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Into the Hornet's Nest

The phone rang and it was Chris C., an estate planning attorney and she had sad news.  My client, an 88 year-old gentleman, had recently passed away.  I was near tears as I valued Carl S. not only as a client but as a friend.  After arranging for the proceeds of a $2.5 million dollar policy to his two beneficiaries, a son and a daughter, I paused and refected. It seemed like just yesterday I was in his home creating his estate plan.

I had been referred to Carl from his CPA, Joe M. with whom I had several meetings and I remembered the accountant's words of advice, "Take good care of Carl for me.  I love him like a Father."  Carl and I had several meetings and we also met his CPA Advisor to go over the plan.  Both Carl, my client, and his CPA Advisor Joe not only understood the plan but approved.  I said to myself, 'now the real work begins.'  I called Carl many times after we put the plan in place and often visited him for chats, which I always enjoyed.  Then one evening as I was leaving my office the phone rang and 'Into the Hornet's nest Bob went.'

It was a strange voice on the other end and he introduced himself as Eric S., son of Carl.  After the pleasant introductions, he asked if I could meet him that evening and to "Bring my Dad's complete folder with me."  I always make it a rule to place client calls and especially meetings first and foremost.  I assured him I would be there within the hour.

Eric S. greeted me and ushered me in.  Expecting a meeting with him, Carl, my client, and myself,  I actually met with Gretchen, Carl's daughter, and their Attorney, Chris C.  but no Carl.  When I asked for Carl, I was informed that this is a "due diigence meeting and Dad will not be in attendance."  I felt an icy cold, almost a hostile like atmosphere but I agreed.  With an air of ,may I say, arrogance and inquisitiveness, Eric informed me that he, his sister, and their attorney wanted to make sure this policy was "above board."  The attorney was reading the policy while the three of us sat in silence.  After what seemed like an eternity, the Attorney looked up to Eric, his son, and said. "This is exactly the way it should be and this policy is not only correct but eliminates a hefty estate tax."  I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked her.  There were no thank yous from the son and daughter and none was needed.

I left the meeting very proud of what I had done for Carl and we had many more meetings.  Carl not only had an Estate tax problem but also had other tax problems.  I recommended that he withdraw his taxable million dollar account from the trust department at a local bank and invest in New York State tax-free municipal bonds which he agreed was a smart move.  His son Eric also agreed!  At the meeting when I delivered Eric and Gretchen the tax-free $2.5 million dollar policy proceeds, they both profusely thanked me for the work I had done for Carl and said that Carl often mentioned me.

It has been almost twenty years that Carl has passed and I still remember his gentle kindness and great chats. Carl was a client but also a true friend. To this day I often think of this true gentleman who I too thought of as a Father.


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"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  Tao te ching

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  

Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away."  Thoreau

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"When a man is willing and eager, God joins in."  Aeschylus

"I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adapt new views  so fast as they shall

appear to be true views."  Abraham Lincoln


To aid in your personal development, I highly recommend the first book I read on the subject.



Other advisors talk about specific products.  I listen to your life story;  what you value, your dreams and aspirations for your life and your family. I want to connect in a meaningful way;  one that improves the quality of your life and not simply with investments. Here are two examples which make my firm unique.


We face many risks everyday: the threat of inflation, increasing taxes, loss in your savings from market volatility, auto accidents, identity theft, lawsuits, loss of a business, and even the loss of your income to name only a few.  I help by not only transferring these risks but in some instances minimizing them or even outright eliminating them.  Visit the "About Us" tab on the top tool bar for more information.  


I work with your most trusted CPA advisors to minimize your tax burden; in some ways by up to 40 percent. Of course we consider your IRA or 401(k) plans  but we also  significantly lower the taxes you pay Uncle Sam through new,emerging IRS approved plans.  Many of our clients have benefited by shifting from taxable investments to tax-deferred and even tax-free holdings that are free from both federal and state taxes.

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