Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Is Estate Tax Planning Different From Estate Planning?
Estate planning helps ensure that your assets will be transferred to the appropriate people, at the appropriate time and in the appropriate fashion.
On the other hand, estate tax planning helps you structure your assets so that they are valued for gift, estate and generation skipping transfer tax purposes to allow the transfer of the most wealth with the least possible tax.
2. Am I A Good Candidate For Estate Tax Planning?
You are a good candidate for estate tax planning if:
You are a single individual with an estate of $5,250,000 or more or plan on having an estate of that size by the time you pass away
You are a married couple with an estate of $10,500,000 or more or plan on having an estate of that size by the time the survivor passes away.
3. What Should I Do To Prepare For The Estate Tax Planning Process?
In order to prepare for the estate tax planning process you should:
- Have your estate planning documents (will, living trust, durable powers of attorney for healthcare and asset management, “blanket” assignment of assets and trust certificate) in good shape or know how you wish to restate them.
- Have your personal financial statement and a statement that shows your personal sources and uses of funds on an annual basis.
- Complete a personal information checklist and bring to the meeting other documents (personal tax returns and information on entities in which you have an interest, information on life insurance policies and retirement plans, etc).
4. What Special Training And Experience Do You Have In Estate Tax Planning?
It is important to have a tax professional with decades of experience in preparing hundreds of sophisticated estate tax plans.
5. How Long Will This Process Take?
After the initial meeting to determine your objectives, the estate tax planning process can transpire over as little as one month. However, depending upon the planning process that you select, it can be implemented gradually over a series of years.
6. How Much Will This Process Cost?
Some sophisticated estate tax planning can be accomplished for as little as $10,000. Of course, more elaborate planning can be many times that amount.
7. How Should I Feel When This Is Done?
The goal of estate tax planning is for you to feel comfortable that you have done the best you can to assure your heirs that the assets will be transferred with the least possible tax impact.