A Team Approach to Tax and Estate Planning

Better Estate Planning involves the development of an estate plan reflected in documents that focus on enabling you to achieve your unique and individual estate planning goals.   They are a vital part of your planning process.   But they should not be the only part.

Your investments and insurance need to work in concert with your estate planning documents toward enabling your estate plan to succeed.   For example, a planning goal of assuring payment of your grandchildren’s college educations will fail if you do not set aside funds toward that purpose.   It will succeed to the extent the investments chosen to help you achieve that goal are the right investments.   Your goal of balancing your own need for a comfortable income in retirement with leaving a financial legacy for your children requires a mix of investments designed to meet both of those goals. Your ability to pay for long-term care requires an analysis of both your current and future financial situation, as well as insurance products that you might wish to consider to address that need. Similarly, you may need life insurance to assure an inheritance for your loved ones after you die.

Your estate plan must be sensitive to the ways in which it might impact, and be impacted by, the income, capital gains, estate and gift tax consequences of the planning measures you will implement.   It is often the case that there is more than one legal alternative available toward achieving an estate planning goal, and that the best choice among those alternatives is the one that enables you and your family to achieve the best tax outcome.   Someone with a solid working knowledge of the tax laws and the ways in which they apply to your situation can be of invaluable help in finding that best solution.

One of the core concepts of Better Estate Planning is that your estate and tax planning goals can best be realized through the wise choice of investment vehicles and insurance products that serve as integral parts of your estate plan.  That is why we welcome and encourage a “team approach” to estate planning involving you, us, your professional investment and insurance advisor(s), and an accountant – particularly a certified public accountant (“CPA”).

The mark of any true professional is being able to realize not only one’s abilities, but also one’s limitations.   We are estate planning attorneys. While we have learned a great deal about wise investing and risk management through our work with professional investment and insurance advisors, we do not have or claim their expertise in selecting from the vast array of available investment and insurance products those that will be best suited for your situation.   Similarly, while our work as attorneys requires us to have a solid working knowledge of the various tax laws, we do not have or claim the special expertise in tax analysis and planning that CPAs bring to the table.

When professionals with different perspectives and expertise work together toward helping you achieve your planning goals, good ideas often beget even better ones.   That’s the real advantage of a team approach to estate and tax planning.

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