Estate and Gift Planning
You may have an estate plan in place already, but this requires constant monitoring to make sure your intended goals will still be accomplished. Wills, trust documents and related estate planning documents should be reviewed in light of current estate tax laws to ensure effectiveness. Minimizing transfer taxes may not be your ultimate goal. You may wish to transfer assets to certain heirs despite being fair and equal or you may wish to incorporate the use of trusts that will continue past your lifetime in order to accomplish certain transfers despite the additional costs and administration. Your goals should always be at the forefront of any estate and gift tax planning.
Trust and Estate Administration
Many times, a family member is named as trustee or executor of a trust or estate. Such non-professional fiduciaries may not be familiar with trust/estate administration and this could impact their compliance with fiduciary obligations.
Leaving a legacy to charity can be accomplished in a number of ways either during your lifetime or at death. You may consider charitable trusts, private foundations, donor advised funds or direct gifts to charity. Each of these techniques has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered in light of your charitable goals.
Post Mortem Planning
Having an estate plan in place does not mean that post-mortem planning doesn't need to be considered. Post-mortem planning can assist with minimizing estate taxes after death, disclaiming assets so that they will pass to other intended heirs and planning for estate liquidity to pay related death taxes.