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Life insurance issues that salespeople would prefer you NOT know!

More on Life Insurance

Rick Kahler MS CFP

By Rick Kahler MSFS, CFP®

Here are three points about life insurance that many life insurance salespeople would prefer you not to know:

  1. Not everyone needs it.
  2. Those who most need it are often least able to afford it.
  3. It is not a good investment.

Let’s take a deeper look at each point.

Not everyone needs life insurance. You probably don’t if you are single, financially independent, don’t have large debts, or own property or a business that will be liquidated upon your death. You need life insurance only if anyone would be put at risk or suffer financially because of your death.

Here are four circumstances when insurance is typically necessary:

  1. Parents with young children. Before the kids are born young couples, who typically are both employed, may not really need life insurance. However, when the first child comes along it’s imperative that there is enough insurance to raise each child to financial self-sufficiency.
  2. Business owners with large debts, key employees, or partners. Without life insurance to pay off business debts, an owner’s heirs might struggle to keep a company going or be forced to sell it. Companies often insure the lives of key employees whose loss would severely affect the business. Life insurance is also routinely used to fund “buy/sell” agreements which specify that the estate of the deceased will sell and the surviving partner(s) will buy the decedent’s interest in the company. This is especially important for a minority partner who could not afford to buy the shares of a deceased majority owner.
  3. Employed spouses close to retirement who haven’t fully funded their retirement plans. This is one that is commonly missed. If a surviving spouse depends upon several more years of retirement plan contributions from a partner’s salary in order to fund an adequate retirement, life insurance could make up the difference.
  4. People with large estates (over about $11 million per individual) in assets that can’t be easily liquidated. This need is rare, but we do see it occasionally. It may apply to farms or ranches where nearly 100% of the value of the estate is in land or a closely held business. In order for someone to pass the land or business on to heirs, it is important to have enough life insurance to cover estate taxes.

Those who most need insurance but can least afford it are often young couples with young children.

Typically these are the years when couples struggle to make ends meet with the demands of student loans, house payments, and the costs of a growing family. The good news is that term insurance is usually very inexpensive.

Life insurance is not a good investment.

In my 35-plus years of doing financial planning I have never, not once, seen anyone fully or partially retire on a life insurance investment.

One reason why is that a significant portion of the premiums in the early years of the policy go to paying out commissions. The loss is really never made up, and it takes years just to get back to even. This fact is cleverly hidden in the sales materials that lead you to believe you will never lose a dime, receive guaranteed returns, and get a tax-free income for life. These claims are true, but they are not the whole story.

Assessment

When making decisions about life insurance, remember that it is not meant as a source of income, but as a means to replace income or to pay taxes or debts. Used appropriately, life insurance is a valuable and affordable financial planning resource.

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. https://medicalexecutivepost.com/dr-david-marcinkos-bookings/

Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

https://www.crcpress.com/Risk-Management-Liability-Insurance-and-Asset-Protection-Strategies-for/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781498725989

***

Twelve Steps of Financial Independence for Doctors

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A Basic Guide

By Lon Jefferies  MBA CFP® CMP®

Lon JeffriesWant to get your finances in order? Consider this comprehensive 12-step guide to address each element of your personal financial situation. In most cases, you should not address a step until all previous steps are satisfied.

1. 401(k) 403(b) Match: Without exception, if your employer matches 401(k) contributions, you should maximize whatever they’re offering. If it’s a dollar-for-dollar match, that’s an instant 100 percent return! Even the 50 percent return of a two-for-one match is irresistible.

2. Consumer Debt: Pay off your credit cards and all other unsecured loans, prioritizing the debts with the highest interest rates. Credit cards frequently charge rates as high as 30 percent. Paying off a card with 30 percent APR is comparable to getting a 30 percent investment return. Not completing this step will hamper your entire financial plan.

3. Cash Flow: You can’t develop wealth if you spend more than you make. Construct and follow a written budget to ensure you are living within your means. Your budget should include saving at least 10 percent of your gross income for retirement. Constantly compare actual spending with your budget and hold yourself accountable! Mint.com is an excellent free tool for this step.

4. Emergency Reserve: Develop a liquid savings account consisting of enough money to cover three to six months of expenses. These funds should only be utilized in crisis such as a job loss or medical emergency.

5. Life Insurance: If you have dependent children, you likely need life insurance. Cost-efficient coverage can frequently be obtained via your employer. To calculate the amount of coverage to purchase, first determine how much money your survivors would need to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, and then subtract any income they will generate as well as any savings you’ve accumulated. Alternatively, if you don’t have children in your household and your spouse is self-sufficient, you may not need life insurance coverage.

6. Disability Insurance: Getting hurt can completely derail your financial planning. A loss of income halts your savings and likely leads to increased debt. Obtain enough disability coverage to bridge the gap between earnings and expenses in the event of an injury. Coverage can frequently be purchased through your employer.

7. Estate Planning: Obtain a power of attorney, medical directive and living will. These documents allow you to designate the person you would like to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. They also specify your preferences regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. Ensure both primary and contingent beneficiaries are assigned to your retirement accounts. Finally, develop a will or trust to ensure all other assets are distributed as you desire when you die.

8. Retirement Contributions: With risk exposures covered, it’s time to return to retirement planning efforts. Again, a 401(k) is an attractive retirement vehicle because it frequently offers an employer match and allows large annual contributions ($18,500 or $25,000 for individuals over age 50). If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), you can still contribute up to $6,500 (or $7,000 if over age 50) to an IRA. IRA contributions can be made on behalf of both spouses, even if only one is employed.

9. Traditional or Roth: The type of account that is best for you depends on when you want to pay taxes. A traditional retirement account allows an immediate tax deduction, the investments grow tax deferred, and the money isn’t taxed until the funds are withdrawn from the account. Alternatively, taxes are paid on Roth contributions immediately, but both contributions and growth are completely tax free when withdrawn during retirement. Put simply: will you be in a higher tax bracket now or when you withdraw the funds?

10. Asset Allocation: The most important investment decision you can make is how much of your portfolio will be invested in stocks versus bonds. A higher proportion of stocks leads to increased risk, but the potential for greater returns. The more time you have until the funds are needed, the more risk you can usually afford to take. Consequently, you should reduce the proportion of stocks in your portfolio as you approach retirement in order to minimize your risk factor. Identify an asset allocation that is aggressive enough to accomplish your investment goals while exposing you to an acceptable level of risk.

11. Get Caught Up: According to a recent Fidelity study, your nest egg should be one times your salary by age 35, three times your salary by 45, five times your salary by 55 and seven times your salary by 67.

12. Education Planning: Only after your retirement savings is where it should be can you focus on your children’s college education. At this point, explore a Utah Educational Savings Plan 529 (uesp.org) or a Coverdell Education Savings Account, both of which offer tax advantages if used for schooling.

Assessment

Does this mean you don’t need a financial advisor? Of course not! A qualified, comprehensive financial planner can add value, address shortcomings, and answer questions in each of these areas. Once you have completed each of these steps, you can be confident you have your financial ducks in a row.

###

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Conclusion

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

The Monetary Value of Human Life

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How Much are We Worth?
By Matthew Pelletier
[Director of Public Relations]
Compliance and Safety LLC

###

Monetary-Value-of-a-Human-Life
 Assessment

• Japan places the highest value on a human life, spending $11,728,000 to save a single life through improvements in public safety.
• South Korea spent the least, at a measly $878,000.00 per life saved.
• Health insurance companies value life at $50,000 per year of quality life, a depressingly low number compared to what government entities will pay. Keep your workforce healthy with proper Health & Wellness training.
• The families of suicide bombers receive just $25,000 per suicide.
• While the families that lossed a loved one on 9/11 received an average of $2.1 million per death, families of fallen soldiers receive a maximum of just $400,000. Rush Limbaugh did an interesting piece about this huge disparity back in 2002.

Conclusion

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INSURANCE: Risk Management and Insurance Strategies for Physicians and Advisors

  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™ Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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The Centenarian Diet

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Is There Such a Thing?

By Muhammad Saleem

Source: www.TermLifeInsurance.org

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The High Cost of Dying

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An RIP Visual Presentation

You might think that once you expire, your financial worries are over. But alas, even in the afterlife you will still be paying your debts.

Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many people will ever make, and the burden of payment often falls on family.

Learn how expensive it really is to die.

Source: lifeinsurancequotes.info

Assessment

So, why hasn’t the cost of healthcare come down over the same period?

Conclusion

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Is it Time for Level Life Insurance Commissions? [A Voting and Opinion Poll]

Ending the Churn-em’ and Burn-em’ Ethos 

By Staff Reporters

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Some insurance agents are currently noting that life insurance ownership is almost at an all time low because of the economy. And, some have even prompted suggestions that a “level commissions” payout would reverse the trend.

The argument goes something like this:

If agents were compensated 10% a year over a 10-year period rather than 100% in year one, annual reviews would increase substantially. The long-standing current method is not geared toward ongoing service, but to “churning” and “flipping”. Clients get better service from their property/casualty agents and wealth advisors because these practitioners have a financial inventive for their clients’ continued allegiance.

What do you think? Please vote and be sure to add your comments below.

Conclusion

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Things You Didn’t Know About Death

Not a Unique Experience

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Death is an experience that we’re all going to have at one point or another. Why not take a few minutes to learn some interesting and some truly bizarre facts about death, dying, and the dead? Brought to you by medicalinsurance.org

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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What is Term Life Insurance and How Does it Work?

Insurance Basics for Medical Professionals

By Jeffrey H. Rattiner, CPA, CFP®, MBA

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After determining the need for insurance and the amount to purchase, the doctor-client and financial planner’s next task is to match those needs to the client’s objectives to determine what type of policy the client should purchase. The life insurance industry features more products today than ever before. One reason for this change is that, clearly, the insurance industry has expanded its product base to become more competitive. Another reason is that clients’ needs are constantly changing and the insurance companies must keep up with those needs or run the risk of having funds withdrawn from their companies. New and different types of life insurance products are here to stay. Since life insurance represents a significant part of a client’s risk-management program, planners have to be versed in the specifics of the varied product base.

Term Insurance

Term insurance provides protection against financial loss resulting from death during a specified time. Term insurance is often characterized as providing “pure” protection because it pays only death benefits and does not contain any cash value features. Coverage stops at the end of the policy period. Term insurance comes in two forms: nonrenewable term and annual renewable term.

Nonrenewable Term Insurance

Nonrenewable term insurance offers the client the poorest quality because the insured has to requalify or prove evidence of insurability for coverage every year. As a result, its cost is the lowest since the insurance company annually re-underwrites the individual applying for coverage. This allows the insurance company to be selective and avoid adverse risks.

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8

Annual Renewable Term Insurance

Annual renewable term insurance is a quality term product. Under this type of term insurance, the policyholder may continue coverage on an annual basis. The rates are higher than nonrenewable term since the insurance company must continue to renew the policy at the insured’s option. The premiums generally increase as the policy matures, and the policy offers no flexibility. Coverage automatically stops if the premiums are not paid.

Conversion Provisions

Term insurance may offer a conversion provision that allows the insured to convert the term policy into a cash value policy without evidence of insurability, providing the insured with a guaranteed hedge against future un-insurability. The insured can convert the policy to a whole life policy at a later date. This can be done in one of two ways:

1. The insured can go back to the original policy date of issue and pay premiums on the basis of the younger age. All back premiums, including interest, must be paid to date.

2. The insured can pay premiums at the attained age (or at the age of the insured at the time of conversion).

Advantages of term insurance policies include a lower initial cost, allowing dollars to be invested elsewhere, and pure death protection. Disadvantages include the lack of permanence, the absence of a savings element, the expiration of the policy after a specified period, and a periodic increase in cost. The increasing premium structure of term insurance results from the decreased life expectancies of an individual’s later years.

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

Assessment

Term insurance is most appropriate for young couples who have children or who otherwise may need a large amount of insurance. It is also appropriate for people who do not want to invest in a cash value insurance vehicle, who cannot afford the higher premiums of cash surrender policies, whose insurance needs will decrease over time, or who have temporary needs. Term insurance consists of mortality charges and policy expense. Because term insurance is quite expensive at the older ages, an alternative product was developed.

Conclusion

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I Jealously “Shake my Fist” at Somnath Basu PhD

On CFP® Mis [Trust] – One Doctor’s Painful Personal Experience

[“So Sorry to Say it … but I Told You So”]

By: Dr David Edward Marcinko; FACFAS, MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]dem21

According to Somnath Basu, writing on April 6, 2009 in Financial Advisor a trade magazine, the painful truth is that many financial practitioners are merely sales people masquerading, as financial planners [FPs] and/or financial advisors [FAs] in an industry whose ethical practices have a shameful track record. Well, I agree, and completely. This includes some who hold the Certified Financial Planner® designation, as well as the more than 98 other lesser related organizations, logo marks and credentialing agencies [none of which demand ERISA-like fiduciary responsibility]. For more on this topic, the ME-P went right to the source last month, in an exclusive interview with Ben Aiken; AIF® of Fi360.com  

fp-book4

The CFP® Credential – What Credential?

Basu further writes that stockbrokers and insurance agents who earn commissions from buying and selling stocks, insurance and other financial products realize that a Certified Financial Planner® credential will help grow the volume of their business or branch them into other related and lucrative products and services. After all, there are more than 55,000 of these “credentialed” folks. And, this marketing designation seems to have won the cultural wars in the hearts and minds of an unsuspecting – i.e., duped public; probably because of sheer numbers. Didn’t a CFP Board CEO state that its’ primary goal was growth, a few years ago? Can you say “masses of asses”, as the oft quoted Bill Gates of Microsoft used to say when only 2,000 micro-softies defeated 400,000 IBMers during the PC operating system wars of the early 1980’s. Quantity, and marketing money, can trump quality in the public-relations business; ya’ know … if you repeat the lie often enough … yada … yada … yada! Yet, as the so-called leading industry designation, the CFP® entry-barrier standard is woefully low. Moreover, the SEC’s [FINRA] Series #7 general securities licensure sales examination is not worth much more than a weekend’s study attention, even to the uninitiated.

insurance-book2

Easy In – Worth Less Out

In our experience, we agree with Basu and others who suggest that scores of lightly educated, and sometimes wholly in-articulate and impatient individuals are zipping through the CFP® Board of Standards approved curriculum in three to six months of online, on-ground, or “self-study”. But, that some can do so without a bachelor’s degree when they join wire-houses and financial institutions, which cannot be trusted to adequately train them, is an abomination. And, even more sadly, some of these CFP™ mark-holders, and other folks, believe they have actually received an “education” from same. Of course, their writing skills are often non-existent and I have cringed when told that, in their opinion, advertiser-driven trade magazines constitute “peer-reviewed” and academic publications. Incidentally, have you noticed how thin these trade-rags are getting lately? Much like the print newspaper industry, are they becoming dinosaurs? One agent even told me, point-blank, that his CLU designation was the equivalent of an “academic PhD in insurance.” This was at an industry seminar, where he thought I was a lay insurance prospect.

THINK: No critical thinking skills.

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Education

There is another sentiment that may be applied in many of these cases; “hubris.” I mean, these CFP® people … just don’t know – how much they don’t know.”  The very real difference between training versus education is unknown to many wire-houses and FAs, isn’t it? And, please don’t get me started on the differences in pedagogy, heutagogy and androgogy. Moreover, it’s sad when we see truly educated youngsters become goaded by wire-houses into thinking that these practices are de-rigor for the industry. One such applicant to our Certified Medical Planner™ program, for example, had both an undergraduate degree in finance and a graduate degree in economics from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University – in my home town of Baltimore, MD [name available upon request]. He was told, in his Smith Barney wire-house training program, to eschew CMP™ accountability and RIA fiduciary responsibility, when working with potential physician and lay clients; but to get his CFP® designation to gather more clients. To mimic my now 12 year-old daughter; it seems that: SEC Suitability Rules – and – Fiduciary Accountability Drools. And, to quote Hollywood’s “Mr. T”; I pity the fools, er-a, I mean clients. But, T was an actor, and this is serious business.

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Of CEU Credits and Ethics

Beside trade-marks and logos, we are all aware that continuing education, and a code of ethics, is another important marketing and advertising component of state insurance agents and CFP licensees. It’s that old “be” – or “pretend to be” – a trusted advisor clap-trap. Well, I say horse-feathers for two reasons. First, both my insurance and CFP® Continuing Educational Unit [CEU] requirements were completed by my daughter [while age 7-10], by filling in the sequentially identical and bubble-coded, multiple-choice, answer-blanks each year. Second, this included the mandatory “ethics” portions of each test. When I complained to my CEU vendor, and state insurance department, I was told to “enjoy-the-break.”  My daughter even got fatigued after the third of fourth time she took the “home-based tests” for me.  After I opened my big mouth, the exact order of questions was changed to increase acuity, but remained essentially the same, nevertheless. My daughter got bored, and quit taking the tests for me, shortly thereafter. She always “passed.”dhimc-book3

Thus, like Basu, I also find that far too many financial advisors are unwilling to devote the time necessary to achieve a sound education that will help attain their goals, and would rather sell variable or whole life products than simple term life, even when the suitability argument overwhelmingly suggests so, for a higher payday. We not only have met sale folks without undergraduate degrees, but also too many of those with only a HS diploma, or GED. Perhaps this is why a popular business truism suggests that the quickest way for the uneducated/under educated class to make big bucks, is in sales. Just note the many classified ads for financial advisors placed in the newspaper job-section, under the heading “sales.” Or, in more youthful cultural terms, “fake it – until you make it.”

Of the iMBA, Inc Experience

According to Executive Director Ann Miller RN MHA, and my experience at the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc:

“Far too many financial advisors who contact us about matriculation in our online Certified Medical Planner™ program – in health economics and management for medical professionals – don’t even know what a Curriculum Vitae [CV] is? Instead, they send in Million Dollar Roundtable awards, Million Dollar Producer awards, or similar sales accomplishments as resume’ boosters. It is also not unusual for them to list some sort of college participation on their resumes, and websites, but no school affiliation or dates of graduation, etc. And, they become furious to learn that we require a college degree for our fiduciary focused CMP™ program, and not from an online institution, either. The onslaught of follow-up nasty phone-calls; faxes and emails are laughable [frightening] too.”  

www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Assessment

More often than not, it is the financial institutions that FAs and CFP™ certificants’ work for that reward sales behavior with higher commissions, rather than salaries; which encourage such behavior and create the vicious cycles that are now the norm.

THINK: ML, AIG, Citi, WAMU, Wachovia, Hartford, Prudential, etc.

Note: Original author of Restoring Trust in the CFP Mark, Somnath Basu PhD, is program director of the California Institute of Finance in the School of Business at California Lutheran University where he’s also a professor of finance. He can be reached at (805) 493 3980 or basu@callutheran.edu. We have asked him to respond further.

My Story: I am a retired surgeon and former Certified Financial Planner® who resigned my “marketing trademark” over the long-standing fiduciary flap. I watched this chicanery for more than a decade after protesting to magazines like Investment Advisor, Financial Advisor, Registered Rep, Financial Planner, the FPA, etc; up to, and even including the CFP® Board of Standards; to no avail. Feel free to contact me for a copy of a 43 page fax, and other supportive documentation from the CFP® Board of Standards – and their outsourced intellectual property attorneys – over a Federal trademark infringement lawsuit they tried to institute against me for innocent website errors placed by a visually impaired intern. Obviously, they disliked the launch of our CMP™ program. As a health economist and devotee of Ken Arrow PhD, I polity resigned my license, as holding no utility for me, to the shocked CFP Board. They later offered to consider re-instatement for a mere $600 fee with letter of explanation, to which I politely declined. Of course, my first thought after living in the streets of South Philadelphia while in medical school, during the pre-Rocky era, was to say f*** off – but I didn’t. Nevertheless, I still seem to be on their mailing list, years later. No doubt, the list is sold, and re-sold, to various advertisers for much geld. And, why shouldn’t they; an extra bachelor, master and medical degree holder on their PR roster looks pretty good. I distrust the CFP® Board almost as much as I distrust the AMA, and its parsed and disastrous big-pharma funding policies. Right is right – wrong is wrong – and you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time, especially in this age of internet transparency.

Shaking my Fist at Somnath … in Envy

And so, why do I shake my fist at Somnath Basu? It’s admittedly with congratulations, and a bit of schadenfreude, because he wrote an article more eloquently than I ever could, and will likely receive much more publicity [good or slings-arrows] for doing so. You know, it’s very true that one is never a prophet in his own tribe. Oh well, Mazel Tov anyway for stating the obvious, Somnath. The financial services industry – and more specifically – the CFP® emperor have no clothes! Duh!

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Good Guys and White Hats

Now that Basu’s article has appeared in Financial Advisor News e-magazine, the other industry trade magazines are sure to follow the CFP® certification denigration reportage, in copy-cat fashion. And, the fiduciary flap is just getting started. This is indeed unfortunate, because I do know many fine CFP® certificants, and non-CFP® certified financial advisors, who are well-educated, honest and work very diligently on behalf of their clients. It’s just a shame the public has no way of knowing about them – there is no white hat imprimatur or designation for same – most of whom are Registered Investment Advisors [RIAs] or RIA reps. For example, we know great folks like Douglas B. Sherlock MBA, CFA; Robert James Cimasi MHA, AVA, CMP™; J. Wayne Firebaugh, Jr CPA, CFP®, CMP™; Lawrence E. Howes MBA, CFP®; Pati Trites PhD; Gary A. Cook MSFS, CFP®, CLU; Tom Muldowney MSFS, CLU, CFP®, CMP™;  Jeffrey S. Coons PhD, CFP®; Alex Kimura MBA, CFP®; Ken Shubin-Stein MD, CFA; and Hope Hetico RN, MHA, CMP™; etc. And, to use a medical term, there are TNTC [too many, to count] more … thankfully!

Conclusion

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Key-Man Life Insurance Proceeds Ruling

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IRS Tax Exempt Treatment Ruling

[By Robert Whirley, CPA]

A recent revenue ruling has been issued by the Internal Revenue Service addressing the tax exempt treatment of life insurance policy proceeds on “key-man” policies of Subchapter S-Corporations; medical and/or otherwise. 

Excerpts

Revenue Ruling 2008-42 concludes that premiums paid by the S-Corporation on an employer-owned life insurance contract, of which it is directly or indirectly a beneficiary, do not reduce the S-Corporation’s AAA. Further, the benefits received because of the death of the insured from an employer-owned life insurance contract that meets an exception under Code Sec. 101(j)(2) do not increase its AAA.

Assessment

This may sound like Greek to some doctors. The affect is that life insurance proceeds on key-man policies in an S-Corporation are essentially trapped in the corporation. Any distribution of that cash to surviving S-Corporation shareholders – or to the estate of the deceased shareholder – triggers a taxable event.   

It is therefore vital for any doctor with a life policy paid by your medical practice, or other S-corporation, to discuss the tax policy and estate planning particulars with your accountant.

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Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Second-to-Die Life Insurance

QUESTION: Why has second-to-die life insurance become so popular with medical professionals and others?

Conclusion

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