Lifetime Planning

Not all estate planning is geared toward planning for death or incapacity.  For some people, it makes sense –  both personally and financially — to make transfers during their lifetime to children, grandchildren and/or charitable organizations.

Lifetime planning for individuals Many people want to make lifetime transfers to their children or grandchildren.  In some cases, these transfers are quite straightforward – for example, a gift of cash to a child, or the payment of a grandchild’s school tuition.  In other cases, something more complex might be warranted – for example, a transfer of assets to a multi-generational trust, or a long-term gift-giving program that has the goal of transferring significant assets to the next generation at a reduced tax cost.  A good estate planner should talk with you to determine whether you are interested in making lifetime gifts, and, if so, the best techniques to use to accomplish your gift-giving goals.

Lifetime planning for charities.  For clients who are philanthropically inclined, it can often make sense to institute a program of lifetime giving to charity.  Giving gifts to charity during your lifetime has several benefits; for example, you can often take an income tax deduction for your gifts, and you can receive recognition for your gifts while you are still living.  Depending on your overall estate-planning goals and the amount that you want to commit to charity, a “planned gift” might also be appropriate – that is, a gift that can provide benefits to both charitable organizations and loved ones over a prolonged period of time.  A good estate planner can discuss with you the various options that are available for lifetime charitable giving.