FIRST MIDWEST FINANCIAL NETWORK – FINANCIAL PLANNING AND ADVICE
The process begins with you. Together with your First Midwest Financial Network consultant1, we’ll develop a personalized and comprehensive financial analysis. We’ll uncover your short- and long-term objectives, analyze and evaluate your current financial condition, and recommend strategies that support your individual goals for:
- Investment Management
- Retirement Planning
- Education Planning
- Job Transition Planning
But the process doesn’t end there. Your Financial Consultant will continue to work side by side with you, providing local knowledge and personal service. With First Midwest Financial Network’s powerful resources and strategies, we can help your financial plan stay on track.
Leaving a Legacy
Acting as your personal advocate, your Financial Consultant has the experience to objectively guide you through the intricacies of wealth transfer. Your Financial Consultant can work with your legal and tax advisors to help you:
- Ensure your assets stay intact and pass on to your chosen beneficiaries
- Enhance what you leave to your children and grandchildren
- Transfer wealth without sacrificing your current income
- Manage the tax burden for your beneficiaries2
- Assist in charitable giving
First Midwest Financial Network is an organization of professionals that places your interests above their own. With the help of your Financial Consultant, you can confidently structure a comprehensive financial plan that leaves a legacy to those you love.
The definition of an estate in the simplest terms is the sum of the things you own: your home and any other property, your vehicles, your bank accounts, investments, life insurance policies and retirement benefits, and perhaps your business. In other words, you don’t have to be wealthy to leave an estate when you die — it’s something everyone has. A will and other estate planning documents will simplify the settlement of your estate after your death, carrying out your wishes and perhaps saving on estate taxes2.
It’s important to review your estate planning documents periodically, especially when you have experienced life changes such as economic circumstances, or when tax laws change. Make sure the beneficiaries of your retirement savings plan and life insurance policies are current as well, as errors in beneficiary designations can lead to a myriad of problems, delays, and unnecessary expenses and taxes.
We’d all like to feel that we have plenty of time to draft a will. But the truth is no one ever really knows how much time they have, and if you have minor children it’s imperative that you not leave their future to the courts to decide. Here are just a few things you’ll want to consider:
- People who die without a will leave all decisions regarding distribution of their property up to the laws in their state of residence — whether this is appropriate for their family’s situation or not. Estate settlement costs will be greater because a court-appointed administrator must be appointed. A will can cost as little as $50 to $100 to prepare, so don’t let cost be your excuse for putting it off.
- A family member does not have to be named as executor of your estate. A professional fiduciary, such as a bank trust department, can serve as executor.
- Avoid conflicts in titling of assets. If family relationships are complicated due to remarriage or other issues, or you have a complex estate, an attorney can help you avoid making titling errors.2
- Make sure the individuals you’ve chosen as executor or guardian have agreed to serve and are fully aware of their responsibilities.
You need to be aware of many rules when planning financial gifts and inheritances. Your First Midwest Financial Consultant is here to help you with all your estate planning needs, but following are some basic things you should know:
- An individual may gift an amount of money up to the annual gift tax exclusion amount, to an unlimited number of recipients each year, without any gift tax consequences. These gifts may be used to decrease the donor’s taxable estate.2
- Unlimited amounts of money can be given to a spouse, or directly to a school or medical facility for an individuals’s tuition or healthcare.
- When making gifts, be careful not to leave yourself short of income-producing assets to sustain your lifestyle.
- Communicate openly with heirs about intentions to leave an inheritance. It is often easier for parents to bring up the subject than for adult children to ask and risk appearing greedy.
- Arrangements for the distribution of untitled personal property upon your death (for items like furniture, dishes, collections and jewelry), can be handled in several ways, including memoranda attached to a will, specific lists given to the executor, or gifts made during a person’s lifetime.
- The important thing is attending to this division of property as part of your overall planning in order to avoid conflict between those left behind.
- Seek professional assistance for high net worth estates or complicated asset transfers.
Estate taxes are imposed on the transfer of assets from one person to another upon the donor’s death. The current federal exemption is high enough that, for most Americans, there is no federal estate tax liability for assets transferred upon their death. State estate taxes, however, are another matter, as many states have exemptions on non-spousal transfers as low as $675,000. There are a number of strategies that can be used to reduce a taxable estate, including lifetime gifts, transferring assets between spouses, and bypass trusts. High-asset households in particular should seek professional advice.
Call us at 800-241-1749 to learn how First Midwest can help with all your estate planning needs. We’ll help you structure a solid financial legacy to give you and your family ultimate peace of mind.