The State of Estate Planning – 2017

You probably feel as if the field of Estate Planning is in turmoil right now – uncertainty about income taxes, estate taxes and wealth transfer solutions seems so disruptive that Larry Brody, a widely respected estate planning practitioner, has titled an upcoming  presentation:  “What the Hell Do We Do Now?”confusion1

Is it really that bad?  Well, here are links to two excellent and recent AALU publications that may help answer that question.

The takeaways, first from the Survey: “Even in the face of major tax reform, clients and their advisors should remain optimistic and steadfast in their approach to implementing life insurance and legacy planning. Flexible, multi-faceted planning that can address both practical and tax issues is at a premium. Life insurance remains an ideal solution because of: (1) its unique attributes (instant, mortality-based liquidity and cash accumulation and death benefit payments on a tax sensitive basis) and (2) its ability to serve many critical objectives (tax, retirement, and liquidity planning, investment management and diversification, and family security).”

And from the Heckerling Institute: “Overall, Heckerling presenters were optimistic regarding the current planning environment, particularly as this is not the first time that the estate and life insurance industry has dealt with the prospect or passage of major tax changes (e.g., 2010 and 2012). Many planning approaches, like trusts, estate freezes, and life insurance, are inherently flexible and multi-faceted, and tax changes can actually enhance different structuring options and benefits. Accordingly, this environment should trigger thorough audits of client plans and open the door for a dialogue between allied professionals and clients, with interest in life insurance products continuing as both a solution to practical needs and as a complement to other planning approaches.”

We encourage you to read through both the Survey and the Heckerling Institute summary to help clear up some of the hyperbole and confusion that often arises when there’s talk of major tax policy changes.

Golden key and puzzle

If you’re like us, you’ll realize that 2017 will continue to offer plenty of new opportunities for planning and insurance professionals, no matter which way the wind blows.

 

 

 

 

Filled With Gratitude

-by Marc Schwartz

As we close out the books on 2016 and begin a new year we wanted to express our gratitude for all the love and support we received during an emotionally challenging 2016.  In June we unexpectedly and rapidly lost Jerry Schwartz; dad, best friend and co-founder of Windsor. Hal Brooks beat back lung cancer with surgery and two rounds of chemo.  Lastly, in early December Jane Brooks, Hal’s wife of 60 years, succumbed to her decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Family, friends and business associates provided tremendous support for us during these difficult times with messages of love and friendship as well as wonderful memories and stories that brought smiles to our faces.

I had the tremendous honor to ride shotgun next to my dad for decades and learn from a true visionary in our business.  For the past 16 years I have had the privilege to lead the fantastic group of people we call Windsor and contribute to NFP, which grew from Jerry’s three-page business plan to a multi-billion dollar success story.

In 2017 Windsor begins its fifth decade of continuous operation and we are filled with excitement and energy to continue to grow and support all of you.

Thank you for entrusting us with your life insurance cases.

Thank you for allowing us to be a partner in your success.

Thank you for your friendship.

Cheers to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!