Estate Planning

Achieve a Clear Vision of Your Legacy

As a trusted advisor to individuals, families and business partners, we focus on the tax efficient distribution of the wealth you have accumulated during your lifetime.  Those assets, and your philosophy of living, are your legacy.  There is no finer gift to your heirs than a well-planned estate.

We believe understanding is an important element in any family planning project.  Accordingly, we provide patient and educational counseling in a timeframe suitable to reach family goals.  Preservation of assets, targeted distribution of wealth and charitable planning are elements worthy of consideration.   We tackle your problems with solutions based on years of experience working with business owners, families and high net-worth individuals. With our experience and understanding behind you, estate structures and strategies effectively realize your legacy in pursuit of your goals.

An Estate Plan Built for Each Individual and Family

Effective estate planning starts with understanding family history, its cultural approach to legacy and intended distribution planning and your appetite for simple vs. complex structures.  An important element is disclosure of individual and family assets such as bank and investment accounts, retirement plans, business interests and personal property. The planning necessary to create an estate plan for each unique situation requires the formation of custom solutions.  We will be creative and confer with you throughout the process. We will assess your goals and ensure that our solutions match your values and desires. Ultimately, we will reduce your tax burdens in order to transfer your assets from generation to generation while retaining your wealth to support your family legacy for your beneficiaries.

Expert Advice Based on Comprehensive Experience

One of the most important aspects of estate planning is ensuring that your documents allow the flexibility to enable long-term use and provide you and your family with lasting peace-of-mind.  The cornerstone of modern-day estate planning is a living trust, also called a family trust, a revocable trust or an inter vivos trust.  A living trust enables the family to avoid a probate procedure, and distribute assets upon the death of the grantor, the person who contributes funds and assets to the trust.  A living trust is often amended as families mature and goals change.   A living trust allows families to delay distributions to children and grandchildren until they attain a specified age or defined goal. 

Estate Planning Includes Ancillary Documents

While the focus on a living trust deserves great attention, clients are advised to consider the nuances of creating durable powers of attorney, advance health care directives and HIPAA authorized access to health care and insurance records.  In addition, when clients have minor children, the identity of guardians is discussed, along with the provisions of a guardianship.

Sophisticated Planning for Taxable Estates

Advanced estate planning techniques and strategies are warranted when an estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption amount.   The exemption amount has been a moving target, regularly moving higher during the last couple of decades.  The amount is scheduled to decline in coming years, which makes planning subject to the political winds of the day. Those winds may lead to more dramatic changes than now anticipated under current law. Flexibility is a key element of planning, and requiring patient counseling and careful decision making.   A current rule called portability enables a surviving spouse to use the unused exemption amount of a deceased spouse under certain circumstances.  Another rule allowing for the stepped-up basis for appreciated assets is subject to political discussion and could be revised in the coming years.   Each asset of the estate should be analyzed together with the cash flow and importance to the family.  Estate planning is a process done in steps, and often addressed over many years.

Selecting the services of Lawrence E. May, PLC can help you create a solid foundation for your future. Our services will not only help you realize your estate planning goals, but also engage you throughout the process to ensure that you have a firm understanding of how your decisions are impacting your future.