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Estate Planning for Executives

Estate Planning for Executives
As an executive, it’s likely that you’re feeling the pressure of putting together an estate plan.

Your accumulation of assets is more than likely in a variety of contexts including real estate, private equity or taxable investment accounts. Because these forms of wealth often come with complexities when transferring finances to your beneficiaries, it’s important to make a conscious effort to disperse your wealth properly. 

An estate plan clearly defines what should happen with your wealth should you die or become incapacitated. The objectives of such planning include ensuring your beneficiaries receive most of your estate, paying the least amount of taxes on your estate and assigning guardians to any minor children, if necessary.

What To Prepare

Let’s jump into the basics that every thoughtfully developed estate plan should include:
  • Power of Attorney
  • For property
  • For healthcare
  • Will
  • Beneficiaries
  • Revocable trust
  • Guardianship delegations (if applicable) 
Your best option, especially if you have a significant amount of wealth and assets to consider, is to work directly with an estate planner in order to organize these details. They will assist you in addressing these aspects of your finances as well as discussing any complicated tax strategies in your plan.

Focus on Your Taxes

During your lifetime there are a number of different taxes that you’ll want to keep in mind. For example, the generation-skipping tax (GST) applies in addition to either gift tax, if you’re still living, or estate tax when you’ve passed. 

One way to avoid the GST is to use 529 plans for your family members, gifting your grandchildren with educational funds. You’re able to use this plan for each child and a five-year multiple of the current gift tax exemption to make a lump-sum contribution.

Keep Insurance In Mind

If you have life insurance, it’s important to keep in mind that if the funds are made payable to your estate, they will be subject to estate tax. Update your beneficiaries on all forms of insurance in order for the proceeds to go straight to them when the time comes. 

You’re Not Alone

Estate planning can be difficult for anyone, let alone an executive. Make sure you take the time to have conversations with family and financial professionals about how to go about it efficiently. The last thing you would want is for a large portion of your estate taxed at incorrect (higher) rates.

Developing a plan with an advisor that addresses your estate and legacy after you’re gone can be hugely beneficial for you and your loved ones. 

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