Tue, 01/07/2014 - 2:40pm
Many of you have read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Whether you agree with the book’s message or not, it failed to discuss a crucial part of a woman’s ability to lead – leaning-in - at the estate planning table. Responsibility for the passing of wealth to future generations or for charitable causes is equally important as the accumulation of wealth.
By 2020, women will account for 85% of people age 65 or older. Women are generally more concerned about estate planning but only 50% have estate plans in place. With divorce rates approaching 50%, half of all married women will need to address planning as single parents – the matriarch of the family’s wealth. Whether you view yourself as a professional, a homemaker, a volunteer, a business woman or an entrepreneur, if you have wealth, you have the responsibility to implement your goals and lead by example. What will your legacy be? Will you choose to protect your family by creating trusts for your descendants? Do you have a charitable mission to fulfill? What is the future of your family business? Are you part of the sandwich generation with responsibilities extending to both parents and children?
How should you begin to formulate and execute your legacy?
• Begin with a mission statement that reflects your core values and goals.
• Gather your vital financial and health information and any documents which impact your financial and medical future such as wills, trusts, deferred compensation agreements, nuptial agreements, business agreements, powers of attorney, health care documents, insurance documents and a financial statement.
• Identify your power team – an estate planning attorney, financial advisor, insurance advisor, accountant, business advisor, primary physician, psychologist, life coach and any other professional you would want to have a seat at your table when making life changing decisions. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it should take a village to ensure his or her financial future.
• Think about whether your family members will help or hinder the process. Is yours a first or later marriage? Should your team include your spouse or should you keep your planning separate from one another? Are your children mature enough to provide you with a sounding board while respecting your decision-making?
• Meet with your advisors and allow them to communicate with one another to help you formulate your estate plan. Allow them to challenge past practices and offer new ideas for addressing family issues, disharmony, blended families, divorce, charitable giving and asset protection, as applicable.
• Implement your estate plan by executing a will, revocable living trust, a durable power of attorney, health care documents and beneficiary designations that reflect the terms of your dispositive plan and estate tax planning. Address liquidity issues and create a business succession plan, if applicable. Consider appropriate gifting strategies to reduce transfer taxes and to reap the pleasure of gifting while you are able to enjoy it. Consider educational funding for future generations. As an example, set up an education trust for great grandchildren insuring the grandchildren. For a gift of $300,000, the trust will receive guaranteed tax free insurance benefits of over $4 million in the future. Create your legacy in the charitable world by planning with a private foundation and/or charitable trusts.
Women have spent a good part of their lives setting their table (in the figurative sense, of course!). Now it is time to take a seat and lead the conversation.
By Richard Bernstein and Lisa A. Schneider, published in Palm Beach Society (November 15-21, 2013 issue)
Wed, 10/09/2013 - 7:51am
The generosity of a few can impact the lives of generations to come. Case in point—the Stein family, which is helping Jewish students from throughout Hampton Roads fulfill their dreams of a quality college education.
Five years ago, the family established the Stein Family College Scholarship through the Tidewater Jewish Foundation. The Scholarship was renewed annually, and ensured that each year a deserving college student would receive $10,000 to help offset tuition and other expenses; students could continue to receive the scholarship throughout their college careers by maintaining a level of academic excellence. Read more »
Wed, 08/21/2013 - 8:36am
It’s been said over and over in a thousand different ways: fundraising is not about money – it’s about relationships. But still, the vast majority of people who have not earned their Major Gifts Cultivation badge get snagged by various forms of anxiety about money. If we can name some of those anxieties, maybe we can disempower them, so we can get back to talking about relationships. Here are seven that I have heard frequently.
Read more »