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Protecting your estate

Are you future-ready?

As your wealth has grown, has your financial life become more complex? The more you have, the more there is to think about. You need to consider how well your strategies and investments match your goals and protect you from risk. And you need to consider if you have strategies in place to provide benefits for the people you care about and love, and the causes and organizations that are important to you. Successfully protecting your estate requires your well-thought answers to some pretty serious questions.

Where we fit in. We can help you see beyond the moment and help bring your longer-term vision into focus and possibly even expand your vision. We can give you prudent, creative and rewarding recommendations that address key issues to help you more successfully protect, transfer, and manage your wealth over the long term.  We can help you establish the commitments and processes that help fulfill your vision.  In other words, we can help you paint the pictures (the right-brain activities) and help you identify and manage the details (the left-brain activities) to protect your estate.

Your vision. What’s important to you?  And who knows about it?  We have seen failures to develop and follow plans for the next stages of financial life that have resulted in emotional disappointment and unwelcomed dissipation of hard-earned savings and earlier investment success.  We help contribute the leadership and counsel to help you express your vision of the future you desire for yourself and those you love and care about.  Within your family, needs are different and reasons for prosperity differ, so the roads may wind in a variety of directions.  Many times, we contribute as thought leaders and are able to help you create a vision beyond what you previously thought was possible.

Estate planning. Precious few advisors can produce a document from their clients’ files that articulates the vision, mission, core values, hopes and fears of the individuals they represent. Rarely have they even met the family members included in each client’s vision.  Typically the documents and contents of advisors’ files paint a picture of piece-meal transactions of investments, insurance, taxes and trusts.

Estate planning done well transcends a great tax result and protection of stakeholders and family wealth from predators and creditors.  “A-level” estate planning successfully transmits the vision and helps inform stakeholders — beneficiaries, trustees, executors and advisors —  about more than just the “what, when and how,” mechanics of distributing assets. Well-conceived estate plans communicate “why” the plan was designed the way it was and help prepare all involved with awareness, understanding and appropriate mindsets and skillsets. We can help you develop your estate plan with these qualities and attributes.

Your plans. We provide the leadership to help you bring together your other advisors — your accountant, estate planning attorney and other professionals — to collaborate on your behalf.  The desired result is whole-system thought and a multi-disciplinary approach to helping you develop plans to address the opportunities, risks and threats to your loved ones and your financial health.  This effort may help reduce or eliminate planning gaps and oversights.

A team approach. Only in the wisest of chambers do advisors meet with one another on behalf of their mutual clients. In most families, the different advisors rarely speak to one another, and most of the time, they don’t even know one another. Does that sound like good teamwork to you?

Charitable giving and philanthropic planning. If part of your vision reaches beyond helping your family with your wealth and you have uncovered issues in our society or care to focus your time, energy and talent identifying issues that you would like to help resolve, then charitable giving and philanthropic planning will become an important part of your life and legacy.  You may wish to dedicate income, principal or both, during your lifetime and after to causes and organizations important to you.

If you have true charitable intent, the tax benefits of your giving will be of least significance and your primary motivation will be to contribute to solving problems. However, the U.S. Congress has historically afforded taxpayers the opportunity and privilege to exercise great control and discretion over a meaningful portion of their contributions to the U.S. Treasury and direct how their tax payments are allocated in society.  This control and discretion is embedded in the black-letter law of the U.S. Tax Code and supersedes the allocations of your tax payments pursuant to the federal budget and Congressional spending. We can help you develop your charitable giving and philanthropic plans.