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Note From the Editor: April 2021

Editor in Chief Susan R. Lipp discusses this month's issue.

In our April Digital Edition of Trust & Estates magazine we take a deeper dive into insurance policies and the impact to estate plans.  Check out the complete coverage here.

Insurance policies often make up a significant part of a client’s estate. But, those outside of the insurance industry may have trouble understanding the planning and management issues associated with those policies. Many articles focus on strategies for high-net-worth individuals, the large policies they buy and the sophisticated techniques they use to fund those policies. But, not much is written about what our board member Charlie Ratner calls the “merely well-to-do.” Yet, practitioners are often called on to help these clients make the best decisions regarding how to design their life insurance programs and buy the products that will serve them well over time. 

One issue that’s been on the forefront is the need for affordable long-term care (LTC) insurance. Clients can get confused about the different products on the market and which ones they should consider. “Selecting the Best Fit in Long-Term Care Coverage,” p. 22, by Nancy Simm, details how to identify and select the proper type of coverage for a client’s given circumstances.

Another issue that’s been widely discussed is how the current low interest rate environment has caused the lapse of many insurance policies due to existing laws limiting the ability of clients to add premiums to their policies. But, a recent change, hidden in the law, does away with those outdated interest rates used to determine if a contract qualified as an insurance policy for income tax purposes. As a result, buyers of newly issued permanent cash value life insurance policies will be in a better position to provide greater long-term stability to their policies. “New Laws for New Policies,” p. 14, by Eric Eklund, Brendan Costello and Dennis McMahan explains how the change will help policyowners moving forward.

Our issue this month also includes our Art, Auctions & Antiques Special Report. The art market has undergone changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, moving from live to virtual auctions and increasing digital sales. Also, due to the distressed economy in which they’re operating, galleries and auction houses may become insolvent or be unable to meet the obligations in their consignment agreements. The articles in this month’s Special Report give guidance on how best to navigate through this new world.

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