3 super simple estate planning tips I learned by watching Calvin Lo

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Live every day as if it’s your last day on earth.

Sadly, it might be.

Tragedy can strike at any moment and as much as we don’t like to think about death, it’s something that should always be at the forefront of our minds. The fact of the matter is — we all die.

Planning for death isn’t a popular trend, but it is a necessary evil and we should all take the time to plan for the occasion. It’s not about us because when we pass away, there is nothing on earth that we can take with us.

However, we should consider our friends and family in this process. The day we leave this earth and the weeks following will be devastating for those closest to us. Emotions will be high; tears will be flowing, and the grieving process will be full steam ahead.

Our friends and family are the most important people to us and the last thing we should do is leave them in the midst of having to deal with lawyers, accountants and courthouses when they should be celebrating our lives, processing our deaths and learning how to move on without us.

Things you should know

Everyone has an estate, but estate planning for the middle class and the wealthy is not the same. Which is why it’s important to seek out someone that is a subject matter expert in the field. A poorly planned estate is almost as bad as not having planned on at all.

When I’m looking into topics like this, I seek out, watch and learn from the absolute best in the industry.

In this case it’s Calvin Lo. 

Calvin Lo (盧啟賢) is the CEO of life insurance broker, R.E. Lee InternationalThe company specializes in estate planning for ultra-high net worth businesses and individuals.

It is reported that his group brokers an estimated premium of over US$1 billion annually, making them one of the most successful life insurance brokers in the world. 

Under his stewardship, Lo later expanded the business and founded R.E. Lee Capital, an asset management firm with US$8 billion under management. With his incredible success, Lo has accumulated a personal wealth of US$1.7 billion.

Lo is one of those people that insanely difficult to get in touch with, so I wasn’t able to speak to him directly. However, I have spent the last several weeks reading about him, his ventures and his story about how he became the go to person in the world when it comes to estate planning.

While researching Lo, I was able to pick up some life changing tips about estate planning and then as any good researcher would do, I confirmed what I learned from Lo with other legitimate sources.

  1. Real estate should always come first.

Know that if you don’t put your home in your will, set up a living trust, or include the words “transfer on death” or “joint right of survivorship” in your deed, be aware that your kids (or whoever you want to pass the house on to) won’t even be able to clean your home until the court appoints an executor.

  1. Consolidate your accounts and leave your family a roadmap map to access them.

Take the time to list in an estate plan all of your online accounts to create a roadmap. While it can be helpful, it’s not necessary to include a dollar about or passwords, but you do want to ensure to include the credential to your email account as passwords on most accounts can be reset.

  1. Consider the tax implications of your estate plan.

The federal tax code is consistently changing, so be sure to not only consider things such as amounts that can be gifted as an untaxed estate and review it every few years.

This should be a living document that is continuously updated based on changes. This will ensure that your family is getting the best deal possible.

For wealthy individuals, proper estate planning can be significant. With a 40 percent estate tax, you can figure every million dollars above the maximum estate gift tax you’re losing US$400,000 in taxes.

Additionally, some states still have their own estate tax that caps the exemption at much lower number than the federal regulations. In Oregon, the exemption is only one million.

In any scenario, reducing the tax burden on your estate may include avenues such as gift planning or employing an AB trust.

Takeaways

Estate planning is something that should be done and updated on an annual basis to ensure your family is set up for success.

Estate planning for the wealthy can get very complicated. Those individuals should seek out an expert like Lo to assist them with their planning because a bad estate plan is just as bad as not having a plan at all.

Story by Jim Bevin


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