Our clients, a husband and wife, owned a sizable family farm comprised of numerous parcels of real estate, and also owned various other agricultural operations in Virginia. Their initial objectives were to reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and transfer the assets to their children.
Mr. McWilliams was recommended to the clients by their financial advisor, who knew of Mr. McWilliams’ expertise in these matters.
Upon review of the clients’ existing estate planning documents, Mr. McWilliams discovered that not only did their current planning documents subject all their property to probate, but they could subject the property to estate taxes upon the death of the first spouse. The probate and administration costs associated with their estate would have been in excess of a hundred thousand dollars, but the prior attorney – who is a well-respected general practitioner in their locality – failed to use revocable trusts and other non-probate transfer mechanisms in their estate plan. Mr. McWilliams was ultimately retained to prepare new wills, trust agreements, powers of attorney and advance medical directives, and also assisted with family business and succession planning advisory services.
The planning undertaken by the client will ultimately save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in probate fees and estate taxes (while costing a very small fraction of that amount to implement), reduce their annual insurance expenses, reduce their liability exposure, and streamline the transfer of assets to the next two generations of their family. They are also continuing their relationship with the financial advisor who generated the referral; who has now invested their assets in an appropriately balanced portfolio; and they are considering moving their accounting work to a new firm that is well-respected and can likely provide the more comprehensive services they need at a lower cost than their current accountant.