Proper estate planning better ensures the current and future financial independence for you and your family, allows you to transfer your wealth according to your wishes, and helps eliminate unnecessary taxes and expenses.
We are committed to working with you and your family to help determine your long-term personal financial goals and plan accordingly. In addition, we will work with you in structuring your estate assets to help minimize tax liabilities and maximize value to future generations. Our professional team will work with any additional advisors you may have, such as an attorney or accountant, to develop and implement a plan of action. All of this planning will be coordinated with your insurance contracts in order to provide a sound workable plan. Periodically, we will review this plan in order to assess our progress in accomplishing your long-term objectives.
Ultimately, our goal is to assure that you and your family have taken prudent steps to reduce your tax liabilities and to create the most effective means to help finance any tax liabilities that may remain in the future.
At a time when social responsibility has taken on increasing importance, charitable planning offers a strategic way for you to connect to causes that you and your family feel passionate about. Whether your aim is to develop a philanthropic legacy for your family, or simply to support your community, tax-favored planned aiding programs create ongoing opportunities to transfer family assets to public and/or private charities. These charities often include family foundations that are managed by family members, in which the family retains control over the gifted assets and access to income generated by these assets.
Trusts serve a variety of purposes. Some are created to hold, manage and distribute property. Others may be created to avoid probate or save on taxes.
A trust often makes sound financial sense as it can help ease the burden of managing your assets (including your investment portfolio), even after disability or death. A trust may also contain provisions for the care of your children in the way you choose, not the way someone else decides. It can help both simplify the administration of your estate’s assets (including the regular payment of taxes) and strengthen your beneficiary’s claim to disputed property.
A trust creates a legal arrangement between the person who establishes it (the creator or grantor), the manager of the trust’s assets (the trustee) and the person or organization that benefits from the trust (the beneficiary). It can be established in one of two ways:
A trust gives you control of the trust’s income and enables the transfer of property to your beneficiaries.
Setting up a trust can be done at any time. It is often one of the legal arrangements considered during the financial planning process. If you don’t already have a plan developed, contact a financial advisor to help get you started. To create a trust, you will need to contact a lawyer.
A Living Will is used to specify the degree of medical treatment that you would want should you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It helps make your health care wishes clear to your family, friends and doctors — helping to ensure that those wishes are carried out. In addition, it eases the burden on your loved ones who might otherwise have to make serious decisions for you.
Although a Living Will can be drawn up without the help of a lawyer, your wishes still need to be authorized. You can do this by naming a health care proxy, which is a person you authorize to make decisions regarding your treatment. You also may grant a durable power of attorney to someone who, like the proxy, then has the power to make the health care decisions you want.
If you feel strongly about the kind of medical care you would or wouldn’t want to receive should you fall gravely ill, you should draft a Living Will as soon as possible. Court cases involving a patient’s right to live or die often involve younger people, not the elderly.
To get started, put your wishes on paper. If you are already working with a lawyer to draft a Will regarding your estate, you should consider drafting a Living Will at the same time.
A Will is a legal document that specifies who will get your property when you die. It names the people you want to settle your estate and administer any trusts you have established as part of your Will. It also names the individuals you want to care for any children you may have.
By executing a Will, you maintain some control over the disposition of your property after your death. Generally estates can be settled faster, easier and with less expense with a Will than without one. If you have a large estate, drawing up a Will in combination with one or more trusts can help limit the tax liability of your estate.
Executed properly, a Will also can enable you to transfer property and investments to your heirs. Wills requiring complex estate planning strategies, including trusts, are best prepared with the help of your lawyer.
If you die intestate, or without a Will, you will lose control over your estate. Although your property will most likely go to your spouse and children in this case, different states have different ways of dividing estates which may affect the outcome.
If you are creating a financial or estate plan, it makes sense to establish a Will as part of the planning process. Assistance from a lawyer familiar with Wills and estate planning is considered the best way; in fact, some states require it. In any case, your Will must include your signature and those of two or more people who witness your signing of the document. Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of your Will.