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At Lifetime Wealth Management Group, we work comprehensively with our client’s wealth management plans. We help them first, to create and grow wealth – Second, to protect and preserve wealth – Third, to plan the distribution of wealth during life and – Fourth, to plan the distribution of wealth at death. We do this utilizing a disciplined approach by examining the Thirteen Wealth Management Issues that our research shows are important for our clients to address:

1. Investment Issues

Change is the only constant in life. In a constantly evolving world, conventional thinking has kept the way investors approach investing relatively unchanged. It’s all about balancing your exposure to risk with your desire for performance. Regardless which way the market moves - up, down or flat – there is always potential for growth. A buy and hold strategy of traditional asset classes, i.e. stocks and bonds, made sense during the 80’s and 90’s when the market headed only in one direction – up. That same philosophy hasn’t held true for this decade. We believe investors may want to de-emphasize allocating 100% of their funds into traditional asset classes and branch out into alternative asset classes to attain greater diversification. Diversification doesn’t guarantee a profit or eliminate risk; but, it may reduce volatility and provide more consistent long term returns. We develop highly personalized and customized investment policy statements for each client, thereby helping to reduce these risks.

2. Insurance Issues

A well thought out risk management strategy is an essential part of a comprehensive wealth management plan. Life, Disability, Long Term Care, Health and Liability all fit into a solid risk management plan.

  • Which type of policy is most appropriate for your needs?
  • Who should own the policy?
  • Who should be the designated beneficiary?
  • How should the premium be structured?
  • Is there a guiding plan in place to delineate how assets are passed to beneficiaries?

These are just a few questions to be answered when formulating a risk management plan.

3. Liabilities Issues

Most institutions only loan money to individuals and businesses that are considered to be good risks; however, liabilities are not necessarily debt but can be considered leverage. There are two categories of debt: short term debt, which is payable within a year, and long term debt that is a structured loan payable over a year. Issues to consider include: What is the cost effectiveness of the debt structure? What are the fees, rates and tax deductibility issues? What are the impacts of the liability structure on cash flows? What is the return on investment versus the rate on debt? How should the payment terms be structured?

4. Qualified Retirement Plan/IRA Issues

Qualified retirement plan and IRA issues can be complex. Fortunately, our wealth advisors are well versed in retirement planning issues and can help walk you through this process. For example, we will help you answer key questions, such as, how are your qualified retirement plan assets currently invested? Will you live on these assets in retirement or gift them to future generations? Do you own employer securities in your company retirement plan, and if so, are you aware of the possible tax benefits of net unrealized appreciation? How have you coordinated your beneficiary designations with your overall estate planning goals? What are your plans for taking distributions on your retirement accounts and why do you think that is the best strategy?

5. Stock Option Issues (ISOs & NQSOs)

There are two broad classes of stock options: Incentive and Non-qualified. Each carries significant differences regarding the tax treatment and flexibility of the option. Lifetime Wealth Management Group has committed its resources to the use of effective and sophisticated analytical tools that are perfectly paired with executives desiring tactics and strategies to maximize, protect and distribute executive compensation packages during life and at death. Our role with clients is to develop an option exercise plan taking into consideration timing, tax issues and funding alternatives.

6. Business Succession Plan Issues

There are many reasons for failed business transfers. Perhaps there is a lack of any continuation plan. Maybe a plan is in place, but it lacks a funding mechanism. A long range plan may have been discussed, but no written plan exists to address a contingency in the event of a premature death. Whatever the reason, a well formulated succession plan can give a business continuity and substantially benefit an owner’s personal wealth and welfare. There are four alternatives in planning for succession of a business:

  1. Transfer to family members during life or at death.
  2. Sale to key employee(s) or insider.
  3. Sale to an outsider.
  4. Liquidation. 

7. Durable Power of Attorney Issues

Our wealth advisors routinely work with our client's legal counsel and can help guide you in making these important decisions. If you were to become incapacitated, who would have the legal authority to act on your behalf? Who would you trust to manage your business and legal affairs? Is the person aware that he has been named to act in such a capacity? Is he both competent and unbiased? Should your durable power of attorney be general or limited? In the absence of a POA, the court would appoint a guardian to handle your affairs. This can be expensive and time consuming. Additionally, a court appointed fiduciary’s powers are far more restricted.

8. Gifting to Children /Descendant Issues

Gifting strategies can be very beneficial for all parties involved. There are 3 key questions to ask:

  1. To whom do you want to gift?
  2. What would you like to gift? (Appreciated assets, cash, etc).
  3. How much control would you like to retain?

Perhaps you’re trying to lower the value of your personal estate for estate tax reasons or simply gifting for the personal enjoyment and grooming opportunities of your children/grandchildren. Whether you’re considering a UTMA, family foundation or trust, our wealth advisors can help explain the pros and cons of the variety of ways gifts can be made.

9. Charitable Gifting During Life Issues

As a matter of sound public policy, the U.S. tax code encourages charitable gifting.  Beyond this, individuals are motivated because of compassion to those in need, religious and spiritual commitment, and the perpetuation of one's beliefs, values and ideals.  Typically, donors are entitled to a tax deduction each year of either 20% or 50% of their adjusted gross income, depending on whether they gift to public or private charities.

10. Titling of Asset Issues

A comprehensive wealth management plan should designate someone whom the family and fiduciaries work with upon an individual's passing.  Common questions which arise during planning include the following: Who should I designate as my executor? A family member or a professional independent third party? How should my assets be titled? Joint with rights of survivorship, tenants-in-common or tenancy by the entirety? How will my family be able to access my accounts upon a death or disability? Our wealth advisors can help you answer these questions and develop a personalized and customized wealth management plan.

11. Executor/Trustee Issues

Choosing an Executor or Trustee is a very important decision. Unfortunately, many people die with documents designating an inappropriate designee. There are many key issues to consider. For example, is the individual legally qualified for the role? Does he possess the financial skills to handle the types of assets and liabilities in the estate? Is the individual familiar with your assets and can she diplomatically work with the competing interests within the family? These are just a few of many important issues to consider when choosing an Executor or Trustee.

12. Distribution of Wealth at Death

Effective and comprehensive wealth management must include a careful consideration of passing on one’s wealth to one’s heirs. Since care has been exercised in the accumulation of wealth, it is natural for care to be applied to wealth distribution. Our wealth advisors develop personalized strategies for each individual’s unique needs. We focus on four primary areas: 1. Maximizing the asset distributions to heirs. 2. The tax efficiency of distribution. 3. The continued control or influence of this wealth following the death of the original owners. 4. Charitable giving. How prepared will your children and grandchildren be for the inheritance by the time they receive the distribution under your current plan?

13. Charitable Inclinations at Death Issues

Charitable gifting is of significant importance to many individuals. Our wealth advisors spend the time to find out how someone intends to pass along family values. We educate our clients on the types of charitable gifts which will best accomplish their goals, while keeping income taxation and estate and gift taxes in mind. Key issues to address are whether a family foundation, donor advised fund or family limited partnership would be the best solution to help facilitate your cause.