Estate / Asset Protection Strategies

Your net worth doesn’t grow overnight. It involves hard work, focus and persistence. Unfortunately, unless you apply the same skills to preserving your estate, you can lose a good portion to estate taxes after you die. The problem: Transferring assets – even to your own family – can be a taxable event. That’s why you need to find creative, effective ways to build and preserve your estate.

However, there is no need to rush to your estate planning attorney immediately after Congress changes the tax code. However, it’s more imperative to review your estate plan after major life events—for example, the birth of a child, an illness or a divorce. You may also want to review your estate plan if you switch jobs or experience a sudden change in your family’s finances.

When reviewing your estate plan, make sure the language used doesn’t leave you vulnerable to changes in the law. For example, your plan may specify that a trust should be funded up to the current estate tax exemption or a certain percentage of that limit to maximize the benefits of the current law.

For example, consider the case of “AB trusts,” popular tools used by couples to pass assets to their heirs. One strategy for these trusts is to leave the full estate tax exemption to children while leaving the remainder of the estate to the surviving spouse. But if the exemption amount has increased since you drafted your estate plan, you could end up giving your entire estate to your children—leaving your spouse with nothing.

The estate tax doesn’t have to cause you stress. We can help you determine the appropriate solutions for making your estate plan less vulnerable to changes, while still helping you toward achieving your estate planning goals. To do so, we consider:

  • Will and trust design strategies;
  • Property ownership alternatives, including the review of titling and beneficiaries to coordinate with your overall plan;
  • Estate tax reduction techniques;
  • Insurance analysis;
  • Qualified plan distribution alternatives;
  • Family-gifting strategies;
  • Charitable planning; and
  • Employee stock option optimization.

Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.

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