NAEPC Webinars:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - The Effect of Longevity on Your Life Priorities

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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We have added 20 years of life expectancy, just since 1950 and are adding 1 month for every year that goes by.  This “longevity bonus” presents us with many opportunities as well as challenges.  This presentation will address such challenges as planning for health and healthcare in retirement, the coming caregiving crisis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease as well as the opportunity that longevity presents for us to pursue our calling in the form of work in retirement.  

Cynthia Hutchins is the Director of Financial Gerontology for Bank of America Merrill, and has more than 30 years of experience in the wealth management and retirement industry. In her role, Cynthia works closely with Merrill financial advisors to provide training, education, resources and thought leadership to engage clients on the topics of aging, longevity, retirement and later life planning.

Cynthia has been deeply involved in the development of a new approach to planning across seven Life Priorities and through various Life Stages. She was central to the creation of the Merrill Lynch Longevity Training Program, developed in partnership with the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, to help Merrill financial advisors better understand and address the evolving needs of the nation’s aging population and their families. The Merrill Lynch Longevity Training Program received the Brandon Hall Award for Most Innovative Training in 2017.

Prior to her current role, Cynthia was the Merrill Lynch Retirement Specialist for the Mid-Atlantic Region, covering Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Prior to that role, Cynthia served as a Circle of Excellence financial advisor for 20 years.

Cynthia has served on the board of directors of the American Society on Aging (ASA). In 2015, she participated in the White House Conference on Aging Elder Justice Forum, and was also named to the inaugural PBS Next Avenue Influencers in Aging list. She is a frequent speaker on topics of aging and longevity and has spoken at various conferences including the Investments and Wealth Institute, Florida Conference on Aging,  San Antonio Society For Human Resource Management, Southern Women’s Show, Virginia Governor’s Conference on Aging and the American Society on Aging’s Aging In America Conference. 

Cynthia earned a BS in Business and Finance from Towson University, and a MA in Gerontology from the University of Southern California. She has earned the Chartered Retirement Plan Consultant (CRPC) designation through the College for Financial Planning, and the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation through the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Investments and Wealth Institute (IWI). Cynthia holds the Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 securities licenses.      

REGISTER HERE for the individual program. To register for the 2019 webinar series, please click HERE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - Reverse Mortgages

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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Detailed information regarding this presentation will be posted soon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - Complimentary Sponsored Webinar: Life Settlement Legal and Ethical Responsibility

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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Disruption is the new normal for many planning professionals that work with their clients in a fiduciary capacity. It's difficult for any fiduciary to feel comfortable today working with clients on matters that are outside of their area of expertise. This is especially true with life settlements.

Life settlement providers, who represent the institutional investors, have noticed the lack of life settlement discussions and education coming from planning professionals and are filling this void by increasing their direct-to-consumer marketing. Such direct marketing exploits a crack in the chain of fiduciary oversight and places senior clients in a position where they might enter into a contract to sell their life insurance policy without having any advocate at the table to protect their best interests in the life settlement process. 

We will discuss multiple disruptive factors that have negatively impacted senior clients and show how we arrived at a point where so many seniors are not represented by a fiduciary when they sell their policy on the secondary market. We will review life settlement regulations, laws, and litigation that protect the rights of policy owners to sell their policies. Our main goal is to alleviate the confusion surrounding life settlements that have caused a majority of fiduciary advisors to avoid discussing life settlements with their clients. We will close with a list of Life Settlement Best Practices for Fiduciaries that will help them protect their client's best interest if their client is planning to lapse or surrender an existing life insurance policy.

Jon B. Mendelsohn, CEO of Ashar Group/Ashar SMV, is an accomplished presenter and frequent speaker at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) annual ENGAGE Conference, the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), Advisors in Philanthropy (AIP), and several other conferences and meetings nationally. Ashar Group is an independent resource that supports financial advisors and fiduciaries by providing life insurance appraisals, life settlements, and longevity services. 

Registration information will be posted soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - Basis Step-Up Strategies in Light of Portability and Tax Law Changes

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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We will review a variety of basis step-up strategies, including tools to allow couples in common law states to get community property benefits, modifying irrevocable trusts to make them includible in the primary beneficiary's, or selling assets from an irrevocable trust (income-tax free) to the grantor. We will discuss how portability plays into basis step-up planning and how those with small, medium and large estates may benefit.

Steve Gorin is a partner in Thompson Coburn LLP, headquartered in St. Louis, with other offices including Chicago and Los Angeles. He uses his background as a CPA to integrate income tax planning into estate planning for business owners and wealthy individuals. For more on Steve, see http://thompsoncoburn.com/people/steve-gorin, and for free resources (including over 2,000 pages on planning for owners of private businesses) see https://www.thompsoncoburn.com/insights/blogs/business-succession-solutions/about.  

Registration information will be posted soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - Charitable Giving and Tax Planning Strategies in the TCJA Era

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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The tax act formerly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) fundamentally altered the charitable giving and tax planning landscape for all donors. In this program, the presenter will summarize the major tax law provisions that impact charitable giving and donors, and identify and discuss key charitable giving and tax planning opportunities and strategies available to donors today.

Patrick J. Saccogna, JD, LL.M. (taxation), CPA*, AEP®, is a partner in the Personal & Succession Planning practice group of Thompson Hine LLP, in Cleveland, Ohio, and focuses his practice on counseling high net worth individuals, families, and closely-held businesses in a wide range of personal, charitable, business, tax, multi-generational wealth transfer, asset protection, and succession planning matters, and representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in estate and trust administration, tax compliance, and fiduciary litigation matters. Patrick is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Ohio, and is an Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Patrick is currently serving as the Chair of University Hospitals' Diamond Advisory Group, is a past President of The Estate Planning Council of Cleveland, a past Chair of the Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, a past Chair of Case Western Reserve University's Estate Planning Advisory Council, is ranked in Chambers HNW 2019 (Ohio: Private Wealth Law), and received the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland's 2017 Distinguished Estate Planner Award. [* = inactive CPA status]

 

 

 

Registration information will be posted soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - The Ethical Considerations of NYS DFS Reg 187, FINRA Rule IM2210 and the UPIA Relating to "Decision Support Material" Used by Life Insurance Producers and Attorneys CPAs and RIAs in the Life Insurance Decision Process

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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On July 18th 2018, the New York Department of Financial Services (NY DFS) issued the nations first "clients Best Interest Rule". Similar to other Fiduciary Laws, this rule defines the meaning of “clients’ best interests” for life insurance product recommendations based on a careful, skilled, prudent, and diligent evaluation of costs, performance, and risks relative to benefits.  Additional states have announced their own Fiduciary legislation.

In this important, wide-ranging presentation, we will review the Best Interest Rule that raises significant ethical considerations for estate planners and life insurance producers serving fiduciaries and/or working under a fiduciary definition of “clients’ best interests” both in and outside New York.

Steven is uniquely qualified to help estate planning professionals better understand the ethical implications and new business opportunities created by the “new fiduciary era for life insurance”.  He helps CPAs, wealth managers and attorneys guide their clients’ insurance decisions based on this prudent process.

Steven is an expert in applying Prudent Investor guidelines to life insurance product selection/retention and portfolio management according to established and proven asset management doctrine.  He is guided by the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, FINRA Rule IM 2210, NY DFS Regulation 187 "Clients Best Interest" rule and lessons learned from the first adjudicated fiduciary lawsuit regarding Trust Owned Life Insurance AKA Cochran v. Key Bank.  

Registration information will be posted soon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - TBD

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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Detailed information regarding this presentation will be posted soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - Planning Team Revenue Opportunities Generated by New Tax Law

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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Listen to this program if you are interested in how an insurance professional has used the recent tax legislation to help clients plan by including several members of the planning team. This intermediate level program will include multiple case examples.

Terri Getman is a nationally recognized lecturer, author and advisor to financial representatives who provide advice to families and privately-held business owners across the U.S. For more than 30 years Terri has specialized in the appropriate use of life insurance in client’s estate, business and executive benefit plans. Terri currently works for Diversified Brokerage Services, one of the largest life insurance brokerage general agencies, but for most of her career she held positions in advanced marketing at several large insurance carriers.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - TBD

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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Detailed information regarding this presentation will be posted soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET - TBD

Source: The Robert G. Alexander Webinar Series

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Detailed information regarding this presentation will be posted soon.

Spousal Lifetime Access Trust

Susan P. Rounds, JD, CPA, LL.M. (taxation), AEP®, TEP

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017, the exemption amount against gift and estate taxes has doubled from the previous $5 million per person/$10 million per married couple to $10 million per person/$20 million per married couple. Indexed for inflation, the 2019 exemption has reached $11.4 million per person/ $22.8 million per married couple. The exemption amount applies to combined transfers made during life and at death.

This may be a significant opportunity for wealthy taxpayers, but will only last through the end of 2025. Under a sunset provision in the new law, the exemption will return to the previous amount of $5 million per person/$10 million per married couple, indexed for inflation, unless Congress extends the law. The change may affect a large number of current estate plans and create uncertainty around what decisions should be made to optimize the opportunity.

Transferring assets out of the estate now to reduce estate taxes later is often a good strategy, but taxpayers may be reluctant to make a large gift to take advantage of the increased exemption amount because they fear losing access to the transferred funds. Enter the Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (“SLAT”), a type of irrevocable trust that may be used to preserve the transfer tax benefit of the increased exemption amount while also building flexibility into the estate plan.

  • Structure: A SLAT is an irrevocable trust established by one spouse for the benefit of the other spouse and the couple’s children and/or grandchildren. It requires use of the donor spouse’s exemption amount to protect the transfer from gift tax.
  • Other Factors: Choosing an independent or corporate trustee is a best practice for asset protection purposes. The beneficiary-spouse can receive distributions in the discretion of the independent trustee, providing a safety-net.
  • Funding: When funding the SLAT, the grantor-spouse should use his or her separate property, as opposed to jointly owned or community property (this could make the transferred property includible in the estate of the beneficiary-spouse).
Benefits

As an irrevocable grantor trust, the SLAT may provide some of the non-tax estate planning benefits listed below, while allowing the beneficiary-spouse access to the trust funds if needed.

  • Freeze Grantor’s Estate: The transfer to the SLAT is a completed gift and therefore removes future appreciation on the contributed assets from the estate of the grantor-spouse for purposes of estate and gift taxes (as well as generation-skipping transfer tax).
  • Additional Tax-Free Gifts: A SLAT is generally treated as a grantor trust for income tax purposes, meaningthat the grantor is responsible for paying the trust’s income taxes, and not the trust itself. This effectivelyallows the grantor to make additional tax-free gifts to the trust and its beneficiaries, thereby enhancing thewealth transfer benefits of the SLAT.
Drawbacks

A few potential drawbacks to the SLAT are the following:

  • Access to Funds Is Not Unlimited: If distributions are made to the beneficiary-spouse, who consistentlyuses them to benefit the grantor-spouse, this could be considered a retained interest on the part of thegrantor-spouse and make the trust assets includible in the grantor-spouse’s estate for estate tax purposes.
  • Divorce or Death of Beneficiary-Spouse: If there is a divorce or the beneficiary-spouse dies, the grantor-spouse will lose indirect access to the trust. Accordingly, the grantor-spouse may want to limit the amounttransferred to the trust, or provide that if the grantor remarries, the new spouse will be a trust beneficiaryor that the trustee may lend trust property to the grantor.
  • Reciprocal Trust Doctrine: Couples may wish to establish SLATs for each other to ensure indirect accessto funds. To avoid the “Reciprocal Trust Doctrine,” which could effectively undo this planning, it isgenerally advisable to vary the provisions of the two trusts, such as by granting a power of appointment to only one spouse or by altering the distribution standards and classes of beneficiaries.

The SLAT is an important tool that may allow a grantor-spouse to take full advantage of the increased exemption amount while permitting indirect access to the trust funds by way of the beneficiary-spouse’s interest. Ideally, however, this access would never be needed, and as long as the grantor-spouse is still responsible for paying the trust’s income tax liability, an even greater amount of assets will pass to the next generation free of federal estate and gift tax.

Email me at editor@naepcjournal.org with your comments and suggestions.


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