Estate Planning and Wealth Management for C-Suite Executives

You didn’t rise to a senior leadership role by leaving things to chance. But when it comes to personal matters like wealth and estate planning, even the savviest executives put it on the back burner.

That’s why our team of advisors, attorneys, and financial professionals partner with leaders to provide clarity amid complexity. From wealth and business planning to legacy and philanthropic strategy, we coordinate sophisticated solutions tailored to your needs.

We’ve spent over a decade serving high-net-worth Miami individuals and families, addressing the estate planning challenges that prominent executives face, such as managing concentrated stock positions, illiquid assets, and complex family dynamics.

Let us help you protect your life’s work. We take care of customizing estate plans, succession plans, tax strategies – all of it – so you can focus on leading your company rather than getting lost in legal complexities.

Contact us to book your wealth planning session.

Why Estate Planning Matters for C-Suite Executives

As C-suite leaders steering enterprises, the stakes are exponentially higher when planning generational transitions of your accumulated wealth and business interests.

Beyond wanting to provide security for family members, you need continuity strategies to ensure your life’s work endures to provide jobs and economic benefits for years beyond your exit.

With estates exceeding lifetime gift tax exemptions, you must also minimize tax leakage on transfers to avoid unnecessary erosion of assets earmarked for heirs and philanthropic initiatives important to you. We construct flexible estate plans, allowing you to adjust control and distributions as circumstances evolve.

Proper planning upfront enables smoothly passing operating responsibility to a successor team of your choosing while still retaining oversight on high-level vision and shareholder obligations. And most importantly, secure trusts guarantee your family benefits from the wealth you created for generations down the road. Protecting prosperity past your tenure has a true generational impact.

Risk Management and Investment Planning

On the personal front, executives often hold a significant portion of their net worth – sometimes upwards of 80-90% – in company stock options or shares.

While these concentrated positions can yield tremendous wealth as a business prospers, they come with risk concentration – a sudden market downturn, failure to meet earnings guidance, or an abrupt leadership transition can greatly impact a stock price…and thus directly hit the executive’s personal wealth.

Therefore, a key planning priority is helping diversify client portfolios in a methodical, tax-efficient way. We can lower the risk by creating plans to steadily use stock grants and options and putting some of the money into a mix of safer investments.

As CFOs and Controllers know, restricted stock treated as ordinary income can quickly push executives into the highest tax brackets. We develop financial plans for executives with customized solutions to manage their liquid assets and priorities.

Business Succession Planning and Leadership Transitions

Business succession planning has become critical for private companies, many still run by baby boomer executives. These leaders must map out transitions to keep companies going for the next generation.

This requires balancing shareholder interests while finding and training up-and-coming talent within the company. Effective succession planning goes beyond just transferring ownership on paper. It’s about maintaining stability, reassuring stakeholders, and ensuring new leadership is ready to guide the future.

Some key elements our firm advises around business succession include:

  • Crafting shareholder agreements clearly delineating buy-sell procedures, ownership transfer restrictions, and funding mechanisms to uphold exit plans.
  • Implementing business succession insurance, often structured as key person policies, to provide liquidity for remaining partners to purchase a departing shareholder’s interests.
  • Designing deferred equity compensation programs allowing retiring executives to gradually sell down ownership stakes while incentivizing next-generation leadership with vesting stock awards.
  • Coordinating leadership training, mentoring, and transition plans to pave the way for selected successors to eventually assume control.

Tax Planning to Keep More of What You Earn

As a successful executive, you tip into higher income brackets that most taxpayers never reach. While it is commendable to pay your fair contribution, you also earn opportunities to minimize tax exposure completely legally.

Our specialty is studying intricacies within tax codes to uncover optimization strategies, including:

  • Deferring taxation events through tools like non-qualified deferred compensation plans, restricted stock awards, and cash balance pension plans
  • Gifting interests in investment assets primed for appreciation to heirs at reduced valuations.
  • Investing through opportunity zone funds that bypass capital gains taxes
  • Accelerating write-offs using cost segregation and Section 179 plans

With the right tax planning, we can save executive clients hundreds of thousands in annual liabilities. Contact us to assess options and keep more of the income you work diligently for.

Charitable Planning for Lasting Impact

As executives reflect on their careers, many also begin formally planning their philanthropic legacy for causes closely aligned to personal values.

When structured properly, starting early enough, charitable planning tools can optimize tax treatment of gifts made now, and assets passed down later to heirs.

Common approaches used by our executive clients include:

  • Forming Donor Advised Funds through community foundations to establish easy-to-manage charitable accounts
  • Creating private family foundations to steward causes focused on societal issues the founder cares about most
  • Funding charitable remainder trusts to generate lifetime income while leaving the remainder amount to charity
  • Making bequests or designating charities as beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies

Additionally, directly gifting partial ownership interests in operating businesses to charitable entities can provide current income tax deductions while reducing capital gains liability in the future.

Addressing All Your Planning Needs Under One Roof

We know high achievers like you are already juggling a full workload running your businesses. Finding time to also map out personal finances and legacy plans for later years is tough. That’s precisely why our law firm exists.

At Stivers Law, we become your partner and coordinator to tackle complicated financial decisions on your behalf. Think of us as a pit crew, assembling the right financial planners, tax pros, investment advisors, and legal guides to optimize your situation.

Together, we create customized roadmaps designed specifically to:

  • Legally minimize taxes so more wealth transfers to your kids and causes you care about
  • Shift around concentrated stock positions to balance risk and returns
  • Guide transitions when you retire to ensure the business remains in good hands
  • Set up charitable legacies built to last for generations to come

If any part of planning for your family’s future has you stressed out and losing sleep, let us shoulder that burden. We’ll work closely with your whole team to map out a plan so you can focus on today, knowing tomorrow is handled.