Preserve What's Yours
All of your life you pay taxes and then when do you die, you pay the worst tax of them all: estate taxes. It's no wonder these taxes are commonly referred to as the 'cruelest taxes' in America!
It was once said that two weeks spent on creating and properly funding your estate plans will preserve a life's work.
The Largest Transfer of Wealth Ever
The Treasury Department and the IRS are well aware that over the next 16 years, more personal wealth will be transferred from one generation to the next than at any other time in American history. Recent estimates by MIT indicate an amount somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 trillion dollars.
Due to poor or inadequate pre-planning on the part of the estate owners, heirs are oftentimes forced to sell off precious family assets at sacrificial prices just to meet the nine-month estate tax payment deadline imposed by the IRS.
The Super-Rich* and Famous are NOT Immune from this Tax
Elvis Presely left an estate valued at $10,165,434. His heirs lost 73% or $7,374,635 to estate taxes.
Frederick Vanderbilt left an estate valued at $76,838,530. His heirs lost 56%, or $42,846,112 to estate taxes.
Marilyn Monroe left an estate valued at $819,176. Her heirs lost 55%, or $448,750 to estate taxes.
J.P. Morgan left an estate valued at $17,121,482. His heirs lost 69%, or $11,831,822 to estate taxes.
How Inheritance taxes are Computed
Federal estate taxes are computed in six stages starting with the gross estate value and making any adjustments thereto for funeral and administrative expenses, martial deductions, unified tax credits, credit on prior transfers, excess accumulations, etc.
From this an estate owner is able to determine a reasonable expectation of future estate tax liability by then factoring in a constant rate of inflation (growth rate) and a reasonable life expectancy. Estate taxes are due within nine (9) months of death, in cash, with few exceptions.
The Importance of an Estate Plan
A well-conceived estate plan primarily focuses on two major concerns, the distribution of wealth and the reduction of taxes.
In fact, it's difficult to understand that a subject about which so much has been written upon can so easily be condensed into these two, relatively simple components.
The challenge for most estate owners, however, is how to properly weave these two separate components together and create a well-orchestrated estate plan. And that's where we can help.
Although complete estate planning may involves several steps, it can be easily completed from the convenience of your office or from the comfort of your living room chair...or in front of your PC.
Use Professional, Independent Advice
At Fielder Financial Management, Ltd., we have been employing advanced estate planning disciplines long before it came into vogue.
We have helped hundreds of families implement effective estate preservation programs through individually designed and properly funded trust strategies. Our forte is simplifying even the most complicated of strategies to easy-to-understand, layman terms.
Six Strategies To Consider
Review some of the strategies and techniques employed in traditional estate plans below:
Living Trust - Avoids probate and can save your heirs significant money. Also avoids time delays and publicity associated with the probate process. If drafted correctly, it allows estate owners to maximize unified credit. Unfortunately, it does nothing to help offset estate taxes.
Irrevocable, Tax-Free Inheritance Trust - Creditor-proof and divorce-Proof "Family Bank" which can be used to avoid a forced sale of family assets to pay off estate taxes. Benefits are 100% estate tax and income tax free. Most investors use this trust to purchase insurance. When properly drafted, it can completely avoid Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes or limits on deposits and can also be used to start a Family Financial Dynasty Trust. Commonly referred to as ILIT, Wealth Trust, Insurance Trust.
Gifting Strategies - Maximize present interest gift allowances of up to $13,000 per year, per person and to leverage the one time, lifetime then available estate tax exemption. Comprehensive gifting strategies allow you to preserve a lifetime's work and pass more of your hard-earned assets to your heirs. They can enjoy it now, or you can set it up for their future.
Family Limited Partnership - A Family Limited Partnership can be used to provide asset protection and reduce or eliminate potential estate taxation. Great for family-owned businesses, large real estate holdings. IRS has granted dramatic tax value discount allowances in the past, but our Washington sources indicate FLP may have a very short shelf life. FLP's have other disadvantages and risks. Consult your tax advisor.
Capital Gains Bypass Trust - This strategy can eliminate capital gains taxes on highly appreciated assets (like stocks, real estate, etc), provide a substantial tax deduction and can potentially increase your retirement income for life. It is generally recommended that you use the Tax-Free Inheritance Trust (insurance trust) in tandem to avoid "disinheriting" your children and grandchildren.
Private Family Foundation - A Family Dynasty of wealth over many generations, with powerful tax benefits and asset protection features. May compensate heirs for doing charitable work in the community.
Action To Take
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Copyright © 1998
Fielder Financial Management, LTD.
All Rights Reserved.
Securities offered through Fortune Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC. Fielder Financial Management, Ltd. not affiliated with Fortune Financial Services, Inc. Mark Fielder, Financial Professional, CA. Insurance Lic. # 0690576.
Disclosure: Fielder Financial Management, Ltd., nor its employees, provides legal advice. The material contained in this forum is not opinion or legal advice. We do not practice law. Only a qualified estate planning attorney or private council can provide and render such advice. If you do not have an estate planning attorney, we can possibly recommend options. * "Super-Rich". Phillips Publishing, 1992, Keep Your Wealth in Your Family.