Whether you have a modest estate or a multi-million dollar estate you have a need for an estate plan; however, wealthy individuals have even more assets to protect requiring very careful estate planning. The wealthy, however, are just as susceptible to making mistakes when creating an estate plan as someone with fewer assets to be concerned about. Therefore, consider the following estate planning tips for the wealthy:
- Consider lifetime gifting— to avoid estate and gift tax exposure, start gifting early on while you are alive. By doing this you can take advantage of tax-free gifting options that will reduce your estate value at death.
- Coordinate your advisors – you likely have one or more financial advisors as well as an estate planning attorney. Instead of duplicating efforts or creating conflicts by working on your plan separately, have them work together to create a universal plan.
- Use available tools – trusts, for example, offer numerous tax and probate avoidance advantages as well as allowing you to exert a certain amount of continued control over trust assets through the trust terms.
- Involve beneficiaries – let your family and other beneficiaries know what your overall goals and plans are so that there are no big surprises when your plan takes effect.
- Review and update – probably the most important estate planning tip for wealthy individuals is to be sure that you continuously review and update your plan. Because your assets are likely to change on a regular basis, you more than most people need to be sure that your estate plan includes your current financial portfolio.