The estate and trust department of Garrity, Graham, Murphy, Garofalo & Flinn works with clients of all ages to create plans for the tax efficient transfer of wealth to their family, friends and favored charities.
Choosing The Plan
We combine the proven methods of effective estate planning with the latest gift and tax planning strategies in order to maximize the tax advantaged transfer of wealth. We measure our success by our ability to devise a plan that will safely navigate the requirements of state and federal law, as it accomplishes our client’s chosen objectives.
Creating The Plan
Our point of beginning is to assist our client in cataloguing assets, defining objectives and assessing the needs and capabilities of beneficiaries. With this foundation in place, we identify and recommend the strategies we believe will best accomplish our client’s objective. Once our client is in agreement, we create the required estate planning documents and supervise their execution.
We assist our client with the re-titling and transfer of assets that is often required by a sophisticated wealth transfer plan, and with confirming or changing beneficiary designations of IRA, 401K and other tax deferred accounts and life insurance policies. We offer advice on establishing appropriate ongoing maintenance plans for matters such as annual filings for business and charitable entities and maintaining books and records that sufficiently detail the activities of the entities our client has created.
Estate And Trust Administration Services
The administration of a wealth transfer plan after its creation is the vital second step toward its successful execution. We are available to assist our clients in every aspect of the administration of their plans. We counsel our trustee clients on fulfilling their fiduciary obligations to document compliance with prudent investor laws and adherence to appropriate distribution guidelines. We counsel our executor clients on the methodology of collecting assets, preparing Inheritance and Estate Tax Returns and accounting to beneficiaries so that their exposure to claims terminates at the closure of the estate. We work with our clients to assure their living trusts are funded and appropriate records are maintained. We assist our clients in securing competent professional help to prepare fiduciary income tax returns.
Changing Family Needs
We believe it is essential to monitor the human needs of our client and his or her family and friends for whom the transfer plan has been created. In the end, our most sophisticated plans must continue to evolve with the needs of those they were created to benefit. We believe that our trust and estate planning and administration is a process rather than a transaction and we look forward to an enduring relationship with our client.
Finally, a wealth transfer plan must be as dynamic as the client and family it serves. The plan must be structured to evolve with both our client’s and his or her beneficiaries’ needs and circumstances, as well as the changing mandates of law. The need for periodic confirmations of bearings and adjustments to the course must be anticipated in the initial plan and executed with the same analytical deliberation and attention to detail with which the initial plan was created. We consider plan evolution a necessary sequel to plan creation.
The Family Business
A closely held family business presents unique estate planning challenges and opportunities. We work with our family business client to objectively assess the strengths of the business and the generation that will be its new owners and the beneficiaries of its success. In addition to understanding the structural, legal and tax components of the business we assist our family business client in identifying and addressing the wide range of interests, rivalries and talents of succeeding family members who will carry forward the life-work of the family business founder.
The transfer plan for the family business is often a combination of strategies carefully designed to meet competing business, financial and family concerns. It must satisfy the needs of the departing generation, create a springboard for the talents of the succeeding generation and position the business to grow under the management of its new owners. Whether it is to be an immediate turnover or a gradual transition, a seamless transfer of legal and beneficial ownership to the succeeding generation is essential if the business is to thrive.
Charitable Gift Planning
Charitable gift planning is an important component of many of our clients’ plans. The combining of charitable gifts with non-charitable transfers often enables our clients to accomplish both objectives while substantially reducing their total transfer tax cost. Whether the solution is a simple legacy or a private foundation, a bargain sale or a split interest charitable trust, a planned charitable gift can frequently enhance the value of the non-charitable gift that family and friends will enjoy as it simultaneously benefits the client’s chosen charity.
A planned charitable giving strategy may include gifts made during life, at death or both. Helping our client to understand the role of the charitable gift in the wealth transfer plan and its impact on the surviving family can be the most valuable advice we offer our client. Moreover, in addition to tax and financial benefits, creating an opportunity for descendants to participate in charitable giving can be the ideal setting in which our client transmits his or her cherished values to the next generation.
Planning For Incapacity
Our planning professionals assist our clients with advice on planning for incapacity. Topics such as living trusts, guardianships, living wills, advance health care directives and durable powers of attorney may be only the beginning of a coherent plan for incapacity. In appropriate cases we create Special Needs Trusts for our clients or their dependents. Planning for long term medical and residential care is more important than ever for clients of substantial means as well as those less fortunate.
Team Of Advisors
We are accustomed to working either independently or as a member of a team that may include an accountant, financial planner, investment advisor, custodian, trustee or an insurance professional. We believe that an important part of our service is to assure that our clients understand the need for and secure competent advice from related professionals such as accountants, insurance advisors, financial advisors and investment managers. The successful creation and administration of a trust or an estate often requires expertise in several disciplines. We do not hesitate to recommend that our clients employ other professionals as may be necessary to enable them to efficiently accomplish their objectives.
The professionals at Garrity, Graham, Murphy, Garofalo & Flinn’s Estate and Trust Department consider each client as if he or she were a part of our family and we strive to serve them accordingly.