The words we use can fall flat or they can be powerful. You must watch this video and then use the idea to re-evaluate how you say what you say, about yourself and about your business.
A departure here from my usual posts regarding trusts and estates, but I’m an entrepreneur offering several services and products within three separate entities. The article by Walter Russell Mead to which I’ve linked below hits the nail on the head with regard to the current issues we face in our economy. It’s a long article, so I’ll include the most pertinent quote first, then the link to the article.
“Currently, the American legal and regulatory system is set up to bind as many people to employers as possible. The government wants you to be a wage slave and sets up a regulatory framework that keeps as many of us as possible yoked to bosses and management. The IRS doesn’t like the self-employed, fearing they many conceal income. Banks and credit card companies view such people with suspicion, and it is notoriously difficult for start ups and part time enterprises to have access to formal finance. Many services are hard for the self-employed to get on terms like those made available to employees of large corporations: from health insurance to retirement planning, many things are harder and more expensive for the self-employed. The payroll tax system is brutal: the self-employed pay both the employer and employee halves of Social Security and Medicare taxes, almost 20 percent of income and likely to go higher. Many cities will tack on unincorporated business taxes, mass transit taxes, and other interesting feudal exactions and dues.
“There are other, subtler ways in which the current system favors old style large employers over small firms. The cost of hiring people can be prohibitively high for small businesses: the paperwork involved in hiring so much as a cleaning person or babysitter can be cumbersome. Hiring full time workers involves negotiating the requirements for worker compensation, unemployment insurance and much else. The cost of these barriers cannot be calculated: jobs foregone, businesses stifled in their cradles, ideas untested, innovations untried.
“In order to create the kind of job and service explosion that can provide better incomes for more Americans going forward, the government needs to shift policy. It must favor the small firm and entrepreneur: the owner-proprietor group needs to become the apple of the government’s eye. Their taxes should be cut; their paperwork burdens drastically reduced; regulations should be rewritten and simplified to meet their needs.”
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) attempted to sneak this provision into the transportation bill currently working it’s way through the Senate. It was removed, but Baucus has made it clear that this is a high priority for him. By taking away distribution options from an inherited IRA or an inherited 401K, Baucus’ provision forces an acceleration of the income tax. Check it out:
Of course, that is not the title of any piece of legislation, pending or passed. In Obama’s budget proposal, presented the other day, tax rates are raised for the mostly hard-earned (and previously taxed) assets of dead people. In addition, several planning techniques are attacked that will make planning a bit more difficult.
But the truth is, just like during earlier times of even higher estate tax rates, those wealthy families who are willing to pay attorneys and accountants to plan appropriately will substantially mitigate or even avoid the estate tax. Those estates that will actually get socked with the higher rates are those where the dead person was not willing to pay to plan.
Another bone to pick here is that FOB (friend of Barack) Warren Buffett (whose estate will pay zero estate tax) owns several life insurance companies. One of the most common ways to fund large estate tax bills is to buy loads of life insurance. FOB Warren is getting rewarded for his support.
Here is an article from Forbes that goes through the details of the proposal. I don’t agree with including “Wealth Advisors” in the title since those advisors will make more money by designing and implementing new estate plans to mitigate the increased tax burden.
What criteria do you use to choose a fiduciary or to assist a client in choosing a fiduciary?
Many of us, particularly those of us who are professional advisors, are familiar with many of the legal, financial, and even risk considerations when choosing an appropriate Trustee. The author of the article to which I’ve linked below raises questions that probably should be part of the process of choosing a Trustee. In particular, these are questions which most corporate fiduciaries are ill-equipped to address; rather, with corporate fiduciaries it depends upon the approach of the individual trust officer.
After 28 years+ of experience settling estates and trusts, I could tell many stories about family disputes over an inheritance. Even in families that otherwise seem perfectly functional, things can get weird very quickly after the death of a patriarch or matriarch. Of course, these dynamics keep me in business as a neutral third party trustee/personal representative or as an expert witness.
Mark Accettura has a book out, Blood & Money: Why Families Fight Over an Inheritance and What to do About It. I couldn’t agree more with Mark’s assessment as to the reasons families go at each other when dad dies. Read his recent article on the subject here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pat Wardian
PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS HAVE NEW RESOURCE TEAM
Personal Injury Plus, also known as PI+, has been formed to provide litigation support and case management for personal injury lawsuits. Personal injury claimants and their attorneys now have a new resource with which to maximize settlement dollars, mitigate attorney fiduciary liability, and provide ethical pre and post settlement case management that is claimant centered. This resource team made up of Pat Wardian, Steve Masterson, and Dan Brownell has over 75 years of combined experience and expertise.
Pat Wardian is President and CEO of Wardian Wealth Management and Wardian Insurance. Wardian is an Investment Advisor Representative who specializes in the Lifetime Income Planning Asset Cycle Portfolio System ® which utilizes formulaic investing strategies and annuities in the area of retirement planning. As part of PI+, Wardian provides claimants and their attorneys with asset management advice and services, wealth preservation planning, and asset protection planning.
Steve Masterson, President of Trust Solutions, has over 28 years experience managing a wide variety of trust and estate assets, designing estate plans for high net worth clients, and creating custom financial solutions for unique family circumstances. Steve is a private fiduciary, a Trust consultant, and an expert witness in fiduciary litigation. As part of PI+, Masterson provides Trust Solutions as a more advantageous alternative to traditional structured settlements.
Dan Brownell is a Rehabilitation Consultant who spent 29 years working in the Rehabilitation Division of the Idaho Industrial Commission. Brownell is a Certified Environmental Access Consultant, was a key part of the Idaho Assistive Technology Project, and played an early role with Transitional Employment Services for the Handicapped (TESH). As part of PI+, Brownell provides claimants and their attorneys with vocational assessments, employability reports, specialized job placement assistance, ergonomic and assistive technology analysis, home industrial environmental access evaluations, and home durable medical supply and installation services. Brownell also serves as an expert witness.
PI+ is an affiliation between Pat Wardian, Steve Masterson, and Dan Brownell, none of whom are attorneys. Neither PI+ nor any of its affiliates offer legal advice or representation.
Attorneys and Personal Injury claimants may contact Pat Wardian at 208-664-8980 in order to realize the benefits of this team of professionals. Initial consultation is complementary.
Those Grantors who don’t struggle with the selection of a Trustee probably should. I’ll confess that poor Trustee selection creates revenue opportunities for me, either through the cost of cleaning up a Trust mess or as an expert witness in Trust litigation. It would be better for all, though, if every Grantor chose a person or institution as a Trustee based on having the characteristics needed to serve well.
Here is a practical article that outlines the basic characteristics a Trustee should have: