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Five Estate Planning Tips for High Net-Worth Individuals/Couples

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: October 25, 2013

Estate planning works differently when there are many high net-worth assets at stake. Many traditional strategies don’t work as well because of the complex issues and family dynamics involved.

Here are are a few ways to navigate those issues in Washington while protecting your assets, your relationships and your family dynamics.

  • Understand your estate’s goals and values. Make sure your adviser is familiar with what the missions of your trusts are, and what your goals are as a family, whether it’s to provide for the next generation, fund a new business or dream, or simply to avoid giving up as much as possible. When your adviser knows where you are coming from and where you want to go, they can get you there more effectively.
  • Develop smart criteria for trustees. When your family has several trusts to manage, you may not be thinking through your criteria for trustees if you feel you are running out of people to choose from. Come up with the criteria you feel is important in a trustee, and then look for someone who fits that picture.
  • Define everyone’s role clearly. Your financial adviser should know who is responsible for what and what everyone in the family’s interests are. This way, duties are assigned appropriately, and family members are only taking on as much as they can handle.
  • Think About Possibly Discuss issues as a group. While it is true when you do a trust, the trust is private and confidential, in certain situations you may want to disclose certain key components with someone. The great thing about trust and estate planning is that if you want to keep everything private, you can. If you want to share some details and not others, that is your choice also. However, with a Will and Probate, the whole World knows all of your assets and liabilities because a probate is a judicial proceeding and open to the public.
  • Get to know your wealth manager on a personal level. Although there is not much that’s more personal than talking about your finances to someone, making sure your wealth manager understand you, your dreams, and your passions can help them help you take advantage of opportunities, risks and rewards that you may have not known were possible. Longevity in a financial management situation is the best possible outcome, so get to know each other as people, not just clients, and you can work together better.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More