Estate Planning and Settlement
Make plans for your estate, and leave them in good hands.
Do I need an estate plan?
The short answer is yes. It may sound like the business of the wealthy, but estate planning is for everyone. The minute you buy a car, you need a beneficiary. As soon as you get married, you need a will. And if you have children, there are even more things to consider.
An estate plan will provide direction and guidance during your lifetime, and the management, protection, and transfer of your assets after you pass away. It can help ensure a lasting financial legacy, but there are many ways to get there. Our experienced, professional advisors can help you navigate your options and determine which path is right for you
Every plan is one of a kind. Personalized service and flexibility are catch phrases at many institutions, but for us, it’s a way of life. Everything we do is personal, flexible, and customized to meet your unique goals and needs. We’ll work closely with your designated professionals to develop a plan to manage your assets and fulfill your vision.
Getting to Know You
What’s your plan? We know every legacy starts with a plan, so we’ll start by listening to you, your priorities, your passions, and who you want to take care of.
We’ve learned through decades of experience that identifying answers to some key questions can provide great clarity in determining your ultimate estate planning goals and communicating those goals to your family. Questions like:
- How much wealth do you need during your lifetime?
- How much wealth should transfer to family and when is the right time to do it?
- Do you wish to make charitable gifts as a tax-saving strategy?
Once we understand your unique situation, we’ll walk you through your options and provide guidance. We’ll review and summarize your existing estate planning documents and address any issues and concerns we uncover.
After we’ve completed these steps, we can help you develop a strategy to accomplish your objectives. We’ll offer solutions and help you create an estate plan that meets your needs and fulfills your short and long-term goals. This plan will serve as a blueprint, now and in the future, for all those responsible for handling your affairs.
Probate and Estate Settlement
What is probate?
Probate is a court process to oversee the distribution of assets once a person passes away. Any asset that is left in only one person’s name must go through probate. This can be costly and time consuming.
Probate and estate settlement go hand-in-hand. While most people are interested in learning about probate-avoidance strategies, occasionally probate can be the best option. But when it is necessary, the probate process can often be costly and time consuming. We know and understand probate law. Our team of professionals can work closely with you to explain your options and help you determine your best course of action.
Why choose a corporate executor?
Selecting an executor for your estate is a very personal and important decision. Many people choose a family member or close friend to perform this duty, but for the novice or grieving family member, it can be overwhelming. Having a corporate executor allows you to pass off the many required tasks, yet still be very active in the process.
We routinely serve as a corporate executor. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to completing the settlement process quickly and efficiently. All executor fees are set by state law, so you can feel confident in knowing you will never pay more for our expertise than what a family member or friend would be permitted to charge for the same service.
Things to consider when choosing an executor:
Availability: An executor must be available when needed, regardless of other family or business matters.
Impartiality: An executor must be free from personal bias. All family members need to feel that no one is favored and that all have equal access to information.
Knowledge: Estate administration can be complicated. State laws govern the process and unfamiliar tax laws can come into play. A variety of filings need to be made on time. If errors are made, penalties and fines may occur. Executors should have the knowledge to get it done the right way, the first time.
Experience: Every estate presents a unique mix of assets: personal property, stocks and bonds, life insurance, investment real estate, and/or family business interest. The executor must know how to handle all types of assets and holdings.
Investment Capabilities: An executor must have an understanding of current financial markets and be capable of making informed investment decisions.
Patience & Sensitivity: Estate settlement is a time of grief and adjustment. The executor needs to be responsive to concerns of the beneficiaries.
Longevity: No one knows when the executor’s services will be needed. A corporate executor needs to be ready to serve at any time and complete the job of estate settlement, no matter how long it takes.
We understand the tax laws and work closely with local attorneys and accountants during the settlement process. Some of the duties we perform as an executor are:
- Collect, preserve, and manage the assets
- Pay all bills
- File all necessary tax returns
- File all necessary court papers
- Distribute the assets according to the will