Legacy By Design
Preserving family wealth for future generations is a goal intertwined with retirement planning. For both retirement and estate planning purposes, we recommend that business owners and professionals in high-risk occupations consider a Domestic Asset Protection Trust. By applying the techniques of modern trust design, you can mold one of these tax-saving/creditor protected vehicles to your generational vision, preserving wealth both for yourself and for your descendants. We call the entity you shape for these purposes a “family vault” and the process that personalizes it “legacy by design.”
If applicable, we recommend you consider a highly personalized trust dubbed the "family vault" that insulates your assets from creditors, predators and tax collectors and ultimately benefits your descendants, but only after it first helps you fund a generous tax-free retirement income for yourself.
In combination, the taxes imposed by Federal and (some) state governments on transfers of wealth during life and at death are both high and complex in their application. Rates and exemptions rise and fall with political winds, offshore implications affecting international families can complicate matters and time-tested trust law itself is sometimes subject to changes that can up-end established arrangements. We offer informed guidance to Individuals and families facing these changing times and confiscatory pressures.
Generational wealth preservation in the face of repeated transfer taxation requires determination. Some jurisdictions recognize the desire to preserve wealth for multiple generations, shape their trust laws to accommodate that goal, and make the desired results more achievable. We know their relative strengths and the unique opportunities they offer.
The combination of guarantees, investment leverage and tax advantages makes life insurance an adaptable financial tool. Providing protection as well as potential performance, it comprises its own asset class; optimal utilization calls for technical training and broad experience. Proven expertise in underwriting, financing and case design enables us to devise and implement contemporary insurance solutions for tax-free income and estate creation.
Running out of money in retirement is not just a factor of how much you start with. That’s why even starting with millions, especially if you’re retiring early, is no guarantee that you will end up with anywhere near what you set out with. Your odds of depletion are calculated based on how much your retirement assets can earn and how much you will need to withdraw from the pool each year. Until recently 4% was a “safe” annual withdrawal rate but today it’s only half that because interest rates are currently so low and stock valuations are historically so high. Pre- and post-retirees whose plans call for withdrawals greater than 2.5%, or who prefer insurance guarantees to the potential returns and corresponding risks of stocks and bonds, are sometimes well advised to consider annuities. Backed by the financial strength of the insurance companies offering them, many annuity contracts are designed to manage longevity risk by guaranteeing income you cannot outlive. Some also offer innovative investment features. We believe that a well-rounded advisor is one who can combine securities and insurance products that complement one another. Using them in tandem often delivers the best results. No matter how much you start with.
The closely-held business is often the cornerstone of family wealth. Its stabilization in the face of numerous risks is key to preserving the family enterprise. Involving a complex planning process, the steps needed to protect the family business can require the contributions of numerous professional specialties in a team effort that demands deft coordination.
The tendency for wealth to dissipate over time (hence the saying “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”) and for families to lose sight of their Founder’s values requires proactive countermeasures to foster harmony and sustainability. These can take the form of conduct protocols and collaborative trust governance built into the self-settled trust design we recommend.