You've worked hard to amass your wealth, and you want to make sure it's protected and passed on to your loved ones in the way you choose. However, you're not the average person and without proper estate planning, your wealth could be lost or squandered by probate court. Even if you have a will, there are many things that can go wrong.
At Heritage Law Office, we understand that estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. That's why we offer tailor-made solutions for high-wealth individuals and their families. We take into account your unique circumstances and goals to create a plan that will protect your assets and provide for your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity. Contact us today by calling 414-253-8500 or by sending us a message to learn more about our estate planning services for high-wealth individuals.
Why is Estate Planning Important for High-Wealth Individuals?
High-net-worth individuals face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. They may have complex financial portfolios, multiple homes, and businesses in different states or countries. They may also have children from previous marriages or relationships. As a high-wealth individual, you are not the average person. You need estate planning custom-tailored for your situation.
If you have significant assets, you need to take steps to ensure that they are protected. You need both an offensive and defensive plan for your finances and your estate. This includes a comprehensive plan for the event of your death or incapacity.
Without a proper estate plan, your assets could be subject to probate, which is a time-consuming and expensive process. Additionally, without a plan in place, your assets could be distributed in ways that you do not intend. For example, if you have young children, you may want to establish trusts to provide for their future needs.
Individuals Who May Need High-Net-Worth Estate Planning
Some examples of some high-wealth individuals who can benefit from estate planning include:
- Lottery Winners
- Business Owners
- Business Executives
- Professional Athletes (Including NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and MLS Athletes)
- Professionals (Including Lawyers, Doctors, and Accountants)
What Does a Comprehensive Estate Plan Include?
A comprehensive estate plan includes a variety of legal documents, such as wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, and advance directives. These documents work together to protect your assets and your family in the event of your incapacity or death.
Wills are perhaps the most well-known estate planning documents. A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your death. If you die without a will (known as dying "intestate"), your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your state of residence. This may not be in accordance with your wishes. For example, if you have children from a previous relationship, they may not inherit anything if you die intestate.
A trust is another important tool for high-net-worth individuals. A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustee) holds and manages property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including asset protection, tax minimization, and avoiding probate.
Powers of Attorney are legal documents in which you appoint someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated. Advance directives are similar documents in which you set forth your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes yourself.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you have a high net worth, estate planning is an essential tool that needs to be individualized to help you protect your assets and provide for your family. Heritage Law Office has the experience and knowledge to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that meets all of your needs and goals.
Contact us today by calling 414-253-8500 or by sending us a message to learn more about our estate planning services for high-wealth individuals. We will work with you to create a customized plan that meets your unique needs and goals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why is estate planning crucial for high-net-worth individuals?
Estate planning is particularly critical for high-net-worth individuals because they often possess complex financial portfolios, multiple homes, and businesses in different states or countries. They may also have children from previous marriages or relationships, all of which complicate the process of wealth distribution. Without a tailored estate plan, assets could end up subjected to probate—a lengthy and costly process—or be distributed in unintended ways.
2. Who can benefit from high-net-worth estate planning?
High-net-worth estate planning isn't limited to people with a particular profession or source of income. Anyone with significant assets can benefit, including lottery winners, business owners, executives, professional athletes, and other professionals like lawyers, doctors, and accountants.
3. What documents are typically included in a comprehensive estate plan?
A comprehensive estate plan generally includes legal documents such as wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, and advance directives. These tools work collectively to protect your assets and your family in case of incapacity or death. They also help to fulfill your wishes regarding asset distribution, medical treatment, and financial decisions.
4. What role does a trust play in estate planning for high-wealth individuals?
A trust is a key tool for high-wealth individuals in estate planning. It is a legal arrangement where one person (the trustee) holds and manages property for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, such as asset protection, tax minimization, and probate avoidance.
5. Why should I contact an estate planning attorney?
A professional estate planning attorney has the expertise to guide you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that fits your needs and goals. They understand the complexities of estate laws and can provide individualized strategies to help protect your assets and provide for your family. An attorney can assist you in setting up necessary legal documents and in ensuring that your estate plan adheres to current laws.