Estate Structuring

At CDA Group, no matter where you are on your financial journey we have the tools and expertise to step in and help. While we can tailor our services to your particular situation, needs, and desires, our proprietary planning process, The Capital Wealth Management Solution℠ (CWMS), is where the estate structuring experience usually begins.

Once we have worked with you to craft your unique estate structuring plan, the CDAG team begins to put it in place utilizing our extensive resources. We then continue to monitor and scrutinize each piece to help it remain in-tune with your changing situation.  And, of course, we bring to the table two decades of planning expertise (read more about our approach and our team).  It’s not just an estate plan – it is a lifetime planning process.  And we are here to help guide you along the way.

Here are the kinds of questions we try to help our clients answer in the course of our Estate Structuring process. Does any of them resonate with you?

  • Am I paying too much in taxes?
  • Am I too heavily invested in one area of the market?
  • Do I know where my money goes on a monthly basis?
  • Am I making financial decisions off-the-cuff or piecemeal?
  • Do my financial professionals know the goals I have for my wealth?
  • Would my spouse know what to do should something happen to me?

Will & Trust Development

When was the last time you thoroughly renewed ALL of your legal estate planning documents?  Do you have the correct types of wills and/or trusts that are most suitable for your current economic and family situations and clearly state your dispositive wishes?  Have you ever had a hypothetical probate conducted to “test” the utility and proficiency of your documents? Have you used the current tax laws or applied the estate and gift tax minimization to their fullest abilities?  In other words, have you protected you and your family from creditors, predators, divorce, and faulty financial decisions?  If not, we can help. One of the hallmarks of the Capital Design process is the careful examination of your legal documents.

Where necessary, we facilitate the engagement of appropriate legal counsel in the development or modification of needed documents. Unlike many advisors who just send you to an attorney, we educate our clients on appropriate estate planning alternatives, help in the selection of legal counsel and participate in the development of the documents right here in our office.  This often complex and intimidating process becomes a team effort (client/legal counsel, CPA, and CDAG advisor) which results in the development of the appropriate documents, coordination of assets, beneficiary designations, and the peace of mind that all reasonable steps have been taken to carry out your dispositive wishes.

 

Equal vs. Equitable Issues

If you have two more children in all likelihood they were not treated exactly equal during life, particularly from a financial standpoint. From a legacy standpoint, this often becomes problematic since many assets are not easily divisible nor found equally desirable by downstream beneficiaries. This situation often becomes the root cause of disharmony between siblings, particularly where there was a family business involved and participation in that business varied significantly. There are a variety of ways these issues can be addressed either during life or through the use of carefully crafted language in the will and trust agreements. At CDA Group, we prompt careful analysis as to the existence of these equal versus equitable issues and help our clients arrive at carefully thought out solutions that are often communicated to heirs in a sensitive fashion that avoids this potential family disharmony.

Asset Protection Planning

One of the hallmarks of a successful business effort is protecting the ground already gained. Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society: assaults often come without warning from activity sectors you would least expect. The time to protect the “ground you’ve gained” from creditors, predators, divorce, and faulty financial decisions is before the event, not after.

Tax Avoidance Strategies

Why pay more for income, gift, or estate taxes than you have to? At Capital Design, we provide insight and guidance on income tax reduction strategies. We evaluate the use of qualified plans, life insurance, mortgage alternatives and the myriad of legitimate tax deductions that can be used to reduce income tax exposure. In the area of gift and estate tax, we educate our clients on the terminology and methodology of how to reduce or eliminate taxes while at the same time maintaining control of your assets. Remember, on the short list there are three beneficiaries for your estate: your heirs, charity, and the IRS – we suggest you select only two of these.  For those of our clients who are charitably inclined, we show them the most tax-efficient methods to donate to their favorite charities.

Charitable Planning

Central to our focus for our clients is charitable planning, both lifetime gifts and legacy or planned gifts.

Over the past 20 years, we have schooled ourselves in and promoted to our clients the art and science of creative tax planning using charitable planning techniques. These more tax efficient gifting solutions allow our clients to give more to their favorite charities by having more to give. Using the latest technology to facilitate these solutions, we are able to illustrate and project the best giving vehicle to achieve our clients’ charitable giving goals.

Hypothetical Probate

How do you know that your will and trust arrangements are going to work, and furthermore that your personal dispositive wishes will be carried out upon your passing? If you’re not around to supervise the outcome, there is no way to be certain—unless you are willing to put in a little effort. There is a process referred to as conducting a hypothetical probate, which in effect serves as a “test run” of your will and trust documentation. Ordinarily, assets will move at death by operation of either law or contract. It pays to carefully review beneficiary designations (both primary and contingent), account registrations, and ownership arrangements to ensure that your assets wind up in the proper hands, and furthermore at the proper time subject to the terms and provisions that you had intended. If you are not attentive to these important details you run the risk of your assets moving “around” rather than “under” your will at your death. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it—so why would you sign the most important legal documents of your life without “test driving” them first?