Wealth Transfer ala Goldilocks – How Much IS “Just Right?


Sometimes there really can be too much of a good thing. Oftentimes, however, you have to be in the right position to see it. For example, many parents have come to believe that $10.5 million is just way too much of a good thing to leave as inheritance to their children.

None other than the venerable Wall Street Journal explored this subject in an article appropriately titled Can You Trust Your Kid With $5.25 Million?

As you likely are well aware, the enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) sets the unified estate and gift tax exemption at $5.25 million per taxpayer (with a nearly “automatic” $10.5 million per married couple). Using certain estate planning “tools” (e.g., to make “discounted” wealth transfers) you can do a great deal better than that, too.

So, what do you think about leaving a large inheritance to your progeny? By default in most jurisdictions, your children would inherit their inheritance outright without any restrictions, guidance or protection at age 18 (or immediately if already older than age 18). If that is not enough motivation to make proper estate plans now, then little may do the trick.

Proper estate planning means providing the legal means to both protect the inheritance “for” and “from” your descendants. Have you ever noticed that some children “grow up” and others just “get older”? Accordingly, your planning should reflect the unique needs of each of your children. While you are at it, perhaps you might want to make provisions directly for your grandchildren. Many grandparents say had they known how much fun grandchildren are, they would have had them first!

Bottom line: only you can decide “how much is enough” when it comes to the financial legacy you leave downstream to your loved ones. Only you can make the arrangements to help ensure such inheritance is a blessing and not a curse. Also, remember to leave an inheritance to your favorite charity or charities, as well.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled:  estate tax planning in Williamsburg, Virginia . Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.