DBL’s estate planning department works with high net worth individuals, families and business owners nationwide to develop customized tax planning strategies that best support their current and future goals. Many of our attorneys are barred in multiple jurisdictions giving them unique insight and understanding of this complex ever changing area of law.
Serving Estate Planning Clients Throughout The United States
Estate planning is for any individual, family or business owner that wants a say over what happens to their wealth and how it’s to be passed down to the next generation. Perhaps it is beneficial to move assets outside of your taxable estate. In some cases, a better plan might be a gifting strategy to gift some assets while you are alive. Yet other cases, it is just important that very detail and permutation is spelled out. No matter what works best in your case, the important thing is that your plan is tailored to fit your particular situation.
Rhonda Miller works in both a community property jurisdiction and a common law jurisdiction. If you have just moved to a community property jurisdiction (i.e. California), Rhonda can write special documents that will enable you to take advantage of community property benefits. Likewise, if you have recently moved here from a community property jurisdiction, she can help you preserve your community property, thus giving you a tremendous tax benefit.
Working in different jurisdictions, she also understands the importance of building flexibility into your estate planning documents. People do not always stay in one place, so it is important that the document speaks for itself. What if you have assets in a different jurisdiction? It is important that each jurisdiction be considered when doing the planning, so that the document can be used in any place that you own real property. Quite simply, planning must be done so the document can travel.
Who Needs Any Estate Plan?
Everyone has an estate. Many clients have said to me “I do not need a trust because I do not have enough money”. It is not the amount of money that you have, that dictates the type of plan you need, it is based on how you desire your assets and your family situation to be managed in the event of your incapacity or death.
Many families have important collections that they want to stay in the family. Care must be taken in the planning for these large and often valuable collections. Sometimes children do not want the collection or desire to only take a fraction of the collection. Therefore, with care and guidance she can help find other alternatives.
If you have a blended family, sometimes the planning for your estate can be difficult. She has done many plans where assets are strategically distributed to each person’s respective children. There are no wrong ways of doing things. There are, however, wrong plans. They happen when the attorney does not listen or take enough time to really figure out what you want. After 20 years of practice, Rhonda Miller knows that good planning is 80% listening and 20% drafting. If you do not take time to get to know the client you cannot draft a good document. That is why most of our estate planning clients are charged a flat fee. Everyone is comfortable spending plenty of time together, to ensure your plan is just right, as there are no worries about incurring an hourly fee.
Perhaps you have real property in multiple states. Maybe one of your properties is located in a state that imposes an estate tax. Again, you need a plan that will address the complexities of your particular situation.
Many people put off estate planning, because talking about a plan to address someone’s incapacity and/or death is uncomfortable. Many people make due with really old plans. Perhaps you had a Will done when you were first married and you are able to celebrate your 40th wedding anniversary. There is no way that document is current in state and federal law.
Did you know that if you only have a Will your plan is incomplete? What would happen in the event of a tragedy that left you unable to tend to your affairs? What would happen to your minor children? Your business? Your financial responsibilities? A good estate plan should address all the stages of your life – healthy active times, sick times, possible times of incapacitation, and then, of course, death. A comprehensive and customized estate plan addresses this, with planning through a Trust along with documents such as Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney and HIPAA waivers, so that you can name someone – your Trustee/Agent – to take over your affairs and carry out your wishes with respect to your financial matters and medical care when you are not able to. Once this is done you’ll have peace of mind.
When you come into our office you tell one of our estate planners about your current situation and your desires for the future, and then they craft your plan that incorporates your wishes. Our plans are highly innovative and customizable, and can include as many special provisions as you may have. It is not uncommon for our Trusts to even include language written in your own words.
DBL does complex estate planning strategies as follows:
- Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) for spouses or children who may require more advanced planning
- Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) which secure a planned income stream, structure tax savings, pass wealth to your loved ones, and benefit your charities of choice
- Generation Skipping Trusts (GSTs) to manage estate tax
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) to establish a specific personal revenue stream, while creating a vehicle to transfer wealth during your lifetime (using the leverage available under the Internal Revenue Code)
- Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) to hold various assets and create gifting plans, while retaining your influence and management over those assets
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT) to help reduce or eliminate your estate tax
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT)
- Qualified plan trusts to pass on pre-tax dollar earnings and maximize growth potential (IRA, 401(k), SEP accounts)
Complex real estate holding plans, Guardianships, and Sub Trusts
Contact DBL Today
If you are interested in learing more about the estate planning options available to you, give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule a consultation today.