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Family and Estate Tax Planning



Earning income is one thing; accumulating and preserving it are different things entirely. Although we are generally concerned with income taxes, few individuals are in the maximum income tax bracket of nearly forty percent. Yet, when they combine the value of their home, employer-provided and individually-owned insurance policies, and retirement plan assets, many individuals are surprised to find themselves in the maximum transfer tax bracket. In that bracket the government gets almost as much of your accumulated wealth as do your heirs. We can demonstrate to you that the tax cost of passing your retirement plan assets to your children can reach sixty-five percent.

 

We believe that everyone should plan how their estate is to be distributed to their loved ones. This requires us to work with our clients to help them identify their objectives for their accumulated wealth. Once we have identified their objectives, our role is to develop a plan to meet those objectives at the least possible tax cost.

Developing a comprehensive family estate plan typically allows us to coordinate input from the client's attorney, investment counsel, and insurance agents. We believe that each of these areas is an important professional specialty and should be addressed by individuals trained in these fields.

One estate may require a simple will. Another may require one or more trusts to meet the client's tax and nontax objectives. A third may require a complex family limited partnership arrangement. We have the knowledge and expertise to work with any of these requirements.

Contrary to popular belief, leaving one's entire estate to a surviving spouse is typically not the best approach. This could result in more than $50,000 of additional estate tax at the second death. Effective tax planning is not expensive; it does not cost; it pays.


©2008 Ronnie C. McClure, PhD, CPA