Letter from the President: May 2018
Dear M&B Clients & Professional Partners:
As 2018 continues to move along, Myatt & Bell, P.C. continues to grow. Why?
We’re communicating more than ever with clients and their families. We are passionate about making ourselves even more accessible to our clients and professional partners. For example, many of our clients enjoy a family lifetime meeting in which we discuss their estate plan with their children.
Why wait until we die to get the family together? We find that the education provided in such meetings is invaluable during incapacity and death. We also encourage families with adult children to continue to do family as adults. I often say that sons and daughters in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond, with families of their own, still play a vital role in the family.
Another reason for our growth is our experience representing clients through incapacity and death. We have drafted a lot of wills and trusts over the years! Based on our experience in probate and trust administration, we know what works and what does not work when it comes to planning with wills and trusts.
Even in families where everybody gets along, facing the incapacity or death of a loved one is a significant family crisis. Our estate planning process recognizes this difficult fact and is designed to provide what is most needed in this crisis for the family: peace of mind.
For example, we had a client, we’ll call Grace. Grace was a widow with two children. Her estate, between her residence and investment accounts was over $1 million. Grace already had a trust, about ten pages, or so, long. Among other things, we advised Grace to make sure that her assets were titled appropriately in trust (i.e. funded to trust). We also explained all the different reasons and planning tools that we could add to the trust to use to address a plethora of situations that could arise during incapacity or death. She agreed that we should restate her trust and so we replaced it, in full, with our planning. It was only about 4 months later that her son called to report that Grace was placed in hospice care. It was go time.
We utilized the updated trust planning provisions we provided to reduce the estate to a little below $1 million with lifetime gifts to the beneficiaries. The successor trustee was also immediately able to access the accounts to pay bills. The family was able to focus on the love and care of their mother, rather than the stress of trying to access accounts. A couple months thereafter, Grace passed away. It all happened so fast. As we reflected on Grace’s financial decision to update her trust, after the fees Grace paid Myatt & Bell, PC were deducted, we calculated that she saved well over $80,000 in estate taxes and fees, in addition to the ease of succession. If Grace stayed with her former trust that we tossed aside, we could not have achieved such savings and family succession.
We are passionate about planning because of the realities we experience upon the incapacities and deaths of our clients. For your family to be a success story, call Myatt & Bell, P.C. to setup your annual review appointment. Ensure that your plan is up to date and that your family is prepared.
-Justin R. Martin