Life Insurance Done 8 Ways

Big changes take place during the month of September. The weather becomes crisper, days become shorter, kids are heading back to school and there is pumpkin flavored everything! September is recognized as the end of summer and welcoming of fall. But there is another persona September takes on that many may not be aware of, national Life Insurance Awareness Month.

This month is dedicated to bringing attention to life insurance for the many American’s that are still without coverage. Today, 4 in 10 American’s do not own a life insurance policy, with many excuses boiling down to lack of knowledge. In fact, the most common reason for not having a policy is cost. American’s believe buying life insurance is too expensive when in reality it can cost as little as $13 a month, depending on the policy. That is why Life Insurance Awareness Month is aiming at disproving these myths and providing the proper education to Americans so their families are financially covered in the event of a tragedy.

Even celebrities are jumping on board for Life Insurance Awareness Month, with TV star/comedian, Anthony Anderson, as the 2015 spokesperson. He opens up about how life insurance was a huge part of his family’s life growing up.

Life insurance is all too often over looked. Fancy iPhones and daily lattes seem to be more important than protecting the financial well-being of your family; mainly because people are not educated on the subject matter. With the help of Life Happens, the non-profit organization promoting Life Insurance Awareness Month, more American’s can learn and benefit from even the simplest of coverage. Take a few moments to check out LifeHappens.org and spread the word on life insurance.

If you have any questions regarding a current or potential life insurance policy, please call Keith Eig, at 301-656-0660 ext.306 or email at kmeig@gwellc.com.

Financial Impacts of Same-Sex Marriage

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, ruling that same-sex marriages be granted and recognized at the federal and all state levels, big implications can be taking effect on financial and life insurance services.

Previously, in 2013, the Court ruled same-sex marriages be recognized federally, however, each state was still sovereign in granting whether same-sex marriage be legal in said state. This new ruling, now giving all same-sex couples nationwide the opportunity to marry, is a huge progress for those who were denied certain financial and work place benefits. Same-sex couples who are not yet legally married will receive all the same benefits as hetero-sex couples but they will also incur all the not so glamourous consequences as well. Financial services professionals are encouraged to advise these couples of the pros and cons of marriage from a legal and financial standpoint. Intentions are not to discourage same-sex couple from marriage, but rather to exercise due diligence by presenting both sides of the coin. Below is a list of rights same-sex married couples will be granted.

  • Unlimited marital deduction for Federal (and possibly state) estate tax planning
  • Spousal and survivor benefits for Social Security
  • Married filing jointly status for Federal (and possibly state) income tax planning
  • State spousal property rights during lifetime (e.g. – community property) or after death (e.g. – election of spousal share
  • Spilt joint gift election for Federal gift tax purposes
  • ERISA protection as a spouse under pension plans
  • Other spousal rights under employer-sponsored benefit plans (e.g. – health insurance)
  • Survivorship insurance

 

One advantage of marrying is the ability to file jointly on income taxes. However, this could be disguised as a benefit because combining incomes can put you into a higher tax bracket. Additionally, if there are children involved, taxes will not be as forgiving filing jointly as it be would filing single and head of household. On the upside, same-sex couples will enjoy the unlimited gift tax between each other, tax free property via survivorship, rollover IRA’s, social security benefits, as well as health insurance and even visitation and information rights in a hospital setting. Many of these new tax benefits will impact life insurance policies, estate planning, and retirement planning. Your advisor will be able to breakdown the logistics for you.

Same-sex couples should education themselves on the implications of marriage and decide if it fits into their financial plan. It is important to note that these are the same implications for hetero-sex couples as well; therefore it is good practice for all couples to review and align their financials before marriage.

David Wexler Participates in a Roundtable Discussion To Help New Law Firm Partners

Late last week, David Wexler participated in a roundtable discussion to answer a few questions about “the important financial considerations all new law firm partners should consider.” It was hosted by the Law Practice Today Board.

Nicholas Gaffney moderated the event and posted the Q&A discussion on the Law Practice Today website.