To map out your estate planning objectives, we engage you in a dialogue on a full spectrum of estate planning considerations. A few things we might go over include:
- Business succession planning
- Topics to discuss with the proposed guardian of your children or pets.
- Your healthcare wishes in different scenarios and how to communicate them to those who need to know.
- Various mechanisms to safeguard the financial well-being of your spouse, life partner, or children.
- Protecting your assets for your own use, whether pre-retirement, post-retirement, or in preparation for a period of incapacity or illness.
- Steps to ensure that your property and treasured possessions are received by the person of your choosing.
- Designing a plan for a disabled loved one to maximize government assistance.
- How to make things easier for your loved ones after you pass.
We carefully tailor your plan, which might include Wills, Trusts Powers of Attorney and Living Wills, to take into account your personal goals and wishes throughout your lifetime as well as after your death. We also review and update your existing plans to bring them in line with your current goals. And we help you prepare for any tax consequences your business or loved ones might face as your plans are implemented.
Without proper estate planning before an unexpected disability, you may lose your voice in choosing who you wish to speak on your behalf and uphold your wishes. Without proper estate planning before your inevitable passing, a court proceeding may be necessary to determine who will receive your assets.
We understand that every individual, couple or family entering into the estate planning process has nuances that may require advanced planning solutions. These strategies can be used individually, or in combination, to ensure accurate disposition of assets while limiting potential tax burdens.
A client in a second marriage may want to provide for his or her spouse, but ensure that children from the previous marriage will receive an inheritance. These families may choose to establish a “bypass trust” or a “marital trust” (also known as a “QTIP”) giving lifetime access to the surviving spouse, but guaranteeing that any remaining assets will go to the deceased spouse’s children.
Other parents can use trusts to protect their children from themselves—making an inheritance available but putting a trusted adult in a position to manage the money and make decisions about when money is spent. These strategies and others, customized to each client’s particular circumstances and goals, protect high net worth clients’ assets against estate taxes that may be imposed upon future generations. They also preserve the inherited assets held in trust, not only from potential creditors, but also as separate property in the event that marital relationships run into difficulty. We also regularly assist clients in forming irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs), an option for sheltering life insurance proceeds from estate taxes and creditors.
Our planning techniques may include the formation of external entities such as family limited partnerships or limited liability companies, charitable trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), grantor retained income trusts (GRITs), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs) and other Grantor Trust options, all of which seek to incorporate lifetime wealth transfers into the estate plan.
For clients caring for a loved one with special needs, we are able to create special-needs trusts. Such entities protect our clients’ assets for the future benefit of their disabled or special-needs loved one, while ensuring he or she will still be eligible for government benefits.