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CPA Estate Planning Services

Aug 18, 2007
The process of Estate planning comprises of the distribution of assets after the demise of a client. The assets must be distributed to people or causes without the involvement of legal complications and tax incidence.

When a CPA offers estate-planning services, the services not only include basic financial analysis but a good foresight of the planning model. The planning model should be created, taking into consideration the parameters of the clients life-family, finances, business, lifestyle, and goals. A CPA role in estate planning can be summarized as working with your clients to identify and clarify their goals, explain projected tax and other consequences, and recommend alternative strategies.

Identifying Goals

A CPA must assist his client in identifying the right estate planning goals. A CPA must create a definite estate-planning model offering clients services that guide and preserve the disposition of their assets. The estate planning must include reduction in the estate tax by offering sufficient liquidity. A CPA must also help his client to come to terms with the prospect of death before the estate-planning model is created.

Listing the background details

A CPA would need to be versatile. He should be able to:

. Accumulate fact files about the clients existing financial situation
. Key out any anticipated assets (remainder interests, life insurance proceeds, potential inheritances, etc.)
. Formulate and list estate liquidity needs
. Review relevant documents (existing wills, trusts, insurance policies, retirement plans, etc.)

Estate Planning Strategies:

After realizing the expectations of a client and creating a catalog of his assets, debt paying ability and legal documents, a CPA must elaborate and assess workable strategies that are sufficient enough to execute the estate planning services. The strategies must include parameters such as analysis of income and estate taxes paid over the last few months.

Planning for Property Transfer

Using appropriate articles of law, A CPA can discuss property transfers. This discussion should not violate prohibitions regarding the laws on estate planning. A CPA can assess future transfers of property that may occur by will, by operation of law or the laws of intestacy.

Managing the Estate Planning Team

An essential part of the CPAs role is to work with the different members of the estate planning team that comprises of insurance brokers, attorneys, appraisers, actuaries, investment professionals, etc. They ensure that the strategies have been properly implemented and developed to ascertain whether all the important concepts have been included in the overall plan.

Monitoring and Implementing

The CPAs usually advise their clients on putting into practice the various recommendations that have been presented. This includes coordination of various activities like the selection of an attorney for drafting documents; gifting programs; transfer or retitling of assets; and purchasing insurance. Moreover, it is essential that CPAs monitor the changes in the clients business, health, family, and other life situations on a regular basis so that they can easily assessing the ongoing validity of an estate plan.

Ancillary Matters

Based on the relationship shared between the CPA and the client, a CPA could be asked to guide them in the selection of trustees, guardians, executors, and other fiduciaries that have been appointed throughout the estate planning process. CPAs also discuss the significance of advance directives, like the potential of the attorney, health care proxies, and living wills.
About the Author
Sacramento CPA Firm Murray and Young provides California Tax Help. Check out our new website that includes useful articles on Estate Tax Planning. Visit us at http://www.april15.com.
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