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One of the key pieces of the financial planning process is a review of one’s estate plan. Estate planning can be an arduous process which is often overlooked due to the complexity and depth of what should be reviewed. However, there is nothing more personal than knowing to whom and how ones assets will pass upon death. Accumulation of wealth occurs throughout a lifetime regardless of value and it would be a travesty to not plan accordingly.

Our main goal is to sort through all of the various areas that one should review – account titling, beneficiary designations (ex: Life, Annuities, IRAs, 401k, 403b), and current estate planning documents to ensure that a client’s wishes are actually being carried out upon their passing.

We review a client’s estate plan every few years and prepare a customized presentation pulling out the key components of their Last Wills, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills. We discuss each document in detail to ensure that the same goals and objectives are being met today as existed when the documents were drafted.  Often, clients financial and family dynamics change in such a way that changes are needed. We then work directly with the estate planning attorney to update and adjust the documents to best fit their needs.

We also illustrate for the client a detailed analysis showing how each asset on the balance sheet will be handled according to the current estate plan. We show what taxes might be paid, which assets might fund various trusts established upon passing ,or to whom IRAs might be inherited.

Estate planning also anticipates future wealth creation and offers the potential to minimize taxes. In an effort to be forward thinking we might model out how implementing a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) or an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) will impact their plan and what the benefits and downfalls might entail. By looking individually at each client’s personal needs, wants, and desires we can customize an approach that best fits them. Our role is to have an understanding of the top estate planning techniques in the industry given current tax and estate planning laws and showcase those to each client.

 

Kevin Chandler

Kevin Chandler, CFP®