People typically think of San Francisco as a young city, especially in the era of the Internet and Social Media. Indeed, the city is home to Internet powerhouses like Twitter and Yelp, with many employees of Google and Facebook living in San Francisco while working in Silicon Valley. It is a “young” city, but it is also an “old” city – being one of the oldest and largest settlements in California.
That sense of history and time should inform even today’s young residents and startups with an eye towards the future. As one of the city’s top CPA firms for estate planning, we receive many inquiries from San Francisco residents – both young and old – about our estate planning services. In this short blog post, let’s explore some of the common issues about estate planning.
Estate Planning: Recognizing the Inevitable Yet Planning for the Future
First, death happens. None of us wish to contemplate our own mortality, nor the mortality of our loved ones. But it does happen, and smart business people and wealthy individuals not only accept that but they plan for it. Second, planning is important. Before one starts an estate plan, it’s important to sit down with the interested parties (family, friends, business associates) and think through the basic issues of your estate. What are the basic assets? What assets, like businesses, or going concerns vs. those like stocks that are purely investments? Who should be included in the estate planning? Estate planning is not only a technical tax and legal issue, after all; it is also an emotional issue for everyone involved. Third, recognize that planning today can save a lot of hassles tomorrow. A correctly structured estate can avoid probate and can minimize the tax burden on future generations. Working with a CPA firm for estate planning based in San Francisco as well as lawyers experienced in estate planning is an absolute must.
Identify Potential CPA Firms and Attorneys
Once you’ve got a rough idea of your personal issues vis-à-vis estate planning, it’s time to identify potential CPA firms and attorneys that can help. We’re lucky in the San Francisco Bay Area to have many specialized firms to choose from. Use Internet searches to identify top candidate firms, and look at their reviews on Google+ and Yelp, as a first cut. Then contact them by phone or email to arrange for an initial free consultation. You’re looking for an expert, but you’re also looking for a “good match,” i.e. a CPA firm that not only understands estate planning but matches your personal styles and interests.
Regardless of which firm you choose, you’re making a smart decision by planning – today- for tomorrow. And you’re doing your heirs a huge service by pre-organizing your estate to avoid taxes and make it easy for your financial legacy to help them in their own lives.