Life and Financial Planning in the Time of COVID-19 (July 2020)
With passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act), and the subsequent Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the U.S. government has committed to transferring nearly $2.7 trillion dollars to individuals and businesses to weather COVID-19-related issues. Proper advice and guidance during these turbulent times can assist clients with their overall financial plans. This article will offer an overview of the CARES Act provisions, first covering the individual provisions and followed by a review of business provisions. It will then offer planning advice that might be appropriate for clients, again first from a personal planning perspective and followed by an assessment from a business owner’s perspective.
Author: Marc R. Belletsky, JD, CLU, ChFC, RICP, is assistant vice president, Advanced Markets, at Equitable Life Insurance Company. Marc is an advanced sales consultant who has worked at several insurance carriers and has been assisting agents for over 35 years in the areas of estate and business planning, nonqualified-deferred compensation, foreign nationals, corporate and bank-owned life insurance (COLI/BOLI), and private-placement insurance. He is a former bank trust officer and was the president of a broker dealer that specialized in nonqualified-deferred compensation and COLI/BOLI/private placement insurance. A noted author and speaker, he has spoken at numerous professional meetings and has been quoted by many major news outlets. An adjunct professor of law at Western New England University School of Law LLM program in Springfield, Massachusetts, he is also a member of the Connecticut bar and holder of FINRA Series 6, 63, and 26 licenses. His JD is from the New England School of Law and he is an honors graduate from the University of Connecticut.
Author: Christina Anstett, JD, is an ERISA attorney with over 25 years of retirement plan industry experience specializing in the design, implementation, and ongoing administration of employee retirement programs. Prior to joining Equitable in 2013, she was senior vice president and chief legal officer for a national retirement plan consulting firm. Tinas is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and a presenter of seminars, webinars, and training programs. She holds a BA from New York University, a JD from Western New England University School of Law and is a member of the Connecticut bar. Tina is also a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, the National Association of Plan Advisors, and the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association. She holds FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses and a variable annuity, life, and variable life producer license.
Author: Mark A. Teitelbaum, JD, LLM, CLU, ChFC, is vice president, Advanced Markets, at Equitable Life Insurance Company. Mark joined Equitable in June 2006 to manage Advanced Markets. He is currently head of Life Advanced Markets Strategy & Governance. Prior to joining Equitable, Mark worked at several other life insurance carriers. He has also performed tax and business planning work for a Boston area firm that specialized in executive stock option planning and a CPA firm that specialized in estate planning for business owners. Mark is an assistant editor of the Journal of Financial Service Professionals and was previously the editor of the Society of Financial Service Professionals’ Business & Compensation Planning Section newsletter. Mark actively participates with the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU). He has published articles in several professional journals. Mark is a graduate of Kenyon College and obtained his law degree and LLM at both Ohio Northern University and Boston University.
Final Regulations Could Expand the Use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (July 2020)
Effective January 1, 2020, under final regulations issued by three government departments, employers can offer two new forms of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to employees. As long as certain requirements are satisfied, the final regulations allow employers to offer an individual coverage HRA which allows HRAs to pay premiums for individual medical insurance coverage purchased by the employee on a tax-advantaged basis. This also shifts the risk of premium increases to the employee. In addition, employers can offer another form of HRA that is allowed to purchase excepted benefits. This could be a significant development for small- and mid-sized employers regardless of whether they presently offer medical care insurance coverage.
Author: Paul J. Schneider, JD, LLM, is senior counsel to Paisner~Litvin, LLP, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, where he advises clients on taxation employee benefit matters. He is a charter fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and has served as chairman of the Important Developments Subcommittee of the American Bar Association Tax Section’s Employee Benefits Committee. Mr. Schneider is also a member of the board of editors of the Journal of Taxation.
Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Lehigh University, Columbia University School of Law (JD), New York University (LLM in Taxation), and LaSalle University (MBA). Mr. Schneider frequently writes articles and lectures on tax and employee benefits–related topics, and was coeditor of ERISA: A Comprehensive Guide, 4th Edition (Aspen, 2011).
Buy-Sell Planning with Third-Party Ownership (March 2020)
The need for buy-sell planning in small- to medium-sized businesses transcends industry, nationality, and economic barriers. In most businesses, a succession plan can be implemented with either cross-owned or entity-owned life insurance, but complex buy-sell planning sometimes requires a third-party buy-sell structure. A business continuation general partnership can manage the ownership of policies and provide tax advantages. The new 2019 transfer-for-value regulations require additional analysis, particularly for satisfying the “substantial financial relationship” test, but they appear to include language that will accommodate buy-sell planning scenarios.
Author:April Caudill, JD*, CLU, ChFC, AEP,is a business and advanced solutions director with Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392. She is part of the business and advanced solutions team that assists advisors with tax and legal concepts related to advanced planning and business owner needs.