As Your CPA Firm We Can Help You With Estate Planning

Copeland, Hild & Trotter, P.C. is a full-service firm of motivated and dedicated CPAs. However, we provide much more than just accounting and auditing services. We also provide business, estate and financial planning. Business, estate and financial planning require specialized knowledge in many areas

We understand the challenges related to protecting your assets. As a key member of your planning team we are well aware of your priorities and have a critical role to play in helping you understand and implement the asset protection options best suited for your situation. Our people have the necessary experience that will help you implement your business, estate and financial plans.

Business, estate and financial planning is best accomplished by a team of professionals who work together. Because of our close relationship in personal financial affairs and in personal income taxes, we can make a vital contribution to the overall direction and coordination of your entire business, estate and financial planning team. Together with your lawyer and other professionals we can held assure that you meet your goals of minimizing the taxes and maximizing the portion of your estate that passes to your heirs.

Preserving Financial Security

Today's unstable dollar and widely fluctuating markets have made accumulating, preserving and disposing of wealth more difficult than ever before. Sound financial and estate planning preserves your financial security. An effective plan maximizes the inheritance for your loved ones and minimizes the tax burden on your estate. Furthermore, planning assures that your loved ones receive all that the law allows.

Tax Considerations

The tax claims on your estate may significantly decrease that portion that passes to your beneficiaries. We can assist you with many facets of your estate plan. Consider the following:

Gift Giving

Estate and gift taxes are imposed on the current value of property. You can save taxes by making a current gift of property which is likely to substantially appreciate in the future. If you have a number of beneficiaries in mind, a gift-giving program using the annual gift-tax exclusion can help minimize taxes on a substantial portion of your estate

Unlimited Marital Deduction

You may leave an unlimited amount of assets to your spouse without any estate tax liability. However, when your surviving spouse dies, tax may be charged against his or her estate, which would include the assets he or she received from your estate. This may result in a larger estate tax than would be the case if you both made good use of the unified credit.
Individuals are entitled to a lifetime unified gift and estate tax credit allowing $650,000 of assets to pass tax-free to their beneficiaries. Couples who wish to get the most out of the unified credit can set up marital life estate trusts. Through a marital trust an estate of $1.3 million can be transferred without tax liability. When the first spouse dies the property in the trust generates lifetime income for the survivor; the property itself is owned by the trust. When the surviving spouse dies, the trust assets bypass his or her estate, often going directly to the children. This credit is increasing annually and will increase to one million per individual.

Life Insurance

Life insurance can be an essential estate planning tool. It provides immediate cash for survivors. Since the proceeds are readily available, life insurance protects your family from being forced to liquidate some of your other assets to meet living expenses. Life insurance can also help your survivors pay debts including estate taxes. Generally, insurance passes directly to the beneficiary and does not have to go through the probate process. Furthermore, with proper planning your estate will incur no estate tax related to the life insurance.


As you can see, estate planning requires specialized knowledge in several areas. It requires the coordination of several key professional advisers. It involves time, patience and a sincere desire to transfer property to your heirs in an orderly and economical manner. It is best pursued with the assistance of professionals who can explain the different paths open to you and their consequences.

We would be pleased to discuss how we can help you achieve your goals. Please contact us so we can arrange for a free initial consultation.