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Is Your Estate a Gift or a Burden to Your Family?

By Jessica Andrews, Pacific Trust Company President

At some point, you will not be here anymore. You will pass from this life in solidarity with every other human that has ever lived. An existential reality to be sure. What’s not existential, though, is your estate. Your estate, in all its mess and confusion, for better or for worse, will continue on without you. In fact, it’s your family who will be dealing with it.

The question is this: Is your estate a gift or a burden to your family?

Unsure? You should be able to answer the following questions with confidence:

  • How close can you estimate your current estate tax liability and projected estate tax liability 10 years from now?

  • Who in your family is best equipped to plan for the inevitable estate tax?

  • If you passed suddenly, who else has access to your detailed financial information?

  • What is the plan to pay the estate tax?

To protect the legacy you’ve built, here are three practical steps you can take:

  • Understand your net worth, projected growth rate, remaining lifetime gifting exemption, and pending estate tax liability for several scenarios.

  • Ensure those you’re leaving behind either know the game plan for when you’re gone and are ready to execute that plan or know which people to go to.

  • Check on the status of the planning at a minimum of every year but recommended is every 6 months, like going to the dentist.

At Pacific Trust Company we’ll ensure your estate is a gift. We specialize in helping our clients think through these questions, run projections, and craft a plan. We often become the resource that clients rely on where the founder can say to their family, “If I am gone, call Pacific Trust Company. They know our world and game plan, and they will help you execute the plan when I’m gone.”

The potential savings from common estate planning techniques are enormous. Estate tax, both federally and at the state level, is not a problem for tomorrow, or a small issue. Planning for it is paramount for the longevity of your family enterprise. It is never too late to take meaningful action regarding estate tax. Be the one who drives this process. It is a giant gift you can give to your family.

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