What’s Wrong with Variable Annuities?

By Richard Gilman, CFP® After the stock market crash in 2000 and “Great Recession”, investors have justifiably become more concerned about their retirement. Many people no longer trust Wall Street.  Having suffered through dramatic market swings, they are unwilling to keep putting their savings at risk. They worry about exploding health care costs and outliving their money. They know they need to do something — but what? Annuities of all kinds are being positioned by insurers, the government, the media and financial planning community as part of the solution.  And annuities may very well be one part of the solution. …

Tax and Economic Implications of the DOMA Decision

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provided that in determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, the word “marriage” meant only the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated this section of the Act in United States v. Windsor. The decision has far reaching planning implications for married same-sex couples whose marriage is recognized under…

Is the JEST Trust a Joke?

By Alan Gassman, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), Florida State Bar Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts & Estates, AEP (Distinguished), and Christopher J. Denicolo, J.D., LL.M. Can a married couple in a non-community property state establish a joint revocable trust that will facilitate obtaining a date of death stepped-up basis on the death of the first dying spouse, and the full funding of a credit shelter trust (to the extent of the first dying spouse’s estate tax exemption) that can benefit the surviving spouse and descendants without being subject to federal estate tax on the surviving spouse’s death? After extensively researching these…

Life Insurance from the Estate Planning Attorney’s Viewpoint

By Steven J. Oshins, J.D., AEP (Distinguished) Estate planning attorneys are often known for “killing” life insurance sales.  Since the attorney owes the client a duty to do what is in the client’s best interest, if the attorney truly believes that the client does not need the insurance policy, then the attorney is arguably satisfying his or her ethical responsibilities to the client.  However, the attorney often automatically says “no” to the client’s detriment.  Perhaps the problem is that many attorneys just don’t understand the different life insurance products.  And human nature is often such that if you don’t understand…

Free Checkup Meetings Generate Lots of Revenue!

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In our last article, we discussed the “free service package” alternative to an annual maintenance fee program.  The package included a free attorney checkup meeting every three years. You may be wondering, “How do you get your existing clients to come back in for these checkup meetings and actually generate additional revenue from them?” (Before I address these questions, let me first note that, even if you do have and decide to keep your current maintenance plan, periodic checkup meetings…