The State Of Disruptive Technology In The Insurance Industry

Squeezing Lemons

Recently happened upon a very telling article in with regard to the insurance industry and where it is headed today. The article by Jonathan Shieber regarding an upstart insurance company known as Lemonade can be found here. The piece is very telling in that it talks about the shortcomings in today's existing insurance industry model. It offers an interesting perspective on the current state of peer-to-peer insurance models as they stand. The company has established a solid footing as a disruptive insurance company that will offer a quality product and fair pricing.

Systems and Processes

One of the key objectives of the company is to improve the overall quality of service and products related to modern insurance. Dan Ariely, one of the company's officers stated that the main purpose of Lemonade is to design insurance with systems and processes in place that will ensure the interests of an insured individual and the insurer are perfectly aligned. In essence, the objective is to eliminate conflicts of interest when it comes to the various aspects of insurance. The company targets all income levels with its innovative concept.

Risk Mitigation

This is especially important considering that today more than ever before, people in America believe that insurance should be a core component of one's financial and social well-being. The main objective of Lemonade with regard to disrupting the current insurance model is to take a more risk mitigation based approach to insurance. This includes heavily focusing on quality customer service and maintaining better control of false claims.

The Latest Technology

Lemonade maintains as its top priority building honesty into the entire claim filing process. Taking advantage of the latest technology will help to ensure that this goal is achieved. Company offices have stated that promoting honesty at all levels of insuring can in effect be disruptive in itself. Ultimately, and ubiquitously this can have a substantial impact on product cost and quality of service. Revolutionizing the insurance industry is really what this fledgling company hopes to accomplish. The firm originally launched with an investment from Sequoia Capital for $13 million.

Affiliations With Firms

Last year the firm also received supplemental capital investments from Aleph, an Israeli venture investor. The firm also has aligned with Berkshire Hathaway's National Indemnity as well as Lloyd's of London and other well-known names. In total, Lemonade has earned affiliations with firms that have a cumulative total in surplus capital of around $100 billion in terms of payouts to policyholders. The company has hired a number of impressive well-known names in the industry as executives to support their efforts.

Greater Efficiencies

As with this is just one more example of where the tech industry and the insurance industry are merging. Lemonade and as well as other companies are forging the way for a new type of insurance industry that is well integrated with the Internet, modern technology and more efficient operations. With capital in place and a solid team on board, Lemonade’s peer-to-peer type insurance model may be worth keeping an eye on in the future. has also established itself as a disruptive technology in the world of insurance where nothing remains the same and where insurance as we know it will only continue to change for the better.

October 19-25 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week

financial stability and security

In 2008 National Estate Planning Awareness Week was established and is primarily intended to help people from many different backgrounds better understand estate planning and why it plays a vital role in overall financial stability and security. House Resolution 1499 was adopted by congress in 2008 and was duly named National Estate Planning Awareness Week in September of that year.

making yearly gifts to loved ones

The actual dates of the National Estate Planning Awareness Week are October 19 through the 25th. That said, here are a few essential and important estate-planning tips for anyone and everyone who wishes to better grasp a few key components of general estate planning. For example, making yearly gifts to loved ones, relatives and family members can effectively reduce the total taxable value of an estate. Best of all it accomplishes the goal of not reducing the lifetime federal gift tax exemption for a given estate.

better handle incidents of ownership

Establish, if feasible, an irrevocable life insurance trust to better handle incidents of ownership issues and situations. In addition, it is often an excellent strategy to give away to family members and relatives assets that are appreciating while you, the principle, are still alive. Because of the 2012 Federal gift tax exemption, estate owners can give away up to $5.12 million worth of appreciating assets. This may include real estate, stocks and other tangible and similar assets.

amount that can be allocated

Equally useful when it comes to estate planning and better tax efficiency is to consider paying the medical expenses and school related costs of loved ones and family members. The amount that can be allocated in this way is virtually unlimited. The only stipulation is that payments must be made directly to a medical service provider or a school or other type of educational institution. In many instances these simply yet critical strategies go unused due to a lack of understanding when it comes to planning an estate.

unused estate tax exemption

Other great planning strategies for an estate includes making full use of the unlimited marital deduction and exercising ones option with regard to the portable estate tax exemption. This allows an executor of an estate to allocate any unused estate tax exemption (Federal) to a surviving spouse. Finally, making a bequest to an IRS-approved charity is a smart way to reduce a taxable estate to be more in line with the $5.43 million per individual estate-tax-free ceiling that is currently in force.

focused and dedicated service

Silver Rock Partners is pleased to share these basic yet very important estate-planning tips with clients and prospective clients during National Estate Planning Awareness Week. As always it is essential to note that Silver Rock does not offer legal advice yet can direct clients to highly experienced legal council with decades of focused and dedicated service to clients who have high-net-worth and affluent families from across the country. Contact Silver Rock Partners today for New York estate planning and technologically advanced estate planning tools that consistently exceed expectations.


Changes in Demographics and Estate Planning

statistics show

The world is changing in many ways, the least of which is not how people live in terms of being married or staying single. In fact, the statistics show that the growing trend around the country is to either stay single or return to single life. That said it is important to consider the significance of estate plans for single people.

before the unexpected ever happens

In order for an individual's wishes to be satisfied upon passing there are certain documents that should be in place long before the unexpected ever happens. From directing the administration of probate to protecting valuable assets, estate planning is the key to preserving wealth through multiple generations.

fortunes can be lost

Even the intricate details of good tax efficiency are vital to maintaining accumulated wealth and assets in a continued state of protection. Anything less will simply not do in today’s world where fortunes can be lost in a flash. For example, tax efficiency can help to ensure that an estate’s tax burden is minimized when death occurs. This is a key strategy that will protect heirs and future generations from unnecessary financial burdens.

precarious situation

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is that of a principle passing where there are no instructions or a comprehensive estate plan in place. The lack of a will or trust will typically place a grantor in a precarious situation. It will place heirs in an even more precarious position. When an estate is lacking a clear-cut plan the end result may be that the state ultimately determines how assets are dispersed.

control of assets

A single person is particularly in a difficult position when there is no established estate plan. In this case the state is often free to determine whom the closest relative or grantor may be. In extreme cases the state may actually take control of assets when no beneficiary can be determined. That is why it is so critical for a single person today to have a will and estate planning in place.

misguided distribution

The will is in many ways the core of a complete and comprehensive estate plan. It assigns an executor and determines how indeed assets will be distributed. This removes any uncertainty and helps to protect against misguided distribution. The POA or power of attorney is a key document that is vital to good planning too.

the future of your estate

This document will ensure that day-to-day decisions such as in finances are managed when a single person is unable to mange them on his or her own. Choose a power of attorney carefully as this one decision alone can have a big impact on the future of your estate. Other essential documents that should be considered in estate planning include a health care directive, insurance considerations and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k and the associated documents.

single wealthy people

Finally, the complexities of estate taxes must be carefully considered to ensure the maximum levels of tax efficiency. Along with taxation issues a single person should also set up if applicable a trust as a way to transfer assets to a particular beneficiary. When it comes to today’s changing demographics and the increasing number of single wealthy people across the country a little planning can go a long way in protecting assets and saving money on estate taxes.


Life Insurance And Facial Analytics – What’s The Connection?

Digital Advances And Technology

Silver Rock Partners has uncovered an intriguing article in The Royal Gazette that looks at the possible transformation of the life insurance industry through the use of innovative facial analytics. With digital advances and technology ubiquitous throughout all industries today, it is no surprise that facial analytics would make its way into the life insurance business.

The Benefits Of Facial Imaging

The possibilities of a high-tech technique for assessing people's life insurance risk may indeed revolutionize the industry sooner rather than later. This is according to an expert at a recent meeting and discussion in Bermuda. The gathering of life insurance experts also debated the benefits of facial imaging and how it may relate to advancing current techniques for risk assessment.

Bottom Line Performance

One expert, Prof. S Jay Olshansky also discussed the likelihood that these techniques would be more accurate and faster than existing strategies. The good news for consumers and insurance firms is that this advanced technology may indeed result in more realistic premiums, reduced costs and better overall bottom line performance for insurance companies around the world.

Blood Chemistry

The main thrust of the technology is that it may provide better and more accurate determinations with regard to predicting how long people will live and how healthy they will be throughout their lifetime. This technology clearly may alter the way life insurance underwriting is conducted going forward. Current underwriting procedures and strategies require up to a month and are typically based on blood chemistry and clients answering a series of questions.

Takes Advantage Of Predictive Calculations

It is important to note that much of the data collected today using current procedures and techniques is not accurate in terms of determining survival rates. Technology that takes advantage of predictive calculations with regard to future health and longevity and that uses facial recognition and analytics can help to reveal behavioral risk factors.

Streamline The Risk Assessment Process

This technology can also help to determine the overall propensity for a long life. Many experts present at this recent gathering feel that this technology will revolutionize the entire life insurance industry and streamline the overall risk assessment process. As an added benefit, life insurance firms will likely save a substantial amount of money by alleviating the need for blood chemistry testing.

Online Based Assessment

This is especially true with regard to attracting new insurance clients who would rather not have invasive procedures performed that are so often required for typical blood chemistry testing. The future is clearly in online-based assessment for life insurance and will likely only make it easier and more convenient for people of all ages and all backgrounds to gain access to quality life insurance products.

Easy Insurance Acquisition

When individuals can go online and answer a few questions along with uploading a facial image for quick and easy insurance acquisition, there will undoubtedly be a greater number of people who will take advantage of current and existing life insurance products. When the process is reduced from weeks to hours, the end result is better and more widespread coverage for the general population.

Strides And Advances

A more accurate and detailed approach to risk assessment that is based on the science of aging and that makes use of modern technology can only serve to help the insurance industry from both a life insurance firm and consumer perspective. It should also be noted that the science of aging is making great strides and advances in helping people live longer. From slowing the aging process to identifying genes that are directly related to the aging process, science and technology will likely help to extend life expectancy in the very near future.



New Laws Affecting Estate Planning

pass assets along to heirs

An interesting article appeared in USA Today that discusses estate plans and the new laws that have recently been implemented. The write-up discusses the various aspects of figuring out how best to pass assets along to heirs and future generations. The main thrust of the USA Today article relates to choosing the wisest path for those interested in efficient estate planning that takes full advantage of continuously changing tax laws. Because tax laws can be somewhat of a moving target it is always best to work with experienced NY estate planning advisor.

A Clear And Concise Plan Laid Out

For example, beneficiary designations in certain types of life insurance products and various types of retirement plans offer advantages when it comes to avoiding probate court. As most people already know, probate court involves legal proceedings where the court is involved in distributing the assets of an estate when no will or estate planning has been put into place. Most would agree that avoiding probate is usually the best option. A principal should always have a clear and concise plan laid out well in advance to ensure that heirs and future generations enjoy the wealth and assets that should rightfully be theirs.

Trustee In Charge Of The Actual Trust

The USA Today article also discusses something known as a revocable grantor trust. This is considered a tool that will help people avoid the complexities of probate court. In this instance, the principal as the grantor or the person making a gift can convey assets back to one's self as a trustee in charge of the actual trust. This is a key strategy because as a trustee, a principal has control over the assets during their entire lifetime. Being that this type of trust is revocable simply means that the principal can revoke or change the trust as necessary.

Less Likely Chance That Probate Court Will Be Required

Another benefit of a revocable grantor trust is that when the principal dies, the successor as trustee can easily and conveniently convey proceeds to any beneficiaries. When a principal places assets in a trust, there is greater control and use of those assets and there is a far less likely chance that probate court will be required. Another key consideration when it comes to trusts is that a principal should always attempt to fund a trust with as many assets as is sensibly possible. This provides for a greater level of overall protection.

Similar Types Of Investment Vehicles

It is also important to note that IRAs or Individual Retirement Accounts and other similar types of investment vehicles are typically not placed in a trust. What is important to note in this recent article is that the IRS has recently eased the rules with regard to portability. This simply means that a surviving spouse’s trust is now able to use any part of the deceased partner’s exclusion with regard to the current existing exclusion amount (which is $5.3 million per person.) Recent changes in laws have in fact prompted many people to re-examine their existing trusts in order to fund a single trust.

Tens Of Millions Of Dollars

Finally, it is always recommended to work closely with an experienced New York estate-planning advisor when making these types of changes. Constant changes and modifications to both federal and state tax laws can quickly and surprisingly out date many currently held estate documents. That is why it is so important to stay abreast of changes as they occur in the industry. Perhaps most crucial of all is to avoid procrastination when it comes to estate planning. A lack of planning or poor planning can ultimately cost a family or a legacy tens of millions of dollars. Providing security for future generations can be as simple as staying proactive and always planning ahead.

Silver Rock Partners is a team of dedicated life insurance advisors who work closely with affluent families to secure the best possible life insurance product. The company also provides innovative tax efficient estate planning for those with a high net worth. Contact today to schedule a free initial consultation with an expert insurance advisor in New York.

The Silver Rock difference means that we have professional relationships with many trusted carriers and do volume business. This very often results in better offers than what might be experienced with other brokers who typically do not have our influence and credibility in the industry.

What Is A Dynasty Trust And How Can It Help?

gift tax or an estate tax

As described by Investopedia, a Dynasty Trust is a trust that is long term in nature and that is designed to pass wealth through multiple generations without incurring any type of transfer taxes such as a gift tax or an estate tax. A Dynasty Trust is most notably identified by its term of enforcement. For example, in most instances, this type of trust will survive for 21 years after the passing of the last beneficiary.

Managed And Controlled By A Trustee

In theory, a Dynasty Trust can last for a century or longer. In many cases, the beneficiaries of this type of trust are typically the grantor's children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. A Dynasty type of trust is managed and controlled by a trustee who is appointed by the grantor. As a note, this particular type of trust is considered irrevocable. In other words, once a Dynasty Trust is funded the grantor no longer has control over its assets or amending the terms of the trust.

Generation Skipping Transfer Tax

Improving tax efficiency through protecting an estate from estate taxes and gift taxes is often best achieved through taking advantage of a Dynasty designated type trust. Most importantly, the US government along with the IRS have put into place Generation Skipping Transfer Tax provisions that results in slightly over $5 million of exemption for an individual or slightly more than $10 million for a couple in terms of tax saving opportunities.

No Expiration Date And There Are Literally No Minimum Distributions

Enjoying the greatest level of tax efficiency through multiple generations of descendants can often be best secured through taking advantage of existing estate tax exemptions at both the federal and state level as well as through all that a dynasty trust has to offer. Because this type of trust has no expiration date and there are literally no minimum distributions, assets can grow unencumbered through multiple generations.

Divorce Proceedings And General Asset Protection

It is, however, important to note that each state is different and that is why working with an experienced estate planning advisory is such a good idea today. Along with varying specifics from state to state regarding trust laws and rules, there are other considerations that must be addressed such as how divorce proceedings and general asset protection are affected on a state-by-state basis.

Unimpeded By Taxation

In short, a $5 million gift and tax exemption allows wealthy individuals to place more tax-free money in a trust. Avoiding intergenerational transfer type taxes is essential to growing an estate through succeeding generations while being unimpeded by taxation. Assets that are not protected by a trust and that are taxed multiple times through future generations can greatly reduce the overall value of a family estate.

Wealthy Individuals With A Net Worth Of More Than $25 Million

While there are costs involved with setting up a Dynasty Trust; attorney's fees, estate planning fees and other related expenses are minimal in comparison to the amount of money that can be saved for an existing estate as well as for future generations. In most cases, wealthy individuals with a net worth of more than $25 million will typically find great advantage in a Dynasty Trust.

Existing Laws And Rules

A trust of this kind is also highly beneficial for families who maintain closely held businesses. Taking the time to consider the benefits and advantages of trusts is essential to providing the highest levels of financial security for heirs and future generations. Taking full advantage of existing laws and rules in this fashion is a smart and proactive way to maintain a family legacy intact for decades and even centuries.

Silver Rock Partners is a team of dedicated life insurance advisors who work closely with affluent families to secure the best possible life insurance product. The company also provides innovative tax efficient estate planning for those with a high net worth. Contact today to schedule a free initial consultation with an expert insurance advisor in New York.

The Silver Rock difference means that we have professional relationships with many trusted carriers and do volume business. This very often results in better offers than what might be experienced with other brokers who typically do not have our influence and credibility in the industry.

Wills Numbering in the Millions Now Accessible Online

three-year digitization effort

Silver Rock Partners recently came across an enlightening and interesting article in CBS Money Watch online regarding a recent three-year digitization effort by The project involves making information available from a historical perspective about a large number of Americans as viewed through their family wills. The article goes on to discuss how this information that has been out of reach for centuries and is now available online in digital format. Historians and genealogists alike as well as professionals and those with a genuine sense of intrigue will find this huge collection of data and information spellbinding.

the lives of those from past centuries

One interesting comment made in the article by a researcher, Laura Lovett is that wills of this nature enable people today to peer into the lives of historical figures and others in a way that would otherwise not be possible. In essence, she goes on to say that we are able to look into the lives of those from past centuries and understand their values and what was important to them at that time. In fact, a will is a unique document in that it may be the only written evidence that an individual actually existed in past times.

a treasure trove of historical insight

While birth certificates, marriage certificates and various types of census data and information afforded the opportunity to research historical family records, wills provide more detail and more specifics than most people understand. has provided an excellent service in this regard by converting large numbers of historical wills into digital format. This provides for a level of access to historical data and information that to-date was simply not possible. In short, the in-depth and detailed information made available in this digital collection is a treasure trove of historical insight that has never been available before.

access historical family data

Even more promising is the fact that this digitized collection of wills can now allow individuals to research family roots and family history in a more detailed and rewarding way. From family relationships to an overall understanding of family wealth and a glimpse into the actual possessions that were owned by family members centuries ago, this large-scale unraveling of historical wills in digitized format is truly priceless. The sheer scale of this collection of wills (that is estimated to be around 100 million in total) will likely change how individuals and researchers access historical family data forever.

High-net-worth individuals and affluent families

Having access to millions of historical wills of Americans online is an important move forward in not only understanding the past, but in understanding current times. When individuals are able to better grasp how legacies and fortunes were passed along through the generations it is easier to make more sound decisions in current times. High-net-worth individuals and affluent families today will likely leverage this new information to great advantage. Having access to historical records of this kind can be beneficial to estate planning efforts and in passing wealth to heirs and future generations in a more informed and more logical manner.

comprehensive estate planning and life insurance

Contact to learn more about innovative technologies in estate planning. The firm works with foreign nationals requiring comprehensive estate planning and life insurance. Silver Rock also assists those who have been deemed uninsurable as a way to help these individuals find quality insurance products. Further, Silver Rock works closely with professional accountants, probate lawyers and other legal professionals to assist individuals in establishing superior NY estate planning strategies that are intended to endure through many generations.



Who Needs a New York Power of Attorney?

Signing the Contract

If you are entering into a New York real estate transaction, business transaction, banking transaction, etc., and are unavailable to sign the contracts, here is some important information. If a real estate closing must be scheduled for a date when you will be out of town, and you are therefore unable to sign the deed, co-op documents, mortgage documents, etc. a New York Power of Attorney may be the solution.

Alternatively, a New York Power of Attorney document can be useful for an elderly or ill person who may be unable to take care of their financial affairs or estate planning on their own. The same is true for someone who is concerned that they might become mentally or physically unable to manage their own financial affairs at some future point in time. 

A New York Power of Attorney Should Be Prepared and Executed Properly in Order to Be Enforceable in New York

Keep in mind that the official New York State Power of Attorney form is a multi-page document that must be prepared and executed properly in order to be enforceable within the state of New York. It is therefore recommended that a lawyer in NY prepare the document for you, and verify that it is executed properly so as to ensure it will be valid and enforceable within the state. 

Can a NY Power of Attorney Be Signed Outside of New York State?

It is indeed possible to have a Power of Attorney for use in NY prepared by a NY practicing lawyer and executed outside New York State by the principal granting the power. However, there are specific rules for having these documents notarized outside of the state of New York.  Not everyone in New York is aware of these rules, and as such sometimes people might accept a signature notarized outside of the state, irrespective of whether those rules were followed. Nevertheless, it is therefore advised and it is not recommended that clients count on the possibility that someone might not notice that the rules were not followed.  It would certainly be a better practice to have a Power of Attorney for NY properly executed either in New York State, or in another state, making sure that rules governing notarization outside New York State are complied with in all cases.  

It is also possible to have a state of New York POA document signed outside of the United States, provided that the rules governing execution of New York documents in another country are followed.

What Powers Should Your Power of Attorney Grant to the Agent?

The New York Power of Attorney has many options regarding what types of documents an agent may execute on a client’s behalf.  For example, a client’s attorney can prepare the document to give the agent broad powers to act on the client’s behalf for virtually all purposes, or only for certain types of documents or transactions, such as real estate transactions, banking transactions, execution of tax returns, etc.  In addition, the NY POA can be specifically limited to a particular transaction or document.  Conversely, it is important that the NY state (POA) Power of Attorney grant sufficient power to said agent, to ensure that he or she will be able to complete the transaction on the person’s behalf. For example, if you are designating an agent to execute closing documents for you for a real estate transaction, it would not be sufficient to check the box for real estate transactions since other documents will need to be executed at the time of closing, which would not be classified as real estate documents.  A New York lawyer familiar with the the state's designated Power of Attorney, as well as New York real estate transactions should be able to properly prepare the New York Power-of-Attorney required for the agent to close a real estate transaction on your behalf.

Poa Can Be Prepared So it Grants Only the Necessary Authority to The Agent

Since the New York State POA can potentially grant unlimited authority to the agent, it is strongly recommend that clients discuss the document with a NY estate lawyer (who is familiar with this area of law) in order to carefully determine how this vital document should be drafted.  It is also recommend that the document be drafted in such a way that it grants only the necessary authority to your agent, so that he or she can execute the documents needed to complete the transactions, or other business that needs to be conducted while the client is unavailable.

When Will Your Power-of-Attorney Become Effective?

You and your lawyer can decide whether your New York State Power of Attorney documentation will be effective immediately upon its execution, or alternatively, whether it will only become effective in the event that the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated.  Of course, this determination will be based upon your particular needs and specific circumstances.


For more information on the New York Power of Attorney, please visit our website at:

Copyright 2015 Law Offices of Michael W. Goldstein

This informative article provided courtesy of Law Offices of Michael W. Goldstein, a NYC estate lawyer focused on wills, trusts & estate documents, estate administration and probate, as well as other Surrogate's Court proceedings. Michael W. Goldstein is an attorney in New York City with years of dedicated service to clients throughout New York State. Michael can be contacted via email or phone ((212) 571-6848 for consultation. Information provided here is strictly educational and while accurate at the time it is written, makes no guarantees or representation expressed or implied. Each case is unique, therefore each client should seek legal advice from a New York Wills, Trusts and Estates lawyer, and should not rely upon the general content provided in this article.  Direct personal legal consultation is highly recommended.

Silver Rock Partners works in collaboration with attorneys, accounts and other industry professionals to deliver world class estate-planning for discerning high-net-worth clients. Visit today to learn more.


Estate Planning: How It Works And The Benefits

protecting a great financial legacy

Amassing a substantial financial empire typically is the direct result of years of hard work and dedicated planning. In turn, protecting wealth in an effective and reliable way can be equally if not more daunting of a challenge. Perhaps more so than the dedication and hard work that goes into accumulating wealth over a period of years in the first place. In fact, one of the biggest oversights when it comes to protecting a great financial legacy may be in postponing the establishment of a well thought out wealth protection strategy. Excessive and undue taxation along with not having a number of important safeguards in place can result in losing a substantial amount of money.

Reduce Or Eliminate Estate Taxes

Anticipating what the future may hold and arranging accordingly with regard to one's estate or legacy (in the event of incapacitation or death) is responsible, logical and necessary. A careful and mindful strategy that will reduce or eliminate estate taxes is a great way to protect heirs and future generations thus providing unparalleled levels of financial security. Having mechanisms in place that allow for the seamless transfer of assets and financial wealth to heirs while bypassing probate is surprisingly simple to accomplish and is very straightforward when working with the right advisor.

Distributing Assets To Designated Beneficiaries

Estate planning can play an important role in accumulating wealth, protecting wealth and eventually distributing wealth and assets through all stages of life. Three key aspects of smart wealth planning include (1) distributing assets to designated beneficiaries as well as (2) making certain that heirs are not burdened with hefty estate taxes and (3) establishing a method for making medical decisions and important financial decisions when a principle becomes incapacitated.

Basic Tasks That Must Be Included

While planning the financial aspects and implementing the decision-making of an estate can sometimes be complex, this type of planning will vary considerably from person to person. That said in most instances there are certain basic tasks that must be included. This includes the following:

·      Putting into place an organized and detailed will

·      Naming an executor for an estate

·      Reducing taxes by setting up trust accounts

·      Ensuring the ability to direct assets by having a durable power of attorney in place

·      Naming beneficiaries with regard to life insurance policies

·      Reducing taxation by lowering the value of an estate

There are benefits to having a professionally crafted estate plan, especially with regard to high-net-worth individuals. This includes the following:

·      The proper passing of assets while minimizing estate taxes

·      Protecting individuals and heirs from potential lawsuits or other types of claims

·      Safeguarding assets from the future children of a surviving spouse

·      Ensuring the heirs receive adequate care when needed

As an added note, wealthy individuals or those who have amassed substantial wealth over the course of a lifetime must remember that life and personal situations do change. This simply means that an estate plan will evolve over time. In some instances a plan will change multiple times over the course of the years. From experiencing a divorce to the birth of a child or the death of a family member, there are a number of major life events that deem it necessary to modify an estate related plan. Even starting or selling a business would likely impact an existing plan. Taking advantage of good planning early on simply makes smart financial sense today.


Disclaimer: Silver Rock Partners is a team of dedicated life insurance advisors who work closely with affluent families to secure the best possible life insurance product. The company also provides innovative tax efficient estate planning for those with a high net worth. Contact today to schedule a free initial consultation with an expert insurance advisor in New York. The firm works with licensed and experienced accountants and lawyers who have years of experience in the industry. Silver Rock does not offer tax advice or legal advice. The information contained here is for educational purposes only.


What Is Donald Trump’s Net Worth?

Financial Disclosure Report

With Donald Trump in the headlines front and center these days, more people than ever before are asking the question "What is Donald Trump worth?" In truth the answer to that question is obviously somewhat of a moving target. However, the recent release by the Federal Election Commission of a 92-page financial disclosure report filed by Trump may provide insight into a massive and substantial estate and personal empire.

Lacks Specificity

The personal financial disclosure statement was released on July 15, 2015 by the Trump campaign and points to a net worth in excess of $10 billion as recently reported by the Business Insider. The article posted here in the Business Insider makes reference to the fact that the actual fortune of Trump is still somewhat ambiguous. This is mostly due to the fact that the disclosure reports various aspects of Trump’s estate in terms of “ranges.” Some would argue that the report lacks in specificity and absolutes.

Impressive Amount Of Wealth

Regardless of whether anyone agrees or disagrees with Donald trump’s political positions, one thing is sure and that is that the flamboyant businessman has amassed an impressive amount of wealth over the decades. The Business Insider report goes on to state that the original one page report placed the real estate magnate’s wealth at $8.7 billion. However, the Trump’s campaign noted that recent changes in real estate values in key locations around the nation has resulted in a net worth in excess of $10 billion.

Licensing His Brand Worldwide

In contrast, Forbes has estimated that a more accurate estimate of his wealth to be around $4 billion. What is interesting is that a large amount of Trumps earnings are gained through royalties. In fact, he earned nearly $10 million in royalties last year alone. It appears that selling the Trump name is an extremely profitable proposition. With involvement in more than 500 organizations and entities worldwide, and more than 250 of them taking advantage of the Trump brand name, Donald Trump enjoys generous rewards for licensing his brand worldwide.

Recently Released Campaign Report

Case in point is that of the Trump Vineyard, Estates LLC. The Virginia-based winery, as indicated in the recently released campaign report estimates earnings between $150,000 to well over $1 million. Perhaps nothing is more indicative of the Trump estate as that of his accumulation of profitable golf courses. According to Golf Digest, Trump has accumulated at least $500 million in golf course properties in recent years. The campaign report indicates that Trump recently earned annually more than $700 million in golf course related revenue.

Real Estate Generated Revenue

With $41 million in rental income and another $66 million in profits from selling condos and various other pieces of real estate, Trump is a true real estate mogul. The New York Times in this recent report shows that approximately 29% of Trumps income is based solely on real estate generated revenue. Add to that speaking fees of nearly $2 million in just the last year alone as well as royalties from books and modest income from a stock portfolio and you have the making of the substantial ultra-high-net-worth estate.

Actual And Detailed Net Worth

While Trump is not a major investor in equities he does hold approximately $30-$90 million in stock. His stock holdings vary widely and include familiar companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Raytheon to name just a few. Regardless of whether or not anyone agrees or disagrees with Trump’s political opinions, aspirations or attitudes, one thing is certain and that is that Donald Trump is well versed in amassing wealth in a big way. Outsiders may never know the actual and detailed net worth of this man, but the recent (FEC) Federal Elections Commission 92-page financial disclosure report offers a generalized glimpse into what is easily a $10 billion personal estate of note.

The Investor Visa: What You Need To Know

Smart And Reliable

A growing trend among wealthy foreign nationals is that of gaining a smart and reliable pathway into the United States via what is known as an investor’s visa. The U.S. Immigration website offers a detailed description of the EB-5 visa and its use in achieving U.S. citizenship. While high-net-worth foreign nationals see this as a clear opportunity for a well-defined pathway to citizenship, the U.S. government sees it as a great way to not only create new jobs but as a way to re-energize a struggling economy.

American Jobs

In essence, any foreign national who is willing and able to invest $1 million dollars or more into any sector of the American economy is by default eligible to receive what is known as a conditional residence card. One stipulation is that the investment must generate at least 5 new American jobs. The information found here goes on to state that once an individual has been a conditional resident for at least 2 years they are then entitled to earn a legal permanent resident card. This is what is ubiquitously called the green card.

A Regional Center

Once a foreign national has maintained a green card in good standing for a minimum of 5 years they are then able to apply for actual American citizenship. As a note, any time investment funds are dedicated to what is considered to be an economically depressed area of the American economy, the investment requirement drops to only $500,000. The definition of an economically depressed area is one where the total unemployment rate is 150 percent or more of the national unemployment rate. This type of economically depressed area of the country is often referred to as a “regional center.”

Construction And Development Projects

Investments by foreigners into these types of areas can be used to assist in the recovery from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Foreign national investments can also be instrumental in funding vital and important construction and development projects. For example, projects that are intended to strengthen national infrastructure and local economies are well received. In fact, almost every state in the country has at least one and in many cases several regional centers that stand to gain directly from funding associated with foreign national investing.

Genuine Risk

Most inviting with regard to EB-5 investing is that those who are participating in this kind of investment program can live virtually anywhere in the U.S., irrespective of the regional area where the investment is made. One key distinction is that the invested funds must not be viewed as a loan but must rather be inherent with an expected level of risk. In other words, there must be an obvious potential for a foreign investor to loose their money. While a loss is obviously not the intention or goal, the risk must always be present.

Closely Scrutinized

Those seeking an investor visa should know that any money used to attain an EB-5 visa will typically be closely scrutinized to ascertain that the funds will fully and legally obtained. Further, the progression of the funding project is carefully monitored to ensure that all requirements such as job creation associated with the investment are successfully met. Investors should also consider the necessity of life insurance for foreign nationals as a long term financial strategy.

Resolving Issues Or Problems

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) continually works to improve the program and has even created a task force that includes special intake teams. These teams are designed to assist foreigners in resolving issues or problems when pursuing the EB-5 visa program. On staff within these teams are experts such as economists who are easily accessible for answering questions and providing general assistance to foreign investors.

Intended To Expedite

The USCIS also offers foreigners investing in the United States the option to take advantage of an expedited decision process (proposed) that would involve additional fees, but that would assure a decision related to an EB-5 application in less than 15 days. Another proposal by the USCIS is that of a decision board that would include experts put in place to expedite the EB-5 visa application process in general. While up to 10,000 visas of this type are made available annually, actual requests are typically far less in number.

Competitive Edge

When unique economic recovery strategies are combined with stimulating foreign immigration and investment in the U.S. it is a clear win-win situation for all involved. At the very core, these concepts are what have always driven U.S. innovation and earned America the competitive edge it is so well known for around the world. Inviting investments by individuals from across globe is one more way in which the United States has maintained its leadership role over the centuries.





Exploring The Benefits Of Charitable Donations

Developing A Strategy

There is far more to estate planning than simply completing a will. In fact, good planning means developing a strategy for protecting loved ones and heirs long after you are gone. Well strategized planning will also impact how one is remembered by future generations and how a legacy is perceived far into later generations. While not always ubiquitous, in truth charitable contributions and donations should comprise a key element of any long-term and far-reaching estate plan.

Investments In Charities

In fact, many experts are in agreement that there is indeed big value in carefully considered investments in charities. Perhaps most notable of all when discussing this subject is that of making a difference in the world. This along with leaving a memorable and positive mark on society and for family members is really priceless by any measure. In short, it comes down to leaving the world a much better place.

Several Preferred Causes

Improving tax efficiency and enjoying substantial tax credits are at the other end of the spectrum of the giving equation. Giving is a smart way to divert money (that would otherwise likely be taxed) to a good cause. In essence, this approach allows an individual to share with a favorite cause or several preferred causes rather then sending the funds into what some consider a bottomless tax coffer abyss. The numbers associated with giving often tell the story.

Modify Adjusted Gross Income

For example, charitable donations enable taxpayers under existing tax code to modify adjusted gross income by as much as 50%. The only stipulation is that contributions must be made to certain types of private foundations or public type charities. Consult with your financial advisor or tax advisor for more detailed specifics in this regard. As a bonus, many gifts that are given to other types of foundations or organizations may still entitle an individual to up to a 30% deduction.

Smart Charitable Contributing

When a high-net-worth individual is subject to either state or federal estate tax, any contributions made to qualified charities will typically not be subject to taxes. With a maximum federal tax rate of 40%, a large portion of financial wealth and assets would be consumed in the form of taxes. Smart charitable contributing can defer this to family members and future generations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is just one such example of a comprehensive giving strategy.

Philanthropy Is A Teachable Skill

In essence, reducing tax exposure and improving tax related efficiency can be as simple as giving. This approach to dynamic estate planning will also leave a lasting and (learnable) impression on family members and heirs as to the value of charitable contributions. Philanthropy is a teachable skill that benefits all involved. It provides for a more resourceful allocation of assets and wealth and helps those who may be less fortunate. In short, it is a win-win across the board.

Dividends Or Revenue

The importance of charitable contributions comes into particular focus when discussing the federal $5.434 million estate tax provisions. Positioning money in the right kind of trust will make funds more viable for a given number of years. Even other assets such as cash, real estate, bonds or stocks can be included in the right kind of trust. This is another case of where working with an experienced financial or tax advisor is key. As a note, “trust” residing assets that produce dividends or revenue can even be slated to contribute to a family foundation.

Insulated From Any Income Tax

Under the right conditions a trust can also pay an annuity to a family foundation. Also worth considering is that once a “trust” term has expired a tax-free contribution of assets can then be made to heirs or family members. This is an excellent situation because distributed assets are insulated from any income tax, estate tax or gift related taxes. The end result is that charities and families benefit when giving is designed to play a central role in smart and effective estate planning.


Disclaimer: Silver Rock Partners is a team of dedicated life insurance advisors who work closely with affluent families to secure the best possible life insurance product. The company also provides innovative tax efficient estate planning for those with a high net worth. Contact today to schedule a free initial consultation with an expert insurance advisor in New York. The firm works with licensed and experienced accountants and lawyers who have years of experience in the industry. Silver Rock does not offer tax advice or legal advice. The information contained here is for educational purposes only.

Tips on Choosing The Best Tax Accountant

Well-Organized And Properly Implemented

When you are estate planning there are many key advantages to choosing carefully with regard to your accountant. Either way you may wish to consider a few simple tips for choosing the best accountant. Perhaps the two top reasons to decide upon a professional accountant carefully are to save money and to avoid any tax issues Nothing quite compares to well-organized and properly implemented accounting.

Input For A Business

An accounting professional can also provide useful input for a businesses. Most importantly, a cautiously selected skilled and knowledgeable accountant can be expected to not only keep the “numbers” in order, but to also translate for clients exactly what it all means. When choosing an accounting pro, always keep this “translation” concept in mind. When complexities are simplified into layman’s terms everyone benefits.

Logical Choice

One of the first tips for selecting the best accountant is to simply choose one that specializes in the area of your concern. For example, if the primary objective is to support an estate planning and trust effort, then a CPA with a solid background and experience in dealing with estates is obviously a logical choice. For a business, choose a pro with a proven track record in your industry or profession. If you are a doctor, for example, go with an individual or firm that has been down the path.

Real Estate Developer

This makes sense because an accountant who has routinely worked in a specific industry or profession will have already likely been exposed to many of the problems and situations unique to that field or industry. In this same respect, a real estate developer would stand to gain the most from a firm that has worked with developers for several years.

Inclusive Certification

All that said, the other issue that may arise is whether to hire a CPA or an EA. The distinction is rather clear here in that both have their own unique benefits. For example, a CPA will have a broader knowledge base and typically meet more inclusive certification related requirements. On the other hand an EA or enrolled agent will most likely have a detailed and more robust tax and IRS related background. Again, simply make a determination based on your particular needs.

Delicate Balance

Estate planners or those looking to best protect their legacy should also take into account the level of aggressiveness of an accounting pro. Maximizing tax efficiency while avoiding the dreaded tax audit is a delicate balance to say the least. Determine your own level of comfort and make a decision based on your personal attitude and belief on this matter. In short, work with a professional that shares you feelings on this subject.

Transparent And Detailed

What about outsourcing and billing? Will you be invoiced by the hour or be charged a flat rate? This is another case where your own personal situation will usually dictate what method is indeed best. As with an attorney, a CPA should offer a transparent and detailed estimate of all fees and costs. As a note, it is recommended to ensure that the bulk of accounting work will be done in-house as opposed to being outsourced. While outsourcing can be great in some cases, this is probably not one of them.

Transferring Information

Finally, it is always a smart idea to discuss with a potential accountant that you intend to hire the type of software and technology that they use. For business owners, this is a good strategy, especially in the interest of file compatibility and overall convenience. Transferring information between accounts should be easy and free of any possible errors. When everyone is using the same software or technology there is far less chance of a mix-up is mistake. At the end of the day an accountant can be an outstanding benefit to businesses and those working on the ramifications of estate taxes. Choose carefully and enjoy the rewards.

Silver Rock Partners does not provide tax advice or tax information. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace an actual tax accountant or attorney. Silver Rock specializes in estate planning and works with licensed accountants and lawyers. Contact Silver Rock Partners today to learn more.


Version 1.0 Of The Silver Rock Partners’ Virtual Estate Plan Tool Just Released

Innovative And Custom Approach

Silver Rock Partners is proud to announce the much-anticipated release of its newest advanced virtual estate planning technology. Several months in development, this unique, innovative and custom approach to estate planning for high-net-worth individuals is designed to add convenience and simplicity to the entire estate planning process. Completely unique to Silver Rock Partners, the virtual estate-planning tool that is now made available on our site is changing the way expert planning of this nature is conducted in the digital age.

Fair Market Value

The IRS defines an estate tax as a tax on an individual’s right to transfer property at time of death. The IRS goes on to define an estate tax as an accounting of interests and ownership in physical items as well as financial assets. Typically speaking, the fair market value of these items is calculated to determine something known as a “Gross Estate.” Everything from business interests and trusts to annuities, insurance, real estate, securities and even cash must be taken into account when striving to accurately calculate estate taxes.

Estate Administration Costs

Most importantly, once a gross estate has been determined there are a variety of deductions and even reductions that are allowed so as to arrive at an accurate “Taxable Estate.” As defined at, deductions can include everything from estate administration costs to mortgage debt and other types of debt. Deductions may also include property that is passed along to qualified charities or a surviving spouse. In addition, under certain circumstances the value of specific operating business interests may be effectively reduced for qualifying estates.

Skilled And Dedicated Advisors

Once net amounts have been calculated, the value of all lifetime taxable gifts is then added so that a final tax may be calculated. The final tax may also be reduced by any available unified credit. This information can be viewed in greater detail by visiting the IRS website as shown here. While Silver Rock Partners does not offer any legal advice, specific tax advice or accounting advice, our skilled and dedicated advisors with years of experience in estate related planning can help guide affluent individuals in creating a tax efficient estate plan going forward. Maximizing tax credits and optimizing tax efficiency can have a considerable impact on a legacy and the quality of life of that heirs may expect in the future.

List Of Companies Reviewed

The Virtual Estate Plan Analysis is a sample digital estate plan that includes examples and discussions on everything from Federal estate tax schedules to a summary of a husband’s will and wife’s will as well as a summary of a single life trust agreement. Also presented in the virtual planning tool is information on survivorship trusts, a revocable living trust, healthcare proxies, and a durable power of attorney. In addition, a HIIPA document, insurance schedule and a list of companies reviewed are also offered in this digitally advanced planning resource. Sample documents including actual wills as well as detailed information on a wide variety of estate type planning related data and issues are also presented.

Value Added Service

Silver Rock Partners has created a value added service for its clients in this new and innovative virtual estate-planning tool. Cutting-edge Internet technology and years of experience are why so many successful individuals, families and business owners from around the country are turning to Silver Rock Partners for expert estate planning. With primary locations in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, Silver Rock Partners also serves clients in other areas throughout the country. Contact Silver Rock Partners today to learn more about experiencing a virtual online tour of an actual sample estate plan today.

View a preview of the actual Virtual Estate Plan Analysis here

Not All State’s Death Taxes Are The Same

Raising The Amount Of Exemption

In total there are 19 states along with the District of Columbia that have favorable death tax advantages. This number is expected to rise by eight more states by the end of 2015. These additional states will be ushering in a number of new changes. In short, the changes include reducing the death tax “bite” through the process of raising the amount of estate tax exemption. They are also showing resolve with regard to indexing estate taxation based on an inflation index, while also doing away with the “cliff” provisions that have historically taxed the first dollar of an estate.

Rethinking A Primary Residence

In truth, the current estate related taxation structure has resulted in a lot of interstate movement by individuals seeking better tax efficiency. For example, in years past, estate planners have seen a considerable number of clients relocate from NJ and other states to New York. All this to avoid state death taxes? When the alternative is paying large sums in estate type taxes, the answer is a resounding – Yes. Those with substantial wealth are “cornered” into having to rethink their primary residence in the interest of improving tax efficiency.

Estate Taxes Levied By States

While in both the state and federal spheres of taxation there is allowance for bequests to a spouse that are indeed tax free, estate focused taxation by states still differs considerably from state to state. As of 2015 the inflation adjusted federal exemption is pegged at $5.43 million. This equates to $5.43 million of an individual’s total estate being fully exempt from estate taxes at the federal level. In addition, there is a 40% tax rate that is then applied to any amount that exceeds the federal exemption. Conversely, estate taxes levied by states are known for exemptions that are much lower in terms of an individual estate. In the realm of state-driven estate taxes, any amount in excess of a states exemption is taxed at a maximum rate of 16%.

Reaching Parity With The Federal Exemption

The most substantial changes to occur recently in estate taxes imposed by states were realized in New York and Maryland. New York in particular instituted sweeping changes that were put into place very quickly. In fact, the changes resulted in the exemption amount going from $1 million to slightly over $2 million. Further good news for NY high-net-worth residents is that the exemption will continue to rise for the next several years until reaching parity with the federal exemption. This is the kind of legislation that more states will likely implement sooner rather than later.

Changes That Are Likely Ahead

One issue with the NY State estate tax is that of the “cliff.” In short, if a resident’s taxable total estate is more than the exemption by an excess of 5%, then the full value of the estate is vulnerable to estate taxes as levied by the state. All else aside, there are more sweeping changes that are likely ahead for most if not all states in the union at some point in time. These changes appear to be happening sooner rather than later, and that is good news for affluent families looking to protect a legacy and high-net-worth earners wishing to provide financial security for their heirs.

Article Cited:

Silver Rock Partners is a team of dedicated life insurance advisors who work closely with affluent families to secure the best possible life insurance product. The company also provides innovative tax efficient estate planning for those with a high net worth. Contact today to schedule a free initial consultation with an expert insurance advisor in New York.

The Silver Rock difference means that we have professional relationships with many trusted carriers and do volume business. This very often results in better offers than what might be experienced with other brokers who typically do not have our influence and credibility in the industry.

Life Insurance Planning For Non-U.S. Citizen Foreign Nationals

established throughout the United States

Recent demographic metrics indicate that there is a steadily growing base of foreign nations becoming established throughout the United States as successful business men and women. Even those who are not living full time in the U.S. are visiting regularly and conducting business across the country. From owning property to owning industrial, manufacturing and retail businesses, non-U.S. citizens are an important subset of the population and economy. As a note there are also a growing number of situations where non-U.S. citizens are partnering with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen to conduct business.

Potential Tax Exposure Implications

Regardless of the specific scenarios there are a host of potential tax exposure implications that must be considered as a foreign national. In the most basic of terms anyone who is a non-resident alien (non-U.S. citizens who reside permanently in a foreign country) and resident aliens (non-U.S. citizens who reside permanently in the U.S) are all affected in one-way or another.

Life Insurance Policy In Force

Improved tax efficiency is best achieved in many cases by taking full advantage of a life insurance policy as a foreign national. Smart and effective planning will typically result in enjoying better estate tax credits. Without the benefit of a life insurance policy a non-U.S. citizen may only be able to shelter $60,000 from estate taxation in the U.S. Conversely, with a life insurance policy in force, the federal exemption can be well over $5 million dollars. This is a key consideration especially when purchasing real estate in the United States. Gift related tax efficiency can also benefit in terms of transferring assets to a non-U.S. citizen spouse.

Life Insurance Offers The Following Benefits:

·      Helps to preserve the surviving spouses quality of living or standard of life by allowing the transfer of additional funds to a spouse who is a non-citizen.

·      Provides for beneficial liquidity that is necessary in order to pay federal estate taxes in the U.S.

·      Compliments an existing estate plan

·      Improves the ability of an estate to retain existing property thereby reducing the need to conduct a forced-sale in order to generate cash flow needed to cover tax liabilities.

·      Flexibility that can be changed and adjusted as needed

Silver Rock Partners does not offer tax advice or legal advice. The information conveyed here is only for educational purposes and should not be construed as tax, accounting or legal advice. Consult with your attorney or accountant for specific information or advice. Estate planning strategies are based on current and existing federal and state tax laws. Please note that existing tax laws are always subject to change. There are no express or implied warranties with regard to the information provided here.

Comments Or Questions

Send comments or amplifications regarding this posting to Ron Roth via direct email here. Ron is a managing partner and expert advisor with Silver Rock Partners and brings decades of experience to the table in working with ultra-high net worth clients and business owners. Ron specializes in assisting the affluent in achieving higher levels of federal tax efficiency when estate planning. Learn more about solutions for the uninsurable today with Silver Rock.

Why Am I Uninsurable For Life Insurance?

One of the primary considerations that are taken into account when a life insurance company assesses an individual for life insurance is life expectancy. When it is determined that there is a high statistical probability that a premature death is likely, the chances of being insured drops dramatically. While each insurance company has its own unique set of criteria, there are a few core preexisting medical conditions or behaviors that have been proven to result in an early death event. We have listed several prime reasons why someone would be deemed to be uninsurable.

·      Time since actual diagnosis. In other words, a recent diagnosis produces more uncertainty in terms of a greater number of unknown factors. Further, the effects of a given medical condition or diagnosis will be largely unknown in the early stages as compared to a condition that has been in existence for a substantial period of time. Degenerative diseases diagnosed several years prior allow for time to evaluate the patient’s response to the disease.

·      The individual’s age at time of an injury or diagnosis of a disease. Certain diseases will be more threatening when diagnosed at a younger age.

·      The overall type and nature of a particular medical condition. The severity of a condition, injury or disease is also a factor.

·      An individual’s lifestyle and lifestyle choices are equally as important. Healthy lifestyle choices such as refraining from smoking can be a major consideration.

·      Risk can often be assessed based on how well an individual’s internal organs and body in general is responding to a disease or condition.

High-net-worth individuals and (UHNW) ultra-high-net-worth individuals will discover that being considered uninsurable by one insurance company may not always be a definitive.  For example, for risk to be acceptable to another company an individual may have to pay a higher premium for their life insurance coverage. Just because an affluent individual is termed uninsurable at one point in time does not mean that will be the case at a later date. Being able to show that a health condition has improved or subsided is sometimes all that it takes to be successful in gaining quality insurance. Reassessment by a life insurance company is always an option.

Silver Rock Partners is a team of dedicated life insurance advisors who work closely with affluent families to secure the best possible life insurance product. The company also provides innovative tax efficient estate planning for those with a high net worth. Contact today to schedule a free initial consultation with an expert insurance advisor in New York.

The Silver Rock difference means that we have professional relationships with many trusted carriers and do volume business. This very often results in better offers than what might be experienced with other brokers who typically do not have our influence and credibility in the industry.

Recent Estate Planning Survey Speaks Volumes

Revealing Survey

A recent CNBC millionaire survey uncovered some very revealing metrics related to high-net-worth families and their attitude towards estate planning. In short, the survey concluded that nearly 40% of those with in excess of $1 million in assets have not taken advantage of the financial expertise offered by a financial planner or estate planning professional in order to establish an estate or wealth plan. This revealing survey also concluded that the other 60% of millionaires or those with a high net worth have indeed established some type of substantive estate plan. Ubiquitously, large numbers of business savvy affluent families are surprisingly not taking the necessary steps to protect their loved ones or to provide heirs with future financial stability.

Polling Sample

With up to 40% of affluent families missing out on the benefits associated with estate or wealth planning, the article draws some intriguing conclusions. For example, when these metrics were further analyzed we found that families with greater than $5 million in assets or total net worth had a higher percentage of estate-planning savvy. In fact, almost 70% of those in this bracket were apt to have suitable estate planning in place. This is based on a polling sample of 750 millionaires. Surprisingly, the data produced by the CNBC survey also established clear political party lines between those who institute an estate or wealth plan as compared to those who do not.

Planning For High-Net-Worth Individuals

The data and the estate or wealth planning article report that those with a Republican affiliation were more likely to establish an estate plan as compared to those who consider themselves to be Democrats or independents. Silver Rock Partners provides expert estate planning for high-net-worth individuals and affluent families regardless of political affiliation. However, this data offers an interesting perspective on financial planning matters and how those with different political views may take varying approaches to protecting assets for distribution to heirs in the future. The article goes on to talk with experts in the field who have concluded that as a result of continual changes in the federal estate tax laws there have been a growing number of individuals who are experiencing what the article refers to as “estate-planning fatigue.”

Protect A Legacy

Simply stated, the turbulent environment with respect to estate taxes has driven many high-net-worth individuals to postpone or put off establishing an estate or wealth plan. This may be due to the fact that the new federal estate tax exemptions allow a couple to gift up to $10.86 million in a tax-free fashion as of 2015. The confusion comes from the thought process of many people who believe that high exemptions negate the requirement for an estate plan. This is simply not the case in light of the fact that planning an estate properly can protect a legacy for many generations. Another angle that must be considered in states like New York is that of state levied estate taxes. State levied estate taxes are a concern because they are triggered at much lower thresholds as compared to federal estate taxes.

Planning Appropriately

A carefully orchestrated estate or wealth management plan provides for powerful tax efficiency but goes far beyond that as well. It is organized documentation that is intended to protect assets, provide for heirs and described one's final wishes as they relate to end-of-life decisions. In short, this type of planning can prevent the confusion and disparity associated with family members who are left guessing what to do after a loved-one has passed. This is especially true with regard to families that have minors or young children still in the home. Planning appropriately for such things as guardianship and setting up trusts for any property that a child will be inheriting can make the lives of those still living easier and more manageable.

Medical Power Of Attorney

In the absence of a quality estate or wealth management plan, the courts will typically decide who will care for children when a parent or both parents become incapacitated or die unexpectedly. Equally important is to establish a medical power of attorney. This key document authorizes a specified person to make healthcare related decisions on behalf of the principal in the event there is some type of tragedy, incapacitation or even cognitive impairment. In most instances a married couple will designate the other spouse as the medical power of attorney. Other similar medical documents include an advanced medical directive for physicians or something known as a living will. This document makes clear one’s wishes in reference to end-of-life type medical treatment. Concurrently, a HIPPA form should be included as well. This form grants a power-of-attorney and identifies those who will be able to access a principle’s medical records.

Protect Assets

In addition, a durable financial power of attorney is typically also required. This document will identify those who will manage a principle’s money if they are unable to do so on their own. It is also important to note that while estate taxes have recently stabilized and become more favorable for the wealthy, marginal tax rates have increased noticeably. As such, it is essential to consider estate tax efficiency and the benefit of such tools as trusts as a way to protect assets. The goal is always to leave heirs with the most financial assets possible. This is important because greater financial resources will enable heirs to pay estate taxes and cover the costs of living. As a note of caution, it is always advisable to work with an experienced NY estate plan advisor to determine whether or not a trust is the best option. In fact, the CNBC article points out that some affluent families are choosing to remove assets from a trust and as an alternative give them outright to heirs. This decision is solely based on income tax implications.

Changing Income Tax Laws

In conclusion, the CNBC millionaire survey and the article found here reveal the paradigm shift that is occurring in the estate-planning world. It also provides clear insight into the importance of estate or wealth management planning as a way of protecting assets over the long term. With a turbulent estate tax environment and changing income tax laws, working closely with an experienced New York estate advisor simply makes smart financial sense. Silver Rock Partners is dedicated to providing affluent families and high-net-worth individuals as well as foreign nationals with the education, knowledge and tools needed to navigate the turbulent waters of today's modern estate planning. If you or someone you know is suffering from “estate-planning fatigue” contact Silver Rock Partners to schedule an initial free consultation.


How Do I Find Uninsurable Life Insurance?

health concerns

It has become a general understanding that those who are in the best health enjoy better life insurance premiums. It is also largely understood that those in poor or failing health will either have excessive premiums or will simply be deemed uninsurable. In truth, there are insurance options available to people with various degrees of health concerns that often go under the radar. From people who work in an industry where high risk is present to being diagnosed with a serious disease or exhibiting a history of chronic health issues, there are a multitude of reasons why people are told that they are uninsurable. The best advice for someone who has been given the unwelcome news that they are not insurable may be to not stop seeking options. In short, there are ubiquitous solutions available that may require a little digging and that will necessitate working with the right adviser.

Group Life

One option is to take full advantage of a group life insurance policy. This kind of policy enables an individual to gain access to life insurance irrespective of any pre-existing health conditions. Each employer offering group life is different, so talk with someone in the appropriate company department to know for sure. There are likely limitations and varying situations where a company will pay the premium. In some cases an employer may ask for something know as an EOI or Evidence Of Insurability. High-net-worth business owners would obviously not typically have this option. That is why working with an experienced advisor is so important.

Survivorship Life

Purchasing survivorship life insurance that is intended to cover both spouses is another excellent strategy. Second-to-die or survivorship policy benefits are paid only after the death of both spousal members. This is an excellent option for affluent families who wish to transfer financial assets to heirs. This is especially true when attempting to estate plan in a more tax efficient way. This would be of a prime concern where heirs will need to have the financial wherewithal to offset estate taxes. The result here is that the spouse who has been deemed uninsurable in Los Angeles can now become insured. It should be noted that this is not always the best option for those wishing to provide a surviving spouse with immediate financial resources upon the death of the first spouse.

Guaranteed Insurance

Also consider the guaranteed insurance policy solution. This type of policy does not require a medical examination. In most instances nothing more than answering a few basic health and medical related questions is required. Simple questions such as whether or not an applicant is a smoker are typical in this regard. Notes of caution regarding this type of policy include knowing that a “yes” answer may indeed disqualify an applicant and that premiums will usually be considerably higher. Comparing policies carefully for overall benefit terms is strongly recommended. This is yet one more case where working closely with an expert Los Angeles life insurance advisor is always a good choice.

Affinity Plan

Several other ways of securing life insurance if you have been deemed uninsurable include purchasing a life insurance policy via something known as an affinity plan or choosing a simplified issue policy. As with a guaranteed insurance policy, these programs usually will not require a medical or health exam. As a note, in many cases an affinity plan will be more affordable than a guaranteed insurance policy. The affinity plan option does require making a purchase through some type of professional association. Lawyers and doctors, for example would benefit from this kind of plan. One additional kind of life insurance that may be considered is what is known as credit life insurance. This is often seen in cases where a principle makes a substantial purchase that is to be financed. This is not a preferred option for most people. Further supporting the idea that always working with a dedicated and trusted insurance advisor or insurance firm is a good notion.

Comments Or Questions

Send comments or amplifications regarding this posting to Ron Roth via direct email here. Ron is a managing partner and expert advisor with Silver Rock Partners and brings decades of experience to the table in working with ultra-high net worth clients and business owners. Ron specializes in assisting the affluent in achieving higher levels of federal tax efficiency when estate planning. Learn more about solutions for the uninsurable today with Silver Rock.