What is an estate plan?

Estate planning is an important part of financial planning. Not only does it help document your wishes regarding how your wealth and property will be distributed upon your death, in some instances, it can reduce the tax liability for your heirs.

Whereas a will outlines who you want your assets to be allocated to, an estate plan provides a more comprehensive and detailed map of how you want your assets to be allocated.  For example, if you plan to leave your teenage son $500,000 upon your death, an estate plan can outline how and when the money would be distributed. It can stipulate that you want him to have X dollars per year to be used for college tuition, and state that the balance of what’s left can only be used toward a down payment on a home.

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) often play a key role in the drafting of an estate plan. Although many people assume that CPAs only help advise clients on tax and financial matters, this is simply not the case.

A CPA can help you understand the tax implications of how the estate plan is set up, and they can advise you on how to maximize the portion of the estate that will go to your beneficiaries. They can also help advise you on future expectations for your estate, as the size of your estate can increase, decrease, or remain stable  in the years to come.  This can also help you make more informed decisions in terms of how you outline your plans.

Your CPA can also explain the benefits of putting your assets in an irrevocable trust. Although the decision to establish an irrevocable trust is permanent (which means you’ll be unable to take the assets back), assets that are in an irrevocable trust will not be part of your taxable estate.

In closing

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of estate planning and you’d like to speak with an experienced CPA, we can help. Our firm provides our clients with a broad range of experience in accounting, tax preparation and estate planning.

For more information on how to get started, or for more information about the benefits of retirement planning and estate planning, call our office today to receive a no-cost, complimentary consultation.  Contact us today at 239-939-2233 to get started. We look forward to helping you.