Estate planning is important, regardless of your level of wealth or complexity of situation. Proper estate planning provides a powerful roadmap for your family, business, and other legacy interests to follow as well as simply an orderly transition of assets. It also provides guidance for late-life healthcare decisions, the extent and manner of your care, and specifics for what happens at your passing.
With the federal estate tax exemption at $5.43 million per person, a lot of estate planning has shifted to concerns other than minimizing estate taxes, though tax-efficiency is always something to keep in mind. Oregon, for example, has an estate tax with an exemption of $1 million per person, so some estates not subject to federal estate tax may still be subject to state estate taxes.
Some current trends in estate planning include:
- Planning to protect the family's assets from going through the prolonged, public, and expensive process of probate
- Planning to protect assets from unnecessary losses after death (whether the threats are from outside interference or from the beneficiary's own choices)
- Beneficiary planning
- The specific mechanisms through which assets distributed to beneficiaries
- How to plan for long-term care and what to do in the event of incapacitation
Successful estate planning calls for an integrated approach, taking into account technical, legal, and tax considerations as well as personal lifestyle concerns and family dynamics. We work in tandem with your other advisers to help bring completeness to your deliberations with family members and other professional advisers.
The accompanying videos provide a good overview of some key concepts in estate planning.