Trusts & Estate Planning

Trusts & Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Broadly speaking, estate planning is the practice of planning in advance how a person’s property passes at their death with the lowest possible tax and administrative cost. Estate planning often involves structuring the ownership of property during one’s lifetime as well. If a person does not make an estate plan, there is little his or her heirs can do to avoid unwanted tax and dispositive effects.

McCarthy Weidler works with our clients to preserve, manage and transfer wealth through individualized estate plans. Our client base of high-net worth clients includes individuals and their closely-held businesses located throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Florida.

McCarthy Weidler offers our clients comprehensive plans to minimize income, estate and other related costs, as well as provide for asset protection from creditors, lawsuits, and business and personal liability exposure.  Further, we work with our client’s other advisors, such as financial planners, investment advisors and accountant to ensure meeting our client’s goals and needs.  Our estate planning services include the preparation and drafting of the following essential estate planning documents:

  • Wills
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Lifetime Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills

What Makes a Good Estate Plan?

Every estate plan is different.  A good estate plan will analyze every part of the individual’s estate and coordinate his or her wishes with tax-efficient lifetime and testamentary planning.

McCarthy Weidler works closely with our clients and their other advisors to develop estate plans that accomplish a client’s goals and reduce taxes by incorporating some or all of the following estate planning ideas:

  • Lifetime gift planning to leverage the use of federal estate and gift tax exemption
  • Sale of strategic property to trusts sheltered from estate taxes
  • Trust planning for state income tax efficiency
  • Asset protection planning to preserve property for future generations
  • Lifetime and testamentary charitable planning
  • Creating split-interest trusts such as GRATs, CRATs, and QPRTs
  • Analyzing liquidity issues to prevent the forced sale of non-liquid property
  • Working with other professionals to advise on life insurance and other financial product needs

Representative Cases

Some of our representative estate planning cases including the following:

  • Prepare estate and wealth preservation documents for estates ranging in value from $1 million to in excess of $100 million
  • Administer numerous estates and trusts
  • Create and administer offshore and domestic asset protection trusts for individuals concerned about potential creditor claims
  • Assist multiple generations of a family to plan for the succession of multi-million dollar family businesses
  • Strategic trust planning for high net worth entrepreneurs to minimize state income taxes
  • Create charitable organizations currently administering multi-million dollar endowments
  • Leverage federal gift tax exemption to isolate married couples’ highly appreciating asset from federal and state estate taxes
  • Shelter trust property from future marital and creditor claims through the use of domestic asset protection trusts
  • Resolve business disputes among owners/family members

What is Charitable Planning?

Many estate plans have a charitable component. Not only do charitable gifts help with taxes, they create a legacy that continues a person’s lifetime work.

Charitable planning is the act of making gifts to organizations dedicated to charitable causes.  These gifts benefit the donor with income and estate tax benefits, in addition to the intangible reward of assisting a personally important public cause.  The gifts also benefit the charitable cause and help support the organizations that serve those causes.

Charitable gifts can be made during the donor’s lifetime or at some later time, such as a death, the death of another person, or at the end of a period of years. With careful planning, a donor can achieve immediate income tax benefits from a charitable gift that takes place in the future.

McCarthy Weidler works with our clients to create and integrate customized charitable giving plans into our clients’ estate, tax, and long-term financial planning.  Such planning minimizes income and estate taxes to leverage value for both the client and the charitable donee. Working closely our client’s tax and financial advisors, our clients’ charitable planning may use one or more of the following techniques:

  • Outright gifts to qualifying charities for their general tax-exempt purposes or for a special purpose negotiated in advance with the donee.
  • Charitable remainder trusts designed to provide an income stream for life, lives, or a period of years, followed by a transfer of the remainder to a qualifying charity, charities, or charitable purpose.
  • Charitable lead trusts designed to provide the charity with an income stream for a period of time, followed by a transfer of the remainder to the donor or the donor’s beneficiaries.
  • Creation of a public or private nonprofit organizations to collect, administer, and distribute charitable donations for a tax-exempt purpose.
  • Mixed charitable gifts, such as gifts to a donor-advised fund or pooled income fund, dedicated to a charitable purpose.

What Makes a Good Charitable Plan?

A good charitable giving plan will coordinate a client’s charitable passions with strategic tax and estate planning goals.  Every case is different.  McCarthy Weidler works with clients to develop personally rewarding charitable giving plans that not only provide a tax benefit, but also allow clients to be involved in the administration of the charitable causes for their lifetime, and create legacies that will operate for future generations.

Representative Cases

McCarthy Weidler P.C.’s client base includes nonprofit organizations.  Some of the representative cases handled by our attorneys include the following:

  • Public Charity started by national building supply company
  • Numerous private foundations
  • Advising charities on legal issues arising during administration