The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (MSPBJ) has published an “Estate Planning Table of Experts” panel discussion featuring Hellmuth & Johnson partner Jeremy Stier.
When asked what he would identify as common characteristics of an effective estate plan, Stier shared, “In my view, an effective estate plan requires a complete understanding of the clients’ family facts and circumstances, asset profile, planning objectives and other questions or concerns. The most comprehensive and successful estate plans involve clients understanding how their plan fits with the rest of their lives and involves a collaborative approach with other professional advisers and planning team members. For example, the financial adviser and/or other professionals often have a more complete understanding of a family’s planning objectives, and that information is extremely valuable for legal counsel to know in making recommendations and tailoring the estate planning instruments required to achieve the planning objectives. Of course, an estate plan should address tax-efficient wealth transfer, incapacity planning and health care decision making. When the clients’ team of professional advisers take a collaborative approach to planning, the clients benefit from shared perspectives and expertise, and we’re all able to carry out the clients’ planning vision. It takes a team to do that.”
When asked if there trends or changes he has when he is consulting with individuals, businesses and farmers on their estate plans, Stier responded, “I think the guiding principle in current estate planning is developing and managing the best possible income tax environment throughout the life cycle of a client’s estate plan because the estate tax exemption is so large. Today, you can transfer a very significant amount of wealth to the next generation without estate tax consequences. Consequently, income tax planning considerations often have a greater importance than implementing estate tax mitigation techniques. I think tax efficiency has been the most significant guidepost and consideration for planners the last several years and making sure that clients understand the different consequences of wealth transfers during life and at death. Additionally, in recent years, I believe clients want their professional advisers to collaborate and be more well-informed of the entire planning picture. Interestingly, this holistic approach to estate planning seemed to organically develop during the pandemic when Zoom meetings and conference calls seemed to bring all the advisers together on one call rather than separate meetings between clients and each professional adviser.”