Advanced Estate Planning: When a Simple Will Isn’t Enough

Posted on : March 5, 2018, By:  George Dillon

Simple is not always best. Sometimes life is complicated, and your estate planning should reflect that. When a simple Will isn’t enough to handle your estate, advanced estate planning may be in the cards.

Back to Basics?

Typically, a simple plan includes a:

  • Last Will and Testament,
  • Durable power of attorney,
  • Healthcare power of attorney, and maybe a living Will.

But basic estate planning will only cover your basic needs.

Some people require more sophisticated estate planning strategies.


Your Simple Will Won’t Reduce Estate Taxes.

Some estate plans seek to reduce possible estate tax bills. Estates valued at more than the IRS exemption limit face a potentially large tax bills. The recent tax reform raised the exemption from roughly $5 million to a little over $10 million.

Anyone whose estate approaches that limit would benefit from advanced estate planning tactics that are designed to reduce your estate tax.

Your Simple Will Won’t Create a Financial Legacy for Your Heirs.

If you’d like your assets to provide your heirs with years of benefits, consider one of the following wealth-transfer strategies:

  • Generation-Skipping Trusts. To reduce estate taxes, trust assets pass to the grantor’s grandchildren. Also known as a dynasty trust or legacy trust.
  • Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT). Married couples continue to benefit from the trust assets, but name their descendants as beneficiaries.
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT). Trust assets typically transfer tax-free to the heirs. However, this irrevocable trust makes annuity payments to the grantor.
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. Payouts from insurance policies may be paid into this trust to be held in trust for your beneficiaries.
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT). The grantor’s home or vacation funds the trust, freezing its value for estate tax purposes. The trust offers asset protection, possible reduction in the taxable value of an estate, and allows the grantor to remain in the home for a specified period of time.

These trusts may not be the best solution for you. Always talk to an attorney who understands the pros and cons of each trust before establishing one.

A Simple Will Does Not Protect Your Assets.

Advanced estate planning doesn’t just offer solutions for estate taxes paid after your death. Some strategies offer protection of your assets right now:

  • Gifting strategies;
  • Offshore trusts;
  • Family limited liability companies; and
  • Business succession plans.

Advanced Estate Planning Coordinates All Components of Your Plan.

At Dillon Law Group, PLC, the attorneys work with you to evaluate your needs and develop a comprehensive estate plan, whether simple or advanced. Please contact us at 757-962-4796 to set up an appointment or use the Contact Form on our website, https://www.dillonlawgrp.com/. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach and Newport News.

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