Go Back

Estate Planning: Kind of Like Waterskiing – But More Fun

Our loyal blog readers probably realize that there are several purposes for our blog: an outlet to provide general estate planning updates; marketing and web presence; and acquisition of new clients. Today’s post hopes to reel in new clients that have been hesitant to begin planning their estate. (And we are confident that there are thousands of potential clients anxiously following our blog).

During my teenage years I would frequent my local reservoir for an outing of “early-morning water skiing” with friends and family. When it was my turn I would often stand on the back of the boat for several minutes working up the courage to jump into the cold and glassy water. Just like ping into a frigid pool or lake, thinking and worrying about estate planning only makes the task more difficult. Sometimes you have to “Just Do It.” We do not have knowledge of any client that has ever passed away any sooner (or later) by virtue of having an estate plan in place. In fact, the process for the surviving loved ones is much easier with an existing estate plan.

A recent joint article in the Washington Post and Entreprenuer.com brings attention to this fact. The article discusses parents’ responsibility to put their estate planning in order for the sake of their loved ones. This task is an investment of significant time and effort. And it is most successful when a team approach is used and includes a client’s trusted advisors such as the CPA, Financial Planner, or other general advisors. The attorneys at Jeffrey Burr strive to associate with this city’s best CPA’s, Financial Planners, Investment Managers, and Insurance professionals. We welcome the team approach and we seek the input of other advisors on a plan that works for all aspects of a client’s personal, business, and family goals.

All things being equal, today is a prime time to engage in estate planning for those clients who have a potentially taxable estate. As the article mentions, removing assets from the estate and transferring wealth to the next generation are key principles of estate planning for high net worth individuals. Today’s economy has caused asset values and business valuations to be rock-bottom; the interest rate mandated by the IRS for inter-family transfers is also at a very low level, and both of these facts make today an ideal time to transfer assets and engage in planning for estate tax reduction. Furthermore, the current absence of a generation-skipping transfer tax and low 35% gift tax rates make 2010 a great time to put an estate plan in place.

For those readers who are still standing on the back of the boat, it’s time to jump into the lake.

Attorney Jason Walker