific assets, like your investments, bank accounts, or real estate holdings; or whether it's to allow others to make business or healthcare decisions in your best interest should you become ill or incapacitated, you need to have a Durable POA in place to ensure your wishes are followed and protect your loved ones and business interests.
- Choosing Executors: The Executors of your Estate have the power to determine the final distribution of your estate upon your passing. We'll help you understand the importance of choosing an executor(s) for your estate and what criteria you should consider when appointing someone to discharge this all-important role – especially if minor children/guardians are involved.
- Designating beneficiaries: If you don't choose beneficiaries for your assets carefully (or not at all!), your estate assets might well end up in the hands of individuals that you never intended should benefit from them.
- Considering dependents' needs: A well-thought-out Estate Plan will ensure that all of the needs of your dependents (be they minors, adult children, siblings, persons with special needs, or aging parents) are taken care of according to your desires.
- Tax planning considerations (minimizing Estate taxes and reducing probate fees): Without a well-thought-out Estate Plan, a considerable part of your estate could be lost to taxes, probate fees, legal fees, and other levy's, even before your designated beneficiaries see a cent! Failure to implement a comprehensive Estate Plan will likely delay the final distribution of your estate for years and prevent your heirs from having access to their intended inheritance.
- Protecting your estate: Though you might no longer be here, many of your assets – like your investment portfolio, properties, business, and other tangible assets – will likely need care, protection, and management until they are finally disposed of and the proceeds distributed to your designated beneficiaries. In the absence of an Estate Plan, your assets will likely not receive the type and level of protection those assets require.
- Health and welfare considerations: A comprehensive Estate Plan contains several components, including directives to your Executors, Trustees, and POA-holders about what to do if your health (mental or physical) deteriorates. In the absence of those components of your Estate Plan, decisions impacting your health and welfare could be made by strangers (likely medical professionals or state-appointed representatives) whom you and your family do not trust. The interests of these individuals are very often in direct conflict with the interests of you and your loved ones.
- Distributing your assets/legacy: Without proper estate planning, your assets probably won't be distributed according to your final wishes. We can help you and your family implement your Estate Plan, ensure that it matches your wishes, is periodically updated as changes in your situation require, and is executed properly.