Estate planning is a very important exercise of preparing an individual’s estate to organize wealth in a manner that minimizes the implications of tax and maximizes the value of the estate for family and other loved ones. An estate plan will include an appropriate and tax-efficient will, it will also involves the preparation of powers of attorney and, often times, the use of trusts and other structures that hold and distribute assets to beneficiaries and others.
More specifically, estate planning can include the use of life insurance, stock options, inter-vivos and estate trusts and other structures to provide for family members after death. Estate planning can involve issues such as the tax-efficient transfer of assets between generations outside of the will, including estate freezes of the shares of family owned corporations in order to minimize probate fees and tax on the deemed disposition on death.
Estate planning also involves planning for the succession of a family-owned business from one generation to another in a manner that does not unfairly prejudice the surviving spouse, nor the children who may not wish to be involved, while at the same time incentivizing family members working in the business to succeed.
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