The focus of Dunamis Insurance & Business Services for 2018 will be on estate planning and wealth preservation for both individuals families and businesses.
Proper estate planning is essential for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the preservation of family wealth and the most efficient transfer of that wealth. One thing that many don’t know is if you don’t have an estate plan or an orderly disposition of assets, the state will provide one for you and it will have nothing to do with your wishes or desires. In every state there are certain laws of intestacy that must be followed which could allow your hard earned and retained assets to fall into hands that you would never have chosen.
All though a will is important, as I will point out later, one should be reminded that a will is a public disclosure of one’s assets. In other words, even though distribution of assets is orderly under the construct of a will, it is a totally public and non private matter. Yes, that’s right, ANYONE can see and know the terms of your will including the name address and contact information of all individuals and entities who inherit assets under your will. To confirm this, all that is necessary is for one to go to the local county office and ask for probate records. Pick a name, any name and ask for their probate record and you will be given either the ruling of the court under intestacy laws or the actual will of the individual for you to examine without restriction. What you will find is that a good estate plan will address these issues for the most valuable assets and add a level of privacy and security that your heirs will appreciate.
With that said let’s discover the many different elements of a good estate plan:
1- Legal Documents To Assure Proper Wealth Transfer
When it comes to an estate plan, good documents are essential. Survivor’s ability to live financially secure could hinge on an whether or not a document was properly or improperly written and filed. Then there are questions on Living Will’s, Durable Power Of Attorney’s, Health care Power Of Attorney’s. What documents should be obtained? Additionally, the number one hang up with most estate plans are incomplete, misfiled or outdated documents, therefore monitoring of documents are a must. What about ongoing knowledge? Traditionally, many individuals begin with a lawyer or legal professional when it comes to documents, but an alternate method, promoted by Dunamis, includes educating one’s self outside of the legal community, coming up to speed with the necessary terminology, and understanding the use and purpose of estate planning tools. Many lawyers charge by the hour and half hour, so knowing terminology and what the documents do and how they are used before sitting with a legal professional not only saves time but also saves money. Dunamis has invested heavily in acquiring the necessary tools to provide our clients with world class service and education, specializing in educating clients and creating an estate plan well before he/she/they sit with an attorney.
2- Estate Liquidity & Fee Avoidance
For 2018 large estates are potentially exempt, up to $22.4 Million ($11.2 Million x 2), for estate tax purposes. No matter the assets, planning in this area is essential. In even average estates, probate courts could hold up cash liquidity for years seriously diminishing survivors ability to carry on their lives.
3- Family Business
The small business owner is the backbone of the American economy. If you’re a small business owner have you considered the IRS’s family attribution rules and what effect they have on your family and small business? Once again, improper planning in this area could be devastating to the financial stability, health and well being of not only the business, but also the family who may be dependent upon business income for survival. Within the black and minority community less than 10% of all business make it to second generation business owners. This means that every generation that has to build a business over again receives a comparatively less value due to the effect of inflation over time. Potentially, the dollars earned in the future are worth less than the dollars earned and retained today. Additionally, the business must secure the financial futures of current employees. When a business owner dies or is disabled every one’s job is at risk. These type of actions are unnecessary and only cause individuals, families and the community as a whole to suffer in a greater way. Dunamis specializes in small business transfer and wealth retention strategies. We recommend and implement only the most proven and tested strategies providing peace of mind to families, employees and communities that depend upon the financial stability of the business.
4- Retirement Income, Charitable Gifting & Community Building
How much are your retirement earning really taxed during retirement? What are the effects of your required Minimum Distribution? How can my church or community causes be blessed during my golden years when I have much more limited ability to earn a greater income? These are serious questions and they require serious consideration and serious answers. Dunamis recommends many ways to receive retirement income. For some a simple annuity with guaranteed income for life may be suitable. For others a CGA (Charitable Gift Annuity) may be suitable to satisfy charitable giving needs and eliminate or reduce capital gains taxation while simultaneously creating a sizable tax free income. For others, a CRT (Charitable Remainder Trust) may be a suitable instrument to help fund retirement earnings. Still there may be other arrangements necessary to solve unique problems and address certain needs such as the establishment of a FLP (Family Limited Partnership) or a Charitable Foundation. A balanced and well rounded approach based on client needs and desires in this area is a part of what Dunamis does to make the difference in the lives and community of ordinary people who see an extraordinary purpose through their wealth.
5- How Can I “Health Proof” My Estate & Future?
Insurance reform is the talk of the land, but for a growing segment of Americans, adequate health care will still have to be funded on a long term basis. This can only be done through sound strategic planning. Accelerated Benefits of Life insurance, and LTC (Long Term Care) insurance are essential elements to a solid plan. HRA’s (Health Reimbursement Accounts) HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts), Medicare Supplements, Medicare Pt. D etc are all tools that can be used to help preserve assets, assure the best and most professional health care, and create the desired environment for convalescent care. Improper planning in this area could not only financially devastate even the most wealthy, but it could also create undue tension, stress and worry among family at the most inopportune time. Risk assessment and management planning is essential.
6- Minors and Incapacitated Heirs
In planning for many individuals over the years, some have initially stated, “my family will take care of my children and heirs”. When the financial consideration of such are laid out, the family that is to receive the children often says, “why would you place a curse on us like that?” That is to say that once the financial implications are laid out to parents and relatives it can be determined in sheer numbers that kids cost money, need clothes, must eat, and need either their own bed or rooms to sleep in. When additional consideration is given to the fact that when a family just making it on their own is strapped with the additional responsibility of one and sometimes two or more children, what may be an easy way out for one may be a nightmare, at least financially, for another. Part of an estate plan is to take these sort of arrangements into consideration. The new family consists of grandparents raising grandchildren. These type of relationship carry serious implications for both the survivors financial and physical well being and cannot go without the utmost attention.
Dunamis Insurance & Business Services has over 20 years of experience in this and other types of planning. We make ourselves a highly valuable resource when it comes to estate planning. We believe in the team approach and can either fit into an already existing team of financial professionals or help develop a team for and along with you that will help meet and address the needs.
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