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Estate Planning For High Net-Worth Individuals

There are two sure things in life: death and taxes.

Since neither can be avoided, it’s essential that high net-worth individuals partner with a trustworthy, professional accountant and an honest estate-planning attorney to protect their heirs’ inheritances.

Estate planning for a high net-worth individual encompasses things like appointing a trustee, minimizing estate taxes and avoiding probate.

Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services helps high net worth individuals plan for estate preservation.

Estate taxes are sometimes referred to as wealth transfer taxes and include income, gift, and generation-skipping taxes.

There are many exemptions and nuances as far as these taxes are concerned. For example, there are unified credits and annual exclusion gifts that allow exemptions of up to $5.6 million.

In order to ensure estate tax liabilities are minimized, among other reasons, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is for a high net worth individual to enlist the guidance of trustworthy professionals who are well versed in estate planning.

Sometimes unexpected and unfortunate things happen to good people during their lifetimes. An estate-planning professional will help a high net worth individual plan for this contingency, as well.

Incapacitation planning is an important part of estate planning for high net-worth individuals. Plans should be implemented now to protect your assets in the event that you are incapacitated by aging, an accident, or illness.

Incapacitation planning ensures that your dependents will be provided for, the trustee of your choice be in charge of your estate, your property be managed according to your wishes, and that you’ll receive the end-of-life treatment you want.

Much like a trustee is appointed to manage your estate, a Power of Attorney should be assigned to take care of your affairs in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.

A Durable Power of Attorney would manage things like your mail, bank accounts, property investments, and other assets.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney would manage things like your medical care, long-term care, and decisions about medical treatments, etc.

During incapacitation planning, a good estate-planning attorney would typically advise a high net worth individual to do many things including appointing a HIPAA Release Agent to access your medical information, creating a Living Will as a directive of your wishes to those providing your end-of-life care, completing a Revocable Trust to assign a successor trustee, and creating a Guardianship Declaration to ensure your dependent minors will be cared for according to your wishes.

There are many sophisticated financial tools available for estate planning for high net-worth individuals. Asset sheltering trusts, charitable giving strategies to minimize tax liability, and life insurance products to name a few.

Surprisingly, a high percentage of Americans with investable assets of at least $1 million haven’t consulted an expert to setup even a basic estate plan.

Even fewer have included health care costs or earmarked savings for future medical needs.

After all, most of us avoid thinking about our mortality or incapacitation in any income bracket.

We all have different fears. For some, it’s being a burden to their children. For others, it’s being kept on life support, and others fear the thought of living in a nursing home.

Implementing a few key estate planning strategies now can help alleviate some of these fears, shelter your heirs’ inheritances, and protect your loved ones.