Many clients build their wealth one asset at a time over many years. They acquire new assets to make their own lives better. They usually don’t stop and think about how adding new assets might affect their family down the road. Consequently, most clients own a “patchwork” of different assets that weren’t acquired to efficiently pass on their wealth to younger family members.
When they die, the transfer of their assets may trigger a variety of unnecessary costs and taxes. As a result, some of the client’s hard-earned wealth may be lost. Life insurance can help stabilize family wealth and may prevent or minimize these losses.
Differences among assets
When it comes to transferring wealth, all assets aren’t created equal. Some assets pass on less value than clients expect because their transfer may produce extra taxes, costs, commissions or management fees. Other assets may create problems if their value is linked to a specific market.
If the market is down when the asset is transferred, much less value may be passed than expected. Clients with assets in the stock and real estate markets are seeing this problem first-hand.
A good wealth transfer plan looks at each client’s personal “patchwork” of assets and decides which ones should be kept, which ones should be transferred, which ones should be consumed before death and which ones should be repositioned into new assets that pass on wealth more efficiently.
Clients who want to avoid losing some of their wealth during the inheritance process need to look closely at their assets and determine which ones have features that make for efficient wealth transfer. These features include:
? having predictable value
? being easily divisible among heirs
? having value that is not linked to market performance
? avoiding probate
? having growth that is income tax-free
? having potential to avoid estate taxes