Several reputable sources estimate that 70% of large wealth transfers are ultimately unsuccessful. Failed transfers are defined as situations where the assets were squandered, the estate was contested, infighting amongst heirs occurred, etc.
Experience has shown that a successful transition requires so much more than legal documents aimed at avoiding probate and estate taxes. Unfortunately, this is where most families focus their attention.
Our job is to help fill in the gaps. Below are common areas of focus:
- Family Governance – We help you think through the potential challenges your wealth transfer could create, and work with you to devise solutions. Common examples include preparing the heirs, conducting family meetings, etc.
- Document Review – We help ensure your documents are consistent with your stated goals. Please note that as we are not attorneys, we review them from a strategic perspective rather than a legal perspective.
- Established Incentives – Many people want to ensure their assets alter behavior for the better, not the worse. There are several ways your estate plan could include formal mechanisms designed to encourage entrepreneurship, education, volunteering, etc.
- Asset Discounting Techniques – Several options exist to minimize the value of your assets for estate tax purposes. Examples include Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs),Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, etc.
- Conveying your Values – Many successful people feel that passing along their values is even more important than transferring wealth. One potential addition to your estate plan is an Ethical Will, a tool that allows you to concisely encapsulate your values for the benefit of future generations. Another option is a Statement of Wealth Transfer Intent, an even more detailed document that provides comprehensive direction as to how you wish your heirs to approach the assets left to them.