Top 10 estate planning considerations video

04.11.14 Back to video

Top 10 estate planning considerations – Video Transcript

Sally Mullen     
Chief Fiduciary Officer of The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank 

There are 10 key things that we talk to clients about in an estate planning context.

  • First of all do you have a will?  It’s the most important tool in your estate planning arsenal and it clarifies who will receive the assets in the event of your death.
  • Secondly, do you update your will periodically?  It’s important to stay on top of changes in local and federal laws. You should also make sure that the will reflects your most current thinking about who should receive your assets. 
  • Number 3: Consider an irrevocable trust. This is a great tool for people who want to insure that their assets are sheltered from probate.  It is also an effective way to manage assets in the event of incapacity or unavailability. 
  • Number 4: Make sure that if you do have a trust that the provisions are flexible so that your trustee has discretion going forward on how to treat your beneficiaries, make distributions, and address your family’s financial needs. 
  • Number 5: Review your beneficiary designations periodically.  People often overlook these but it is important to check life insurance policies and accounts that are payable on death to make sure they are consistent with your estate plan.
  • Number 6: Leverage tax exemptions.  Beware of the high federal estate tax exemption and any state inheritance tax that may apply in your case.  Be aware that estate taxes differ between federal and state exemptions in certain states and make sure that you stay on top of that. 
  • Number 7: Portability.  Be aware that the unused exemption available at the first spouse’s death can now be transferred to the second spouse, greatly enhancing the ability to shelter assets at the second spouse’s death. 
  • Number 8: In appropriate situations consider irrevocable trusts.  In addition to some tax savings, these are great vehicles for insuring that assets stay within the family and that all financial needs can be considered in a measured way as the years go by. 
  • Number 9: If you do create irrevocable trusts, think about the trust’s situs.  There are certain states such as South Dakota and Delaware that have laws that are very liberal and importantly make tax advantages available for your trust.  So ensure that your trust is sitused in the right state. 
  • And finally, number 10: Select the right advisors.  Make sure that you have the right team working with you as you execute your estate plan over time.



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U.S. Bank and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Each individual’s tax and financial situation is unique. Individuals should consult their tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning their particular situation.
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