Families with high level assets often have different estate planning needs than other clients to ensure that their heirs receive as much money as possible. There are a few things that wealthy families in California and other states should keep in mind when contemplating their estate planning process.
Wealthy individuals often need to deal with taxes more than families that earn less money. This is because the federal estate tax is designed so that people who earn more money must often pay more money in taxes. There are a variety of ways that wealthy individuals can lower their tax burden, including charitable donations, trusts and other methods. An experienced estate planning attorney may explain how to lessen the tax burden of wealthy individuals and their heirs.
Wealthy individuals may wish to keep their affairs private more than individuals who earn less money. This is because the public is generally more interest in learning about the family dynamics and news of wealthy individuals. Unfortunately, admitting a will to probate can be a public process. An experienced estate planning attorney may explain how trusts and other non-probate transfers can limit the risk that private details will be exposed during the estate process.
A fiduciary is someone who owes an obligation of good faith and loyalty to another. Wealthy individuals need to rely on fiduciaries like executors of their estate, health care proxies who make medical decisions and others. It is important that wealthy individuals carefully select such individuals so that money is properly managed and wishes are properly carried out.
Wealthy individuals may wish to safeguard their assets from their potential creditors or creditors of their heirs. In many instances, transferring money to family members and friends can make it more difficult for creditors to reach assets, and spendthrift trusts enable settlors to convey assets with a lower risk that creditors will reach the assets. An experienced estate planning attorney and a qualified accountant may discuss further how individuals can safeguard their assets during the estate planning process.