We assist both individuals and families in the creation of estate plans designed to further their personal and financial goals. We work closely with our clients to utilize lifetime strategies to help them to get the right property to the right people at the right time. We also assist our clients with estate balancing, gift-giving, and charitable planning to reduce the impact of estate taxes. Our services include the preparation of wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, health care proxies, and living wills, documents which are designed to dovetail with the existing financial plans and insurance coverage of our clients.
Prior to the initial conference at Woodman & Eaton, our team will review any asset information provided to us by the client and then in conjunction with our clients we will design a custom tailored plan that will address their circumstances. Our team uses a trust centered approach to estate planning, and through the use of Trust Funding our clients may maximize the benefits of trusts both during and after their lifetimes.
Once their estate planning documents are in place, many of our clients ask us to assist them in transferring their assets into the names of their revocable trusts, a process we call Trust Funding. The goals of Trust Funding are as follows:
- To fund trusts with the amount necessary to maximize the trusts’ ability to shelter assets from estate taxes;
- To fund creditor protected trusts and continuing trusts for the benefit of children and other heirs;
- To transfer as many of the "probate assets" as reasonably possible to the trusts to minimize the necessity of probate estate administration.
The first goal of our Trust Funding process is by far the most important as it often determines whether hundreds of thousands of dollars are subject to state and federal estate taxes, which currently total an approximate rate of 50%. The second goal is also very important from a creditor protection and asset management perspective. The last goal of our Trust Funding process is important from the perspective of minimizing the difficulties, delays and expenses of estate administration for a surviving spouse, children and heirs.