Reduce Your Number of No-Shows and Cancellations with a Proper Confirmation Process

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Having worked with numerous estate planning professionals over the years, one of the issues that a lot of people have struggled with are appointment and seminar no-shows and cancellations.  One of my first questions is always, “What does your confirmation process look like?” For some, they don’t have any process in place at all.  For others, they have a mixture of an e-mail that is sent or a phone call the day before.  While something is better than nothing, there is always room for improvement to help reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations….

Life Settlements Can Increase Policy’s Worth

By Richard E. Nottingham CLU, ChFC Recently, I helped a client sell a no-longer-needed life insurance policy for far more than its cash surrender value. The policy’s cash surrender value was $61,000. Instead, via life settlement, they received a check for $540,000. A life settlement is a transaction involving the sale of an existing life insurance policy by the policy’s owner to a life settlement company. The result of this strategy can net the policy owner a sum many times greater than the policy’s cash value and provide the policy owner substantially more than the total premiums paid for the…

The 2022 Biden Estate Tax Cliff: Preparing After the 1/1/2013 and 1/1/2021 Cliffs

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) If you are an estate planner, you likely had your best revenue ever in 2012.  Then you likely annihilated your previous revenue record in 2020.  This happened because of the so-called “fear of missing out” with different tax “cliffs” expected to occur at the end of those two years, thereby causing a commotion among the wealthy. JANUARY 1, 2013 FISCAL CLIFF Rewind back to the year 2012.  President Obama was in office and the $5 million estate and gift tax exemption was scheduled to expire and roll back to only $1 million at…

Protect Against Potential Retroactive Estate Tax Changes

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP (Distinguished), J.D. The Biden Administration may reduce the exemption retroactively, perhaps even to January 1, 2021!  It’s best to protect against a retroactive tax change. Retroactive tax changes sound unfair! Even Taylor Swift said: “It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair.” But we’ll tell you how to fight that unfair tax fight! The law permits a retroactive tax change. See: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation v. R. A. Gray & Co., 467 U. S. 717 (1984); United States v. Carlton, 512 U.S. 26 (1994). The need for revenue, or the desire…

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins: Staggered Distribution Trust versus Dynasty Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Testing his theory that in every man dwells a good and an evil force, the reserved Dr. Jekyll develops a formula that separates the two, turning him into an argumentative estate planning attorney named Mr. Oshins who tells it like it is. Dr. Jekyll soon realizes he is becoming addicted to his darker self as he unleashes his opinions on the estate planning industry. In this article, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins tackle the differences between a Staggered Distribution Trust and a Dynasty Trust. As expected, Mr. Oshins will provide a different view…

Drowning in E-mail? Tips to Save Time and Be More Efficient!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Electronic mail, otherwise known as e-mail, has become a vital and primary form of communication for most businesses.  In fact, it’s the very reason you’re probably reading this newsletter article. While e-mail has become a very efficient way to communicate and handle business, it can also become a source of major inefficiency and time-wasting in the office.  Think about how much time is spent sifting through all of your daily e-mail.  Double or triple that when you come back from the weekend.  And let’s not even talk about how much e-mail we come back…

A Conversation About Perceived Value

By Melinda Merk, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, AEP® (Distinguished) This time of year, we tend to see an uptick in estate and trust administration and guardianship cases. All too often, we see situations where the deceased or incapacitated person did their estate planning on the cheap, did it themselves or, worst of all, did nothing. Unfortunately, their families and loved ones are now bearing the added cost and emotional burden of a court-supervised probate or guardianship proceeding and other unintended consequences, which could have been alleviated had the proper planning and documents been in place, working with an experienced estate…

Business Owners: No Divide in 2021

By David Giuliano, Business Coach There’s no denying that over the last 12 months, we have all experienced unprecedented change and uncertainty.  What’s interesting to me is that the results are all over the spectrum.  While some businesses have been affected terribly, others have flourished and are busier than ever. Like many, I am concerned about the great division in the country right now, and I’m sorry to say your business is far from immune to the impact created by it.  By all means, this is not a new problem, but it’s one that has been undeniably exacerbated by the pandemic…

The Beneficiary Controlled Trust as the Centerpiece of the Estate Plan

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) INTRODUCTION Most estate planning attorneys draft trusts that make mandatory distributions to the beneficiaries upon reaching certain ages.  For example, many trusts pay out one-third upon the beneficiary reaching age 25, one-half of the balance upon the beneficiary reaching age 30 and the balance upon the beneficiary reaching age 35. This is commonly known as a Staggered Distribution Trust since the distributions are staggered over different time periods. The philosophy used in this type of trust design is that the beneficiaries have multiple opportunities to learn from their mistakes. However, Staggered Distribution Trusts…

Which Type of Trust is Most Important for Top 1% Financial Advisors to Know About?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Are you a financial advisor? If so, you’re likely compensated in large part based on assets under management. Therefore, your interests are aligned with those of our clients. The better you do for them, the better you do for yourself. THE STATE INCOME TAX DRAG Just as it is frustrating for our clients in states with a state income tax to pay that tax on taxable dividends and capital gains, it must be nearly as frustrating for the financial advisor whose income is also adversely affected by this state income tax drag. What if…