Sara Gelsheimer, Senior Wealth Manager out of our St. Louis office had the opportunity to sit down with Jerilyn Klein Bier, of Financial Advisor. Sara shared her experience helping a client organize their financial life, save money on taxes, and have meaningful conversations about passing on wealth to the next generation. An excerpt can be found below, click the link below to read the article in it's entirety.
A widow now in her mid-70s was in this situation when she first met several years ago with Plancorp, a St. Louis-based RIA firm that manages $4.2 billion of assets. Another client of the firm whom she knew personally had referred her because he thought she could benefit from additional assistance shortly after her husband died. The bulk of her $15 million in net worth was split between farmland and liquid investments parked with multiple advisors at multiple firms.
The client thought spreading her assets among different advisors was reducing her risk, but the advisors were focused on buying and selling, and no one was helping her do comprehensive planning. She was headed toward what could have become a fiscal train wreck.
“When we showed her how we could look at the entire picture and do full financial planning—review estate documents, insurance, tax planning, etc.—as opposed to just investing her assets, it sold her,” says Sara Gelsheimer, a CFP and senior wealth manager at Plancorp. They also explained to her the benefits of having a well-diversified portfolio.
One of the first steps Gelsheimer and her colleagues advised the client to take was to file a Form 706 estate tax return for her deceased husband in order to elect portability for his unused exclusion, which was $5.25 million at the time of his death. By combining her estate tax exclusion ($11.58 million in 2020) and the exclusion captured from her husband, the client’s estate would pass tax-free to her heirs should she die before the estate tax exemption sunsets in 2025.