Estate planning is about much more than just about creating a will and considering your eventual transfer of assets. It is a key part of the financial planning process to help maintain and protect your wealth, family and legacy before and after your retirement, in any and all circumstances.
With many baby boomers now being part of the “sandwich generation” and thereby taking care of both their parents and children all at the same time, executing an estate plan to address and protect your wealth and loved ones is more critical than any time before.
What goes into a legacy plan? Besides estate planning basics, it can include an ethical will, in which you explain your beliefs and give life lessons to your heirs. It can provide instructions for the preservation of family history documents and even your “digital” assets and social media accounts. It may integrate a family business succession plan, an education fund, or a foundation to gift charities and other nonprofit groups.
Consider the following circumstances and facts:
- Your legacy transcends money, while also encompassing your goals and values for future generations.
- Guardians are often designated for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity.
- Powers of attorney, living wills and HIPPA release forms should be set up for health and financial directives.
- The beneficiary designations on investment and insurance accounts can set precedence over your will and court of law.
- How your assets, investment and insurance accounts are titled and held can set precedence over your will and a court of law.
- Trusts may not protect your assets from creditors but can help to transfer assets and reduce estate tax exposure.
- Insurance and annuity accounts could protect your assets from lawsuits and creditors in the state of Florida.
- If you die with out a will, you will be considered “intestate,” where as the courts will decide on the fate of your estate, health decisions and loved ones under your care.
- A will does not help you to avoid probate. Probate is the first step in the process of administering your estate under your will while providing public notice, resolving all claims and distributing your property.
- Different states have different estate tax exemption amounts which supersede Federal exemption amounts.
Estate planning should help to provide confidence, organization and direction for your health and wealth decisions during retirement years – and facilitate the intended and orderly disposition of property for your beneficiaries.
In the end, your legacy is about how you want to be remembered by your heirs, your colleagues, and your community. It concerns the positive effect your wealth can have on future generations-and the world.
For people with significant wealth over-and-above the current estate tax exemption amount (which currently is North of $5M per person) and have neglected to put any estate planning techniques in place, their largest beneficiary may end up being the United States Government.
We work with our clients and their legal team to review:
•Will and estate planning techniques
•Account ownership & beneficiary designation review
•Developing a tax-appropriate and ongoing portfolio income distribution strategy.
•Advanced estate planning techniques including trusts (asset transfer, legacy planning)
•Probate and estate settlement cost analysis
•Guardianship instructions for minors or incapacitated adults in your care.
•Benefits of the estate and gift tax unified credits along with gifting strategies.
•Advantages and disadvantages of using a marital trust arrangement
•Probate expenses and probate expense reduction techniques
•Planning for future estate tax liquidity for business owners (will assets need to be sold?)
•Health care and long term care planning issues
Ulin & Co. can help you to review and implement strategies for your estate plan. We can either work with your legal and tax team or you may consider utilizing our ‘in-house’ counsel.
“Failing to plan is planning to FAIL.” – Ben Franklin
Contact us today or call (561) 210-7887 for a no-obligation complementary consultation to learn more about our firm capabilities, LPL Financial and how we can help you.
“The perfect amount to leave children is “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.” – Warren Buffet