From Estate Planning to Wealth Enjoyment
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30 of the Most Common Obstacles to Estate Planning
Some of America’s brightest and wealthiest families have seen their net worth reduced by 30% to 70% when hit with the federal estate tax. In fact, the majority of affluent people in America don’t realize what devastating consequences taxes can have on the fortunes they’ve amassed over their lifetimes. Why don’t people protect their assets from taxes? Because the fear of taxation is not nearly as great as the fear of running out of money. Like building a home able to withstand a hurricane, building an estate plan that enables your wealth to survive taxation (and other legal storms) requires an expert team with unique and proven solutions to age-old problems. The Wealth Enjoyment System™ is a financial blueprint. Acting as an estate planning architect, we will design a wealth plan individually tailored to your goals and circumstances.
30 Common Obstacles Estate planning is traditionally perceived to be a negative experience – and, it’s not surprising since it usually focuses on death and dying. The Wealth Enjoyment System™ transforms a typically negative chore into a positive, delightful action centered on life and the living. By using this pioneering approach to estate planning, you’ll be amazed that something you once dreaded is now something you’ll wish you’d done sooner! Thirty of the most common Obstacles to estate planning are stated, followed by a brief breakthrough Solution. Each track on the enclosed CD corresponds with each obstacle written on the panels, so if you find yourself identifying with a particular one, you can skip directly to the corresponding track and listen for more detail. By the time you finish listening to the CD, you will be poised to take the next step – from Estate Planning toward Wealth Enjoyment.
This brochure and the enclosed CD identify 30 of the most common obstacles and misconceptions that prevent intelligent people from seizing the opportunity to profit from estate and financial planning.
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30 of the most Common Obstacles to Estate Planning...followed by a brief Breakthrough Solution
1 Too Expensive What does that mean? What if you were certain that you could save $1,000,000 in taxes by paying a $10,000 fee? Would that be too expensive? Isn’t it really about value rather than price? During your free discovery meeting, you’ll learn exactly what you’ll receive and how much you’ll pay before each step in the 8-step Wealth Enjoyment System™.
2 My Attorney Takes Care Of That We love attorneys! In fact, there’s not much we can achieve without them. Estate Planning is similar to building a new home. You must first retain an architect to create blueprints tailored to your preferences, then, after making a final decision, assemble a team of experts to complete the construction. We are financial architects who create customized blueprints for wealth enjoyment. Without financial architects to design and coordinate a sound estate plan, you could lose substantial amounts of money. In the same way an architect partners with a home builder to build your home, we partner with attorneys to build your plan.
3 Planners Just Want To
4 I Already Have Wills
And Living Trusts
That’s a great start! But, they’re really the kindergarten of estate planning. Do you have a provision in your will or living trust that leaves at least part of your assets to the divorced spouses of your children or grandchildren? Almost every living trust silently causes this result, and an amazing number of people are unaware of the serious risk to their assets. Many of these tools are outdated, some actually do more harm than good, and they don’t shelter your legacy from estate taxes, creditors, or divorce.
5 Too Complicated Isn’t anything we don’t understand complicated? How do you make wise decisions about something you don’t understand? Obviously, you don’t need to hire an architect to tell you how many bedrooms and baths you want in your new home, but you do need one to show you various floor plans, features, and pricing options in a simple, understandable way to make decision-making easier. Similarly, we make your complex financial options easy-tounderstand. As your financial architects, we explain what’s available to you in a clear, concise manner and give you the confidence you need to make wise decisions.
Own Financial Security
That’s a legitimate concern. There’s never a reason that you should jeopardize your own financial security. However, not planning is the most dangerous path you can take. In steps 2 and 3 of the Wealth Enjoyment System™, we show you new, different, better ways to evaluate and allocate your assets, without giving up control. Remember – a good estate plan will actually eliminate fear.
7 My Children Want Me To Spend It All Can you precisely predict when you will die? Probably not. Most likely, if you try to spend all of your money within your lifetime, you’ll end up broke or you’ll die with assets remaining. Since there’s a good chance that your children (and grandchildren) will receive some of your remaining wealth anyway, doesn’t it make sense to do at least a minimum of planning to maximize those assets?
8 Leaving Too Much To My Children
Can Make Them Unmotivated
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use our estate to actually encourage and even ensure the productive behavior of our children (and grandchildren)? Using the Wealth Enjoyment System™ as a framework, you can set up incentive provisions which will payoff when heirs become productive members in the community, and thwart those who want a free ride on your money.
To Sell Me Something
Everyone sells something. That’s just a fact of life. Your doctor sells medical advice. We sell wisdom. But, unlike other firms, we work for you on a fee-for-service basis. Our advice is not motivated by commissions. You can relax knowing that our recommendations are based on 30+ years experience, not tied to a commission schedule or a sales quota.
6 It May Jeopardize My
9 My Kids Are Financially
You must be very proud to have raised such successful children! Who better to help you determine how to effectively utilize your estate plan? Even though your children don’t need the money, your grandchildren may be able to use an inheritance to start a business, purchase a first home, or contribute to society. There’s a variety of creative options available to you and your heirs, making it the perfect opportunity to bring the family together regularly for the purpose of planning, updating your blueprint, and communicating your wishes.
10 My Children Are
That’s precisely why you need a plan! There are a number of options when it comes to passing on wealth to irresponsible children, and you need a financial architect to design built-in controls for your estate plan. Age-attainment clauses, required earnings provisions, trusts and foundations are just a few of the techniques that provide safeguards for your assets and offer an opportunity for your children (or grandchildren) to learn fiscal responsibility without risk to the value of your estate.
11 I Started With Nothing That’s very true, and you should be proud of all you accomplished! Many of our clients have structured their estate plans to force their children to make their own way, yet ensure a strong finish. Your wealth can be used to enhance your children’s social life. We’ve helped countless clients whose children and grandchildren have taken their inheritance and made it bigger, better, more successful!
12 I Don’t Like To Think About Dying Unfortunately, that’s the popular perception of estate planning. The good news: You don’t have to die for your family to appreciate your legacy. Allowing your children to use your estate to enhance their lives now increases your wealth enjoyment during your lifetime. Another plus: You’ll probably live longer with a solid estate plan in place since your stress will be reduced.
13 I’m Uncomfortable Talking
To My Children About It
18 Most Of My Estate Is Concentrated
In One Asset (Like an IRA or a Business)
This is another reason why you need to do estate planning! If you have a business, are all your children involved equally? Is one plunged head-first into the business, while another is backpacking across Europe? How do you equalize your estate? Is your IRA set up properly to maximize your unified credits? A solid estate plan can help you equalize your estate to your family and provide you with greater enjoyment of your wealth.
19 I’m In A Second Marriage
If you’re uncomfortable, imagine how your children squirm when the topic comes up! The last thing they want to think about is how they’ll benefit financially when you die. The Wealth Enjoyment System™ shifts the focus from death to life. The subject is more approachable for everyone involved when a family meeting is called to discuss the wonderful things your estate can do right now – during your lifetime – for you and your family.
How long can you dance around the issue? Chances are, you’re both thinking about it! Eventually, it must be discussed. We’ve had phenomenal success designing win-win techniques that make spouses, children, ex-spouses, and step-children happy. It’s a balancing act, but one we can handle!
14 I Don’t Want My Children
To Know How Much I Have
You’ve worked hard to amass and protect your wealth, and there’s usually no need to tell them. We can tell your children only what they need to know, nothing more. By the time they discover the exact amount, your estate is already structured according to your wishes and cannot be altered. Though we have found that full disclosure can have positive effects, we will certainly respect your right to keep the extent of your wealth confidential.
15 I’m Uncomfortable Giving My Estate
Estate Away; I Might Need It For Long-Term Health Care
As mentioned earlier, you never want to jeopardize your financial security! But, the concerns about long-term care are usually over-reactions to an occasional horror story in the news. A good estate plan will help you determine how much you’ll need for financial security, and will eliminate any worry about future health care needs. Most of the techniques we use do not require that you give up control of your assets, so your wealth is available to you if your plans change years down the road.
16 All My Assets Are In A Living Trust I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again: Living trusts are the kindergarten of estate planning. With the new law, you might inadvertently be cutting out heirs, unknowingly leaving your estate open to divorce litigation generations from now, or sabotaging what you had hoped to accomplish by leaving all your money to your heirs outright. At the very least, your living trust probably needs to be modified right now.
17 All Of My Property Is
Bad news...having property in a joint-and-survivor status actually invalidates your living trust and doesn’t save you any estate taxes. In fact, having assets in joint-and-survivor costs you estate tax, since your will and living trust are ignored.
20 The New Tax Law Eliminates
The Estate Tax Anyway
The estate tax does disappear in the year 2010, but only in 2010. Like a bad dream, it returns the following year (in 2011). Without a sound estate plan, the only hope you have of eliminating the estate tax is to make sure you die in the year 2010. Unfortunately, if you don’t die in 2010, you could lose millions of dollars. Talk about adding insult to injury! Why wait for the government to eliminate the estate tax? You can eliminate the estate tax through estate planning right now – with a Zero Estate Tax Plan!
21 I Bought Life Insurance
To Pay The Estate Tax
That’s a great way to pay the tax, but – make no mistake – you’re still paying the tax. Buying life insurance didn’t do anything to reduce your tax liability. If you could reduce or eliminate your estate tax liability, you could use the insurance premium to enhance your lifestyle, and that of your children’s, right now!
22 I Have Enough Liquid Assets
To Pay Estate Tax
Do you really want to give available cash to the IRS and leave your family with assets that may be difficult to convert to cash? That’s probably not what you want to do. Even though you have liquid assets to pay the tax, wouldn’t you prefer to give fewer liquid assets to the government and more to your family? It’s still crucial to maximize the benefits of your estate for your family.
23 I’ll Just Give My Estate Away
During My Lifetime
Even with charities, a string of family partnerships, liability companies, a lifetime exemption, annual exclusions, and other techniques, it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to give it all away. Plus, if you reduced your estate to the point at which you had no tax, you might easily be jeopardizing your own financial security. A new, better, different alternative is to design a zeroestate-tax plan, with you retaining control of your estate for the remainder of your life.
24 I Want My Children To Enjoy
28 I’ll Just Leave My Estate To
A well-designed plan can help you give more money to your children right now! It’s even possible to give your $1,000,000 lifetime exemption to your children right now and watch them enjoy it. Leveraging exclusions, setting up a zero-estate-tax plan, and utilizing some discounting techniques afford you the enjoyment of seeing how your wealth can enhance your children’s lives.
Then you may need charitable estate planning rather than traditional estate planning. You can dramatically increase your charitable legacy by using just a couple of innovative techniques in the Wealth Enjoyment System™. Collectively, our clients left over $100,000,000 to charity last year alone! We can design a plan that will surpass your charitable goals and expectations.
My Estate While I’m Alive
25 My Spouse And I Can’t Agree Aristotle said, "Happiness comes from making wise decisions." It’s hard to make decisions when you don’t know your goals and how to achieve them. Using the Wealth Enjoyment System™ as a framework, we will uncover your individual financial goals, give you several options that will help you achieve those goals, and help you celebrate the progress that you’ve made together!
26 I’ve Already Heard It All Laws change everyday. New ideas are conceived everyday. So, you really haven’t heard it all. Revolutionary ideas can dramatically improve your financial plan for yourself and your family. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.
27 I’m Patriotic And Don’t
Mind Paying Taxes
As unbelievable as it sounds, the government would actually rather you give the money to charity. Why? Because for every $1 you give to charity, the government saves approximately $3. So, if you’re really concerned about helping the government, give your money to charity. Setting up a foundation will accomplish this goal and still allow your family to enjoy this gift with you.
Charity And Not Pay Any Tax
29 I Don’t Know How To Equalize
My Estate So That It’s Fair
What exactly is fair? If you have one child who works in the family business, and one child who does not, it may not be fair to leave an equal chunk of the business to a child with no interest in it. To be sure, fair is not always equal. We can help you equalize your estate, and we can communicate your plan to your children in such a way that they will understand that fair is not always equal in financial planning.
30 I Don’t Know Who To Listen To This is precisely why you need a financial architect to quarterback your estate planning team! We bring all members of the team together in one room (often advisors you already have in place), hear opinions from each player (attorneys, accountants, etc.), and obtain a consensus on ideas.