Insure.com calls on McManus for advice on life insurance trusts for child beneficiaries

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Navigating the terrain with life insurance trusts for child beneficiaries can be difficult, particularly when dealing with a special needs trusts for children that will likely never be on their own. Insure.com recently called upon McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus for guidance on trusts, “inherently complicated instruments” according to the story’s reporter Ed Leefeldt.

childThe article, straightforwardly titled “Life insurance trusts for child beneficiaries,” explains that life insurance companies often won’t pay the death benefit of a life insurance policy to a minor until he or she turns 18 unless a trustee or guardian has been named. Additionally, children may even face “estate taxes after a death, while the assets could be tied up in probate court” – trusts, however, ensure that life insurance money is “distributed according to your wishes, without delay.”

Trusts are also a useful tool for another reason. According to McManus:

A trust can also “protect children from themselves,” says John McManus, founder of an estate-planning law firm based in New York City. “If, at 18, a child gets it all, that could be a massively destructive injection of money,” he warns. Instead, the money can be earmarked for health, education or — with the help of a trustee — a lifetime trust.

The article suggests a revocable trust for those of average wealth, “which can be changed and/or revoked if necessary.” Of note: Sometimes you can simply write the name of the trustee on the beneficiary line of your life insurance policy, but always check with your life insurance company to make sure. For the wealthy, an irrevocable trust may be the best choice.

From the article:

This type of trust takes a bunch of assets, often including a life insurance policy, and “tosses them over the compound wall,” says attorney McManus. In effect, you create a separate corporation to manage them.

As explained by Leefeldt, an irrevocable trust needs a lawyer’s support; assets put in this trust can’t be taken out, regardless of how much one’s situation changes.

To learn how you can allow for changes in status when you create the original trust document (e.g., more kids, divorce, or a special needs child), check out the article in full. And to get help with the ins and outs of life insurance trusts for children and other loved ones, call 908-898-0100 to talk to the McManus & Associates team. Answers are a phone call away.

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Trusts & Estates/WealthManagement.com Publishes Article by McManus

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Trusts & Estates/WealthManagement.com this week published an article from McManus & Associates Founding Principal and top AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus. The piece, “Top 10 Considerations for Estate Planning with Life Insurance,” was also be blasted out in the publication’s e-newsletter on October 30th.

The contribution shares the following 10 questions for advisors to discuss with clients:

  •  If a life insurance policy is owned by a trust, what’s the ongoing maintenance required for the strategy to succeed most effectively?
  • What are Cristofani beneficiaries and how can they make a life insurance trust even more gift tax efficient?
  • How can insurance be used to facilitate a business succession plan?
  • Term, whole life, 2nd to die–from a layman’s standpoint, what are the unique benefits of each?
  • How can ownership and beneficiary designations for a life insurance policy affect the taxable assets of the estate?
  • How do non-citizens avoid qualified domestic trust (QDOT) requirements with a life insurance trust?
  • What are some strategies to avoid the three-year look-back period when existing insurance is transferred to a trust?
  • Annual exemption gifts can fund a life insurance trust gift tax-free, but what about generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax issues? How is the trust affected?
  • When the terms of an irrevocable trust don’t reflect the wishes of the parties, what options are available?
  • How can life insurance be used as a wealth replacement strategy with charitable giving?

To find out what advice John had for each of the above, check out his full article here.

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Professor of Law Points to McManus’ Guidance on Using Life Insurance in Your Estate Plan

Gerry W. Beyer

Gerry Beyer, Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, recently featured on his blog McManus & Associates’ latest educational conference call, “Top 10 Things to Know to Make the Most of Life Insurance in Estate Planning.” As pointed out by Beyer, using life insurance in your estate plan can provide significant protection for your loved ones.

To see the top 10 questions to ask yourself when estate planning with life insurance, read Beyer’s post. And check out more hot topics related to estate planning by visiting “Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog,” a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network sponsored by Wolters Kluwer.

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Article for LifeHealthPro from McManus & Associates: “The Road Ahead for Estate Planning”

Penned by John O. McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates, the article “The Road Ahead for Estate Planning” is today featured by LifeHealthPro. LifeHealthPro is a go-to resource for advisors, insurance wholesalers, CPAs and estate planning attorneys.

In the piece, John discusses the several surprising outcomes regarding estate planning that emerged as part of the fiscal cliff deal and outlines the new tax rates and exemption amounts. He also recommends several “tactics to try.” From the article:

Here are a few of the trust and non-trust estate planning strategies that married and single persons should explore in 2013:

  1. Foundations: With increased taxes, gifts to charity have a greater tax-deductible value. Gifts to foundations allow full deduction in the year of the gift, whereas transfers out of foundation can be as small as 5 percent on an annual basis, allowing assets in the foundation to continue to grow.
  2. Charitable trust: These enable one to make gifts to charity and receive immediate deductions. One can continue to receive income from the charitable gift for a period of time. Gifts can also be made where the charity gets a distribution each year and the loved ones receive the remainder.
  3. Family mission planning: The family mission and preparing heirs for inheritances are critical to ensuring a successful transfer of wealth and family values, to helping minimize conflict and maximize harmony and to supporting charitable endeavors.
  4. Life insurance trusts: Funding a trust with a life insurance policy is a smart way to get a windfall of cash when someone passes away to pay off estate taxes. It’s also an avenue for getting a big asset off of one’s balance sheet, keeping a large amount of cash safe and protected. Make sure the trust is named as the beneficiary and policy owner (e.g., John Doe Irrevocable Trust). If a house is put into a trust and the house is insured, make sure to get the insurance policy changed to reflect the ownership by the trust. The trust should be the primary insured on the policy, and the individual can be the secondary.

And cautioning readers to be mindful of what’s ahead that could impact estate planning, he shares this observation:

Several valuable opportunities emerged as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations that pleasantly surprised the estate planning community. We are not completely out of the woods, however, with the debt ceiling debates just around the corner. When it comes to safeguarding wealth and family values, it’s important now to look ahead without losing sight of what’s in the rearview mirror.

Read the whole thing at http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/02/22/the-road-ahead-for-estate-planning. Also keep an eye out for John’s piece in Monday’s Life Insurance Insider e-newsletter. Next week will be a special estate planning edition.

Courtesy of LifeHealthPro

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