Estate Planning for your Family
Difficult decisions and complex issues often come into play when planning and implementing wills and strategic trusts. Regatta Trust and Estates attorneys understand that and work to minimize your time, expense, and emotional challenges. You’ll find us to be dedicated advisors, focused on understanding and achieving your goals. We counsel clients not only on the impact of estate taxes, but also on other important factors such as previous marriages and children or beneficiaries who need protection.
Learn more about our areas of expertise below.
A trust is like a bucket that holds your assets for you and your beneficiaries’ benefit. Trusts allow the settlor (the person making the trust) to leave instructions for the trustee on how to handle and distribute the property. These instructions can last for many years after death.
A trust is only as good as the person or persons that manage it. Naming a trustee or co-trustees and successor trustees to administer your trust is vitally important. Appropriately managed and administered, trusts can provide the extraordinary benefits of income tax management, estate tax reduction, asset protection, and asset management, just to name a few. Without good management none of these benefits can be achieved.
Sometimes called a “Last Will and Testament,” a will is a statement of your final wishes. Wills are written documents primarily designed to distribute your property following your death. However, a will can also be used to:
- Name a personal representative (also known as an executor) to carry out your wishes
- Determine how your debts and taxes will be paid
- Name guardians for your children and your children’s property
- Serve as a backup to your living trust
Though the will often fulfills its purpose, it alone is typically not an effective vehicle to accomplish certain estate-planning purposes, such as:
- Minimizing estate taxes
- Avoiding probate, which can frequently take nine months or more
- Leaving funeral instructions
- Making conditional gifts
- Leaving money for care of pets
- Arranging for care of a beneficiary with special needs
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney gives you designee, usually a spouse or another loved one you trust to act in your best interest, the right to make financial and personal decisions on your behalf when you cannot make them for yourself. Giving someone this power of attorney will give you peace of mind knowing that someone you trust will be handling your financial estate properly if anything happens to you.
Medical directive is another useful instrument for an estate plan that gives directions for when you are in a critical health condition. Rather than giving someone else the permission to make your decisions, you provide instructions with a legal document that goes directly to your doctors on how you wish to be treated.
Business Succession Planning
A frequent issue arising in our estate planning work is the transfer of ownership and control of a business owned by a client. Often, the business is a family business which has been created through the extraordinary hard work and personal sacrifice of an entrepreneur, often together with an entire family. Unfortunately, a great many small businesses do not successfully transition to a second generation of owners and managers. The alignment of interests between current owners and successors involves many important factors, such as the balancing of financial returns, creation of a proper management structure which honors the interests of all parties, a dispute resolution process, and a variety of tax issues (income, estate, post-mortem, inheritance, etc.). Our personalized approach to business succession planning helps clients make smart succession decisions that benefit the owner, the family, the company and valued employees.
When considering their legacy, many of our clients make charitable giving a priority. By designing the right structure for your philanthropic goals, Regatta Trust and Estates attorneys can maximize the impact of your charitable giving while minimizing your tax burden and concerns. We’ll help you determine the most effective financial approach to accomplish your giving goals and address governance issues with creative solutions that accommodate varied philanthropic values, preferences, and levels of involvement within your family.