David M. Guilford
T: + 1.775.329.2764
A solid estate plan is critical to long term financial success and stability. A thoughtful estate plan not only ensures that your assets are distributed to your intended heirs, but also opens the door to numerous tax advantages which allow your family to enjoy more of what you have worked so hard to earn.
Asset protection planning is an important component of any estate plan. An effective plan considers every type of asset, including businesses and professional practices. We frequently advise business owners, and key executives, as well as physicians and attorneys in matters relating to their professional practices.
A basic will does so much more than just determine “who gets what” after you have passed. Guardianship of children, special dispositions, and last wishes are all expressed in a well drafted will. Wills may also contain trust language to prevent unexpected transfers to those who lack the life experience to handle significant assets.
A revocable trust is often a useful compliment to a will. While wills generally go through the public process of probate, revocable trusts are commonly privately administered and are generally much more cost effective for distributing assets. Revocable trusts can also provide numerous opportunities for effective tax planning.
Powers of Attorney
Most states recognizes two types of powers of attorney commonly used in estate planning matters: Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs and the Advance Health Care Directive. These two documents give others the authority to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated or simply need assistance in managing your affairs. As a practical matter, powers of attorney provide flexibility in making health care and financial decisions in real time.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)
Many people make the mistake of doing the obvious: purchasing their own life insurance. Insurance agents are quick to inform you that the proceeds will be free of income taxation, but usually fail to mention that the proceeds may be subject to estate or gift tax. An irrevocable life insurance trust can generally be designed to prevent this unwanted outcome and ensure that proceeds from an insurance policy go to those for whom it was intended.
Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)
Charitable giving is one of life’s greatest privileges. Take advantage of tax reduction opportunities available to your estate and allow your success to be shared by both your family as well as those to whom you wish to donate. Charitable trusts can generally be established to enjoy tax advantaged income during your lifetime as well as support those you feel are worthy of your assistance after you have passed.
Family Limited Partnership (FLP)/Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
Family Limited Partnerships are a wonderful way to involve the next generation in your success today while taking advantage of tax advantages tomorrow. FLP’s can introduce the next generation to your family’s values by directly involving them in both business and charitable decisions. Under your supervision, younger members of your family gain valuable experience in your family’s business or with other assets, as well as have an opportunity to share experiences in a positive environment. Further, a FLP or LLC can often be used to make gifts of appreciated property at significantly reduced valuations, leveraging your estate tax exemptions to allow more property to pass tax free.
Special Needs Trust
Special people often have special needs. A special needs trust is one method to ensure that assets left to those with disabilities are there when they are needed the most. State and other benefits are often dramatically reduced, if not eliminated, by inheritances and the existence of other assets. Protect your special person with a trust designed specifically for them.
Generation Skipping Trusts
Taxation never seems to end-even after you have passed. Use the law to minimize it. Easily integrated into a new or existing estate plan, a generation skipping trust can give your grandchildren and future generations the maximum benefit of your earnings while minimizing taxation.
Ensure your family’s wealth is not whittled away by layer after layer of federal and state taxes. Until recently most states acknowledged the old common-law rule against perpetuities which ensured that non-charitable trusts were taxed as assets passed between generations. A well planned dynasty trust can preserve your assets for generations to come.
High Net Worth/Executive Compensation
Concentrated holdings, complex asset structures, and international exposure all provide numerous opportunities for efficient tax planning as well as pitfalls for the unwary. While every estate plan must address the unique circumstances of the individual, estate plans for high net worth individuals can often utilize tax-minimization techniques commonly not available to others. Ask us how to tax-efficiently structure your holdings to maximize their net worth.
Estate and gift planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care powers)
Trust and fiduciary services
Comprehensive income tax services
Executive benefit planning
Retirement and education planning