With our estate planning services, we help you develop and implement a creative plan that empowers you to control your property and resources while you are able, to provide for yourself and your loved ones if you become disabled, and to leave your hard-earned bounty to your loved ones and cherished causes upon your death.
We provide the following services to craft customized estate plans that fit with your priorities for incapacity planning, asset protection, avoidance of publicity, minimization of taxes, and charitable inclinations.
WILLS & LIVING TRUSTS
Wills and Living Trusts are the foundation tools individuals use to control the distribution of their assets upon death. A Will is a document that takes effect upon an individual’s death. It is enforced through a process known as “probate”, where the court system monitors a Personal Representative during the administration of the estate. In addition to controlling the transfer of your assets, the Will, very importantly, is the primary tool used to nominate guardians to care for minor children and other family members whose challenges preclude their personally handling financial assets.
A Living Trust is a commonly used alternative to a Will. A Living Trust takes effect while the trustmaker is alive and enables him or her to provide for an effective plan for disability and to avoid the probate system after death. You can learn more about Trusts, Trustmakers and their role in Estate Planning here. Some of the ways in which you can utilize living trusts in your estate planning include transferring motor vehicles to living trusts, securing your family’s future using inheritance trusts, and assigning a personal representative to your estate. Both Wills and Trusts can be highly customized to meet an individual’s family needs. Which of them best suits an individual depends on his or her personal needs, priorities, and family situation. We help our clients determine whether a Will or a Living Trust is best for their circumstances.
ESTATE AND GIFT TAX PLANNING
For those individuals and families for whom “Death Taxes” are a concern, we develop plans to maximize the assets that pass tax-free to beneficiaries, and to postpone taxation as long as possible. Our estate and gift tax planning tools and strategies include: credit shelter (“bypass”) trusts; special trusts for life insurance, personal residences, and other assets; valuation discounting using family limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and fractionalized property interests; and permanent or temporary charitable giving.
For clients who are charitably inclined, we help you set up an estate plan that provides for your church, school, or other cherished causes in the most efficient way, taking into consideration both tax and non-tax factors. This aspect of estate planning can be especially important to those who may not have close relatives or loved ones to bequeath with their estate. Our article, Lifetime Planning for the Single Individual, has some insight and useful information about establishing any necessary procedures and actions you require for your estate.
We help you plan your exit business exit strategy so that your ownership and leadership pass to those most capable of ensuring the business will remain on a firm foundation after you are gone. In particular, we coordinate your business governance structures with your estate planning documents to ensure they work together. Additionally, we often utilize business entities for clients who are concerned with asset protection and death tax minimization.
Once you’re ready to begin your Estate Planning, take a look at our process that breaks down the steps we take with you in order to thoroughly implement your goals.