Stites on Estates

Tag Archives: life cycle estate planning

Design Factors for Your Family’s Trust

Posted in Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
These are interesting years in estate planning for families in the Upper Middle and Lower Upper Classes. As a high estate tax exemption has reduced the tax-driven imperatives for using trusts to hold inheritances, non-tax applications of trusts come to the fore. As non-tax issues in trust design assume greater relative importance, what factors should… 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

Noncompetition Agreements and Your Career: On the Beach When You Don’t Want to Be

Posted in Asset Protection, Business Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
Noncompetition agreements are a common fact of life for many of the mid- and senior-level executives I represent in estate planning, and for business owner clients with employees. Because noncompetes are such important features of the life cycle estate and financial planning landscape, I sat down with my colleague Rebecca Weis to learn more about… 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

Avoid the Wolves of Wall Street When Forecasting Investment Returns

Posted in Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
We live in a world of nearly infinite, nearly free information. That includes financial information, commentary, journalism, and forecasts. Among this clutter, it can be very hard to decide what deserves attention, what’s worthwhile, and what to believe. Print, television, and Internet journalism thrives on readers and viewers. In a media landscape that is so… Continue Reading

Use a Total Balance Sheet for Your Estate Plan, Including Invisible Assets and Liabilities

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
A financial plan should be a thoughtful alignment of your income, expenses, saving, and asset allocation that makes it more likely you’ll achieve what matters most to you. Your estate plan is financial plan’s autopilot, ensuring that your capabilities carry out your goals, even if you’re not around to supervise things yourself. Using the Quadrant-based life cycle planning… Continue Reading

Demography, Destiny, and Your Family’s Estate Plan

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
It’s unclear whether Auguste Comte really said that “demography is destiny,” but you can and should use demographic data to make better estate and financial planning decisions. As we’ve noted, an estate plan often represents a set of predictions about a family’s future, predictions that will be improved when the plan considers the family’s Longevity Distribution. Your… Continue Reading

Improve Your Estate and Financial Planning With an Integrated Life Cycle Perspective

Posted in Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
While we’re still near the “New Year’s Zone”, I want to suggest a resolution for clients and their advisors: think about your estate and financial planning in an integrated way, from a life cycle perspective. People often analyze their lives in segments, even though they’re living them as a unitary whole. It’s valuable to keep… Continue Reading