Estate Planning

Estate Planning consists of a two-fold process of creating and using family assets during your lifetime for the benefit and support of your family, and the preservation of those assets upon your death. Therefore, there are two basic elements in the typical estate plan: (1) the acquisition and retention of assets during life; and (2) the transfer and distribution of those assets upon death.

Minimizing Transfer Taxes

There are three basic techniques to avoid the payment of estate and gift taxes. They are the marital deduction, unified credit, and lifetime gifts. Please ask your Sterling Financial Representative for more information about these and other means of minimizing/transferring taxes.

Transferring Wealth

This area of estate planning deals with methods and techniques that are available to you in transferring your estate to your loved ones prior to or at the time of your death. If you have no estate plan at the time of your death, then your estate will be transferred according to a “plan” that the State has prescribed by law.

Charitable Giving

Giving is a strategy for helping to reduce the size of your taxable estate. In addition, charitable giving can help benefit your tax planning and asset management while you are alive. This can be accomplished through the use of Charitable Remainder Trusts, Wealth Placement Trusts, and Private Foundations, to name a few. Depending upon the strategy used, there can be significant benefits to both donors and charities.

Asset Protection

Protecting assets both during your lifetime and after your death is one of the major goals of estate planning. In other words, proper estate planning encompasses not only the accumulation and distribution of an estate, but also the conservation of both principal and income. Traditional estate planning concentrates on tax reduction and appropriate asset disposition techniques. But your estate planning should also consider the litigious society in which we live and the potential for the loss of a lifetime of effort because of an unanticipated (and underinsured or uninsurable) event. Beware of the financial devastation of a lawsuit and its impact on your estate, and actively seek competent estate planners’ assistance in protecting your assets from such claims.

Liability Protection

Every estate is unique and often includes complex liability issues. Through the proper use of entity structuring and insurances, you can be protected from liability exposure.

Control Issues

Maintaining control of assets within an estate continues to be an issue of extreme importance to our clients. Planning ahead can keep you in complete control while you are alive and help to designate who will be in control after your death.

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Investors should consult with a tax or legal professional regarding their individual situation. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for any purpose of (i)avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed therein.