Palm Springs Advanced Estate Planning Lawyer

Palm Springs Advanced Estate Planning Lawyer

Advanced estate planning, as the name implies, is a process of greater complexity than the estate planning needed for most individuals and families. What most clearly differentiates techniques used in advanced estate planning from the more common tools of the trade is that they are designed specifically to avoid estate taxes for high net worth clients. Our practice, Heritage Legal, in Palm Springs, serves an inclusive group of advanced estate planning clients, many from the LGBTQ community. We make it a point to focus in on the particular needs of each person or couple that comes to us and have a well-earned reputation for being efficient and responsive. The majority of our clients come to us through personal referrals.

We are familiar with every aspect of advanced estate planning and keep careful watch over any legal changes that will affect those of our clients who have accumulated substantial assets. We have a number of tried and true tactics to protect your estate from excessive taxation, predatory creditors or fraudulent schemes and are always researching innovative techniques that may provide even more airtight protection. We continually strive to make the process of advanced estate planning comforting rather than stressful. For example, our office has pups we refer to as “therapy dogs” because they add warmth and affection that is particularly supportive for clients dealing with loss.

Other Reasons to Consider Advanced Estate Planning

In addition to having a substantial estate, other situations may make advanced estate planning strategies essential in your particular case, such as:

  • Your assets are not only substantial but diversified (i.e. you have not only cash and bank accounts, but stocks, real estate, valuable collections and other holdings)
  • Your tax situation is complicated by the nature of your holdings (some of which may be out of the country), your business relationships, your varying types of real estate property or specific laws relevant to your particular case
  • Your family members or other beneficiaries are likely to be in conflict when your wealth is distributed and you’d like to define the distribution of your property in such a way that turmoil and confrontation are minimized or avoided altogether
  • You are a public figure in the world of politics, entertainment, corporate finance, sports or the arts and this makes you and your family more vulnerable to lawsuits, fraud, blackmail and/or false claims of familial or romantic connections
  • Some of your assets are tied up in divorce, civil or criminal litigation

At Heritage Legal we are well aware of how important it is to you to preserve your wealth, reputation, and legacy and to pass on your accumulated assets to your loved ones. Chris Heritage has a winning combination of advanced estate planning knowledge and legal talent to ensure that your estate is fully protected from any forces that seek to interfere with your best intentions.

Heritage Legal Has Many Strategies to Protect Your Assets and Your Loved Ones

First of all, Heritage Legal is always at the cutting-edge of advanced estate planning techniques so we were informing our clients of the coming 2018 changes to the tax code even before they went into effect. These changes have raised the gift tax exemption for individuals to $11.4 million (up from $5.49 million) and for couples to $22.8 million. In addition, the annual gift exclusion amount -- the amount an individual can give as an annual gift without taxation -- has gone up to $15,000 from $14,000. These facts are important to know going forward because they are helpful in planning gifting strategies to avoid unnecessary taxation.

In addition to keeping you posted about any and all new laws and regulations that may affect you, Heritage Legal’s advanced estate planning services include making good use of the following strategies:

Family Limited Partnerships

Creating a Family Limited Partnership (FLP) among members of your family provides you with the ability to save on gift taxes and protect your assets. This action also offers the benefit of allowing you to retain control over transferred assets even though you have decreased your estate by their value. In other words, neither you nor your heirs will pay gift taxes on either end. Moreover, because the partnership is not publicly-traded, a discount can be applied based upon the lack of marketability of the limited partnership interest. Chris Heritage will carefully construct your FLP so that creditor protection of the assets is an integral part of the process.

Qualified Personal Residence Trusts

Qualified Personal Residence Trusts are an important tool in advanced estate planning. At Heritage Legal we frequently make use of QPRTs (“Q-Perts”) since they allow you to “give away” your home, or your second home, while you continue to live in it. Basically, QPRTs freeze the value of this residence for estate tax purposes.

The title of the property is transferred typically to your child or children, but you retain the right to continue to inhabit the premises for a specified number of years. If you die before the end of the specified period, the house passes seamlessly to your heirs or beneficiaries tax-free. By giving your home away, you have also lessened the value of your estate, usually by a significant amount, so you will be better served in terms of any estate taxes that might be owed.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

Many of our advanced estate planning clients are unaware that life insurance proceeds are subject to federal estate taxes. While it is true that life insurance proceeds are not taxed as income, the value of the life insurance policy is counted as a component of your taxable estate. This means that your loved ones will lose approximately half of the worth of your life insurance when they receive it unless you take steps to protect your insurance policy from estate taxes.

By setting up an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) for you, Heritage Legal creates a safe haven for the life insurance funds. Once the ILIT has been properly established and administered, the trust holds the policy and therefore the policy is no longer part of your estate. This means the insurance proceeds are no longer taxable and your beneficiary will receive the full value of the policy free and clear. The ILIT is a way of providing your loved one with money to pay off any debts or final expenses without dipping into the estate itself.

Contact Our Palm Springs Advanced Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are seeking a savvy advanced estate planning attorney, you are likely managing a substantial estate comprised of the earnings hard-won by your own determination and skill and possibly the accumulated wealth of generations. Knowing what’s at stake, you want to do all you can to provide security and comfort to your family and your future descendants.

More likely than not you also want to maximize your charitable giving and leave a meaningful legacy. Heritage Legal, through strategic planning including, but certainly not limited to the measures explained above, is here to help you move smoothly through the complexities of the process. We will always treat you with concern and respect, realizing that we’re assisting you in a project that is central to your life. Give us a call or contact us through our website. We’re eager to help you organize and preserve.

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