The Wealth Protection Network is a client-designed collaborative financial planning system. The concept was created by E. Michael Kilbourn as a way for his clients to leverage the power of their wealth management professionals through open discourse and collaboration. The system provides clients with a more transparent and systematic planning process by holding each team member accountable to the highest standards in financial planning. The Network also connects the team on a shared planning platform which enables the client to witness and realize the effects of each team member’s performance. Participation in the Network is by invitation only and must receive approval by a majority of its members.

Proper estate planning is “living planning.” Estate planning combines the talents of several wealth management professionals with the ultimate goal to match a client’s financial needs and expectations. Proper estate planning provides for you and your family during life and prepares for the orderly and efficient transfer of your assets at your death. The process involves the preparation of various documents, such as wills, trusts and family limited partnerships.

What does proper estate planning include?
A proper estate plan is necessary to provide for the needs of your family after your death. Estate planning may include a will or trust, a written agreement concerning the status of your assets, a directive to your physician, a durable power of attorney, and final instructions of your preference.

What is the biggest problem in estate planning?
The biggest problem in estate planning is procrastination. It is human nature to put off things that seem distasteful, but ignoring estate planning may hurt those you love most. With proper planning, you can realize many living benefits.

A will allows you to direct who will receive your assets at the time of your death. Without a will or a will substitute (e.g., Revocable Living Trust), you will die intestate. As a Florida resident, Florida will determine the distribution of your assets in accordance with Florida’s intestacy laws.

A revocable living trust (RLT) is a legal document typically drafted by an attorney. It acts like a will in that it contains your directions for the management and distribution of your assets upon your death. Unlike a will, however, an RLT also contains your instructions for the management of your assets in the event of your disability.

A probate is the legal process in which your will is determined to be valid. Probate may occur if you should no longer be able to manage your affairs because of your incapacity, mental disability or your death. In case of death, the probate court process transfers ownership of assets titled in your individual name to your heirs.

• What is so bad about probate?
Probate costs money. Your heirs will most likely have to pay attorney fees, probate costs, appraisals and so on, which generally range from 3 to 15 percent of the value of the estate. It also takes time. It can take up to a year or more before the estate is fully settled. It can be complex if there happen to be multiple probates. With probate, your financial information may not be available to the public, but your will may very well be open to public inspection. With this exposure to the public, it puts your will at risk for unwanted third parties to contest the estate.

No. Unless your assets are titled in a manner that avoids probate, a will very nearly guarantees probate because only a court can prove the validity of a will.

If you do not have a will or a trust, upon your death your assets will pass according to the laws of the state, which has jurisdiction over your assets. Because the state is handling your assets, they may not be distributed in the way you would have wanted. This creates more work for the state and may be confusing or troubling for your loved ones.

You can name more than one trustee, but whoever you select should be someone you trust. Your successor trustee should be a person (or persons or institution) who you have confidence in and who has the ability to handle financial matters. In addition, the person you select should be familiar with your objectives and should carry out the distribution along the guidelines you have established in your RLT and overall estate plan.

• How can charitable giving be considered an estate planning tool?
When you leave an asset to your heirs, they may receive as little as 45 percent of its value while the IRS receives the balance in the form of estate taxes. Depending on the type of assets you own, there are ways of ensuring that your heirs receive their share while the IRS’s share is diverted to your favorite charity. You could also receive an income tax deduction as well as avoid paying capital gain tax on appreciated assets.

The Wealth Protection Network is a team of individuals who specialize in areas that complement your financial needs. With our combined efforts, we are able to offer you a well-rounded experience. We provide the knowledge, professionalism and integrity you should expect from a team of financial advisors.

Yes. Many clients have established relationships with a variety of financial professionals including accountants and attorneys across America. The advantage of utilizing the Wealth Protection Network is that we provide additional levels of accountability so that your goals are realized to their fullest potential. During an initial consultation and with your approval, we will collect pertinent contact information on all your advisors and coordinate the work necessary to initiate a broad-based consultative financial planning experience.