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Consulting With Expert Estate Planning Advisors Can Reap Rewards

Before they were married, a young man and woman were both avid savers. They continued that practice throughout their marriage. They consistently tried to maximize their annual 401k and 403b contributions as well as attempting to save on an after-tax basis. They listened to advice for estate planning services provided by the estate planning advisors at HFA and early on developed a long-term investment strategy focusing on proper asset allocation of equities to fixed income assets. Wisely, they created estate planning documents when they were younger, but wanted to be certain the assets they passed on to their four children would carry the least amount of taxes possible.

estate planning

In preparation for a meeting with an estate planning attorney, the couple met with estate planning advisors at HFA and delved into diverse estate preparation strategies. They had many questions. Should we distribute assets outright to our children or leave them in a trust, which would provide protection from creditors if there would be a future divorce? Are we comfortable keeping the vacation residence in the family and if so, should the property be placed in a trust to minimize probate expenses? Do we want to leave any monies to charities or establish a gifting program for our children? Are there any health issues with any of our children that should be addressed? What are the best tax strategies to minimize estate taxes?

Their estate planning advisor accompanied them at the meeting with their attorney. The lawyer explained current estate tax laws, pointed out the pitfalls of marital and non-marital trust planning and presented the benefits of disclaimer trust planning. As a result of this informative session, new wills were established, which addressed intended disposition of assets, minimized estate taxes and provided a sound, comfortable plan. Power of attorney documents were updated and revised advanced directives were completed. The couple’s vacation home was placed in a trust to help avoid double probate. Assets were consolidated in brokerage accounts for simplification and ease of passing them to future heirs.

Estate planning can be time consuming and in some cases very complex, but there are some very basic documents and techniques that HFA advisors used to protect the couple and their family’s best interests. Without the proper documents in place, the couple could leave themselves open to having their estate dismantled and or distributed according to state law by a court appointed executor. HFA’s estate planning services, delivered by an experienced team of advisors, are built upon a long track record of assisting individuals throughout Philadelphia’s Main Line and Chester County in planning ahead.

When the new documents were in order, HFA planners helped make certain all beneficiary designations for retirement and insurance policies were updated and correct. They reviewed asset ownership to be positive it matched the desired estate plan. Documents, insurance policies and beneficiary designations were then placed in HFA’s electronic vault for safekeeping and ease of access.

Their estate planning advisors suggested a review of their estate plans every three to five years.

The Moral of the Story: Estate planning is a lifetime pursuit.

The case studies presented are hypothetical in nature and intended for illustrative purposes only to demonstrate the range and scope of services that are provided by HFA to its clients. Individual advice and results will vary based on each client’s circumstances, objectives and prevailing economic conditions.