Estate Planning

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Durable Power of Attorney Issues

Our wealth advisors routinely work with our client's legal counsel and can help guide you in making these important decisions. If you were to become incapacitated, who would have the legal authority to act on your behalf? Who would you trust to manage your business and legal affairs? Is the person aware that he has been named to act in such a capacity? Is he both competent and unbiased? Should your durable power of attorney be general or limited? In the absence of a POA, the court would appoint a guardian to handle your affairs. This can be expensive and time consuming. Additionally, a court appointed fiduciary’s powers are far more restricted.

Gifting to Children /Descendant Issues

Gifting strategies can be very beneficial for all parties involved. There are 3 key questions to ask:

1.     To whom do you want to gift?

2.     What would you like to gift? (Appreciated assets, cash, etc).

3.     How much control would you like to retain?

Perhaps you’re trying to lower the value of your personal estate for estate tax reasons or simply gifting for the personal enjoyment and grooming opportunities of your children/grandchildren. Whether you’re considering a UTMA, family foundation or trust, our wealth advisors can help explain the pros and cons of the variety of ways gifts can be made.

Titling of Asset Issues

A comprehensive wealth management plan should designate someone whom the family and fiduciaries work with upon an individual's passing.  Common questions which arise during planning include the following: Who should I designate as my executor? A family member or a professional independent third party? How should my assets be titled? Joint with rights of survivorship, tenants-in-common or tenancy by the entirety? How will my family be able to access my accounts upon a death or disability? Our wealth advisors can help you answer these questions and develop a personalized and customized wealth management plan.

Executor/Trustee Issues

Choosing an Executor or Trustee is a very important decision. Unfortunately, many people die with documents designating an inappropriate designee. There are many key issues to consider. For example, is the individual legally qualified for the role? Does he possess the financial skills to handle the types of assets and liabilities in the estate? Is the individual familiar with your assets and can she diplomatically work with the competing interests within the family? These are just a few of many important issues to consider when choosing an Executor or Trustee.

Distribution of Wealth at Death

Effective and comprehensive wealth management must include a careful consideration of passing on one’s wealth to one’s heirs. Since care has been exercised in the accumulation of wealth, it is natural for care to be applied to wealth distribution. Our wealth advisors develop personalized strategies for each individual’s unique needs. We focus on four primary areas: 1. Maximizing the asset distributions to heirs. 2. The tax efficiency of distribution. 3. The continued control or influence of this wealth following the death of the original owners. 4. Charitable giving. How prepared will your children and grandchildren be for the inheritance by the time they receive the distribution under your current plan?

Charitable Gifting During Life Issues

As a matter of sound public policy, the U.S. tax code encourages charitable gifting.  Beyond this, individuals are motivated because of compassion to those in need, religious and spiritual commitment, and the perpetuation of one's beliefs, values and ideals.  Typically, donors are entitled to a tax deduction each year of either 20% or 50% of their adjusted gross income, depending on whether they gift to public or private charities.

Charitable Inclinations at Death Issues

Charitable gifting is of significant importance to many individuals. Our wealth advisors spend the time to find out how someone intends to pass along family values. We educate our clients on the types of charitable gifts which will best accomplish their goals, while keeping income taxation and estate and gift taxes in mind. Key issues to address are whether a family foundation, donor advised fund or family limited partnership would be the best solution to help facilitate your cause.