Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Tax Planning and Planned Giving
Drawing up a will is just one step in the process of getting your affairs in order. At Sutherland & Connor LLC, we develop comprehensive strategies that go beyond property allocation. We help you navigate critical decisions such as naming fiduciaries, balancing the pros and cons of various trust arrangements, and the need for tax reduction plans. Your goals, which may include ease of administration, tax reduction or asset protection, are the foundation of every estate plan we develop.
The traditional method to bequeath assets after your death is a Will. Wills can be simple or complex. A complex Will may include trusts with a variety of purposes such as reducing estate taxes or preserving assets for a dependent’s benefit. In a Will, you nominate your executor (personal representative) and can also name guardians and trustees for your dependents. In Colorado, most estate planning objectives can be met with a Will. Even though a Will can seem like a simple document to prepare, we strongly discourage the use of fill-in-the-blank forms. Because we have seen many do-it-yourself plans go awry, we keep our planning process simple, efficient and affordable so that people who need a Will can afford to get one done right.
A trust is an agreement between the person establishing the trust, called the settlor, and the trustee, who is responsible for the administration of the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiary. Trusts serve a variety of purposes. They can be contained in a Will or can stand alone. Some advisors fail to advise their clients on the appropriate uses and pitfalls of estate planning through revocable living trust. The end result can be costly both in terms of fees and the outcome of the administration. At Sutherland & Connor LLC, we get to know your needs and help you determine if a trust is appropriate and, if so, what kind. In addition to preparing trust agreements, we advise trustees on their duties and beneficiaries of their rights.
For clients with high net worth, we prepare estate plans that will minimize taxes and maximize the estate for future generations. The estate tax exemption amount in 2015 exceeds $5.43 million, so for many, estate tax planning is not necessary. Kent Sutherland began practicing when the estate tax exemption was a mere $600,000, and during those formative years he gained significant estate tax planning expertise. For those who may have taxable estates, at Sutherland & Connor LLC, we develop straightforward plans that minimize estate taxes. Such plans can include planned gifts, charitable giving and other strategies.
To minimize estate tax liabilities or to establish a legacy, Sutherland & Connor LLC helps many clients develop a strategy of making charitable donations, commonly called “planned giving.” While these strategies may be as simple as making bequests to charities in a Will, they may also involve forming a private foundation or utilizing charitable trusts to carry on your philanthropic legacy. We advise clients on a variety of options and help them chose the best strategy given their resources and goals.