According to a study reported in Forbes in 2010, only 35% of Americans have a will,1 and many of those who do spent less time planning for it than they did their last vacation. In neglecting estate planning, though, they run the risk of losing a sizable portion of their estate to taxes and fees.
In establishing objectives for transferring your estate, it is important to develop a wealth management plan that matches your priorities.
Your most important planning objective is likely to preserve your financial independence. One of the major obstacles to effective planning can be the gap between the perception of wealth and reality of wealth. Thus, you should clearly define what is required to maintain your current lifestyle – the annual income needed for personal consumption and material assets – while keeping adequate liquidity.
Wealth transfer to heirs
Though you likely want your heirs to exhibit character, integrity, a sense of family legacy and responsible behavior – attributes money can’t buy – you might still like to provide both selected advantages and a safety net. Only you can decide how much to leave your heirs. Questions you should consider when establishing a wealth management plan include:
The most important step in the planning process is to establish clear and concise objectives for your wealth management plan. Your plan should be responsive to your core interests, needs and concerns; acknowledge the level of involvement you want in “managing” philanthropic activities; and incorporate the interests and expertise of heirs. Additionally, it should take into account your total estate plan in a manner that is timely, effective and tax-efficient.
1A. Ebeling, “Americans Lack Basic Estate Plans,” Forbes.com, March 2010.
Robert W. Baird & Co. does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your tax and legal professionals.
Article provided by Baird for the Pfeil Leatherwood Group at the Houston – Memorial City office of Robert W. Baird & Co., member SIPC. Rick Pfeil and Matt Leatherwood have 24 combined years of financial services industry experience, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org