Estate Planning in the Carolinas
As a full-service financial advisory firm that offers family-office style services to our clients, at Global View, we look at financial planning in 3 distinct time periods:
- Your lifetime
- Your lifetime after you can no longer manage your own financial affairs
- After your death
With our team of financial advisors, we’re able to help clients in each phase of planning. Estate planning is an important element at every stage.
Phase 1: Your Lifetime
Lifetime financial planning needs to address proper portfolio construction, tax planning and the execution of estate planning documents to ensure that you and your family are cared for during phases 2 and 3 described above.
Many people spend their lives working to accumulate assets with the hope that they can produce further income to support themselves and their families during retirement. As you start to transition into retirement, things change, and your financial plan can get tricky. If you haven’t started working with a financial advisor by the time you’re ready to retire, it’s wise to do so at this point. While you may not be as focused on long-term growth and compounding assets, a financial advisor can help you review your plans and look at ways to help prevent you from outliving your assets. A good financial advisor working in your best interests as a fiduciary can help in 3 specific areas: Portfolio creation, tax planning and government benefits. Your estate plan should be coordinated.
Core Estate Planning Documents
A qualified financial advisor can help you build a portfolio appropriate for your personal risk tolerance that is designed to withstand the ups and downs of the various financial markets. That portfolio can create regular income, or, if that income is not needed, can focus more on the long-term growth of your assets. Your financial advisor should help get you on the right path and then coach you on that path when volatile markets make it emotionally difficult to do so. Of course, we can adjust your plan as your family situation, tax laws or other circumstances change.
While advisors cannot eliminate volatility, we can help reduce overall risk by ensuring that you own an appropriate mix of domestic and international stocks, various types of fixed income (through mutual funds that buy and trade all types of bonds and other credit instruments) and, when appropriate, real estate, commodities or other alternative investments. Without such a portfolio, your only hope for retirement income is to rely on “investments” like bank accounts or Certificates of Deposit (CDs) that pay minimal interest. Given that inflation decreases your purchasing power each year, you will effectively grow poorer over time if you do not invest, build and commit to a diversified portfolio.
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Our federal and state tax laws create so many opportunities for the knowledgeable, and pitfalls for the unwary, that you truly need professional help to get the best tax results each year. At Global View, we can help reduce your tax burden by ensuring that you take advantage of retirement accounts and other tax-advantaged investment opportunities if possible, and by timing investment gains and losses to reduce capital gains taxes. We often work closely with clients’ accountants to address specific tax issues related to investments, the sale of business interests and the taxation of inherited assets. Failing to work with advisors who consider your personal tax situation could cost you significant wealth over time.
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Navigating decisions about Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs can be very overwhelming. At Global View, we help our investment clients manage these decisions for no additional fee. It’s part of our service – let us do that heavy lifting for you!
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Phase 2: During Your Incapacity
While we hope you will never be in a position where you cannot handle your own affairs, as we live longer, many of us will reach a point where it is prudent to let a spouse, child or trusted advisor handle investment and management decisions for us. This could be the result of medical issues (i.e., dementia or disease) or a lack of interest in “handling the details” as we age. Having said that, advance planning is required to ensure that someone we trust can manage everything for us.
If you ever become incapacitated and you have not executed a valid durable power of attorney, your family may have to spend significant funds and emotional energy petitioning the probate court to appoint a conservator for you. This process is expensive and stressful. Having a durable power of attorney can help you and your family avoid this financial and emotional cost.
Similarly, having a document that names a health care agent to act for you if you cannot act for yourself can help avoid uncertainty and conflict within your family during the most stressful of times.
For some clients, having a trust in place (and funded) can make management much easier during incapacity than it would be using a power of attorney. This can be particularly important if you are unmarried and do not have children you expect to care for you.
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Phase 3: After Your Death
Executing a well-considered estate plan can ensure that the wealth you’ve worked so hard to create really benefits your loved ones after you have left them. A good estate planning attorney can help you think through the numerous options for how you can support your spouse, children, charities or other preferred beneficiaries. When appropriate, your estate planning attorney can craft trusts to help protect the inheritance you leave from your beneficiaries’ creditors and divorcing spouses. At Global View, we can help guide or coordinate the estate planning process for you.
As a full-service fiduciary financial advisory firm, Global View has the experience and expertise to help you address tax consideration related to estate planning; why you might want or need a trust as part of your plan; and options for gifting both during your lifetime and at death. We will also review steps to take if you inherit from someone else or have to manage settling the estate of a loved one, as well as updating your estate plan after major life changes like a divorce.
Estate planning is far too important to put off. “Later” can quickly become “too late.” Contact us and get the conversation started.
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Schedule a free, no-strings-attached conversation with the fee-only fiduciary financial advisors at Global View to see if we’re the right fit for you.