300 E. Esplanade Dr., Suite 1950
Oxnard, CA 93036
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Tax Planning for Retirement: Things to Consider

September 2019

My clients ask me all kinds of questions about the tax and technical aspects of financial strategies. In particular, folks are curious about the details Social Security benefits.  To continue reading, click here.

Tax Planning for Retirement: Things to Consider

July 2019

Most people who are planning for retirement worry about whether they will have enough income to comfortably live on.  One factor in the retirement income mix that sometimes gets overlooked is the effect of federal income taxes.

The good news about federal income taxes is that for many of those nearing or at retirement age, the rates are lower today than they have been in the recent past.  The outlook isn’t all rosy though.  To continue reading, click here.


Do It Yourself Estate Planning: Things To Consider

June 2019

Those of us who provide life insurance and financial advice to our clients understand the importance of planning for the death-time transfer of wealth.  I work closely with estate planning attorneys and tax professionals to make sure my clients get the benefit of comprehensive and coordinated advice.

Not everyone is open to the idea of hiring a professional team to create an estate plan.  Some are determined to do things themselves.  Why?  There may be several factors:  To continue reading, click here.

Business Continuation Planning

May 2019

Many of my clients need help making plans to transfer their businesses one day.  Whether they intend to sell to a third party at retirement, or want their family members to take over in the event of death, written plans are a key part of any strategy.
I work with my business owner clients to protect the business and to make sure the owner’s goals are met. A properly drafted, implemented and funded buy-sell agreement can help achieve.. To continue reading, click here.

Federal Income Tax Withholding

April 2019

I recently read an article in USA Today.  Did you see it?  Here’s an excerpt:
The average tax refund issued so far dropped to $1,949, down 8.7 percent from $2,135 at the same time last year, according to IRS statistics. Last week, the agency reported that refunds were off by 8.4 percent compared with 2018 after the first week of filing.  
In a way, this part of the story misses an important point. To continue reading, click here. 

Questions & Answers

February 2019

My clients are full of questions related to taxes and law-related topics. They often ask me questions (among others) about
• IRAs,
• the Tax Cut and Jobs Act,
• Social Security benefits and
• life insurance and annuities.
Here are a couple of questions posed by clients that I wanted to share with you. To continue reading, click here.

The New Tax Numbers for 2019

January 2019

On December 22, 2017, the president signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This Act brought about big changes to our tax system. Here’s a review of those changes, and what they mean for 2019: To continue reading, click here.

Saving Taxes with Life Insurance

December 2018

The federal government has implemented lots of rules that affect the tax characteristics of life insurance. My clients are likely to have tax concerns and objectives that have a direct or indirect connection to life insurance.
The federal tax code is a patchwork that requires an experienced guide to arrive at a particular client’s destination. In fact, sometimes the journey requires several experts—life insurance professional, accountant and attorney.
The Internal Revenue Code is explicit in the tax advantages that it gives to life insurance. To continue reading, click here.

New Pass -Through Business Tax Rules

September 2018

Late last year, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law. The process was more hurried than the path for similar comprehensive federal tax changes in the past. As a result, the TCJA left many unanswered questions.
The TCJA made major changes to federal income taxes. The tax rules were amended for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, some of the biggest changes were: To continue reading, click here. 

Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations

July 2018

When I work with my clients to help implement an effective estate plan, they expect the parts to work together. I try to do my best managing lots of different objectives, including
  • family issues,
  • control issues and
  • taxes
A sophisticated estate plan may involve use of lots of estate planning tools, such as...to continue reading, click here.

Medicaid Planning Questions

May 2018

Many of my clients have heard that they can take advantage of Medicaid—a government welfare program—to pay for the costs associated with chronic illness. Relying on Medicaid long-term care (Medicaid LTC) coverage is seen to be an alternative to the purchase of insurance intended to cover long-term care costs. In my experience, clients have questions and misconceptions about the Medicaid LTC program. To continue reading, click here.

Planning Lessons from the Pistons

April 2018

Basketball season is wrapping up, and the NBA playoffs will start soon. If you are a basketball fan, you may be excited by the uncertainty of this year’s tournament—with new teams in the mix and recent champions dealing with change and adversity.  
While uncertainty may add to excitement on the court, it can be bad for the management of a particular franchise. The death of a franchise’s owner can create chaos for a basketball organization unless strong contingency plans have been made.
The transfer of the Detroit Pistons franchise after the death of owner Bill Davidson in 2009 provides lessons about to continue reading, click here.

The New Tax Numbers for 2018

February 2018

On December 22, 2017, the president signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This Act brings about big changes to our tax system. 
1. The 3.8 percent Medicare surtax still applies to the investment income of high income taxpayers.
2. The Act eliminated the personal exemption, and nearly doubled the standard deduction. Joint filers will have a standard deduction of $24,000, single filers standard deduction will be to continue reading, click here. 

Hidden Features of Social Security Benefits

January 2018

In my letter last month, I talked about Social Security retirement and spousal benefits. The federal government also provides other Social Security benefits:

·         Survivor benefits for dependent family members of a deceased worker—not just surviving spouses.

·         Disability benefits for incapacitated workers and some family members;

·         Spousal benefits based on the earnings of an ex-spouse in certain circumstances.

Survivor Benefits

Unmarried children younger than 18 or up to age...... to continue reading, click here. 

Modern Planning for Social Security Benefits

December 2017

Many of my clients who are planning for retirement will rely in significant measure on Social Security retirement benefits.  Despite fears over shortfalls in the federal government’s Social Security “trust fund,” retirement benefits seem likely to persist and remain largely unchanged into the foreseeable future.

Social Security retirement benefits are available to individuals who meet three requirements. The retiree must: To continue reading, click here.


Business Contingency Plans for Divorce

November 2017

The divorce or legal separation of a business owner can create financial heartaches for the divorcing owner, and can put incredible emotional, organizational and financial stress on the business.

Usually divorcing spouses—or those who otherwise separate from committed long-term relationships—make financial claims on one another. For those whose valuable assets include an interest in a closely held business, the parties may argue about....to continue reading, click here.

Cost Charges and Universal Life Insurance

October 2017

About 40 years ago, life insurance companies started offering universal life (UL) insurance. The premise behind UL was that the working parts of the life insurance policy should be made more understandable to someone buying the coverage.

Part of UL’s attraction is that its initial premiums tend to be lower than the premiums for other kinds of cash value life insurance policies.  Consumers have embraced UL. According to life insurance statistics.....to continue reading, click here.

Chasing Deductible Insurance Premiums

September 2017

Cash value life insurance has several undisputed tax advantages, if structured properly:

  • Tax-deferred cash value growth potential
  • Tax-advantaged access to cash during lifetime
  • In some cases, tax-advantaged rider benefits
  • Income tax-free death proceeds

To continue reading, click here

Life Insurance in Business Situations

August 2017

Many of my business owner clients use life insurance to solve potential business problems.  Some use coverage to help provide money for a business buyout in the event of the owner’s death.  Others buy insurance on the lives of key employees, to help protect the business financially in the event something happens to those important executives. 

Today I’d like to focus on permanent life insurance as part of an employee benefit plan. To continue reading, click here.


Modern Planning for Chronic Illnes

June 2017

Many of my clients who are planning for the possibility of care in their old age assume that the federal government will take care of their needs. Unfortunately, for many, that is not the case. 

Medicare pays only for most costs associated with a medically necessary skilled nursing facility stay or home health care, and then only in limited circumstances for a limited duration.  Medicare does not pay for - to continue reading, click here.  

Planning Lessons from the Lakers

May 2017

Basketball season is wrapping up, and a perennial powerhouse of the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers, has fallen on hard times.  They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, and their win-loss percentage over the past four years has been the worst in team history.

What happened?  The death of majority owner Gerald “Jerry” Buss in 2013, and the subsequent power struggle between his children is part of the story—and that is of interest to me and to my business-owner clients. To continue reading, click here.


Reviewing the 2016 Federal Income Tax Return

April 2017

With 2016 federal income tax deadlines approaching, most of our friends are asking: “What can I do now so I will not have to pay so much tax in 2017?”

Here some questions that can lead to individual income tax savings opportunities: To continue reading, click here. 

The Hidden Advantages of Life Insurance

February 2017

Permanent life insurance can be an important part of your financial picture.  In addition to cash value life insurance’s death benefit protection, it offers extra benefits—often hidden—that can help my clients toward achieving their overall financial security objectives.

 What hidden benefits am I talking about? To continue reading, click here.


The New Tax Numbers for 2017

January 2017

Most of the significant changes in tax law due to Affordable Care Act and the tax compromise originally passed in January of 2013 have remained substantially unchanged in 2017.
1. The 3.8 percent Medicare surtax still applies to the investment income of high income taxpayers.
2. The personal exemption phase-out and itemized deductions phase-out for high income taxpayers are still in effect.
3. The top personal income tax bracket of 39.6 percent is also still in effect, with a slight increase in brackets from to continue reading, click here.

Making Plans to Sell a Business

December 2016

I help my business owner clients make plans for their business’s survival after death or other life-changing event.  I recently learned about a court case where two owners of a Kentucky business had a falling out, and they asked the court to decide some things about one owner’s buyout of the other.  The case is Conlon v. Haise, No. 2014-CA-001581-MR decided on September 30.  I thought you might be interested, as I think the case has lessons that apply to many business situations. To continue reading, click here.

Jim Harbaugh and Split Dollar

November 2016

I was amazed to see permanent life insurance in the mainstream news lately.  The press has been full of details regarding the compensation arrangement between University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh and his employer.  One of the key elements of that employment package is the loan-based split-dollar plan between the coach and the school.

Under the agreement:

60 Day Rollovers

October 2016

The IRS allows most pre-retirement distributions taken from an employer’s retirement account or IRA to be rolled over into another retirement account or IRA without tax consequence. One way to accomplish the tax-free transaction is through the 60-day rollover technique. While this concept seems simple enough, taxpayers often run into situations that prevent them from completing a rollover in a timely manner. Recent changes in the regulations have added more potential complexity. To continue reading, click here. 


Required Minimum Distributions After Death

September 2016

Inherited qualified accounts, IRAs and nonqualified deferred annuities (NQDAs) can all potentially be stretched after the account owner’s death. “Stretch” means that the beneficiary can delay the federal income tax consequences associated with the transfer of the account. However, stretch has strict rules associated with it—including required minimum distribution (RMD) obligations imposed on the beneficiary. To continue reading, click here.


Tax Characteristics of Life Insurance Policies

July 2016

Life insurance offers significant tax advantages to many of my clients. For example:

  1. The death benefit is nearly always income tax free when paid to the beneficiaries.
  2. The cash value of permanent insurance coverage grows tax deferred.
  3. The policy owner’s investment in the contract is recovered first during lifetime--tax free.
  4. Loans are not treated as distributions for tax purposes so long as the contract stays in force.

The federal government believes those tax characteristics to be so favorable that it limits the amount of premium that can be paid for life insurance. The limits are based in part on the amount of coverage and....To continue reading, click here.


Tax-Free Exchanges of Life Insurance Policies

June 2016

Did you know that the federal government allows you to exchange one permanent life insurance policy for another without having to pay income tax on the transaction? The technique is referred to as a Section 1035 exchange.

While the idea of a Section 1035 exchange is simple, sometimes its successful execution is not. To continue reading, click here.


Court Upholds a Sophisticated Planning Technique

May 2016

Twenty years ago, a technique known as split-dollar was an often-used way to pay the premium for needed life insurance coverage. Then, between 2001 and 2003, the IRS published rulings and regulations that effectively ended many commonly-used split-dollar strategies. 

On April 13, the Tax Court published a decision with regard to certain split-dollar details in the case of Estate of Clara M. Morrissette et al v. Commissioner. In its ruling, the court took the side of a family that had implemented private split-dollar plans for the purpose of facilitating estate planning.

Here’s what the family had done: To continue reading, click here.