Estate Planning and Administration
While each estate plan is necessarily unique in response to the needs and goals of a particular family, there are several core considerations that must always be addressed - the first being whether or not estate TAX planning is necessary. This type of tax planning is governed by the Internal Revenue Code and the many rules and regulations promulgated in conjunction with the code. Given the complex provisions and language required in the various types of trusts utilized to comply with IRS regulations and legally avoid estate taxes, only attorneys experienced in this area of law should be retained. Here at Herman Legal, we have substantial experience analyzing the tax implications of varied insurance and charitable trust arrangements and drafting the requisite documents to avoid estate taxes as much as possible. We also have strong relationships with other insurance, financial and tax professionals, whose assistance can be invaluable with these matters.
All that said, most people do not require tax planning because of what is known as the "unified credit." For 2011 and 2012, the unified credit allows every individual to pass assets valued at up to $5 Million to his/her heirs completely estate tax free. However, even if tax planning is unnecessary, there are other extremely important considerations - most notably related to our family circumstances, beneficiaries and the desired distribution of our assets. For example, minor children must always be protected (both in terms of physical and financial care). Also, beneficiaries may have special needs due to mental incapacities, substance abuse issues and/or the lack of ability to legitimately handle finances. Some of us even have beloved pets who we want taken care of and provided for. Absent some type of estate plan, the treatment of our loved ones and accummulated wealth will be resolved by the State, which no one wants.
In short, no one can deny how important it is to have an estate plan in place, as well as the significant decisions that have to be made. For example, many people struggle with whether their core estate planning document should be a revocable living trust or a will. At Herman Legal, we do not always advocate a particular document or product. Every recommendation we make is unique to the needs of the specific client(s), and it is our goal to assist them in understanding their options (and ramifications) and making knowledgeable decisions in the best interests of their families.
Please contact us with any questions and/or to schedule a free consultation. In order to fully benefit from our initial analysis of your needs, please download and complete whichever of the following three confidential information gathering forms applies to you. Either email the completed form to us in advance or bring it to the meeting.