There are powerful forces at work in people that either motivate them to plan their estates effectively or prevent them from doing so. With years of experience, we have become skilled in focusing those forces to help you create an effective estate plan that provides for the people you love.
The psychology of Wealth Transfer Planning requires that our clients discover, explore, and understand both the technical and non-technical basis for each design and plan. When we meet, we will consider a variety of planning scenarios and issues in order to design a comprehensive, tightly-integrated, trust-based estate or gift plan.
Revocable Living Trusts
A Revocable Living Trust is an estate planning document that allows you to remain in control of your personal and financial affairs while you are alive and well, and lets you decide in advance how you want to be cared for, and how you want your loved ones to be taken care of if you were to become mentally or physically disabled or die.
“I want to control my assets while I am alive and well. If I should become disabled, I want to be cared for by people that I have chosen, and in a manner which I have prescribed. When I die, I want to give what I have to whom I want, when I want, and in the way I want. Finally, I want to save every last dollar of professional fees, court costs, and taxes.”
Irrevocable Trusts are more specialized planning documents. Flexible in design they can be designed for making gifts, maintaining separate property, achieving an income, gift or estate tax goal, protecting beneficiaries from themselves or others’ claims against assets.
Examples include, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Charitable Lead or Remainder Trusts; Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, and may more.
Wills, Powers of Attorney
You may be able to address some of estate goals through the traditional estate planning documents of wills and powers of attorney. While implementing these types of documents can cost less in legal fees than revocable living trusts, a will do not protect you and your property during any period of incapacity during your lifetime. Because it requires court administration it is a costly document for your heirs to administer. The problem with general powers of attorney is that they give the agent unlimited power over your property, which may or may not be honored by third parties, such as your bank, brokerage, etc.
Health Care Decision Making
Deciding who will speak for you when you are unable to communicate with your physicians and health care providers, and refining your instructions to both is an indispensable part of proper estate planning. We are experienced in these issues and will guide you to make thoughtful, enforceable decisions.
Incentive Estate Planning
Trusts are more than tax savings devices or will substitutes. Incentive estate planning involves wealth transfer through specially drafted trusts that contain instructions reflecting the love, care, personal philosophies, and concerns of parents toward their children and grandchildren.
A well-drafted incentive trust may include your personal set of instructions for passing your wealth on to your children or grandchildren while encouraging them to develop the types of skills, abilities and values that helped you acquire, maintain, and manage your wealth. For example, you may stipulate that a child-beneficiary make progress toward a degree in order to be eligible to receive all or some of the income from the trust.
We will help you fashion a creative and workable mechanism that gives expression to your desire for succeeding generations to excel and reach new heights of achievement in education, business, and other endeavors.
An incentive trust also serves as a first line of defense to protect a surviving spouse or children from the “helpful” advice and investment ideas of well-intentioned relatives, friends, or salespeople. There is no doubt that beneficiaries, left to their own devices, can make mistakes. A well-designed incentive trust can ensure that one mistake will not spell disaster.