This past year, I have been participating in the Laureate Wealth Strategies Program through the Southern California Institute. This program includes some of the very best attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and insurance professionals in the country. The alumni from this program focus on achieving the clients enlightened dreams in a collaborative approach utilizing the collective wisdom and resources of all of the client’s financial tax and legal representatives. Planning objectives may go far beyond simple income and estate tax savings.
This type of planning is particularly important now because of the changes to the income tax and estate tax rates. We have a $5.34 million dollar estate tax exemption which will increase with inflation over the years. The low Bush income tax rates have been replaced with a multi-tier income tax structure that can in some cases result in an income tax rate that exceeds the estate tax rates. California in particular has the second highest capital gains in the world. California residents also endure some of the very highest combined federal and California personal income tax rates in the nation.
Proper estate planning allows you to plan for:
- Yourself and loved ones without giving up control
- Your current and future concerns for family members
- The possibility of your own disability
- What you own to go to whom, when, and what you want
- Fully disclosed and controlled costs
- Your dreams and goals for yourself, your family, and your assets
Our clients’ dreams and goals may vary, but often include:
- Protecting your assets for yourself and your family
- Passing your values, responsibility, and work ethic to your family
- Reducing income, gift, estate, and generation skipping taxes
- Keeping your affairs free from publicity, costs, and the delay of probate court
- Updating your plan due to changes in the world, taxation, finances, and your family
Over the next few weeks, I will share with you some of the advance structures and techniques discussed in the Laureate Program. However, the planning process and collaborative approach are far more powerful and effective than any particular strategy.