Stites on Estates

Tag Archives: life cycle estate and financial planning

Designing Incentive Trusts: Adam Smith and The Wealth of Beneficiaries

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
Certainly one of Adam Smith’s core insights in The Wealth of Nations was that incentives matter. I believe examples are everywhere about how Smith was correct – ranging from California water shortages and student loan debt, to tax policy and white collar crime. If incentives matter in these areas, shouldn’t they matter in designing trusts that maximize successful outcomes for… Continue Reading

Design Options for Education Trusts

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
I often work with “Wealth Creators” who have built substantial wealth themselves, most notably as founders of companies or early-stage employees at startups. I also work with “Inheritors” managing wealth built in prior generations for the benefit of descendants. Although every instance has unique aspects, in general, I find that Wealth Creators have conflicted feelings about what being… Continue Reading

Avoiding Family Fights In Estate Administration

Posted in Blended Families, Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
Estate administration can be a frustrating experience for families and their advisors, because it’s an occasion when families fight. Sometimes the fights are necessary, and unavoidable. Many other times, to a detached observer, the fights seem silly. Whether justified (or not), whether necessary (or not), conflict makes estate administration cost more (even when litigation doesn’t… Continue Reading

Managing Risk: Inheritance Strategies for the Upper Middle Class

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Long Term Care Insurance, Retirement Planning
Several months ago I read Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times by Marianne Cooper, a Stanford sociologist. Cooper’s chapters on the extremely professionally successful upper middle class and their project of “doing security” were particularly interesting. These families were operating an increasingly unstable career and social environment, and devoted tremendous energy to enhancing their own financial security.… Continue Reading

Managing Volatility: Inheritance Strategies for the Lower Upper Class

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
This week I’ve been reading Claire Tomalin’s Jane Austen: A Life. That’s risky for me to admit, as surveys show the female/male ratio of “Janeites” runs about 25:1. Mockery from readers may be unavoidable, and even deserved. I think one of the most interesting aspects of Tomalin’s biography is how it shows the Austens and… Continue Reading

Overfunded 529 Plans: Avoiding Too Much of a Good Thing

Posted in Income Tax Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
The expense of college for children and grandchildren is a troubling issue for almost all of my clients. I think this is because at an instinctual level, long before crunching any numbers, clients know what the charts below show: college costs have gone truly exponential in the last one and a half generations, far outstripping… Continue Reading

Business Startup Issues That May Find You – Even if You Don’t Go Looking For Them

Posted in Asset Protection, Business Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
In my practice, I have found that a majority of my clients who create significant wealth do so through ownership of a private business or a concentrated stock position in a publicly traded company. What that means for you is that if you haven’t yet started a business or taken an ownership position in one,… Continue Reading

Should You Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Posted in Asset Protection, Blended Families, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
Whether or not to get a prenuptial agreement before getting married isn’t an easy decision. The advisability of a prenup turns in large part on whether the default law that will govern the marriage if it ends by death or divorce is agreeable. If you can live with the default rules, a prenup might not… Continue Reading

Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning for Early Adulthood

Posted in Insurance, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Life Insurance, Retirement Planning
I believe effective life cycle estate and financial planning is anchored in the Quadrant of Facts, Forecasts, Life Stages, and Unexpected Events. Over the past several weeks, ten posts covered a lot of territory about Facts and Forecasts. This is a pivot point at which we begin exploring planning issues in the first of several Life… Continue Reading