A Will and Trust vs. Estate Planning: Major Differences.
Not just for the rich and famous, not only to prepare for death, but rather to reflect what you value most now and in the future. Planning reduces your stress that you and yours will be cared for not merely with documents, but with clear allocation of assets and resources in ways consistent with your values. Your plans should help address questions such as:
- Who and how will minor children, grandchildren or even your pets be taken care of?
- Who and how will financial decisions be made on your behalf for as long as you need?
- Who and how will custodial choices be made when unable to express your preference?
- How should you make the best use of social, medical and government benefits in the event of death or disability?
- How can you prepare your business to maintain operations and fluid succession?
- How can you avoid expensive tax or government benefit complications?
- Which parts of your hard-earned assets can be lost to unnecessary taxes?
- Who should receive your gifts and how would you like them to be used when you pass them on to others?
- How can your quality of life be improved by removing as much stress, cost and complication as possible from all these areas?
Life is constantly in motion. From your new and evolving financial accounts and assets to your personal and professional relationships paired with constantly changing tax and estate laws—a proactive approach is necessary to ensure your intentions are carried out as efficiently as possible. This includes clearly articulating goals and intentions, as well as coordination of duties between your financial advisor, CPA and estate planning attorney to keep all assets and documents up-to-date and accessible to all those who may need it.
At Advisory Group West, we provide one or more of three distinct benefit stages as part of our estate planning conversations:
1. Improving estate structure with better-informed choices that reduce asset coordination conflicts
- Reducing friction between ownership, titling, beneficiary and trust distribution intentions
- Enhancing powers, flexibility and tax efficiency in trust documents
2. Preparing to eliminate, reduce, and/or discount the impact of all estate transfer costs including estate taxes, gift taxes, generation-skipping taxes, probate costs, etc.
- For larger estates ($10M+), survivorship life insurance in irrevocable trusts is not uncommon
3. Legacy planning to provide for people or causes you support
- Providing advanced strategies to maximize your tax-deductions and gifts, either during your lifetime or at time of death.
*AGW does not provide legal advice, therefore will work with your estate attorney to help facilitate estate planning.
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