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Discover Why Inviting Your GC Advisor to Estate Planning Sessions Matters

By Renee Salcedo, EA

June 21, 2023

Members of the GC Estates & Trusts team are always happy when we have the opportunity to attend an estate planning meeting with our clients and their attorneys. Doing so is the best way to ensure the entire team is working toward fulfilling wishes — whether leaving a legacy for a child/children or a favorite charity, successfully transitioning a business to the next generation, or ensuring a family is on the same page about goals and intentions.

Having our team join these meetings ensures that we have access to important documents such as wills and trusts. In doing so, we are able to review the documents to help make sure that desires are outlined. We can also offer ideas that can potentially reduce tax burdens and make sure sensitive conversations are handled clearly and calmly. Read on to discover the moments when your Grimbleby Coleman team can have the most impact.

Just Starting The Process

Our advisors start the conversation by asking clients whether they have an estate plan in place. In general, we would advise clients to consider having a plan in place once they are over the age of 18, particularly because California is a probate state. If a deceased person leaves more than $184,500 in assets behind after death, their estate could be subject to probate. Probate can be a lengthy process and may cause undue stress and concern for remaining loved ones.

We collaborate with a number of trusted attorneys to develop estate plans, and our team likes to be involved with the process from the very beginning to ensure smooth and consistent communication. If you would like to begin estate planning but do not yet have an attorney, reach out — we are happy to make a referral. If you’re still on the fence, please read our article, Still Trying To Decide Whether To Begin Estate Planning?, to help you find the right time to begin the process.

It’s Been A While Since Reviewing A Plan

We ask clients to regularly review their estate plans with Grimbleby Coleman professionals and their attorneys. Checking in with your whole team every few years, at a minimum, can prevent headaches. During a planning session, we typically review the following:

  • Your will
  • Whether you need a trust
  • Your trust documents
  • Title of documents related to your trust
  • Business succession plans
  • Tax concerns and opportunities

Since 1973, we have worked with clients’ attorneys to potentially reduce taxes, make estate plans as efficient as possible, and ensure successful business transitions. Read more about how our team works through this process by reading this case study: Simplifying An Estate Plan For A Smoother Transition.

After A Major Life Change

Any big life transition presents an opportunity to update an estate plan and ensure alignment with current and future goals. These changes could include:

  • Major change in income (such as an inheritance or the sale of a business)
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth of a child or grandchild
  • Death of a beneficiary and/or spouse
  • A beneficiary reaching adulthood
  • Retirement

We understand how difficult it can be to think about an estate plan during major life moments. However, we have carefully guided many of our clients through their next steps during transition periods.

Ensure All Parties Are On The Same Page

We recommend including a spouse, business partners, and children in estate planning conversations. Grimbleby Coleman and your attorney will collaborate to facilitate sensitive discussions and unveil concerns. These meetings are important for everyone with an estate plan, but they are especially necessary for those who plan to transition a businesses.

As an advisory and accountancy firm, we are attuned to the gift and estate exemption that will expire at the end of 2025. Currently, the estate tax exemption is $12,060,000; reduced by any lifetime gifts. In 2026, if no new legislation is passed, the estate tax exemption will revert to the pre-2017 amount of $5.49 million (adjusted for inflation). By meeting with an estate planning attorney and an expert from the Grimbleby Coleman estate planning team, beneficiaries, and estate holders can coordinate gifts and make inclusive plans for the future.

These meetings also help us get to know the next generation of the families with whom we work. Many families have been with our firm for multiple generations; we are often uniquely positioned to provide institutional knowledge and serve as a throughline.

Get In Touch

As advisors, we stay up-to-date on current changes related to business and estate planning and can help you make strategic decisions that will reduce your overall tax burden, leave a legacy for the next generation, and successfully transition a business. Don’t hesitate to contact us to start a conversation — we are always willing to join your next estate planning or business succession meeting, no matter where you are in the process.