Our advisors understand clients want their assets that they have accumulated over a lifetime to be preserved for the intended use. In today’s rapidly changing and complex world, an overall strategy is needed and could include:
Clients are often surprised to learn estate planning is not just about the money. Instead, the primary purpose is to document wishes so they are honored in the event a client becomes incapacitated or dies. With an estate plan in place, families aren’t burdened with making tough decisions when they're already dealing with illness or death.
As part of estate planning, our advisors can coordinate with a client’s other tax and legal professionals. We work to design a strategy that will manage the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next and mitigate the family’s tax burden.
Currently individuals may gift up to $15,000 ($30,000 for couples) annually to any number of individuals without triggering gift taxes. Gifts in excess of this amount are applied against a lifetime gift tax exemption. This means the federal estate tax exemption could be affected. Clients may want to consider various gifting options such as trusts to control asset flow and minimize taxes. Many clients also use trusts to create a charitable legacy without the cost of a foundation.
There are many key reasons to use a trust as part of an overall wealth management plan. Perhaps the most obvious reason to utilize trusts is to reduce estate and gift tax liabilities. If a client’s estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption amount, the excess is currently subject to tax rates of 40% or more. Utilizing trusts can also facilitate the transfer of assets outside an estate while avoiding the publicity and costs of probate. Finally, retaining control over assets is another reason to consider trusts, especially if there is uncertainty about family strife over how assets will be divided.
Many clients receive satisfaction from their philanthropic efforts, and a charitable giving plan can potentially result in significant tax advantages as well. These tax benefits could include income tax deductions, reduction of capital gains taxes and lower estate taxes.
Our advisors understand a firm’s executive officers and upper level managers are often compensated differently than other employees. These executives may receive a significant portion of their compensation in the form of stock options, stock grants or restricted securities, which may receive favorable tax treatment. These benefits require them to not only plan for certain financial events but also balance their personal financial strategy with their responsibilities to company shareholders. Our team can review various solutions to assist key employees in managing these unique situations.
Clients who own their own business need an overall strategy for exiting the business. Many options exist, but each situation requires a different planning strategy. Our advisors can assist clients with developing the best overall plan for transitioning their business.