High-Net-Worth Estate & Trust Planning
We help individuals and families secure their legacy
No matter how much success you've had in life, the unexpected doesn't discriminate. A sudden illness, injury, or death could threaten everything you've built. So could a lawsuit, a divorce, or other unplanned life changes. The higher your net worth, the higher the stakes: you need a way to safeguard your wealth and secure your legacy.
You can't control the future – but you can have a plan. Attorney Suzanne DeWitt has extensive experience in estate planning, trusts, and estate tax planning for high-net-worth, very-high-net-worth, and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Contact us today to find out how a dedicated estate planning lawyer at DeWitt PLLC can secure your legacy.
We start with your priorities to protect your vision
While there are some constants in estate planning – everyone needs a Last Will and Testament, for instance – most of your estate plan should be tailored to your unique goals and objectives. Some of the estate planning priorities we can help you with include:
- Minimizing tax liability
- Avoiding probate as much as possible
- Ensuring the right people are making decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated
- Caring for a dependent with special needs or someone who is simply irresponsible with money
- Maintaining your privacy and keeping your assets out of the public record (and in particular, away from any unknown family members or "heirs" who may come out of the woodwork)
In our estate planning practice, we start by listening to your goals: what you want to accomplish and your priorities. We also closely examine your assets, investments, and liabilities to figure out what's realistic and which priorities may need to be adjusted. Our thorough understanding of federal and international law makes us particularly suited to assist with cross-border estate planning.
A legal team that understands all the estate planning tools at your disposal
Depending on your financial situation, there are a wide range of estate planning tools and strategies we will employ, including:
- Last Will and Testament: the most foundational estate planning document, your Will explains who will receive your assets, who will manage your estate, and who will gain guardianship of your minor children (if applicable). Even if you intend for your assets to avoid probate via trusts and other vehicles, you still need a "pour-over will" for anything left over.
- Trusts: a Trust is simply a fiduciary relationship with a third-party trustee who holds your assets on behalf of a named beneficiary or beneficiaries. Putting your assets in a trust keeps them private and, depending on the type of trust, can shield them from creditors, taxes, liability in lawsuits, and other potential exposure. We have experience with all types of trusts, including living trusts, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, spendthrift trusts, and domestic and international asset protection trusts.
- Estate Tax Planning: an experienced tax attorney can use a variety of strategies to help high-net-worth clients minimize estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping transfer tax, and income tax, among other tax liabilities. Some tools we may employ include charitable trusts, foreign trusts, family limited partnerships and LLCs, and wealth transfers during your lifetime to minimize taxes on your estate.
- Incapacity Planning: our attorney works to help our clients protect their wealth in the event of becoming incapacitated. We will work with you to choose your financial and medical power of attorney, write a living will to ensure your medical wishes are honored, and create a structured succession plan to ensure that your family will not have the burden of making difficult decisions without your guidance.
- Charitable and Philanthropic Giving: protecting your legacy includes ensuring you can support the causes that are dear to your heart. We can help you explore all options for leaving a portion of your estate to charity, including a charitable remainder trust (CRT), charitable lead trust (CLT), or making a charity a beneficiary of your estate. We can also explain the effects your charitable giving will have on the estate tax, capital gains tax, and other potential tax liabilities.
As experts in wealth planning, family business law, and tax law, we are well-suited to understand the long-term financial and personal implications of your estate plan. Our team will work with you to create and execute an estate plan that secures your legacy. We also stay abreast of the latest changes in state, federal, and international law and incorporate those changes into our clients' estate plans as needed.
Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney today
It's never too soon to start planning ahead, and that's particularly true for very-high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. If you need to create an estate plan or update your existing estate plan, give us a call today.