Estate Planning

Special Needs Planning | Guardianship | Strategic Alliances  | Estate Planning | Individual & Corporate Planning

Estate planning deals with the creation, preservation and transfer of personal wealth. It is the process that helps ensure the stability and security of an individual's accumulated wealth during life and beyond. Estate planning strategies are designed so that assets are transferred in a manner consistent with the desires of the estate owner while minimizing estate transfer costs such as probate fees and estate taxes. The Estate Planning division of SilverTree Financial will work closely with a client's other advisors in developing and implementing a plan to attain these goals.

Current tax law provides for an unlimited marital deduction for assets transferred from one spouse to another. However, not all families feel comfortable in transferring all of their assets to a current spouse. Many families include children from prior marriages, pre-nuptial agreements and children living with disabilities or other special needs that create an estate tax obligation at the death of the first spouse. Even if the burden of estate taxes is delayed until the death of both spouses, it effectively transfers the tax burden to the estate, thus reducing the assets available for transfer to the remaining beneficiaries.

Great care is taken to assure that any recommendation carefully balances possible tax savings with the extremely sensitive and personal "Human Objectives" of the clients we serve.

There are many estate planning techniques which may be used:

  • Sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts
  • Estate freezing
  • Family limited partnerships
  • Installment sales
  • Private annuities
  • Corporate recapitalization
  • Joint purchases
  • GRATs
  • Charitable trusts
  • Charitable giving
  • Survivorship insurance
  • Life insurance trusts

Some of the techniques are designed to reduce or eliminate administrative fees and expenses of the estate, and some are designed to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Others are non-tax related techniques designed to transfer property and/or income in a manner consistent with the desires of the deceased.

Our estate planning team works closely with a client's other professional tax and/or legal advisors in developing a creative estate plan, which incorporates the wishes of the estate owner with minimization of estate transfer taxes.

The ultimate test of our effectiveness will be measured by how well we listened to and understood the feelings and the desires of those we serve. The objective of a estate planning strategy session is to incorporate the following:

  • Full and complete understanding of the client's goals and objectives.
  • Reasonable efforts to insure that the client understands all of the options available.
  • Prioritizing the possible solutions so that the client feels safe and comfortable with the choices he or she makes and the value received.
  • Proper execution of the legal documents and financial instruments necessary to complete the client's objectives.
  • A financial plan to provide for the payment of the estate and gift taxes when they fall due. This frequently involves the purchase of life insurance.
  • Communication that is coordinated between the client and all of his or her advisors to bring appropriate closure to the process.
  • A final "executive summary" of the plan, which will enable the client to refresh his or her memory on the "high points" of the plan as needed.