An effective estate plan will allow your family to continue to enjoy the maximum amount of assets you’ve taken a lifetime to accumulate, and minimize the amount of your assets which will go to the government at your death. It is imperative that you work with estate planning counsel to craft your estate plan to allow for utilization of every estate planning opportunity available to you and your family.

It is possible to make tax-free gifts up to $14,000 per recipient a year.  Above that, the transfer counts against your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption, which is $5.34 million in 2014 and rises to $5.43 million in 2015.  After utilizing your lifetime exemption amount, strategic planning is necessary to allow for tax-efficient transfer of your estate.

Life insurance can be one of the most effective and efficient tools available to you in the estate planning process, and it makes sense to include the services of a qualified life insurance professional to assist in the design of your plan. Your should engage a credentialed life insurance professional with the following degrees if possible: Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP).