Estate Planning

Many individuals put off planning their estate. Perhaps this is due to a misconception that estate planning is only necessary for the wealthy and only involves tax planning, which can be done “later.” The fact is, regardless of your level of wealth and the ultimate tax consequences of your estate, solidifying the future of your family is probably high on your list of priorities. That’s why a well-structured estate plan is invaluable. Through it, you can control the distribution of your assets and possessions, as well as name guardians for your children or plan care for other dependents.

Estate planning should be a part of every financial plan, regardless of complexity. Often families assume proper estate planning is reserved merely for the ultra-wealthy, but this could not be further from the truth. Proper planning ranges from small but extremely important items like updating and monitoring beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies all the way to multi-generational planning through multi-layered trusts and life insurance. Regardless of the complexity of your estate, the important thing is to have a plan in place.

Person signing documents
At BWM we have an estate planning attorney on staff that can draft wills, trust, LLCs and any other legal documents you need. We are also happy to work with any attorney you are already using. Whether you use our attorney or your own, we will make sure your entire financial plan is stitched seamlessly together.

Often the most difficult part of estate planning is starting the conversation. Topics related death and the transition of assets are difficult and emotional draining. Our goal is to facilitate these conversations with each of our clients, so they do not feel overburdened with the decision-making process. We are there every step of the way to give them confidence in their choices and remove roadblocks to creating a well thought out and secure estate plan that is coordinated with all other aspects of their financial plan.

The Process

Estate Planning is never a one-size-fits-all process. Like most things, there are trade-offs. BWM advisors can work with you to understand the trade-offs and choose the path that makes the most sense for your family. With estate planning the biggest trade off is typically control vs flexibility.


Maintaining control over your assets and how they are distributed is a primary concern for many individuals. Opting for a plan that prioritizes control allows you to dictate precisely how your wealth is managed and distributed. Irrevocable Trust, Family Limited Partnerships, and LLCs give families a high level of control over their assets, but may prevent beneficiaries from changing things as needed and may increase current tax liability in certain circumstances. GRATs, CRUT, and ILITs can reduce estate tax liability, but often have high administration costs.


Choosing a more flexible estate planning approach provides greater adaptability to address future uncertainties, changes in laws, or evolving family dynamics. This approach acknowledges that circumstances may change, and it allows for adjustments along the way. Revocable Trusts, Lifetime Gifting, and Donor Advised Funds are typically cost effective to maintain and offer flexibility to change strategies in the future, but also can lead to unwanted changes and sometimes increase estate taxes in certain circumstances.

Bear in mind that no estate plan is permanent. Life changes and also the composition of your assets may change over time. Your team of advisors will work closely with you to ensure your estate plan is always up to date with your wishes and the current regulatory environment.

Ready to work with us?

Schedule an introduction meeting today and find out how we can help you navigate through wealth management, retirement planning, estate planning, and tax planning.
Burkholder Wealth Management team