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Estate Planning: The Family Legacy Process™

We developed The Family Legacy Process™ to help reduce the fear that prevents successful people from creating a truly effective estate plan. Once our clients learn that they can maintain control over their assets and enjoy them as long as they live, striving to protect wealth for subsequent generations becomes a positive process that they are eager to undertake.

Our clients have several characteristics in common: they are successful; they pay high taxes, despite their tax burden; they have accumulated substantial assets; and they would like to see those assets remain in their family after they’re gone.

In our experience, the advice from traditional advisors is focused on isolated, piecemeal tax avoidance and ignores the comprehensive wealth management needs of the family. Often, the most important nontax needs, the personal side of estate planning, go unaddressed.

Because of the traditional approach, many people are afraid to use the best techniques available. Fear of losing control, running out of money, and ruining their beneficiaries’ lives with large amounts of uncontrolled assets prevents them from taking action. This inaction creates a windfall for the IRS by allowing them to confiscate wealth that could have been kept in the family.

The steps involved in The Family Legacy Process™ are:

  • Determine current and future lifestyle needs and make sure the assets are sufficient to maintain that lifestyle, even under a worst-case scenario.
  • Uncover goals for family wealth and develop detailed financial models to show if wealth is growing or shrinking over time.
  • Explore options for reduction of estate taxes and transference of family wealth, while maintaining client control and enjoyment of assets for as long as desired.
  • Strive to protect family wealth from creditors, lawsuits, divorce, taxes, market downturns, law changes, and unexpected health issues.
  • Once a plan is finalized, assist in implementation by coordinating legal, tax, and product activities.
  • Monitor plan annually through The Total Wealth Update™ and revise based on changes in the tax code, net worth, and family dynamics.

The Charitable Benefactor Advantage™

One common complaint we hear is that estate planning is really for the next generation and doesn’t provide any benefit to the client, other than financial confidence. Our answer to that is The Charitable Benefactor Advantage™.

By taking advantage of the tax code techniques rewarding charitable giving, we are able to help clients reduce their current income taxes, increase the cash flow from certain types of assets, transfer more of their wealth to their heirs, and benefit the charities they favor.

Unlike common charitable giving techniques that require a client to give up access and enjoyment of their assets in exchange for a current tax deduction and monthly check, our planning allows the client to maintain control of their assets, generate greater cash flow, and keep the assets in the family if desired.

The clients who benefit most from The Charitable Benefactor Advantage™ are those who:

  1. Have large assets with significant capital gains exposure
  2. Would like to generate more cash flow from existing assets
  3. Have high income and save a substantial portion of it
  4. Are planning on selling a large asset or business
  5. Have a high estate tax bill
  6. Have high qualified plan balances

The Charitable Benefactor Advantage™ opens up an often overlooked area of estate planning that provides benefit now, not just down the road.