Estate Planning

How should affluent families control the value of their legacy over generations?



Everyone possesses two kinds of wealth. Personal wealth consists of your income, assets, and earnings-which creates the lifetime financial plan to achieve your personal goals. Social wealth is that part of what you earn over your lifetime that goes to the common good-which most people abdicate to the government's financial plan. 
Like most families, you have strong ideas about controlling the legacy of your personal wealth. But you probably don't realize that you can also control the legacy your social wealth achieves in your name. You take control by managing three components of comprehensive, integrated wealth transfer planning. . . 
  • Reassign or reduce value of assets to control the value of the taxable estate.
  • Manage the distribution of your assets during lifetime and after death to control the direction of the legacy.
  • Leverage payment method to discharge tax liability at the lowest cost. 

Questions affluent families should ask to control their legacy

  1. Do you understand how the government will value and collect its share of your legacy? Are you satisfied to also let government control how this legacy is spent?
  2. Are you relying on your Will to make sure your assets will be transferred at the time and in a manner that matches your goals with the needs of your heirs?
  3. How will you handle the particular tax problems that apply to retirement assets?
  4. How will you prepare your children to inherit unearned wealth?
  5. You have completed a Will, but has your planning missed opportunities to control personal and social wealth by not also considering . . . 
  • Durable power of attorney? Durable power of attorney for health care?
  • Living Will? Revocable Living Trust?
  • Marital, family, and children's trusts? Qualified Terminal Interest Trust?
  • Annual exclusion gifts? Gifts of the available exemption equivalent? Gifts requiring payment of gift tax?
  • Charitable Remainder Trust? Charitable Lead Trust?
  • Testamentary charitable planning for Income in Respect of a Decedent?
  • Family foundations? Family Partnerships?
  • Grantor Retained Interest Trusts? Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts? Grantor Retained Unitrusts?
  • Private Annuities? Dynasty Trusts? Qualified Domestic Trusts?  


How should affluent individuals protect their financial achievements & assure their long term goals?

Personal risk management seemed relatively simple in the days when the worry was all about replacing income. The standard advice was to save enough to make it through an unexpected cash flow crisis and insure against long or permanent losses of income.
Today that leaves a lot out of the picture, including some conflicting goals, like . . .
  • Eliminating debts
  • Creating emergency funds
  • Building investment funds
  • Meeting major expense commitments
  • Assuring retirement income
  • Funding personal medical and elderly care
  • Funding parental elderly care
  • Settling transfer tax liabilities and creating a family legacy
Add to this the wide diversity of risk management and investment tools to achieve these goals-life insurance, disability insurances, medical insurances, critical illness insurances*, long term care insurance, and a host of investment strategies and products. Sustaining your risk management plan and retirement plan requires dedicated and ongoing focus and the help of a team of professional resources.

Questions high-income families should ask to help achieve financial control.

  1. What planned or hypothetical events do you foresee that could create the most pressing cash needs? Can you quantify the financial impact?  
  2. In the future, what do you see as the most important financial decisions for you and your family? What is your time frame for making those decisions?
  3. What have been the most important factors in achieving your quality of life goals for you and your family? What would happen to those quality of life goals if you or your spouse were to become disabled or die?
  4. What age do you project for your retirement? Are you aware that retirement assets could be subject to tax erosion? If your experience in retirement demonstrates that you will not need to distribute all your retirement assets for income, would you preserve the tax-deferred growth for future generations? 
  5. What potential risks do you consider when evaluating investment opportunities? Realistically, what kinds of returns do you expect from a sound investment? What is your time horizon for achieving those returns? What do you consider the best and worst investment decisions you have made?

Charitable Planning


Gifting strategies may be used as a means of distributing your estate and effectively reducing estate taxes upon death. Most taxpayers can accomplish significant estate planning objectives simply by taking advantage of lifetime giving which includes making maximum use of the annual exclusion, lifetime use of the applicable exclusion amount and lifetime taxable gifts.  Considerations should be given to one or more of the following strategies when trying to minimize estate taxes and maximize the net distributions from your estate to family, friends and charities:

  • Grantor Retained Trusts - allows you to remove appreciating property from your estate thus reducing estate taxes. Once the property is transferred to the trust, the grantor (donor) retains interest in the property for the term specified. The grantor receives payments based on the value of the assets in the trust. The property, including any appreciation in value, passes to the beneficiaries without further gift or estate tax consequences.
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts - allows you to donate property and assets to a trust and reserve an income stream in the trust for a specified period. The trust provides an income to you or any designated non-charitable beneficiaries with the remainder interest being transferred to a qualified charity at the end of the term.
  • Charitable Lead Trusts - allows you to designate charities to receive an income stream during term of the trust. At the end of the term, the ultimate beneficiaries are your heirs.

Please be sure to consult your tax advisor & attorney regarding your particular situation.
#Securities offered through NYLIFE Securities LLC. (member FINRA/SIPC, NYLIFE Securities LLC is a New York Life company).
*Neither Eagle Strategies LLC nor any of its affiliates provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Please contact your own advisors for more information on your particular situation.

*Please be sure to consult your tax advisor and attorney regarding your particular situation.