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Estate Planning

Estate Planning: Grandfather and grandchildA properly managed estate plan can provide peace of mind because it helps clients avoid taxes and probate while assuring assets are distributed according to the grantor’s wishes. 

FIS does not provide legal advice but will review a client’s estate plan and consult with the client’s attorney–or recommend an attorney–to verify if the estate plan is best serving the client’s needs.  FIS will: 

  • verify designated beneficiaries and titling of all disclosed accounts and life insurance policies to ensure the client avoids probate. 
  • assist the client in setting up specific trust account(s), based on the advice of a client’s attorney, so that the transfer of wealth can be handled seamlessly.  

Proper estate planning can alleviate the stress placed on families and facilitate transitions after the death or incapacitation of a loved one.

Trusts

Estate planning can be very complex. 

Every client’s situation is different in terms of assets, liabilities, location, market status, closely held businesses, inheritance, and insurance etc.  Utilizing or creating a specific trust is an effective way to minimize income and/or estate taxes.  FIS works closely with clients and their estate attorneys to help create trusts that are appropriate and best serve our clients’ needs. 

Gifting

Gifting is an effective estate-planning tool because it allows the gift giver to give as much money as he/she wants to whom he/she wants. 

Gifting is any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration is not received in return.  Making a gift or leaving an estate to one’s heir(s) does not ordinarily affect an individual’s federal income tax.  The value of gifts cannot be deducted, but the annual gift tax exclusion applies to each gift. 

There are numerous forms to complete to correctly facilitate gifting.  FIS can help clients with gift planning so that they are able to take full advantage of minimizing their estate taxes.

Charitable Planning

A charitable trust can be set up to distribute income to the donor before or after death, allowing for a large tax write-off and the ability to make a donation to a client’s specified charity. 

Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trusts enable clients to leave money to disabled loved ones without jeopardizing their governmental benefits. 

Funds in a Special Needs Trust can significantly improve the quality of life of loved ones by underwriting costs associated with insurance, personal care attendants/escorts, and rehabilitation.

Minor Children & Education Planning

There are certain accounts that can be created for minors to avoid or minimize income taxes or to be used to fund educational expenses tax-free. 

These accounts include:

  • Specific trusts
  • 529 Plans
  • Education IRAs
  • UGMA/UTMA
  • Minor Roth accounts

FIS is happy to provide additional information regarding each of these accounts to help determine the most appropriate choice for your family.

Multi-Generational Planning

Designing a lasting plan that will benefit a client’s children and even grandchildren is an important facet of the advice FIS provides.  FIS works with each client to determine the level and type of assets that are necessary to generate a lifetime of income.

Legacy Planning

Legacy planning allows clients to express their wishes in writing and ensure legal instruments are properly drafted. 

This forward planning can alleviate the pressure and stress often felt by families while coping with a loss.  A comprehensive legacy plan will outline the last wishes of the deceased, specifying details relating to the funeral or memorial service as well as providing instructions on disbursement of personal property (jewelry, collectibles, furnishings, etc.).

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