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Estate, Legacy, and Charitable Planning

Estate, Legacy, and Charitable Planning

Neither a retirement plan, nor a financial plan is comprehensive unless it includes a discussion on estate planning. It is essential to monitor your balance sheet (assets minus liabilities) both on a current basis and as a hypothetical model in the event of death.

For those fortunate enough to acquire sufficient assets to meet their retirement income needs throughout their lifetime, an analysis as to the distribution of assets to others is a worthy exercise.

“Others” include three buckets: family heirs, charity, and Uncle Sam. The three are intertwined. Everyone wants to minimize the amount paid in taxes by their estate and by their heirs, that's a given. With the Federal Estate Tax Exemption for 2023 at a $13,610,000 for a single and $27,220,000 for a couple, most estates are exempt from this burden.

However, Federal Income taxes to the beneficiaries have no exemption. When qualified assets including an IRA, pension, or profit share plan funds are distributed to heirs, they are fully taxed as ordinary income. This is also true of the gains in an annuity policy. This cold reality oftentimes comes as a surprise to the beneficiary.

Many, if not most, families that have acquired wealth have the desire to share some of their bounties with charitable organizations and institutions that represent their values. The philanthropic motives vary with each individual. The commonality is that the donor wishes to give back to others in a manner that makes our country and the world a better place beyond their brief stay here.

As a full-service financial planning firm, Sheehy & Molinelli is well-positioned to assist our clients in addressing their estate planning and charitable giving aspirations.

All three advisors are Certified Financial Planners (CFP). The five-part course includes an entire section on estate planning. In addition, Bill has taken the firm’s expertise to an advanced level by earning two additional professional designations. He is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP). Arguably, the only advisor in the area with these three credentials.

In coordination with other professionals, including the client's attorney and CPA, we have the knowledge, tools, techniques and estate planning software to guide our clients through a step-by-step process that helps them examine their goals. Together, we will design a specific plan to implement their objectives on a tax-favored basis.