Estate Planning Techniques

Jostock & Jostock, P.C. has been assisting clients plan for their death and their family’s financial future for decades. We have prepared countless estate plans ranging from simple wealth and asset transfer planning to more complex tax and business succession planning and have done so utilizing a variety of estate planning techniques such as:

Wills: Advance planning can eliminate many of the delays and expenses associated with settling an estate. We help clients identify assets, beneficiaries and potential debt and tax obligations and then propose the appropriate type of will to ensure that their wishes are honored. In the process, we assist clients in choosing personal representatives, trustees, fiduciaries and guardians for minor dependents.

Trusts: The appropriate use of trusts can enable clients to reduce the value of their estates, protect their beneficiaries, minimize estate taxes and avoid probate. Trusts can also help individuals plan for the day that they are no longer able to manage their financial affairs and can hold assets for the benefit of others including minor children. We have experience establishing numerous types of trusts including but not limited to the following:

  • Revocable Living trusts;
  • Gift trusts;
  • Charitable Remainder trusts;
  • Charitable Lead trusts;
  • Split Interest Charitable trusts;
  • Educational trusts;
  • Grantor Retained Annuity trusts (GRATs);
  • Grantor Retained Income trusts (GRITs);
  • Life Insurance trusts;
  • Multi-Generational “Dynasty” trusts;
  • Qualified Personal Residence trusts;
  • “AB” and “ABC” trusts;
  • Special Needs trusts;
  • Qualified Terminable Interest Property trusts (QTIP); and
  • Crummy trusts.

Transfer Tax Planning: We regularly work with clients to minimize income, gift, estate and generation-skipping taxes through a range of tax-planning strategies including charitable deductions, education savings, non-taxable and taxable gifts, exemptions and appropriate structuring of estates. Tax laws are constantly changing and in order to help clients take advantage of new opportunities, we identify and analyze such changes to help clients modify existing plans to achieve favorable tax benefits.

Charitable Gift Planning: Charitable gifts provide much-needed financial support to charitable organizations and offer income, estate and gift-tax savings to clients. The tax treatment of charitable gifts, however, is quite complex and changing and therefore, tax consequences of gifts can differ before and after death. We help clients determine appropriate gifting strategies, including the use of outright lifetime gifts, testamentary bequests, charitable trusts, private foundations, donor-advised funds, charitable gift annuities and pooled-income funds.

Philanthropy and Private Foundations: Many clients who believe in charitable, civic and social causes are benefited through the creation and maintenance of private foundations. We assist clients in all aspects of creating foundations and compliance with the Internal Revenue Service to help them identify priorities and develop strategies based upon their philanthropic vision and mission. We establish roles and responsibilities of trustees, family members, staff and donors within the organization. We also structure relationships with recipient agencies and individuals as well as collaborate with other foundations, organizations and nonprofits.

Life Insurance Planning: Regardless of one’s salary or portfolio, appropriate life insurance can help assure financial support for one’s family and offer the liquidity necessary to pay estate taxes or other expenses at death. This is particularly true for owners of small businesses who wish to keep the business in the family. We work with clients to minimize potential estate tax liabilities associated with life insurance ownership through the use of gifts, trusts and other tax-saving techniques.

Asset Protection Planning: We work with clients to develop customized practical strategies to protect their assets while ensuring that these assets are put to use in a manner consistent with the client’s financial goals. Through in-depth analysis of personal and financial assets, we review a range of possible scenarios, create strategies to address potential opportunities and threats, develop tactical action plans and then work with clients to implement these items. Recognizing that financial goals and circumstances are dynamic, we conduct periodic reviews of the client’s situation, identify new challenges and develop updated plans to meet these changing requirements.

Disability Planning: We assist clients in developing and implementing plans for short and long-term personal care and financial management for oneself and one’s dependents in the event of physical disability or mental incapacity. We have experience creating special needs trusts and assisting trustees and parents of disabled children who rely on personal injury settlements or assistance from family members to pay for the child’s care. At Jostock & Jostock, P.C., we work with our clients to determine the most efficient management of assets and assist in the documentation of health care wishes. We help clients create and fund trusts, designate guardians for minor dependents and disabled adults and establish powers of attorney for property and health care, as well as advance health care directives and living wills.

Retirement Planning and Beneficiary Designations: As individual responsibility for retirement assets grows, so does the accumulation of wealth in these plans. We advise clients on retirement planning that can help business owners and employees obtain significant tax deductions by setting aside pre-tax income. We work with clients in all areas of retirement planning from determining beneficiaries to advising them on distribution options and their corresponding tax ramifications. We routinely analyze the broad range of personal, legal and financial factors that can play a role in our clients’ decisions, such as minimizing estate taxes and obtaining creditor protection.

Premarital, Postnuptial, Civil Union and Domestic Partnership Agreements: As families have become more diverse, so have the complexities surrounding their financial relationships. Whether a couple is planning to marry, is married, divorced, widowed or living together in a committed relationship, the planned management of their financial responsibilities and other assets can help eliminate problems after death and alleviate client uncertainties. We work with individuals and couples to develop and implement premarital agreements and other contracts that help them preserve and protect assets in every legal classification of that relationship.

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