Estate Planning for Wealthy Families

Estate Planning for Wealthy Families


One of the best and most essential things a family with wealth can do to protect and grow their wealth is to create a solid financial estate plan. According to a 2014 report by Vanguard, seeking an advisor to build a financial estate plan is one of the top three services sought by affluent families (besides implementation of tax-advantaged strategies and planning for long-term care).

In such situations, a good plan makes all the difference – not only will it cover the goals the family wishes to attain, it will also keep searching for areas to improve in, and when necessary adapt to changes and include new situations.

Here are some estate-planning tips that you can use to protect and grow the wealth that belongs to you and your family:

Minimize your taxes:

While planners are the best at doing what they do (provided you’ve done your research and hired a good one), they are usually not the most knowledgeable when it comes to tax matters. It is, therefore best that you consult a tax lawyer or accountant who can help you minimize your taxes as much as possible before you begin the process of building your estate plan. Tax lawyers work with estate planners and advisors to review areas where benefits can be maximized through conducting an early division of assets.

Add a life insurance plan:

Making the addition of a life insurance plan into the financial one has more than a few benefits. For starters, it works as a great way to manage tax and risk-related expenses within corporations. Secondly, it serves as a handy tool for families that have high spending rates but wish to leave a certain estate value behind with as few tax litigations as possible.

Take your family structure into account:

Usually, families that are more affluent and wealthy than others tend to have a more detailed and complicated asset structure. This is at least partially because of the fact that many of said assets get implemented in an ad hoc manner over a large period of time, with the hiring of multiple tax lawyers and/or accountants.

Generally, creating a uniform family governance plan will help formalize the structure into a clean, solid shape. This would help make the financial structure more efficient and accountable and reduce costs tremendously. The factors to be taken into account here should be the formal setting out of family members’ roles and responsibilities, and a thorough calculation of the required outside expertise (such as investment, legal, and accounting).

Make your will early – and review your will regularly:

Quite surprisingly, it is a known fact that people tend to not make wills unless they cross a certain age. To most people who are young, making a will and an estate plan is a waste of time, money and personal involvement.

In reality, however, the only person who can validate the truth of the matter as an estate planner. With solid estate background and experience (from practical experience to memberships of prestigious organizations such as of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), planners will be able to map out a procedure and summarize the areas that needs the attention of a lawyer. Undertaking this process when you are young – and reviewing it regularly will help you stay organized, fulfill the current financial needs of you and your family, reduce otherwise unnecessary legal bills, and make sure that the a well-formulated will exists, capable of handling any and all situations.

Allocate your investments:

Last but not the least, you must integrate all of the above into designing and building your investment portfolio, in accordance to the Investment Policy Statement. Doing this can require some initial heavy lifting, but it will be worth it when you are relieved that a solid estate plan is in action.

To allocate your investments fairly, make sure than the investment assets are well-diversified, yet dynamic enough to be easily changes with changes in the family structure.