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  /  Insights   /  Estate Planning for High Net Worth Individuals: Save Millions on Estate Taxes

Estate Planning for High Net Worth Individuals: Save Millions on Estate Taxes

When it comes to estate planning, every individual should consider the issue of descent, the risk of incapacity, asset protection and consolidation, and business succession. However, for Ultra High Net Worth individuals, and those with uncommonly valuable assets, special estate planning considerations, including complex tax issues, are absolutely necessary.

At Weber Global Management, we provide estate planning for UHNW families and individuals that helps our clients sustain their wealth across multiple generations as part of our comprehensive wealth management services. Our estate planning services incorporate solutions for both tax-efficient wealth preservation and transfer of wealth and are always tailored to reflect your priorities and values.

Why Estate Planning for High Net Worth Families and Individuals is Important

With over $30 million in accumulated assets, UHNW individuals are distinctly different from other investors. While growing their wealth is still an important aspect of their financial planning, wealth preservation and protection through estate planning are prioritized to carry on their legacy.

With extraordinary wealth, there is much more for a UHNW individual to lose. Achieving UHNW status does not protect anyone from the risk of sudden illness or disability, lawsuits, or constantly fluctuating markets. Incorporating estate planning, including wealth transfer, transition planning, risk management, trusts, and estate tax minimization is critical to protecting your wealth both now and over the long term.

Strategies for High Net Worth Estate Planning

Our estate planning process begins by defining the underlying dynamics of your situation, including your current financial picture, future goals, family dependents, and risk tolerance. We then incorporate multi-generational wealth strategies, providing guidance for your future financial security so your human and financial capital will both thrive.

Some of the UHNW estate planning strategies we utilize to help you save big on taxes while preparing your family for the future include:

Gifting and Charitable Giving

Utilizing the lifetime gift tax exemption, which currently is $11.7 million, can help UHNW taxpayers by exempting them from taxes paid on any gifted funds until they exceed this amount. Once the lifetime exemption limit is met, UHNW individuals can still gift up to $15k each year without tax impact, as this is the annual gift tax exemption limit. These large exemptions make gifting a prudent choice to reduce total estate size and estate taxes.

Assigning a portion of an UHNW estate to a charitable trust is another smart way to reduce estate size and provide a charitable tax break. These donations may be in the form of investments, hard assets, or cash and may be assigned to either a charitable lead trust (CLT) or a charitable remainder trust (CLT).

Business Succession Planning

If you own a business, taking proactive steps in the short term is critical to successful succession planning, so that your descendants or beneficiaries will have the experience and education required to understand the day-to-day activities and ease them into a larger role before fully transitioning the business to them. Getting them involved sooner rather than later can also give you the peace of mind that the business you’ve worked hard to build will continue to be a successful part of your legacy.

Incapacitation Planning

While incapacitation planning is the bleakest aspect of the estate planning process, it’s necessary to guarantee your goals are met and your wealth will be preserved across generations. In the case that you become incapacitated, assigning a financial and durable power of attorney will ensure that both your financial and medical affairs are taken care of. Another strategy includes setting up a revocable trust to designate a successor trustee should you pass after becoming incapacitated.

Family Education

Instilling a sense of financial responsibility in your children and grandchildren is one of the best ways to ensure the safekeeping and management of your passed-down assets after you’re gone. In addition to facilitating family meetings to hold critical discussions around family wealth, your estate planning process may also include setting up revocable trusts with age-banded withdrawals, managing cash transfers, and budgeting access to funds during your descendants’ youth.

Trusts

Though complex, trusts that are set up and managed properly can achieve optimum tax minimization for UHNW families. In setting up a trust, you, as the grantor, sign over some of your assets, which then become owned by the trust and managed by a trustee, who is usually an unbiased legal entity like an attorney or a trusted financial advisor. There are dozens of types of trusts available, and sorting through and trying to understand them gets complex quickly. Our knowledgeable team can help identify the best trusts that align with your estate planning goals.

Why Should I Hire a Wealth Management Firm?

Hiring a wealth management firm is one of the best decisions you can make for your family’s financial picture both now and later. The Weber Global Management wealth management team provides reasoned estate planning support and guidance derived from their successful track records managing their own UHNW assets, professional investing and financial acumen, and experience growing and preserving the extraordinary portfolios and estates of their select UHNW clientele.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of a professional wealth management firm is that it’s an effective way to achieve financial peace of mind, knowing that your estate is under the best care possible and will be protected not just for today, but for future generations.

Investing, forming trusts, and other financial tasks are mentally taxing, and being too close to your own money can make it difficult to make rational, reasoned decisions. Many wealthy individuals get caught up in their emotions when making financial decisions, but a UHNW wealth manager is able to offer guidance and objective advice based on comprehensive analysis and professional experience.

Additionally, working with a wealth manager is an efficient way to access financial information you may not have been aware of otherwise, such as what your potential tax liability is and what potential savings a good estate plan can provide.

For most investors, there are many questions that they don’t realize they should be asking when it comes to managing their estate. Experienced UHNW wealth managers like those at Weber Global Management can provide answers to these unasked questions, giving you the fullest picture of your financial situation and recommending the most appropriate strategies to preserve and protect your assets.

Estate Planning for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals and Families at Weber Global Management

Every family has its unique traditions and values, and as your trusted financial advisors and wealth managers, we help to ensure that those traditions and values continue for generations while evolving to continue to thrive in a constantly changing market.

Weber Global Management specializes in individualized, comprehensive, watertight wealth management plans, including estate planning and all the complexity it entails. Our extensive knowledge in tax minimization and the wealth transfer process provides UHNW families with peace of mind knowing their legacy will remain intact for generations to come.

The most important step to preserving your assets is to begin. To learn more about our estate planning and comprehensive wealth management services for UHNW families, reach out to the Weber Global Management team.