Estate and Legacy Planning
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 many circumstances that can arise.
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 family 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.
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.
Let’s start a conversation today! Simply give us a ring at (561) 210-7887 or contact us (on the form below) to set up your no- obligation estate and financial planning consultation.
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
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 while reducing probate and estate tax issues.
- Advanced trust and estate planning may be applicable when dealing with minors, spendthrift adults or for special needs planning.
- Insurance and annuity accounts could protect your assets from lawsuits and creditors in the state of Florida.
- If you die without a will, you will be considered “intestate,” whereas 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.
9 commonly over-looked obstacles of effective Estate Planning include:
- Failure to plan (no will or outdated will along with basic legal docs)
- Outdated plan (family additions or subtractions) (tax law changes)
- Over-looked provisions if applicable: (guardianship) (simultaneous death provisions)
- Improper tax planning (estate tax exposure)
- Improper ownership of assets (or not updating beneficiary designations)
- Failure to plan for disability, illness or long term care needs
- Failure to consider inflation (future estate tax exposure)
- Lack of liquidity (in instances of estate tax liability, will assets need to be sold?)
- Psychological factors (dealing w/ mortality) (procrastination.)
Note on calculating your gross estate
For people with significant wealth over-and-above the current estate tax exemption amount ($11.58M per person or $23.16M per couple) and have neglected to put applicable trust and advanced estate planning techniques in place, their largest beneficiary may end up being Uncle Sam (the United States Government.) The exemption is set to drop back to $5 million per person with inflation adjustments in 2026.
In calculating a client’s gross estate and completing an inventory of assets, there are many obvious and non-obvious assets to account for. You should have a list of all your known assets, location of asset, ownership and beneficiary designations in ONE PLACE as part of your will and estate plan.
Note: Your gross estate includes (IRC sec 2031) includes: The value of all property, real or personal, tangible or intangible of an individual on date of death to the extent of his or her interest in the property plus applicable life insurance proceeds. There are items sometimes not included in the actual deceased will or estate plan or even overlooked, such as outstanding claims from a lawsuit.
- Have anything that is attached to you on this list including insurance policies.
- Have the beneficiary information on this list
- Note ownership of each asset (trust, single, joint, estate, business, etc.)