How The Buy-Sell Agreement Fits Within the Scope of An S Corporation!  

Part 1 

BY Thomas J. Perrone, CLU, CIC 

Normally, a business makes up a substantial portion of the owners’ net worth. Many business owners do not think about what will happen to their business in the event of their death or a life changing event (trigger).  

This article will focus on why a buy and sell is an important document, one of the most important you will need. 

We will also discuss the buy and sell agreement in the context of an S Corporation since S Corporations are extremely popular. 1 

Consequences of not creating a buy-sell Plan.  

  • Stress on the business’ cash flow or credit line having to purchase the decedents owner’s interest  
  • Unqualified and instability with employees running the company 
  • Disagreements and conflict among heirs increasing administration time and costs 
  • Lack of a market for business which may potentially represent a significant value in the estate 
  • Suppressed value much below fair market value to raise cash for estate needs 
  • Termination of the business 
  • Instability amount employees and creditors 
  • Lack of liquidity to pay estate taxes and other administration costs 
  • Stream of income to remaining family members from the business is lost 
  • Valuation disagreements and IRS litigation 
  • Nightmares of not having a Buy and Sell agreement in a S Corporation! Loss of eligibility as a S Corporation resulting in involuntary termination of the S. Corporation status 
  • Most transfers to entities such as partnership, Corporation and most trusts are prohibited transfers 
  • A termination of S Corporation status will cause the Corporation to be taxed as a C Corporation as of the day of termination creating income tax consequences to the shareholders.  
  • Corporation, which is terminated, must wait five years before making a new S Corporation election, resulting in Corporation being taxed on its net profits for five years.  
  • The surviving shareholder could face additional tax burdens on future ongoing Corporation distribution and on those made upon the sale of the Corporation 

Funding the buy and sell agreement is always a challenge to companies, because it comes down to four ways of funding a triggering event 

  1. Borrowing money from the bank 
  1. Using cash flow out of the business 
  1. Life insurance death benefit 
  1. Cash  

When you compare the costs of funding the buy and sell agreement, life insurance will be the least expensive by a long shot, in most cases, especially, based on a death trigger.  

Other triggers, like divorce, sudden removal from the firm, voluntary and non-voluntary removal from the firm, bankruptcy, and disability are triggers where there is not a death benefit being paid, but money is needed. In these cases, a promissory note may be used in conjunction with a term payout, or installment loan payout.  

However, the cash buildup of a life insurance policy could be used as a funding vehicle especially if the policy has been in force for many years.  

In Part 2 we will investigate how the buy and sell agreement fits within the scope of an S Corporation.  

FREE REPORT “Jones Business Planning and Succession Report” ASK FOR REPORT R3 

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Tax Effective Strategies For RETIREMENT PHASE 2

In the Phase one report I discussed why only focusing on the accumulation stage of retirement could be a big mistake.  I emphasized the need for tax diversification in retirement to create the largest after-tax spendable dollar to help maintain your lifestyle when you retire.   

I have seen where people have allocated  their investments in categories relating to the type of tax structure the investment has, and then positioning the category to a timing of when to start taking the withdrawals from the category.  Here are the categories:  

Type of Category Contributions Type of Growth Distribution 
Equities After Tax Tax Deferred Growth Taxable 
Taxable Income After Tax Taxable Growth Taxable 
Tax Free Income After Tax Tax Deferred Tax Free 
Tax Qualified Pre Tax Tax Deferred Fully Taxable 

One method of distribution would be to defer the withdrawal from accounts that are tax deferrable, to grow the value for as long as possible.  As you can see in the chart above, most of the accounts are tax deferred.  However equities, if they are individual stock, may be tax deferred when outside a 401k or IRA, only to be taxed when they are sold.  They may have taxable dividends yearly which would be taxable.  Equities could also be personally purchased mutual funds which are taxable, and in many cases are not the type of account where you can control the timing of the tax exposure.   

One strategy would be to use the taxable income plans first to give the other plans the opportunity to grow through tax-deferment.   Or, we have seen where clients pull out their taxable income from the investments and supplement the balance with tax-free income plans from life insurance or the Roth IRA.   

Other Distribution Methods 

One might consider taking the taxable income category first since the income is taxable.  The 2nd category may be the qualified plan money since that is 100% taxable. The 3rd category may be the equities which are taxed less than then category 1, 2, and are taxed on a capital gain basis. The last category would be tax-free because, the assets can grow tax-deferred over a longer period, and then give off a tax-free income, normally when more income is needed (purchase power and time), and all income would be tax-free.   

Sometimes you need to withdraw income from two or more categories for reasons.  For example, let’s say you are now receiving social security, but you are also receiving taxable income from your mutual funds, but you don’t want to create more taxable income which may disqualify you from some potential benefit.  Or by receiving more taxable income, your social security tax liability will jump from 50% to 85%.   

A consideration under that situation would be to withdraw tax-free income to support the needed income without causing an increase in taxes.  Another need may be to qualify for housing benefits like freezing property assessments.  Tax-free income may be the only way to qualify. 

Qualified plans such as 401k, 403b and IRAs, are the most heavily taxed.     Most people deposit their retirement savings into company plans since they are readily available through their employer.  Very rarely are employees educated as to the tax exposure of the account when they retire, and many are surprised at the taxes they have to pay on the withdrawals.  

In my planning, I use quadrants, I call my system, the “Asset Cycle Portfolio” and make the qualified retirement plan and IRAs the main generator of income.   

I suggest to our clients that they  defer the tax- free income plans, but I do let our clients know that the plans are a great place to grab money for the  support of their larger purchases such as cars, second homes, and other items.   

By using the tax-free life insurance plans, or Roth plans, they avoid paying tax today, and can defer the other accounts.  I like the idea of the “family bank”, using the life insurance, as you can withdraw the money tax-free, and then replace the funds.  I find this a great vehicle with great flexibility for life’s changes.   

It is not uncommon for our clients to finance their new cars using tax-free cash value and pay the loan back at an assumed low rate which they set.  By repaying the loan just like they would if it were a bank, they create the ability to reloan in the future the same money.   

For example, I have a client who purchased their high-end vehicle at the end of the lease by loaning his consulting firm the money to buy out the car.  His firm now has to pay him back over five years at 3%.  He will make about $3,000 in interest earnings, plus his company can take the tax-deduction on the interest of the loan paid to him. 

The big picture 

It’s more important to invest in different categories of assets to have the ability to develop a tax wise strategy when you retire, as opposed to a one demension investment strategy.  By doing so, you can take advantage of tax laws, eliminate unnecessary taxes, and create family banks with effective tax leveraging.   

For more informtion on how to use Tax-Free Life Insurance, request my FREE WHITE PAPER, “Wealth Without Taxes”  

Pension Maximization Using Life Insurance To Provide The Guaranteed Capital!

For people who are in pension plans, (yes there are some in the private section, but mostly in the government sectors), they face a decision at retirement  of how to take the retirement income distribution. 

Basically,  they have two options.  They can take a lifetime income, which is the highest income the annuitant can receive over their lifetimes.  Or, they can take some variation of a survivorship  benefit for their spouse.  The 50% joint payout is the normal payout, however, some plans will allow 75% and 100%.  The higher the percentage spousal benefit, the lower the annuitant payout.     

Example:  

This example uses the joint and survivor 50% payout. 

Let us assume if the annuitant takes the single life payout, the payout would be $2,100 per month.  If the annuitant took the survivorship options, the payout would be $1,600.  There is a $500 difference per month.  Should the spouse die first, usually, the surviving annuitant is stuck with the $1,600 for their life.  

On the other hand, if the annuitant took the life income of $2,100 and dies first, the spouse receives nothing.  

Options: 

A great guarantee options, is to purchase  a life insurance  plan in the amount which will represent the present value of the survivorship value would be. 

By purchasing a $285,000 life insurance policy, using an assumption of 3% earnings on the investment, the payout would be guaranteed for 20 years.  If the annuitant wanted the $1,600 a month for a 25 year period, the present value is $334,332.  

Scenario: 

If the annuitant dies first, the pension would end, however, the life insurance would be paid tax free.  The surviving spouse could invested  the proceeds and take withdrawals from the account  equal to what the spouse would have received under the joint and survivor pension payout.  The spouse could take more or less, as needed. 

If the spouse predeceased the annuitant the  life insurance can be cashed out, or continue to stay in force to create a legacy for the family.  The policy also can also be used to supplement a retirement income for the annuitant using the cash value. 

Unlike the pensions joint and survivor option, the Pension Maximization Plan offers much more flexibility in the planning.  It also allows for maximum payout should the annuitant live a long life while providing security for the spouse. 

Special Free Report”; If you are interested in a tax-free retirement sponsored by your company, get this special report called; Wealth Without Taxes.  This is a plan designed for business owners and key executives, not the rank and file.  Besides tax free benefits, the program offers business owners the ability to shift business income to their personal ledger with minimum tax exposure. To get this report, CLICK FOR YOUR REPORT   Once you fill out your email information, you will receive the report.  Thank you. 


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The Six Most Costly Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make Costing Them to Owe Huge Taxes!

Many business owners are unaware of the opportunities they have in creating wealth through their business.  Many owners put too much wealth in their business, where it can be tied up or hard to get out.  It also prevents them from accumulating outside retirement funds.

There are several ways to create wealth through your business on a tax-efficient basis which many owners are not aware of.  

I would like to share with you the six mistakes that prevent owners from creating more wealth by utilizing the business cash flow. 

  1. NOT IMPLEMENTING A CEEP: (Corporate Executive Equity Plan) for themselves.  This is one of the most tax effective methods of creating personal wealth using corporate cash flow.  The cost of providing this wealth creating account costs the owner about 30% of the tax cost.  Example: if the company bonused $20,000 to the owner for a personal retirement plan, the tax cost would be $6,000 each year.  However, under a CEEP arrangement, the cost would only be a $60 the first year, and about $1,200 the 20th year. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in executive compensation by attorneys, insurance professionals and CPA’S.  Consequently, it might be considered under used.  However, the executive compensation specialist understands how the plans work and how it can be of great value for the business owner in shifting income from the company to the personal side of the owner. 
  2. NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE SECTION 412(e)(1): which allows the owner to make a substantial number of tax-deductible contributions into a retirement plan skewed towards the higher paid owner.  Example, the owner aged 50 can deposit up to $213,905 fully tax-deductible.  Great for good cash flow companies.
  3. NOT USING THE “SAFE HARBOR RETIREMENT PLAN”: where a substantial amount of the tax-deductible contributions can be allocated to the higher paid participants.  Also, included in this arrangement is the “Cash Balance Plan”.  These plans create greater tax-deductions for higher paid employees.   
  4. NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF   A RESTRICTED BENEFIT PLANS (RBP): which is a discriminatory and tax-deductible plan.  It can be used to provide valuable benefits to retain key people.  The business owner keeps the forfeitures if the employee leaves before vested. This can lock your key group to your company.  
  5. NOT CREATING A DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN:  This is a flexible, separate, and discretionary retirement benefit that can also become a mechanism for funding the sale of your business in the future and create retirement income. The pot is sweetened when you add a DBO (Death Benefit Only) to the planning. 
  6. NOT CREATING AND NOT FUNDING YOUR BUY AND SELL AGREEMENTS: A disability, long term illness, or death may occur long before the owner planned to exit their business, creating a path to financial disaster not only for the owner, but their family, partners, and employees.  This is one of the most egregious mistakes I see business owners make.  Many times, it goes unnoticed by the advisors.  This is one of the reasons why I am an advocate of check-off lists, “fire drills”, and annual reviews.[i]

Simply Put!  By Utilizing These Common Benefits, Owners Can Maximize Their Fullest Potential Business Value! 

To help you understand some of the ways to utilize your business cash flow to create more wealth for you and your family, I put together this FREE WHITE PAPER, CALLED “A TAX -FREE LIFESTYLE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS”, AND I would like to GIVE this FREE WHITE PAPER TO YOU.  

THIS REPORT will help you understand how you can use your business to take advantage of discriminatory benefits   plans for yourself, family members, and key employees.    The Tax-Free Lifestyle REPORT is strictly for small business owners who want to grow their business while creating more wealth outside of their business.   I designed this white paper to help business owners avoid the COMMON MISTAKES made by other business owners which forced them to work more years, save less retirement, pay more in taxes, and tied up too much wealth in their business, creating more stress, and had no free time for themselves! 

You’ll also discover in the TAX-FREE REPORT:

  • One simple concept allowing you to retire with more wealth or retire years sooner.  (This one simple financial principle is rarely ever talked about on “pop news” financial TV shows or by other so-called “financial planners”. 
  •  2 proven strategies to increase cash flow and reduce expenses if you really want to sleep at night!
  • 3 secret ways to have your business build a tax-free wealth account for your personal and business use!
  • Your Business DNA” Understanding this key allows you to double your savings and retirement investing without making a single dollar more in income or investing in more capital equipment and labor.
  •  5 value drivers to prepare your business for a sale, even 20 years in advance!
  • How a simple inexpensive benefit plan can keep your key people! 
  • How creating a Deferred Compensation plan can help finance the future sale of your business.
  • How having a benefit plan for you in the future can lower your cost to sell your business?
  • Misleading and incorrect “old wives’ tales” about creating wealth in your business. 
  • Tax saving strategies that 9 out of 10 business owners don’t use and end up paying more taxes
  • Much more…

TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE   NO OBLIGATION WHITE PAPER Called: 

The Tax-Free Lifestyle for Business Owners”

To request your free white paper 

CLICK SUBMIT:     Wealth Without Taxes Report

Once you submit your email address, you will receive your report immediately! Enjoy!

Now you may be asking…Why would I spend my own money to send you this FREE WHITE PAPER? Think of it as my personal introduction… a way for you to get to know me better.  Nothing more than that! 

Often enough, when business owners learn the information in this guide, they decide they want to know more about what we do, and possibly do business with us so they can have our business owner expertise and in-depth knowledge of how business owners think.  I know, I am one of them. I know what you think because I think about it all the time.  Let’s say 24/7 to be safe! Just as you value the expertise in your business field, I believe working with a financial expert who knows what it is to run a business and knows the business world is critical to your financial health.

That’s it!  Let me send you “The Tax-Free Lifestyle for Business Owners”.   Do with it what you want. Maybe you’ll want to talk to us further, maybe you won’t.   There is no obligation to do so.

Either way, I think you’ll find the information in this report will be immensely valuable to helping deal with the “what if’s, grow your business value, enjoy it more, and create more time for you and your family while creating an almost “stress-free” life with tremendous financial freedom in the future.  Oh yes! NO TAXES EITHER!    Visit www.yourbusinessworth.com  to learn more! 

FOR A 7 MINUTE VIDEO


[i] Paul Hood: “Buy and Sell Agreements- the last will and testament for business owners”.  Paul discusses his check off list, and his “fire drill”.  I am an advocate for these systems to make sure the buy and sell agreement is a perfect of a fit to the entity and owners as possible. 

Pending Tax Changes May Be Around The Corner 2022!

 

I am currently reviewing some of the pending tax proposals being presented. Again, these are proposals and most of them will change before enacted.  

It occurred to me as I was reviewing the details of the tax proposals, how many changes I have seen over my long planning career.  It made me think of  how many times clients (YOU AND ME) had to  update our plans at our cost.  It is amazing the disregard the government has for the U.S. citizen in making this system easier to work with. I can understand why so many citizens put off planning, or just get tired of updating.  Unfortunately, this is the reality of the tax system and the changing of administrations.  

In 2017 we had a major income tax change which in most cases helped many  citizens lower their taxes.   It was easy to understand and it did what it was suppose to do, stimulated the economy along with increasing  public confidence.  

It also gave estate owners a path to plan to preservation their estates. The tax policy was working very well and our government tax coffers where growing.  

Pending Tax Changes- Again These are only proposals!  

The Green Book 2021  

Sr. Van Hollen (Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) and other plan such as the American Families Plan, and the “For the 99.5% Act (Bernie Sauders)”  

Income Tax Changes 

  • Top income tax rates 37%-39.6% effective January 2022; > $509,300 for married, and $452,700 for single 
  • Restrict tax deferral, “like-kind exchanges” (swaps of real estate that avoid current taxation that a sale would tigger  
  • Capital Gains might double-(sale of stock, investment real estate, etc. ) qualified dividend with incomes over $1million taxed at ordinary rates. This could be triggered for gains after April 28, 2021 

Social Security Taxes 

  • To coordinate the net investment income and self employment taxes, so unlike current law, a company could pay the owner a reasonable salary or guananteed payment, the overage became federal taxable profits, but not defined as payroll taxes.   This was assuming that the salary, and withdrawals were reasonable  compensation .  

The proposal is to tax pass-through business income (e.g. S Corps, limited liability companies, partnership) of high income taxpayers will be subject to either the net investment income tax or the social security taxes.   

Audits from the IRS: $80 BILLION increase over 10 years for IRS for audits.  

Estate and gift tax:  

  • Bernie Sanders proposal (For the 99.5% Act) calls for a return to lower estate and gift tax exemptions as well as significant changes to the rules on GRATs and grantor trusts 
  • Most dramatic:  Biden’s plan is to make the transfers of property by Giftand on assets owned at death (as of January 1, 2022) triggering events for capital gains taxes.  The gain is measured by the date of gift or death fair market value less basis.   
  • Exclusions: transfer at death to a US spouse.  

So there are other potential changes coming down the pike and we’ll have to wait and see.  Here is the bottom line:   

Split Interest Gifts: Grat’s ; watch for developments 

Grantor Trusts:  At Grantor’s death or trust is no longer revocable 

BOTTOM LINE- 

If you are a business owner with wealth in your business and you have not done any planning, it may be a good time to start thinking about a certified appraisal of your business and your holdings.  Also, you might want to start thinking about what your goals would be for passing your estate assets.  It’s to early to tell where the wind will blow and how you will be affected by any change, but it is not too soon to think of what you wish to accomplish in your estate and business planning. 

As I look some of the potential changes, Life Insurance Planning will become more significant in paying for the additional liabilities of passing your estate assets either by gift or death.  

To help you with your planning, I would like to offer to you my newly published Ebook called,”Unlocking Your Business DNA”. In the book I cover strategies I have used with business owners for over 50 years  with powerful strategies to create growth and profits in your business and also create an amazing amount of leisure time. 

To get the book, CLICK AND SUBMIT 
 
OR,  
 
If you with to receive a free business assessment of your business planning, take our ONE MINUTE SCORECARD SURVEY. Literally, it takes one minute to go through. Once submitted I will send you a FREE ASSESSMENT of our findings. We will be able to pin point the strong point and the points that you need to work on to create more business growth and profits.  

CLICK HERE FOR THE ONE-MINUTE SCORECARD  

More to come… stay tuned.  

Case Examples of When To Use Life Insurance and The Type To Use!

Part 1

Part One- Two cases using life insurance.   

Over the years I have seen clients and advisors get hung up on which type of life insurance they should purchase, permanent or term insurance, making their situation much more complicated than it must be.   

In this article I want to break down the different situations where life insurance is needed and what type of life insurance I would    recommend.  Again, this is my opinion, but it is based on several facts within the situation.   

Example 1 – Young Business Owner with A Growing Business 

Our client is running a business and is investing much of his discretionary dollars into the business. His wife is a nurse and makes  good income. This helps him support the family while building his business.  

He has two young children, a mortgage, and a business loan. They are not concerned about income replacement at his death, as his wife can work anytime and anyplace as a nurse. However, they are concerned about debt, business debt and the college costs for the kids. The capital required was $1,000,000 

His earnings have been increasing consistently for the past five years, and his business has been stabilizing while growing. The income from the business is more predictable and, in a few years, he feels it will be easier to budget.  

In this case I suggested he purchase a 20-year term convertible term insurance plan.  

  •  The premiums are affordable and low  
  •  the term of the insurance would be adequate 

I could have suggested permanent life insurance under a split dollar or bonus plan however, I felt it would impede his ability to save money in his business and continue to expand. 

Case 2-The Sole Proprietor with No Market 

The problem with owning a sole proprietorship, is in many cases there is no market to sell the business. These small companies create a job for the owner, a salary, and a place to go. It affords them a good standard of living, and enjoyment in their work. The problem, however, is at their death, a long-term illness, or a cash flow crunch, or loss of key employees, they do not have a market to sell too immediately.   

One of the greatest risks is dying while owning the company.  The business is too small for the open market, and normally there are a handful of employees who do not have an interest in or the money to purchase the business.  

This is a time that the estate in many cases needs the cash to settle estate expenses.   

Competitors are more than happy to lend a helping hand by offering 10-20 cents on the dollar for the assets.   

As a planner, I can help them!  

I can arrange to have a buyer ready at any time to provide the spouse or estate of the owner, the going concern value of the business.  

  The payout would be tax free. The cost could be from 1/2% to 2% of the value put on the business.   

If the cost were 1% for example, and the business was worth $250,000, the owner would pay $2,500 a year for this guarantee.  

If the owner decided to sell the business to a willing buyer, the owner would receive back part or all their cost for the arranged guaranteed purchase.   

The “Arrangement” at death is that the spouse/estate would receive tax-free the $250,000 purchase value!    The spouse/estate could also keep the business, and sell the assets or the business (piecemeal, or the whole business). 

If the owner of the business had retired and sold the business to an outsider or another family member, the arrangement would return to the owner all the deposits the business owner contributed to the “Arrangement” over the years, plus a reasonable interest rate to help them in retirement.  

Not a bad plan when you consider the “Arrangement” is guaranteed if the business owner paid their 1% to the arrangement.  

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Common techniques and situations where life insurance is required!

When you apply for life insurance with a trust, how is it set up? What are some of the ramifications? 

Basically, a life insurance policy is purchased by the trust and is owned by the trust.  The Grantor pays the premium in the form of gifts to the trust.  By doing so, the life insurance is not part of the estate, the benefits are tax-free, and if done correctly, premiums are considered present interest gifts in most cases.  The combination of the trust (Irrevocable Insurance Trust), and the Life Insurance maximizes and leverages the amount of property which can pass to the estate!   

  • The Trust needs a Tax ID (EIN) from the IRS since this is a tax paying entity 
  • A non-interest-bearing checking account in the name of the trust is needed to deposit cash into to cover the premium payment.  
  • The Grantor makes gifts to beneficiaries of the trusts. Gifts are deposited into the checking account. Gifts are normally within the annual exemption limit. 

Life Insurance and Business Succession Planning 

  • Equalization when leaving a business to family members when some of the members will receive the business while others will not.  Life Insurance can be the equalizer for the other children not receiving business interests.  
  • For businesses that are heavy in real estate, the life insurance can guarantee liquidity to cover maintenance expenses and lost cash flow. 
  • Life Insurance is a component of most buy and sell agreements to ensure the surviving partner has liquidity to buy out the interest of the deceased family member. 

To receive our FREE Estate Planning Guide for Business owners, BUSINESS OWNERS ESSENTIAL R-6:  CLICK HERE FOR THE DOWNLOADON the drop-down menu pick R-6 Business Owners Essentials. 

Types of Insurance:  Whole life, 2nd to die. What are the benefits of each?  

  • Second-to-die/survivorship life insurance can be in the form of a whole life or Universal life insurance policy.   It covers two lives and is paid at the survivor’s death.  It is normally when the capital requirements are needed at the death of the survivor.  Based on the mortality of two lives, it provides a discount for the insurance.  However, after the 1st insured dies, the premiums are normally needed, so a consideration would be the cash flow after a death of either one of the insureds.  However, if the capital requirement will be at the 2nd death, this type of policy is less expensive than buying two policies.   
  • Whole Life Insurance and Universal life are designed to stay in force for the insured’s lifetime. Whole life has guarantees, while Univeral life is albeit more flexible. It has the potential to cost more to keep in force for the whole of life.  However, universal life does offer guaranteed death benefit plans. Whole life and Universal Life can be used when the capital is needed for the lifetime of the insured.  
  • Term insurance is designed to last for a specific period before it expires.  Although term insurance is the least expensive initially, with outlay, it can become the most expensive over time.   However, it is a great plan to own when you have defined the capital exposure needed for a specific period and no longer. An example would be a bank loan for a brief period, a potential exposure or need not lasting for more than 20 years.   

Is life insurance death benefit tax free  Most of the time if arranged correctly.  However, there are a few exceptions when life insurance is not taxfree.   

  • Paid directly to the designated beneficiary (trust or individual) it will be paid tax free.   
  • The unholy triangle:  owner –dad; Dad gifts the policy ownership to daughter.  Daughter names her daughter as beneficiary.  At dad’s death there is a gift from Daughter (owner) to her daughter as the named beneficiary.  
  • Transfer for value:  This is when a policy is sold to another person as owner and paid to a non-exempt class, the policy will be taxable on the proceeds in excess of what the policy was sold for.  
  • Owner A, sells, his policy to his brother-in-law. At A’s death, the proceeds will be taxable in excess of what the brother-in-law paid towards the policy.  
  • However, if the brother-in-law was a Corportation (office of), a partner, a partnership, there would be no income taxes.  
  • Or anyone whose basis is determined by reference to the original transferor’s basis.  
  • The insured (or insured’s spouse or ex-spouse if incident to a divorce under Sec 1041) 

Avoiding the three-year look-back period when existing insurance is transferred to a trust.  

  • If the policy is already owned the insured can gift the policy to the trust, making a lifetime gift to the trust, the trust can then buy the policy for the interpolated reserve value of the policy  
  • Set up the trust before the purchase of the life insurance. Have the trust buy the policy, the trust would be the original owner and beneficiary.  

Download Our  FREE Business and Estate Planning Guide for Business OwnersBUSINESS OWNERS ESSENTIAL R-6:   

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What changes can be made to an irrevocable trust when the estate planning has changed?  

  • Decanting the trust varies from state to state. Decanting techniques can pass the assets into a new trust and take advantage of enhancements that may have appeared in the trust code since the original trust was created.  
  • Establishing a new trust for the life insurance:  The funding must be valued at the value of the old trust (namely the interpolated reserve value). It requires an exchange of assets. The trustees would also sign a contract of sale when the life insurance is transferred.  Certain procedures need to be in order.  

These are a few of the areas professional planners should be aware of when working on the estate of their clients.  These are some of the more complicated planning techniques, which come up often and are critical to making sure advisors are aware of the potential tax traps.   

I have found it best to work with the “team” of the client’s advisors so there is less of a chance to make mistakes when planning the estate of the business owner.   

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Business Owners Essential Part 1 Of 2

Introduction 

As professional planners, one of the most important services we can do for business owners, is to communicate to them the importance of the planning of their personal and business   assets in a coordinated effort.   My experienced is that business owners are so focused on running their businesses, they tend to neglect many parts of their personal financial objectives.     When you break it down, they have the same financial problems as individuals with the additional and complex areas of business transition and succession.    The purpose of this white paper is to discuss the various elements of their financial planning and highlight some of the critical areas.  “Key Essentials Elements” are financial areas which cannot be neglected. If the key essentials are neglected, owners are destined to financial failure, no matter how hard they work in their business, they will have a financial failure, with few exceptions.   

Many laws come out of Washington, which are relentless and never ending. There is no mercy for the taxpayer as the game keeps changing from one administration to another. Most tax policies change over time as new administrations are voted in. Consequently, taxpayers are always planning to maneuver around the tax changes to help avoid a financial disaster.  

A perfect example is the current estate and gift tax exemption which will sunset in 2025.   This will require more extensive planning, even though taxpayers have updated their estates and paid huge fees, when the exemptions were changed some years ago.  The reality is laws change all the time and taxpayers can either change with them or do nothing and face the consequences, leading to financial conundrum.     

A well-designed estate plan will consist of both the estate and business planning.   The business plan would not only consider business growth and distribution, but also, the ultimate transition and succession of the business, due to an event such as your death, disability, or retirement. 

Basic Planning documents:   

Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Disposition of Remains Appointment (DORA), and Will. 

The use of a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) can be used, as opposed to a Will, for estate disposition. The RLT is a valuable tool. Assets are transferred into the trust and titled in the name of the trust.  The Grantor creates the trust, and is normally a co-trustee, keeping asset control.   The trust creates successive trustees to manage the assets in the event of your incapacity.  

A Limited Liability Company is an additional tool which may be used, in the context of your business.  

Advanced Directives Business Powers of Attorney:  

These documents deal with the unexpected disability, illness, or incapacity. It only makes sense that you should have these documents in place since the odds are great that you could have a long-term disability before age 65, and the odds only increase after that age.  

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Power of attorney (POA):  

This document names an agent(s) to manage financial affairs if one becomes incapacitated. Fiduciaries act on your behalf. They are called an “Attorney in-Fact”, and they manage financial decisions and transact business on your behalf. It is possible to have two separate power of attorney documents. One for your business, and one for your personal property. You can also appoint different people for each POA document. This makes sense because your personal representative may not have the business sense and experience to deal with some of the tasks needed when dealing with your busines affairs.  

The POA can be effective all the time or can be effective only under certain situations. This is called a “Springing Power of Attorney”.  An example of this is when the POA only springs into effectiveness when a doctor signs off on your incapacity to deal with your affairs. The person in that role should be aware of this.  

The purpose of the POA is to avoid costly and complicated court appointed guardians which is the procedure when there is no POA, and when someone is considered incapacitated. Since it is in place when executed, there is no delay upon the incapacity of an individual.  

Health care Proxy (HCP)/ also referred to Living Will.  

This appoints someone to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. Disposition of Remains Appointment (DORA): Provides a way to appoint, in writing, someone who shall control one’s final arrangements.  

WILL:  

The Will is to provide instructions on how your assets are to be distributed amongst your beneficiaries. A Will does the following:  

  • Outlines your distribution wishes- specific gifts of tangible personal property 
  • How your business is to be continued or distributed 
  • Names executive(trix) or personal representative responsible for probate accounting and filing, tax liabilities and the payment of them, and the disposition of the balance of your assets 
  • Appoints guardianships 
  • Establishes trusts to protect assets 

The Will specifies instructions regarding your intentions of the business; sold, liquidated, continue.   If your intention is to continue the business, your Will has instructions to do so. It would refer to any operating or buy-sell agreement if they exist.  

Through your Will you can establish a Testamentary Trust that will direct that your assets are managed and distributed based on your specific wishes. Assets can be managed for family members and distributed at the times you specify.  

For example, if you wanted certain property to go to certain members of your family, you can direct that. You can also preserve the principal of your assets for your children should your spouse remarry.  

Revocable Living Trust (RLT) 

A RLT can control your assets during your life and after your death. Once a RLT is set up you would transfer the title of your assets (stocks, bonds, real estate, life insurance, etc.) to the trust. You would then become of the trustee of the trust. This gives you complete control of the trust assets, and the trust. The RLT is not irrevocable until your death. You can change it anytime or collapse it if you wish. Property is not tied up in the trust, as you can change the title back to yourself in the future.  

At your death, there are no assets in your name, so, no probate. The successor trustee will gain control of your assets to distribute them according to your exact instructions. At your death assets will go directly to your heirs. No probate, so, lower estate administration costs, and no court delay in distributing your assets to your heirs.  

Along with the issue of distribution, the trustee will ensure continuity of assets management during a period of incapacity.  

Limited Liability Company.  

There are several advantages to using an LLC in the context of estate planning. 

  • Enables you to preserve significant control and management while reducing your estate costs 
  • Ability to transfer assets to family members, tax efficiently 
  • Can create significant valuation discounts using limited liability interests 
  • More income tax savings compared to estates and the double taxation of a C corporation 
  • No limit of number of shareholders   
  • No limit on the types of entities the interest of the LLC can hold 

Business Succession Planning  

The challenge of a business transition upon the death, disability, or retirement of the owner(s), is will the business survive?  This requires long term constant planning. Admittedly, transition planning is one of the of the most complex challenges in business and estate planning.  

Objectives:  

  1. Income for business owner’s retirement 
  1. Maximum but fair price for share of business 
  1. Smooth Transition 
  1. Could include compensation for family members in and out of the business  

Major Challenges 

  • Retirement for owners/income 
  • Reduction and payment of estate/State taxes 
  • Creating liquidity for the transition and new ownership 
  • Creating a formal business succession plan 
  • Family ownership and non-family ownership needs, communicated 

To be continued in Part 2 

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Creating Legacy By thinking Creatively !

Many of us own qualified plans such as employer sponsored 401k and IRA. Over the years they have contributed to the plans and have created a great amount of wealth.  While creating the wealth they received a tax deduction by making   contributions to the plans which were tax deductible.  Sounds good so far.  

However, there comes a time when the governments gratuitous treatment of qualified plans must end.  Now they want their money, In the form of taxes on the withdrawal of 100% of the money, not just the accumulation, but also the contributions which you received a deduction for (I always wondered why they did not just tax the amount of your contribution when you withdrew them instead of the whole account). 

Many seniors when they get to age 72 find they do not need the money to support their lifestyle but are forced to take the withdrawal (Required Minimum Distributions-RMD) anyways.  Recently, the required minimum withdrawal rules changed, and instead of taking the distribution at 70 ½, the distributions will start at 72.   

The segment of the population that does not need the distribution of the qualified money, have a few options that might end up being more helpful than just taking the distribution, paying the taxes, and then reinvesting the money, only to be taxed on the interest once again.   

LET US TALK LEGACY.  

Option 1:  Take the distribution.  Pay the taxes and re-invest the money once again, only to be taxed.  Upon death the money is distributed to your heirs.  Depending on the inheritance tax laws in effect at the time of your death, you may have federal and state taxes to pay on that asset left to the family. Once again, taxes.  So far, I have counted three taxes:  Federal taxes/state on the distribution.  Federal/state on the invested after-tax reinvestment, and Federal and state taxes on the distribution of the asset to the family.   

Option 2: Take the distribution of the qualified money which is taxable. The net after tax withdrawal is gifted into   the irrevocable trust.  The trust will use the money to buy a “second to die life insurance policy”, on life of the IRA owner (the grantor), and the spouse.    At the death of husband and wife, the policy will pay a tax-free amount to the trust.  This tax-free amount can be distributed tax-free to your beneficiaries at a future date.  

Note:  If this were a qualified account (Like a 401k or IRA), the balance of the account would be considered an inherited IRA if left to other than a spouse. Withdrawals would have to be made within ten years of death.  The withdrawals are taxable.    

If it were left to a spouse, they could continue the account, however, they would pay taxes on the withdrawal of the funds. Also, assuming no marital deduction (if left to other than spouse), there could be a federal/state inheritance tax on the value.  

Option 3:  Set up option 2, however, the balance of the qualified account(IRA), payable to the children, or grandchildren could be used to buy life insurance on the parents’ life, again recycling the RMD’S to create a tax-free legacy for the grandchildren. The distribution could purchase life insurance on the life of their parents, to pay for the life insurance over a ten-year period (inherited IRA’s need to be paid out over ten years). The proceeds of the life insurance would be tax-free to the grandchildren. They would not have to make mandatory distributions from the life insurance, unlike the inherited IRA. The children, who may be the beneficiary of the trust in option 2, would also not have to take mandatory distributions from the life insurance. Consequently, both generations would save a lot of taxes, inherit much more, and have a plan which did not force them to liquidate inherited assets.  

THE NUMBERS:   

Option 1: Take RMD and invest the money 

Assume the IRA was worth $1,000,000 that dad owned:  Assume he takes out the mandatory distribution of $37,000. He paid taxes (35%) and net $24,000 (rounded down). Let us say he invested at 4%. In 20 years, he would have accumulated $743,000. His gain would have been $92,000, which he would pay tax on. His net value of the account would have been $650,000 to leave to his children and grandchildren. After tax, the net ROI would have been 2.81% before federal and state inheritance taxes.  

Option 2:  Take RMD and buy a 2nd to die life insurance policy and put into an irrevocable trust while living (there is no need to wait to age 72 to do this).  

The 2nd to die life insurance policy would be worth $1,000,000. At his and his spouse’s death, the beneficiaries of the trust would receive $1,000,000 tax free. None of the life insurance proceeds would be subjected to inheritance taxes (fed/state), unlike in option 1. The ROI on the death benefit would be the equivalent of a net of 6.56%, or pretax rate of 10.10% on investment, (we are assuming parents paid $24,000 for 20 years, then died). By having the life insurance/trust, he would have left $350,000 more to his children and grandchildren compared to if he had invested the money at 4% gross. When you take into consideration inheritance, federal and state on option 1, option 2 would have been even more of a gain.  

Note:  Any balance left in the qualified account at the parent’s death, could also be used by the beneficiaries (children or grandchildren) to buy life insurance on their parents, much like their parents/grandparents bought life insurance via the trust.  

Considering the new rules on inherited IRA’S, using the life insurance as leverage can make a lot sense. As mentioned, this strategy is highly effective for families in the situation where the RMD is not needed to fund their current lifestyle.  

Compensation of Business Owners! The Good And The Bad!

Owners of small private companies normally receive income as a salary, rather than dividends, and capital gain on the sale of their stock. They also receive other compensatory benefits. In many cases, the business owners can receive rental income from property and assets leased to the company and owned personally (either outright or in trust) by the business owner.  

Because of the tax structure of the company, business owners often find it more tax effective to pay the compensation, rent, royalties from their company to the owner, at the high end of the scale, rather than the low side (common in C Corps).  

A Detriment to The Owner When There Is an Exit 

Receiving this higher scaled income and rental, may have some advantages for tax purposes, and the creation of wealth.  

Having the tax advantages for the business owner, may be a detriment to the selling price during exit planning. This is because the rents and compensation paid to the owner on the higher side lowers the net income of the business.  

When rental and salary compensation are paid on the elevated level, they affect the net income/or net operating cash flow, which creates a downward impact on the selling price! 

At the Time of Exit Transition 

The owner must justify the payout of rental income, compensation, royalties, and other compensatory income. They need to justify the overpayment of this compensation. In a way, the owner must back track the justification of paying the enhanced payouts in the stated areas of compensation. This may put the owner in a position of receiving nondeductible “constructive dividends” paid by the company, resulting in a retroactive tax liability.  

Minority shareholders of the company could complain that the enhanced payments to the owner’s transgression of overpayments is a breach of a fiduciary duty owned to them. Since the over self-generous payouts to themself, there is an effect on the stock value. Consequently, minority stockholders are going to be affected by depressed value. This concerns stock bonus to minority stockholders and key persons.  

One of the solutions to this issue is to start to shift part of the enhanced payouts to more of a mid-level range of the fair market value. This will allow you to enhance the net income/net operating income for the company.  

Along with enhancing the net income and net operating income for the company the shifting of revenue to middle-management, will build a stronger management team.