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Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning
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Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Planning


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This presentation shows some of the most basic elements of a comprehensive estate plan.

This presentation shows some of the most basic elements of a comprehensive estate plan.

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  • 1. Essential Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Plan
    399 Knollwood Road, Suite 300
    White Plains, New York 10603
  • 2. Ideal Clients
    A Client with a Family Member who Recently Died
    May be entitled to more money than they are being told
    Any person or couple with over $1 million of Net Worth
    Avoid or minimize New York Estate Taxes
    Disabled clients or Clients with Disabled Children
    Take advantage of government programs (SSI, Medicaid)
    Young Parents
    Establish choice of children’s guardians and establish financial safeguards
    Clients with Beneficiaries who are Spendthrifts or Addicts
    Protect money from beneficiary’s creditors
    Divorced Clients / Clients in a Second Marriage
    Establish distributive plan for specific children prior to death / disputes; fix “loose ends” from the marriage
    Elderly Clients / Clients with Old Estate Plans
    Update estate plan to reflect current desires
    Clients without Children
    Help determine an estate plan that benefits closest relatives
    Same-Sex Couples / Unmarried Couples – “Partners”
    “Partners” receive NOTING under State Law
    Business Owners / People Owning Real Estate
    May receive discounts on their estate taxes
    Clients with Non-Citizen Spouses
    Different estate planning Laws apply to non-citizens
    Charitably Inclined Clients
    Charities do NOT receive unless specifically mentioned in documents
  • 3. Comprehensive Estate Planning
  • 4. Legal Documents
    Last Will and Testament:
    • Distributes all assets that are NOT:
    • 5. Joint accounts
    • 6. Retirement plans
    • 7. Life insurance
    • 8. Business interests
    • 9. Assets held in Trust
    • 10. Designates a beneficiary for minor and disabled children
    • 11. Establishes Trusts that take effect AFTER you die
    • 12. Completely public, overseen by the Surrogate’s Court
    • Can own property and use it to benefit the Creator of the Trust
    • 13. At the Creator’s death the estate is distributed privately, funds can be used to help survivors immediately, and investment can continue
    • 14. NO court intervention (unless there are serious disagreements)
    Living Documents
    • Allows your designated Agent to take care of your financial, burial and health care matters
    Deeds (to Real Estate)
    • Can be made out to individuals, couples, parents & children, LLCs, FLPs, etc.
    • 15. ** Real Estate passed by a Trust MUST have the Trust named as owner on the Deed
  • Gifts
    Cash Gifts
    You can gift $1 million plus $13,000 per year to anyone and everyone
    Gifts to minors should be held in Trust, an UGMA or an UTMA to avoid a “Guardianship Proceedings” and avoid attachment by Creditors
    ** If the Custodian of an UGMA or UTMA dies the account’s value is included in their estate
    ** Any gift over $13,000 in one year REQUIRES an IRS Form 709 to be filed
    529 Plans
    Can be used to pay for almost ANY higher education expense (car, food, housing)
    Grows tax deferred, withdrawn tax free, can be used for other family beneficiaries
    ** If the Donor does not name a successor to the 529 Plan or dies after front-laoding the Plan SOME or ALL of the value may be included in their gross estate
    Health and Education Expenses
    Any person can pay an unlimited amount of money for another person’s healtcare or higher education expenses
    ** The donor MUST pay the funds DIRECTLY to the health care or educational institution
  • 16. Accounts & Beneficiary Forms(1) Also know as “Testamentary Substitutes”(2) All Pass by a process called “Operation of Law”
    Types of Accounts
    Individual Property & “Tenant in Common” (passes by Will, Trust or Intestacy)
    Joint Property – automatically passes at the death of the first owner
    ** NOT always! If a bank account passes to a non-spouse it is by default considered a “Convenience Account” unless account says “JTWROS” (and is included in the estate)
    “Tenants by the Entirety” – Joint Property status only between two spouses while married
    Life Insurance
    There is (1) an owner, (2) an insured, and (3) beneficiaries
    ** A Trust can be an owner and / or a beneficiary, thereby protecting it from creditors, but it MUST be memorialized in the life insurance company’s paperwork
    ** Upon divorce an Ex-Spouse does NOT receive benefits from a Will, but DOES still receive the life insurance proceeds unless the forms are changed
    Retirement Plans
    Spouses are entitled to “Qualified Plan” benefits under Federal Law, but are only entitled to IRA benefits under State Law
    ** This is where most “General Practitioners” destroy an estate plan: By forgetting (or not knowing how) to properly fill out beneficiary designation forms
  • 17.
  • 18. “Intestacy” (I.e. Dying without a Will)
    Your clients have an estate plan already! New York decided it for you. But do they like it?
    ** REMEMBER: “Testamentary Substitutes” (Joint Property, Life Insurance, Retirement Accounts,
    Trust Property and Business Interests (sometimes)) pass automatically by “Operation of Law”