Estate planning is the process of creating a master plan for managing property during life and distributing that property at death. In general, estate planning will afford you more control over your assets during life, provide care if you incur a disability, and allow for the transfer of wealth to whom you want when you want, at the lowest possible cost. Done correctly, an estate plan will coordinate with your overall investment, business, and insurance plans. Common estate planning issues addressed in the wealth management process include wealth transfer, minimization of transfer taxes, asset protection, and charitable giving.
Wealth Transfer Overview
At some point your wealth will transfer to the next generation. Do you have a plan for how your assets will be distributed? Do you know who will receive your assets? Who will manage your estate or business? Who will manage your assets and your medical care in the event of disability or incapacitation?
If you don't have a plan in place, the state will distribute responsibility and assets according to its own system, which may not be in accord with your wishes. That's why it's important to spend time thinking about these issues and establishing a wealth transfer plan. These are some of the matters we consider:
Security for Your Family
Strategies for providing adequate resources for your family in the event of your premature death.
When and how to retire from the business. If you own a business, you will have to develop a succession plan and decide whether to sell the business or give it away during life or at death.
Planning for Incapacity
A plan to manage day-to-day affairs or to make medical decisions when you are not mentally or physically able to make them.
Children from a Previous Marriage
A plan that takes into consideration providing for a surviving spouse while ensuring that the ultimate beneficiaries are children from a previous marriage.
Gifts that allow you to actively manage the process of transferring wealth to the next generation, as well as benefit from significant tax advantages.
Most parents want to treat their children equally, but it may not be feasible or desirable to split an asset equally among all beneficiaries. There are several ways to organize your assets to ensure that your children will receive comparable inheritances.