When talk turns to taxes, most people think of income taxes. Yet, for many people, estate taxes may be the largest single tax they'll ever incur. With estate tax rates currently reaching as high as 47%, your estate could be worth half of what you think.
However, with the estate tax exemption increasing each year until 2010, taxes are becoming less important to many of Woodard's affluent clients than deciding how much of their wealth to leave to their children and grandchildren. As Warren Buffett said on June 25, 2006, after pledging $37.4 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
"I love it when I'm around the country club and I hear people talking about the debilitating effects of a welfare society. At the same time, they leave their kids a lifetime and beyond of food stamps. Instead of having a welfare officer, they have a trust officer. And instead of food stamps, they have stocks and bonds."
Buffett left a tiny fraction of his wealth to his three adult children, but gave each child's foundation a little over $2 billion for the child to manage for the benefit of others.
We at Woodard Insurance are here to help you avoid the financial perils associated with both estate taxes and leaving too much wealth to your progeny. We will help you to understand how the estate tax system works and how it may affect your family's situation. We will review your current estate plan and recommend appropriate strategies for safeguarding your estate. We will work with your CPA and attorney to ensure the proper drafting of wills, trusts, foundation instruments, and other documents related to your estate plan, and will assist you in establishing an insurance program to insulate your estate from the federal estate tax or replace wealth that you leave to a charitable remainder trust or foundation.
Estate planning is not a one-time process. An estate plan should be periodically reviewed and updated, and we will be here throughout the years to assist our clients as their needs and objectives change. We will also be here to provide information to our clients as tax laws are changed and updated. We do not provide legal advice.