Estate planning is a series of steps to arrange and to dispose of a person’s estate during his/her life, if incapacitated, or after death. It may include how to pass your legacy to your heir, to grow your asset and protect it from creditors, as well as to minimize estate or gift tax.
What Can Lions Financial do for You?
Having the right plan is essential. If your intention is wrong, then every step you take will be in the wrong direction as well.
We implement the four-step SIRE (Survey, Insight, Recommendation, and Execution) process to help our clients manage personal wealth and provide a feasible estate/ financial plan to transfer the property to the next generation.
- Survey: We study your requirements deeply before suggesting any plan because we have to ensure that we have all the variables in check.
- Insight: We define objectives and describe programs to achieve those objectives and evaluate your current situation, tax policy, and strategies.
- Recommendation: At this stage, we will tailor a customized strategy to prepare for the implementation of your unique Estate planning objectives. Once we have a plan, we work with you on creating a strategy and help you make it happen at the final stage
- Execution: We prepare a fully executed Estate Plan to support you in controlling or eliminating uncertainty, reducing the tax and other costs as well as managing your property successfully.
Key Items to Consider in Estate Planning
There are common ingredients for every comprehensive Estate Planning recipe: Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Medical Directives, Beneficiary Designations. The following section will introduce some of the documents that should be considered when you are considering
- Last Will and Testament
A will indicate the way that you desire your estate assets to be distributed when you are incapacitated or died. If you do not have a Will, then your property could be passed as required under the state’s intestacy statutes. While the state law may not be suitable for your family and your inheritance scheme. At the meantime, it could make you complied to higher federal estate taxes.
- Revocable Living Trust
A trust is like a rulebook, which specifies how the person’s (the grantor’s) assets are transferred and handled while alive and after death. The revocable living trust can be a substitute for a Will. However, it is different from a Will, because it can be established to govern the distribution and use of the trust assets during the grantor’s lifetime. Therefore, it can be a useful choice if the grantor becomes incapacitated. Moreover, the revocable living trust can be modified or revoked by the grantor during his/her lifetime.
- Durable General Power of Attorney
If a person (‘Principal’) is not able to handle the property-transferring affairs, the principal may appoint another person or organization to arrange the process. Then the principal needs a document named a power of attorney. The person or organization who is appointed is referred to as an ‘Attorney-in-Fact’ or ‘Agent’.
A general power of attorney can grant the agent limited or broad powers as specified in the document to manage the principal’s financial affairs and property. Some of the powers that may be granted include:
- Handling banking transactions and transactions involving U.S. securities.
- Entering safety deposit boxes.
There is a list of broad-stroke Estate Planning tactics typically used by high net worth individuals & families. However, these tactics each need to be peeled apart and examined as composite parts before re-bundling them to better serve your unique situation within the current overall changed reality.
- Shifting Income
Gift high-income is producing assets to a trust which distributes taxable income to a beneficiary in a lower tax bracket.
- Charitable Giving
Recover losses of previous line-item deductions used but now constrained (e.g., annual “SALT deduction” currently limited to $10,000) by contributing more to charity, since the recent Tax Cuts & Jobs Act increased the charitable contribution limit up to 60% of adjusted gross income.
- Delaying Capital Gains Taxation
Gift appreciated assets that are to be sold to a Charitable Remainder Trust (a tax-exempt trust), thereby avoiding immediate capital gains taxation, and have 100% of the proceeds reinvested. Annual distributions from the CRT will be taxed to the beneficiary but may avoid income taxation at top rates.
- Selling instead of Gifting
Use installment sales to defective grantor trusts, and zeroed-out Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, preserving the gift tax exemption amount for use against assets in the decedent’s estate while still reducing the taxable estate.
- Leveraging Basis Set-up
Include low-basis assets in a decedent’s non-taxable estate, receiving a step-up in basis and reducing capital gains tax at a subsequent sale.
Contact Lions Financial to find a better strategy and holistic plan for your estate assets. Lions Financial helps executives and businesses, together with their tax and legal advisors, to develop the optimal financial solutions for success. Contact us for an initial complimentary consultation to help determine if our team will be good for fit for your current need.