Moneta Group’s Estate Planning Consultant, Christie Schmuke, J.D., was featured in the June 3 issue of Town & Style Magazine. Read the article online by clicking here or get the full story below:

Careful & Constant Planning: Moneta Group

There is no greater pain than dealing with the death of a loved one. “It’s a stressful time for everyone involved, and most people don’t want to make it worse by leaving behind any unpleasant surprises or unexpected financial burdens for their family,” says Christie Schmuke, head of the estate planning department at Moneta Group. “My goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

An attorney who spent seven years as a tax consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and five years in private practice before joining Moneta, Schmuke usually doesn’t create estate plans for clients. Rather, she serves as an adviser for Moneta principals and their teams. “Most of our clients already have established plans with their own attorneys,” she says. “I review those plans regularly and offer guidance whenever necessary. Circumstances change, laws change. I keep our team updated, act as a liaison between teams, clients and their estate planning attorneys, and make sure the plan continues to meet the client’s needs.”

Schmuke also advises clients on an important aspect of estate planning: philanthropic giving. “Many clients want to extend their legacy beyond providing for their family,” she says. “We help those who are charitably inclined explore their options and figure out the best way to contribute after their death, in a way that fits in with their overall plan.”

Without a current estate plan, chaos and conflict can occur. “You don’t want to leave your children and spouse dealing with probate and attorney fees, or arguing over who pays taxes on investments after your death,” Schmuke says. So many things can go wrong or get overlooked, she adds: “I’ve even seen cases were trusts were set up but never funded.” But the most common mistake she encounters is outdated information. “For example, the plan wasn’t revised to include major life changes, such as divorce, sale or formation of a business, changes in the asset level, or death of a spouse or trustee,” she says. “Or the plan doesn’t take into account changes to state and federal taxes. That’s why documents need to be reviewed by experts at least every three to five years.”

A comprehensive, long-term approach to financial planning is typical of Moneta Group’s commitment to its clients, Schmuke notes. Estate planning and philanthropic strategies are just two pieces of the puzzle. The firm provides a full range of customized services designed to manage, grow and protect your family’s assets, including investment management, retirement planning, tax strategies, risk management and business succession planning. “We make sure all the pieces fit together,” she says. “It requires expertise and a strong focus on client needs, and that’s what we’ve offered since 1869. We remove the stress from managing your financial affairs, giving you the freedom to enjoy the life you worked hard to achieve. Serving our clients’ best interests is at the heart of everything we do. We’re here for them and their families today, tomorrow and into the future.

Pictured: Christie Schmuke
Photo: Bill Barrett

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