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Wealth Advisor Archive

9/12/2017: Don’t Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today: It’s Time to Talk with Your Family and Your Estate Planning Attorney

There’s no perfect time to broach the

subject of estate planning with your

family. We all know that everyone

passes away eventually, but many of us

often want to conveniently forget that

reality.

Faced with the decision between taking

the initiative to start a family discussion

about estate planning and putting it off

until later, most people are more inclined

to the latter. But that means opening

your family up to some really unpleasant

consequences in the future. That is why,

unappealing as it may seem at first, the

perfect time to schedule your family

meeting is now.

The short- and long-term value of calling a family meeting

Procrastination is often the biggest obstacle to successful estate planning. It may have

been a while since your plan was updated or reviewed, and you may have never discussed

it with family.

Contrary to what you might expect, the best way to begin usually isn’t to talk about

specific documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney or your assets. Rather, it’s to

have a conversation with your family about goals, plans, and hopes for the future.

In the short term, you’ll meaningfully connect with your family and express the care for

them that your estate plan represents. In the long term, you can sleep more soundly

knowing your family will be prepared to know you have a plan as well as the reasons you

designed it the way you did.

How to get started on securing your family’s future

An estate plan can help empower your family’s goals by providing a framework for the

effective passing of wealth from this generation to the next. But the conversation must be

From

Condie & Adams, PLLC

611 4th Avenue, Suite A

Kirkland WA 98033

425-450-1040

Condie & Adams, PLLC is a

values-driven law firm

committed to providing

individuals, families and

small businesses with personalized, clientcentered

legal services in estate planning,

probate and trust administration, tax

planning, and related legal matters.

had within the family. It starts with meeting with your estate planning attorney to get

your plan up to date and continues with a discussion about your plan with your family,

especially those who are designated to serve as successor trustees, executors, and agents.

It’s much better to start this discussion while everyone is still here (and doing well) rather

than waiting until after a loss or significant medical issue. After all, no one is psychic—

it’s much easier to carry out someone’s wishes if they’ve been explicitly stated and

discussed beforehand. And when everyone in the family knows what to expect in the

event of a death in the family, they can spend that time focused on supporting one

another and grieving rather than scrambling with paperwork. In some cases, sharing the

reasons behind your plan can even eliminate or minimize conflict that sadly too often

occurs after the death of a parent or grandparent.

Schedule a meeting with us before the holidays

With the holiday season coming up, you’re probably already starting to look at flights

and locations for holiday parties and such. Now is the time to organize your thoughts so

that, in addition to the merriment of the coming holiday season, family gatherings can

include a discussion about what’s next for the family’s estate planning. Give us a call

today so we can get you ready to cover all the important points with your family. You‘ll

be able to rest easy and focus on quality time together when you have an organized plan.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a

Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax,

accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.

You have received this newsletter because I believe you will find its content valuable. Please feel free to Contact Me if you have any questions

about this or any matters relating to estate planning.

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Condie & Adams, PLLC 611 4th Avenue, Suite A Kirkland WA 98033

8/8/2017: What if you don’t die?

What if you don’t die?

Why Ignoring the Importance of

Incapacity Planning Can Have Serious

Consequences

It’s a common misconception that all

your efforts to create a comprehensive

estate plan are focused on what happens

after your death. That is very much not

the case, and it’s a dangerous

misconception to plan by.

Estate planning does not equate to death

planning. There are several ways in

which your estate plan can drastically

impact you and your loved ones’ quality

of life well before you pass away. That

is why it’s also crucial that your plan

includes up-to-date provisions for what will take place if you don’t die.

The relationship between incapacity and your estate plan

Many people become legally incapacitated, where they lose the ability to make their own

legal decisions on either a temporary or permanent basis. This legal incapacity is not the

same as being disabled for social security or workers compensation purposes. Rather, it is

the result of coma, cognitive impairment caused by degenerative illnesses, or other

situations in which a person is no longer able to make their wishes known due to loss of

physical or mental function.

What if you don’t die and are instead in need of help because you can’t manage your

finances any longer? A robust, trust-based estate plan will include the necessary

documents to make sure your wishes are carried out to a T — even if you aren’t able to

express those wishes at the time.

You need a plan that will protect your privacy, free you from court interference, help you

protect and manage your assets, save you money on taxes, and enable you to name the

people you trust the most to act on your behalf. Without a comprehensive incapacity plan

in place, a judge can appoint someone to take control of your assets and make all

personal and medical decisions for you through a court-supervised guardianship or

From

Condie & Adams, PLLC

611 4th Avenue, Suite A

Kirkland WA 98033

425-450-1040

Condie & Adams, PLLC is a

values-driven law firm

committed to providing

individuals, families and

small businesses with personalized, clientcentered

legal services in estate planning,

probate and trust administration, tax

planning, and related legal matters.

conservatorship. You and your loved ones could lose valuable time, money, and control

until you either regain capacity or die.

The components of your plan that impact incapacity

A revocable living trust: In the typical situation, you will be the trustmaker, the

trustee, and the beneficiary of your revocable living trust. But if you ever become

incapacitated, your designated successor trustee will step in to manage the trust assets for

your benefit.

Powers of Attorney: Be they medical or financial (you should have both in place),

powers of attorney give your agent the authority to pay bills, make financial decisions,

manage investments, file tax returns, mortgage and sell real estate, and address other

financial matters that are described in the document. Powers of Attorney come in two

forms: “durable” and “springing.” A durable power of attorney goes into effect as soon as

it is signed, while a springing power of attorney only goes into effect after you have been

determined to be mentally incapacitated. Keep in mind that medical powers of attorney

can also be called health care proxy or advance directive.

Living Will: This legal document memorializes your medical decisions about end

of life care. The goal is to keep you as comfortable as possible, but not extend your life

with useless medical heroics. Even though these may not be legally enforceable in some

states, they can provide a meaningful sharing of your wishes to help guide your decision

makers.

HIPAA Authorization: Federal and state laws dictate who can receive medical

information without the written consent of the patient. This legal document gives your

doctor or other health care provider the authority to disclose your health information to

the agent selected by you.

Nomination of Guardians: You can nominate guardians for yourself as well as for

minor children. You may also want to create a legal pet trust if you have strong feelings

about who you’d like to care for your animals should you become incapacitated.

Don’t let a lack of incapacity planning damage your quality of life and cause undue stress

for your loved ones. Let’s schedule a time to make sure your estate plan has solid, up-todate

provisions in place that make your wishes regarding incapacity plain and clear.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a

Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax,

accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.

You have received this newsletter because I believe you will find its content valuable. Please feel free to Contact Me if you

7/11/2017: Have You Considered a Dynasty Trust for Your Family’s Estate

Have You Considered a Dynasty Trust for Your Family’s Estate?
From

Condie & Adams, PLLC

611 4th Avenue, Suite A

Kirkland WA 98033
425-450-1040

Condie & Adams, PLLC is a values-driven law firm committed to providing individuals, families and small businesses with personalized, client-centered legal services in estate planning, probate and trust administration, tax planning, and related legal matters.

Why You Should Think Twice Before Ruling One Out 

When most people hear the term “dynasty trust,” they assume it’s something for only the wealthiest of families. However, dynasty trusts are not as out of reach as you might think, and can be used by many more families of a greater wealth spectrum than currently use them.

Demystifying dynasty trusts
Dynasty trusts keep your wealth within your family for a long time. When properly designed, they can last forever. Dynasty trusts are, however, irrevocable and are therefore perceived by some as inflexible. Since adjustments to this type of trust require a great deal more work than they do for a garden-variety revocable living trust you are probably more familiar with, we need to have an in-depth understanding of your needs and goals to create your family’s dynasty trust.

But for many families, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks of irrevocability and perceived lack of flexibility. While there are several types of laws affecting these trusts that vary state-to-state, dynasty trusts offer several benefits:
●       They consolidate and build intergenerational wealth, allowing you to create long-term security for your family.
●       They help avoid estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Although these taxes are unpopular with President Trump and Congressional Republicans, history tells us that tax policy can change after any election. Any comprehensive estate plan must consider this possibility.
●       They protect your beneficiaries’ inheritance from creditors and divorce.
●       When creatively designed, they can even incentivize desirable behavior from your trust beneficiaries.

How is a dynasty trust different than other types of irrevocable trusts?
Simply put, a dynasty trust is one that is designed to consolidate and build intergenerational wealth over a very long time. Other common types of irrevocable trusts you’ve heard about (like GRATs, ILITs, QPRTs, CRTs, etc.) are created to achieve a particular tax result. Dynasty trusts build on these planning strategies and are appealing because they allow you to take a long view of estate planning for your family.

Why is now the time to explore this option?
In today’s favorable tax and legal environment, dynasty trusts can make more sense than ever – especially if your family has significant life insurance policies, a small business, or other assets that might increase in value significantly (like founder’s stock or vacant land in a fast growing area).

Families haven’t always had such wide opportunities to explore dynasty trusts. Many states have laws against perpetuity designed to prevent trusts from lasting many generations. While these laws still exist in some states, there is a trend toward less rigid application or even outright removal of these rules. Admittedly, one reason for the growth in popularity of these trusts is that financial institutions stand to benefit from management fees associated with them. But your family benefits as well because wealth that’s consolidated and managed (as in the case of a dynasty trust) tends to be more likely to be preserved and successfully pass from one generation to the next versus wealth that’s divided and distributed (as in the case of many garden-variety estate plans).

Is a dynasty trust right for you and your family?
Most people think of dynasty trusts as something only the highest net worth families would even consider. And while they do require the help of a skilled estate planning attorney who can navigate the complex interplay between state and federal laws, they can be an attractive option for your family. Dynasty trusts offer an excellent method to pass along lifelong financial security to your loved ones for generations to come.

Give us a call today to talk about how we might build a dynasty trust that stays with your family through whatever the future may bring. We will make sure it complies with all applicable laws, provides maximum protection for your legacy and furthers your goals.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax, accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.

 

You have received this newsletter because I believe you will find its content valuable. Please feel free to Contact Me if you have any questions about this or any matters relating to estate planning.

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Condie & Adams, PLLC 611 4th Avenue, Suite A   Kirkland WA 98033 

6/13/2017: Modernizing an Outdated Estate Plan

Modernizing an Outdated Estate Plan
From

Condie & Adams, PLLC

611 4th Avenue, Suite A

Kirkland WA 98033
425-450-1040

Condie & Adams, PLLC is a values-driven law firm committed to providing individuals, families and small businesses with personalized, client-centered legal services in estate planning, probate and trust administration, tax planning, and related legal matters.

What to do with a Confusing, Old Trust

Estate plans evolve. Or at least they should. Any plan that fails to achieve your goals and doesn’t match your current financial and family circumstances is out of date and is in need of an overhaul. We can help you revitalize the obsolete aspects of your plan and get you back on track for the future.

How to know if you have an outdated trust
If you or anyone you know signed a will or trust in 2012 or before, an immediate review should be on your to-do list. There have been many legal and policy changes since 2012, and your documents may not work as well as they could.

If you signed your will or trust after 2013 and it’s been more than a year since we talked, now is the time to make sure your plan still meets your needs and avoids confusion along with needless complexity, costs, and taxes.

You may also be the beneficiary of a deceased loved one’s will or trust. These older trusts left by a parent or grandparent can often benefit from a “remodel” or modernization.

Quality estate planning is an ongoing process
Like investment or financial planning, tax planning, health and fitness, and so many other aspects of life, proper estate planning is an ongoing process that you must revisit regularly. We make it our business to keep up with the latest developments in legislation and know how to make changes to your plans to avoid risks and seize opportunities. But, we need your help and your engagement in the process to help you avoid the negative consequences of outdated or obsolete planning.

You are not trapped by old plans, even when they’re “irrevocable.”
Now that you are aware of an outdated trust posing a potential risk to your family’s long-term well-being, we can work with you to restate or amend your revocable trust or will. This is a straightforward solution that can update and modernize your trusts and make them ready for the current realities of the legal and financial landscape we live in today.

Many of you probably have an irrevocable trust of some kind as well, an inheritance from a parent or grandparent or even one you made yourself. There are more boundaries and modernization is a more involved process for an irrevocable trust, but we have an array of tools (decanting, trust protector restatement, judicial modification, or non-judicial settlement) at our disposal to “remodel” or modernize an existing irrevocable trust. You’ve probably heard about decanting. It is an increasingly popular option and borrows its name from the decanting process used for wine. Just as you can decant wine by pouring it from its original bottle into a new bottle, leaving the unwanted sediment in the original bottle, you can pour the assets from one trust into a new trust, leaving the unwanted terms in the original trust.

Just as there are many ways to remodel a home, there are many strategies and legal tools that can be used to modernize old estate plans. Since each plan is unique, the way to update it will be as well. Coming up with the most effective strategy requires careful consideration of your current goals and needs, as well as your tolerance for risk.

Even though there is no way to know for sure what to do until some analysis is complete, it’s better to have an informed choice rather than acting upon the assumption that your plan will work as intended, especially if it hasn’t been professionally reviewed. These are complex legal processes, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

We want you to have the best possible plan for your family. Since you and your circumstances are unique, give us a call today and let’s explore the options. We look forward to hearing from you.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax, accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.

 

You have received this newsletter because I believe you will find its content valuable. Please feel free to Contact Me if you have any questions about this or any matters relating to estate planning.

Unsubscribe from this newsletter

Condie & Adams, PLLC 611 4th Avenue, Suite A   Kirkland WA 98033