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Estate Planning

The estate tax burden of most Americans has been greatly lessened by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the "2010 Tax Act"), which raised the unified gift & estate tax exemption to $5 million per person (indexed to $5.45 million in 2016) and allowed a widow or widower to use the unused exemption of a deceased spouse.  Even with this relief, many Woodard clients have significant estate tax burdens due to the sale of their business, investments, or inheritance.  In addition, life insurance proceeds can significantly increase anyone's taxable estate, if the insured owned the policy directly or indirectly at the time of her death.

Woodard Insurance, LLP, helps you transform your life insurance from a cause of estate tax to an efficient means of paying the estate tax.  By establishing an irrevocable trust drafted by your attorney to own life insurance insuring you, you can create an estate-tax-free asset to pay some or all of the estate tax on your hard-earned wealth.  We work with your attorney and CPA to assist in the proper drafting of trusts, wills, foundation instruments, and other documents related to your estate plan, and we help you with the annual maintenance of your life insurance trusts.

Estate Taxes

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 40 percent, your estate could be worth much less than you think.

However, taxes are becoming less important to many of our 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.

Avoid the Financial Liabilities

We at Woodard Insurance, LLP, 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 work with your CPA and attorney during the drafting of wills, trusts, foundation instruments, and other documents related to your estate plan.  In addition, we will assist you in establishing an insurance program to help pay your estate's 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 with your attorney and other advisors, and we will be here throughout the years to assist you as your needs and objectives change.  Our Fort Worth, Texas, agency does not provide legal advice.