With the ever-changing Federal and State estate, gift, and tax laws, careful planning is necessary to ensure taxes are minimized and assets are passed successful to the desired parties. Estate planning facilitates meeting one or more of the following goals:
- Memorializing the wishes of the party as to heirs
- “Disinheriting” the federal and state governments
- Reducing costs of the estate
- Protecting wealth from creditors
At least half the people in the United States do not have will. Without a will in place, property will pass in accordance to intestacy laws. This means the state law determines how someone’s belongings are distributed. This is often inconsistent with what the person may have wanted.
Even for those who do have estate plans in place, many often fail to review these plans when necessary. Whereas strong estate planning considers the continually changing laws, an estate plan should still be reviewed anytime there is a change in any of the following:
- Asset worth/net worth
- Tax law
Small business owners often have changes in net worth due the continuous change in the value of their business.
As part of the Strategic Tax Planning process, a business owner’s personal facts are considered together with any existing estate planning. The team of professionals may confirm the estate plan fits the needs of the business owner, or make recommendations to change the estate plan. Where no estate planning is in existence, the team advises the business owner as to what estate planning tools should be employed to minimize tax and costs as well as meet his/her estate wishes.