We’ve been blessed to provide thousands of high-net-worth individuals and their families with the peace of mind that comes from legally-sound financial tools to both protect wealth and transfer it in an orderly and effective manner. This document captures some of the key financial elements of optimization we have developed for our clients. We integrate these legal solutions with input from our trusted accounting and wealth management advisors in an effort to provide maximum benefit and protection.
The foundation of today’s modern financial planning is the trust document. If you are reading this and you do not yet have a trust created for you or your family, please contact us. In today’s environment of probate, creditors, potential claimants and high regulation/high litigiousness, you simply cannot afford not to have a trust in place. But for the trust to serve its purpose, it must be the right trust, updated for current federal and applicable state tax and other laws.
What is a trust? A contract that allows you to dictate where your assets go at your disability or death, avoiding unnecessary cost and delay associated with probate.
The Old Days: Previously, the Federal Estate Tax Exemption was under $1,000,000.00. Consequently, , many lawyers used such tactics as “AB” or “Survivor and Decedent” trust splits at death in an effort to minimizing estate taxes. The result was a division of the trust at the death of the first spouse, and while it minimized Federal Estate Tax exposure, it resulted in some unintentional consequences when that first spouse died, such as expensive trust administration and the forfeiture of the step up in tax basis option. Another outdated tactic found in older trusts is a direct distribution to named beneficiaries, missing out on powerful asset protection options available to those you leave behind.
Today: With the new Federal Estate Tax threshold of $11.4 million, there is much more flexibility available for couples and individuals. We can electively implement tax planning strategies at the death of the first spouse, rather than being forced into an unnecessary trust administration when the first spouse dies. Additionally, rather than an outright distribution to your beneficiaries, assets can be placed in a separate trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries, protecting that inheritance from future divorces, bankruptcy, and creditor claims.
All you have can be lost in one single liability event.
However your wealth is accumulated – in rental properties and commercial real estate, your family business, investment accounts or some other source – those very sources of wealth also present potential liability. Recessions, car accidents and other catastrophic events also present a real risk to your wealth, regardless of the level of insurance you currently carry. Through creative use of legal tools such as irrevocable trusts, partnerships and LLCs (properly constructed) and offshore and bridge trusts, to name a few, we can help to protect what you have worked so hard to create. Together with your trust and estate plan, asset protection and wealth preservation combine to help you optimize your financial world.
Contact J. Alan Soelberg, today.