Estate planning — particularly for highly compensated individuals and business owners — is often perceived as a complex process of entities, legal documents and tax law compliance.
But we often forget how important the human aspects of estate planning can be.
When you seek out the assistance of a tax and estate planning attorney, choose a law firm that recognizes that wealth transfer and estate planning can have a profound effect on you, your family and your designated heirs.
Unintended Consequences of Estate Planning
When determining how your accumulated wealth and assets will be distributed — either during your lifetime or upon your passing — you must think about how it will affect your loved ones.
One of the most common challenges is infighting among family members, especially if someone feels slighted. Another common problem occurs when one or more beneficiaries fails to make good choices about their lifestyle or behavior once they get their hands on their newfound wealth.
Strategies for Overcoming These Challenges
Although no single strategy is effective in all cases, you have many options for structuring the way assets are transferred to beneficiaries.
You can set up specialized trusts that designate distributions for specific purposes, such as university tuition, buying a home, etc. This is where your estate planner can help guide you toward strategies that will provide the maximum benefit to your heirs while helping you achieve your wealth preservation goals.
Finding the right balance between your desire to protect your assets and put them to the best possible use in the future is the key to keeping the human aspects of estate planning a central part of the process.
The How and Why of Estate Planning
You trust your lawyer to recommend the best ways to legally minimize your tax burden and preserve your assets. But it will be up to you to identify the reasons you choose to distribute your estate the way you do.
Keep in mind how your decisions will affect your loved ones’ future, and communicate with beneficiaries and heirs during the planning process as much as possible. This allows them to ask questions and understand your vision for their future. It helps avoid potentially unpleasant surprises down the road as well, which often come at a highly emotional time in their lives — upon the incapacitation or passing of a beloved family member.
Cantley Dietrich specializes in complex estate plans, wills, trusts and asset protection for business owners and highly compensated individuals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to ask questions and discuss your thoughts on estate planning.