Ultra-high net worth individuals spend ample time managing their assets to ensure they’re adequately distributed or allocated to the right places. Furthermore, to ensure their wealth is properly managed after their demise, they need to use ultra-high net worth estate planning services so that their wealth doesn’t end up in the hands of the IRS. If you have $5 million or more worth of liquid assets, you should request a free copy of our book, 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning to learn about some vital estate planning strategies.
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At Pillar Wealth Management, we can help you with tax planning. Our fiduciary, fee-only wealth advisors offer comprehensive recommendations to clients with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets. We can even execute specific estate planning strategies that apply to wealthy individuals. Sign up for a free consultation with one of our expert advisors to learn more about our estate planning services.
What Is Ultra High Net Worth Estate Planning?
You might have heard the term “estate planning” from financial advisors before and wondered what it’s all about. Some people believe this is the act of planning real estate purchases, but in fact, estate planning refers to the collection of services associated with preparing the distribution of assets after an individual’s demise.
It’s highly recommended that ultra-high net worth individuals invest in an estate planning strategy as they have more to lose in bonds, stocks, cash, mutual funds, cryptocurrency, and various other liquid assets than regular individuals. Estate planning typically includes:
- Distributing assets to charities
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries and heirs
- Settling estate taxes.
With the help of an estate planning attorney, an ultra-high net worth individual can decide how their assets are going to be managed, preserved, and allocated to their selected beneficiaries upon their demise or incapacity. The attorney can even provide guidelines on how to safeguard vulnerable beneficiaries such as minor children or people with special needs, how to manage healthcare costs and decisions, and how to reduce state and federal taxes. With these factors in mind, it’s imperative that ultra-high net worth individuals have a solid estate plan in place to allow for an orderly transition of wealth and assets. Solicit a copy of our book, 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning to learn more about estate planning.
What Makes a Good Estate Plan?
When it comes to estate planning, the first thing you need to understand is what the components of an effective and successful estate plan are.
Well, a good estate plan clearly highlights what happens to your assets and who will act on your behalf if you’re unable to do so yourself. Here are some elements of a comprehensive estate plan.
A Will is an official, legal document that outlines who will get specific percentages of your assets and wealth upon your demise. This is one of the most essential elements of your estate plan. If you pass away without having a will, the state will decide how your assets are distributed. This process can differ from one state to another. A qualified estate attorney can help you draft a will and if your liquid assets exceed $10 million, make sure to order a free copy of our book, 7 Secrets To High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning.
2. Power of Attorney
This document is intended to assign a person, such as a spouse or an adult, to take control and manage your finances in case you become incapacitated. The individual you assign, popularly known as your agent, will have decision-making power with respect to your finances.
A power of attorney is incredibly important, irrespective of whether you’re single or have a family with no well-defined candidate. You have complete control over how much guidance and discretion to give the appointed person in managing your finances. You might even authorize them to nominate an individual of your liking to act as your guardian or conservator when needed.
If you do not appoint someone through a power of attorney before your demise, the court will determine who should be designated to manage your wealth and financial affairs.
A trust is a legal entity that works as a nominal owner with the legal title to the property on behalf of the heirs and beneficiaries. The individual creating the trust will determine how and when beneficiaries receive assets in the trust. Generally, assets are subject to probate; however, keeping them in the trust helps to avoid probate.
While there are several kinds of trusts, many ultra-high net worth individuals choose revocable trusts or living trusts. These trusts enable you to retain control of the assets in the trust so that you can revoke or amend the terms at any time. In addition, you can name a trustee to take care of you using your own financial assets. Simultaneously, you can give the trustee the power to look after your children and spouse during the period you are incapacitated.
Upon your demise, the trustee will provide for your family in accordance with the guidelines you set in your trust. For example, you can direct the trustee to divide the trust among your heirs and pay for their education accordingly. You can then instruct them to allocate the funds to the heirs when they reach a particular age.
Conversely, when you set up an irrevocable trust, the assets in it no longer stay yours. Additionally, you cannot change the terms without the consent of the beneficiaries. The advantage of this option is that any assets that appreciate are not subject to estate taxes. Plus, irrevocable trusts are a great choice if you wish to protect some assets from your creditors or your beneficiaries’ creditors. To find out more about creating a trust, schedule a video consultation with our managers at your convenience.
4. Healthcare Directive
If you want to make particular medical decisions regarding your health, a healthcare directive is essential. It works very much like a power of attorney as you allocate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you aren’t able to do so yourself. Again, the documents you include in your health directive can differ by state and depend on local laws. These might include:
- Healthcare Proxy: This document designates the individual you chose to make your medical decisions if you become terminally ill. It can be your spouse; a parent, child, or sibling; or anyone else you consider fit.
- Living Will: A written statement that contains guidelines for your healthcare, which have to be followed in case you become incapacitated. In certain cases, there can be disagreements among family members regarding the steps that should be taken in your care. A living will makes sure that you get treatment according to your wishes.
What Are Considered Assets in an Estate?
An asset in an estate refers to property that was owned by the deceased at the time of their demise. Examples of assets in an estate include investments, bank accounts, real estate, retirement savings, jewelry, artwork, real estate, a corporation, a business, vehicles, household furnishings, smartphones, computers, and any debts owed to the deceased.
Note that this isn’t a comprehensive list. As a matter of fact, there are several kinds of property an individual can own. Similarly, there are many exceptions.
For instance, an individual might legally own property as a trustee for the benefit of another individual. Once a trustee passes away, the asset is no longer regarded as an asset in an estate.
The deceased might have owned property jointly with another individual. Typically, the deceased’s ownership ends at their demise, leaving the other individual as the owner. This isn’t always the case. A qualified advisor can help by advising you regarding the law on joint ownership.
Certain kinds of accounts might have a designated beneficiary, including tax-free savings accounts and retirement savings accounts. If there’s a living designated beneficiary, the property will not be considered an estate asset. Certain estate assets are easy to understand. Others are quite challenging, such as small businesses, partnerships, intellectual property, or stock options. Some have time limits for decisions to be made about them.
It’s important to identify assets in an estate as soon as possible. To get more details regarding what are considered assets in an estate, book a free video meeting with us.
Do Financial Planners Do Estate Planning?
While financial planners can help with estate planning, they cannot do it single-handedly. You will also have to work with a lawyer regarding various estate planning needs.
Financial planners basically help put long-term financial objectives into perspective. They will help you devise a financial plan that encompasses a statement of your net worth along with a risk profile and your retirement and financial goals. Moreover, financial planners review your investments and study them in the context of how likely they are to achieve those goals. They might offer suggestions to align your investments with your goals.
While a financial planner manages and grows wealth, an estate planning attorney secures your assets. They assist with planning for possible incapacitation. For instance, if you develop Alzheimer’s, your estate plans can help direct your family members on how to proceed legally, financially, and medically. In addition, an estate planning attorney is necessary to prepare legal documents and help with the financial aspects of setting up wills and trusts for you and your beneficiaries.
Why Choose Pillar Wealth Management?
There are many financial firms offering wealth management, financial planning, and estate planning services across the country. Nevertheless, few firms offer the quality we offer at Pillar Wealth Management. Some reasons to choose our firm include:
Our experts have sixty years of experience with wealth management. Their expertise and knowledge are invaluable when guiding clients toward their future goals. We have helped numerous clients overcome financial obstacles over the years and aim to use the knowledge we have acquired and offer helpful advice for every situation.
We understand that every client has unique needs. Some people want to build their wealth, whereas others are interested in protecting their future with retirement planning and estate planning.
As a result, we provide personalized services for every client. Our plans are tailored to match your understanding of investment and finance. This makes sure you can follow along with every strategy comfortably.
Last Few Words
Ultra-high net worth estate planning works as an instruction manual guiding affluent individuals on what needs to be done with their property, assets, and personal belongings if they were to become incapacitated or die. Thus, an estate plan entails the legal documents offering instructions to secure your family’s future following your demise.
If you are looking for full-fledged wealth management services that don’t just cover estate planning but also entail all other elements of financial planning such as retirement planning, tax planning, and investments, contact Pillar Wealth Management — a fee-only firm serving individuals with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets. To hire a competent wealth manager, set up a video meeting with one of our team members at your earliest convenience.
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