Financial Services
Estate Planning
Planning now can help you avoid losing your house and emptying your bank account in the event of a disabling illness or sudden death. Planning now also will help in the smooth transfer of your estate to the special people in your life.
Estate planning involves more than writing a Last Will and Testament. Many consider transferring ownership of assets to a "Living Trust," which they or a designated trustee control during the person's lifetime. A "Living Trust" is different from a "Living Will," which expresses your wishes about being kept alive if you' become terminally ill or seriously injured.
Since the approach taken will depend on your personal situation, we suggest that you consult with your accountant, your lawyer or other appropriate expert in financial and estate planning. Be wary of "free" estate planning seminars whose business is to sell legal and financial services even if your personal situation does not justify it.
Living Trusts
A living trust and a will both allow a grantor to distribute property when he dies, but an individual cannot use a will to distribute money if he becomes disabled. In addition, a revocable living trust allows a grantor to distribute benefits on a regular basis while still alive so that he can manage his estate as he reaches the end of his life. With this type of trust, a grantor can change the beneficiaries of the trust at any time for any reason as long as he remains mentally competent. A trustee does not need court approval to distribute assests upon the grantor's death or disability.

 

Buy/Sell
A buy-sell agreement is a legal document that protects the remaining owners of a business by setting the price and the terms for a buyout. A buyout occurs when another owner is either no longer able or willing to continue in his current capacity with the business. There are two types of buy-sell agreements: cross-purchase and redemption. If it is a cross-purchase agreement, the remaining individual owners can buy out the other owner's in the business. A redemption agreement, meanwhile, allows the business itself to make the purchase as an entity separate from the remaining owners.

A buy-sell agreement can be beneficial for any type of business that has more than one owner, including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and even sole proprietorships.

 

Key Man Insurance
Using life and disability insurance, a business can buy policies on the key employees to cover the amount of funds needed to adequately replace them in the event of a death or disability. In most cases, the cost associated with securing key man insurance policies is very small relative to the potential benefit if a key worker dies or is disabled.
With both key man life and disability insurance, the business secures the policy on the life of the key person. It will own the policy, pay the premiums and be the beneficiary in the event the key employee dies or is disabled. The premium payments made by the company are not tax deductible but in most cases, the proceeds received are income tax free.
Key person insurance policies are designed to protect the business not the key employee.
Retirement
Annuities typically offer tax-deferred growth of earnings and may include a death benefit that will pay your beneficiary a specified minimum amount, such as your total purchase payments. While tax is deferred on earnings growth, when withdrawals are taken from the annuity, gains are taxed at ordinary income rates, and not capital gains rates. If you withdraw your money early from an annuity, you may pay substantial surrender charges to the insurance company, as well as tax penalties.