What is Estate Planning? 

Estate planning is more than just a financial strategy—it’s a thoughtful way to take care of your loved ones and ensure your wishes are honored. Simply put, estate planning involves arranging for the transfer of your assets upon your death or incapacitation. 

At its core, estate planning deals with transferring your wealth and estate taxes. The goal? To minimize tax obligations and legal ambiguities while making sure your wealth goes exactly where you want it.  

Rewards of Estate Planning 

One of the biggest rewards of estate planning is the peace of mind it brings. Imagine knowing you continued to take care of your family even after you are gone. Practically speaking, you want to avoid your loved ones from the financial burden of estate taxes. Unexpected taxes can push family members into a higher tax bracket upon the death of a loved one and cost them thousands of dollars. A well-thought-out estate plan ensures how your wealth is transferred, who it will benefit, and how it will affect them.  

At Croak Capital, we focus on creating personalized estate plans tailored to your distinct needs and circumstances. Our team of veteran financial advisors bring over 60 years of combined experience to help you plan effectively and confidently. 

Estate Planning Services 

At Croak Capital, we offer a wide range of estate planning services designed to meet the distinct needs of our clients: 

Managing Trusts 

Trusts-whether irrevocable, revocable, or charitable-are valuable tools that can help manage your assets during your lifetime and beyond.

Irrevocable Trust 

An irrevocable trust is a legal arrangement in which the grantor (the person who sets up the trust) cannot change or revoke the trust’s conditions once assets are transferred into it. Assets in an irrevocable trust are managed by a trustee on behalf of the beneficiaries and are no longer considered part of the grantor’s estate. This type of trust is often used to reduce inheritance taxes, protect assets from creditors, and provide beneficiaries with a structured arrangement. 

Revocable Trust 

Also known as a living trust, a revocable trust is a flexible estate planning tool that allows the grantor to retain control over the trust’s assets during their lifetime. Unlike an irrevocable trust, the grantor can change or cancel the trust’s conditions at any time. Upon the grantor’s incapacity or death, the trust assets are distributed to designated beneficiaries according to the trust document. Revocable trusts are commonly used to manage assets smoothly in case of incapacity or death, preserve privacy, and avoid probate. 

Charitable Trust 

A charitable trust is established primarily to support one or more nonprofit organizations. There are two main types of charitable trusts: 

•  Charitable Remainder Trusts distribute assets from the donor to beneficiaries, who receive income for a specified duration. The designated charity receives the remaining assets after the donor’s death.
•  Charitable Lead Trusts distribute income to a charity for a fixed period before transferring leftover assets to non-charitable beneficiaries, such as family members.

Minimizing Taxes

Our financial advisors work diligently to create strategies that minimize your tax liabilities, ensuring that more of your wealth is preserved for your beneficiaries. 

Strategic Gifting

Strategic gifting is one way to transfer wealth from your estate to your intended beneficiaries, while avoiding estate taxes. The annual gift tax exclusion allows you to gift up to $18,000 per year (as of 2024) per recipient without incurring any gift tax. For instance, if you have two children and three grandchildren, you could gift $90,000 annually from your estate tax-free. This is a great way to maximize wealth passed down to your loved ones and allows for them to benefit during your lifetime. 

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)

Another effective strategy for minimizing estate taxes is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (IRIT). An ILIT is a trust into which you can transfer your life insurance policy. Why? Transferring a life insurance policy into an ILIT removes the death benefit from your taxable estate. For instance, if you hold a $5 million dollar life insurance policy transferred into an ILIT, your loved ones will save significant estate taxes that would be due otherwise upon your death. 

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)

Charitable Remainder Trusts are a great for individuals to engage in philanthropy while strategically planning their estate. CRTs allow you to donate assets into a charitable trust and receive a tax deduction for your contributions, while continuing to earn income from those assets. Upon your death, the remaining assets go to the designated charity upon your death. Not only does this reduce your taxable estate but leaves a legacy of generosity. 

Protecting Assets

Protecting your assets from potential risks is another crucial aspect of our estate planning services. Here’s how we ensure your wealth is safeguarded:

Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs)

An FLP allows you to transfer assets to family members while retaining control over the investments. This structure can protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits. For example, by placing a commercial property worth $2 million in an FLP, you can shield it from creditors while still managing its operations.

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs)

DAPTs are irrevocable trusts that protect your assets from future creditors. They offer robust protection by making assets unreachable by creditors once they are transferred into the trust. For instance, if you place $3 million in a DAPT, those assets are generally protected from creditors’ claims, provided the transfer complies with state laws.

Why We’re Different 

Our Expertise 

Our team of veteran financial advisors bring over 60 years of combined experience and 10 advanced financial designations to the table. We stay updated with the latest trends and regulations in estate planning to provide you with the most relevant advice. Each client is surrounded by a team of specialists including a Certified Financial Planner™, Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter and, a Professional Plan Consultant. 

Fiduciary Commitment

As fiduciaries, we are legally and ethically obligated to act in your best interest. We are proud to be an independent wealth management firm, free from bankers and brokers. We are fee-based and receive no commissions, which means you can be confident you are receiving unbiased advice. 

High-Net-Worth Management

Estate planning can be particularly challenging for high-net-worth individuals. At Croak Capital, we have the expertise to handle complex scenarios, such as business succession planning, special needs trusts, and blended family dynamics. 

Secure Your Legacy with Croak Capital

Your legacy is more than simply the numbers on a balance sheet.  Contact one of our trusted advisors to secure your family’s financial future.