We Listen.

The Top Three Estate Planning and Estate Tax Questions – Affluent Clients are Asking – Right Now

On Wednesday  October 5, 2011 David Frees, Chairman of theTrust, Estate and Wealth Preservation Section of Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees appeared with past Governor Ed Rendell at an event sponsored by the wealth advisory and investment banking firm Raymond James.

When asked to summarize his remarks, Dave Frees said “I summarized the three questions my smartest and savviest clients are asking and what we’re doing about these issues. 

Question 1:  Does the federal estate tax still matter since there is a five million dollar exemption?
Frees explained to the audience that clients with over $1 million dollars in assets and life insurance remain exposed to the federal estate tax which is set to become a major problem again by the end of 2012 unless congress acts. And, he noted that the top rate in 2013 will return to 55%.

According to Frees, “Because the law is uncertain, and the tax is so high, you want to build the maximum flexibility into your planning.  Wills done even a few years ago should be reviewed with your counsel. If you have an old A?B trust, consider a disclaimer trust and discuss that approach with your attorney

Frees also explained that families and individuals with significant wealth need to consider lifetime gifts, GRATS and other techniques now before the law falls back to the $1 million dollar level at the end of 2012 or Congress makes it even worse by eliminating wealth transfer techniques.

Question 2:  Can I protect my heirs from losing an inheritance in a divorce?
Frees also told the audience that the most popular advice he gives clients is how to use Beneficiary Controlled Trusts and related concepts to protect their heirs from losing an inheritance to divorces or frivolous law suits.  “Most clients have never been told that this is even an option.  And, with a divorce rate of over 50% many clients, especially those families that have experienced a divorce, are anxious to protect assets from future divorces.

Question 3:  Can Pennsylvania families still protect assets from a spend down for nursing home care?

According to Frees, even affluent families still worry about the very high costs of nursing home care.  Accordingly, Frees covered two or three of the most powerful tools for protecting family assets while also making sure that the senior generation is well treated and well cared for.

Not every family can afford long term care coverage – or at least the best types of coverage.  For that reason, we also teach families how to use Medicaid trusts including a new and very powerful tool the Medicaid defective grantor trust.  By combining the best techniques for each family, it is possible to protect assets and the quality of life and care for the older generation.

If you would like a copy of David Frees new report entitled: Enhanced Estate Planningplease call 610-933-8069 to request it and a copy will be mailed to you directly.

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