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Estate and Trust Planning

Estate planning is best done as a team approach involving all your professional advisors. Basic estate planning is the fulfillment of one’s intentions while minimizing taxes and administrative costs. While most clients view estate planning as addressing such matters that include, but are not limited to, probate, health care directives, and guardianships, some of the most effective estate planning is multi-generational, charitable, and gift planning that involves the setting up of trusts and other entities during one’s lifetime.

A properly designed estate plan may include wills, trusts, distribution arrangements, liquidity plans, and irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILIT). Most people can avoid paying federal estate taxes at the first spouse's death and also have liquidity to pay the estate taxes and other estate settlement costs at the surviving spouse's death.

Other estate planning concerns may include:

  • Tax minimization - reducing taxes on wealth transfer
  • Providing for children from a prior marriage
  • Charities and life insurance gifts
  • Special needs children
  • Grandchildren and future generations
  • Unneeded retirement assets such as an IRA account or annuities
  • Transferring income-producing assets to children
  • Transferring family businesses to the next generation

In family business succession (or continuation) planning, financial strategies can be designed for estate liquidity, to provide for siblings not active in the family business, a family buy/sell agreement, and key employee fringe benefits.

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) lets you convert a highly appreciated asset like stock or real estate into lifetime income. You also receive an immediate partial charitable income tax deduction now and the asset is out of your estate for estate tax purposes.

The trustee will sell the asset at full market value, paying no capital gains tax, and re-invests the proceeds in income-producing assets. For the rest of your life, the trust pays you an income. When you die, the remaining trust assets go to the charities you have chosen. You can also use some of the income from the CRT to fund insurance in an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) thus replacing the asset for your children. Estate taxes will be avoided and the proceeds will be free from probate and income taxes.