What Is "Legacy Planning" at EFP?

At EFP, we care about our legacy. We strive to maintain the utmost integrity in our reputation and in our relationships with our clients. We want our legacy to pass through to you and the future generations of your family.

In the same way, you will have a legacy. You’ll be remembered for what you did throughout your life, as well as how you’ve prepared a legacy of financial security for your family.

There are several main elements to what we call “Legacy Planning,” which are described in the sections below.

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Estate Planning

No matter where you are in the journey of life, estate planning is an essential element of an effective financial plan. Many people think making a will, designating beneficiaries, or establishing a trust is all they need to do to be prepared for the future. In reality, estate planning is an ongoing process that requires regular updates, examination of current and proposed laws, and strategic naming of beneficiaries to make the process as smooth as possible.

EFP advises on a variety of estate planning goals, from the most straightforward to the most complex forms of estate preparation. Even the simplest forms of estate planning, however, require astute care and attention to detail. 

While we aren’t attorneys and cannot establish estate documents, we can discuss your goals with you and suggest strategies that may help accomplish them. Being prepared before meeting with your estate attorney will allow for greater efficiency in the time that you spend drafting your documents with them.

Our Approach to Estate Planning

Part of establishing a relationship with a financial planner at EFP is a comprehensive review of your current estate objectives. While many people have made some kind of plan for their estate, often times we have found that beneficiary designations contradict each other, or trusts are not being used as they are designed to be used.

It’s one thing to have something in place; it’s another thing entirely to make sure it’s actually going to work as designed. The efficacy of your will and beneficiary designations is not something you want to leave up to chance.

We’ll take the time to review your estate documents and current beneficiary designations to make sure they align with your legacy goals. We’ll also review and/or recommend incapacity documents, such as naming a durable power of attorney (DPOA) and health care power of attorney (HCPOA).

It may be that you don’t currently have any of these documents, and we aren’t here to make you feel bad about that! In fact, it is much more common than one would think. We’re simply here to guide you toward choosing the estate documents that may be valuable for your unique situation.

Trusts are an effective strategy for many households who want to take advantage of current legislation or prepare for future changes to legislation before they occur.

We can assist you and your attorney in determining what type of trust may be appropriate for your situation and establish trust investment accounts when needed.

Whether it’s using an irrevocable trust to take advantage of current high estate tax exemptions or utilizing a dynasty trust for generational planning and estate tax savings, we’ll do our part to assist you in creating your legacy.

"A common mistake is when a person creates a trust in estate documents to distribute wealth to their children over time, and then names the same kids as primary beneficiaries on a retirement account. All of the retirement money will go to the kids at once that way, circumventing the goal of the trust."
estate planning
Susan Elser, CFP®
President, Financial Planner

Charitable Planning

Another important aspect of leaving a legacy is charitable planning. We encourage and support the philanthropic aspirations of our clients, and we work to equip them with the most tax-advantageous methods of charitable gifting. 

Whether you want to give during your lifetime or simply gift as part of your estate distribution plan, we’ll help you navigate the tax implications of charitable gifting. At EFP, we work with a large variety of charitable gifting vehicles, so that you can give back to your community in the most efficient way possible.

A Glimpse at Charitable Gifting Options

Our planners have assisted clients with their charitable goals by utilizing a variety of strategies. We’ve learned that each client needs to establish their own unique approach to charitable gifting. Below are some of the options we’ve explored with our clients:

  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Gifts of highly appreciated securities
  • Charitable Remainder/Lead Trusts
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)
  • Charitable IRA beneficiary designation
  • Private Foundations

Timing of charitable gifting is extremely important, especially in retirement. 

We’ll help you navigate which methods of gifting to use at different stages of life. For instance, taking advantage of Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRA accounts in retirement can reduce the tax implications of RMDs, while using donor advised funds for tax advantaged gifting during the wealth accumulation phase can help reduce taxes while you’re still earning income.

Find out why our #1 source of new clients is personal referrals.

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