Integrity Estate Advisors




‘There are two systems of taxation in our country: one for the informed and one for the uninformed.’  – Judge Learned Hand (1872-1961)

Most seniors, especially those who have not taken the time to sit with a qualified Estate or Financial Planner, pay too much in Income tax and will ultimately pay to much in taxes and expenses when they die. Almost every client we sit with has too much taxable income that they aren’t spending! While there are many ways to save on taxes, one of the best and safest ways is to place the money that you don’t spend or are just using the income from, into tax favored or tax free vehicles.  One of the more common tax savings vehicles people are directed to put money into actually can still cause you to pay taxes on 50%-85% of your Social Security income!  Be aware of your options.  Many brokers overlook some options due to not being paid enough commissions, not being paid ongoing commissions, or they just weren’t trained in these areas.

We don’t regularly do tax returns for our clients, but we do know how to reduce taxable income.  We have accountants and CPA’s available that we work directly with to substantially benefit many of our clients.

Why pay tax on money you aren’t spending?

Annuities usually pay more than CD’s and Money Markets with the added benefit of tax deferral. YOU have control over when the taxes get paid. This also allows your money to grow faster because the interest you would have normally paid taxes on, collects more interest, which allows your savings to grow faster. (Triple compounding)

Annuities also usually avoid PROBATE. This means that your heirs will receive their money faster, usually within weeks, instead of 9 months to 2 years with 11 – 13 months being the average we see in Pennsylvania.

Annuities can have more flexibility than CD’s.  Unlike CD’s, annuities allow access to a portion of the principle each year without withdrawal penalties.

Annuities can lower your taxable income, reducing or eliminating the taxes on your Social Security Income. Beware – Tax Free Bonds Can increase the amount of taxes you pay on your Social Security Income.

Certain Annuities can have special benefits in regard to Medicaid Planning and the recovery laws

Guaranteed Fixed Equity Indexed Annuities (GFEIA) have the potential to out perform traditional annuities without additional risk.  Don’t get these confused with Variable Annuities that have the potential to lose money when the markets crash.  GFEIA’s guarantee your principle PLUS any gains that are annually locked in, allowing only an upward ratcheted effect toward your goal!  These can be the perfect tool for retirees.  They can allow for better returns than other safe vehicles without adding risk.


There are also Immediate annuities and riders on deferred annuities that allow you to create an income stream that you can never outlive. The tax benefits of an Immediate annuity can have a significant impact on lowering your taxable income, thus increasing your spendable income!

A 70 year old with a $24,000 per year interest income could reduce their tax burden (from this income) by 50%-95% if structured correctly.

So, why not call Integrity Estate Advisors today to see how you may benefit from these fantastic Retirement and Estate Planning tools.

***Many people decide to procrastinate and call us in “CRISIS MANAGEMENT MODE.” Usually this limits the amount of help anyone can offer. Act now…. Don’t procrastinate.


Everyone is entitled to a Unified Credit of $5.25 million dollars and 40% tax over this amount for 2013 (per spouse).   Previously, the problem was that when a spouse dies and passes their estate or their portion of the estate to their living spouse, the 2nd Unified Credit was lost. Now, the surviving spouse can easily save the second $5.25 million unified credit, it’s not automatic….call us to find out how.

Example: Fred and Wilma had an estate valued at $10 million dollars. The way most people have set up their estate is with a simple will, powers of attorney, and a living will. This ‘Traditional’ method could cost the heirs up to $1.5 million in just Pennsylvania Inheritance Taxes that could have been avoided by taking the time to create a proper plan and a $1000 – $2000 set of documents. This situation is more common than not!

Barney and Betty had a total estate value of $650,000, which included a $150,000 home, a $300,000 401(k) that was rolled into an IRA (qualified) when Barney retired.  $200,000 of non-qualified savings in CD’s and Savings accounts.  Many people get a simple will to transfer the estate to the heirs.  The expected death or estate taxes due would be 4.5% to their children and some attorney’s fees to administer the “PROBATE” estate.  There are NO FEDERAL ESTATE TAXES due since the value is under $5.25 million dollars.  4.5% isn’t a killer but let’s see how income taxes can devastate some of the inheritance.

Income taxes would be due on the $300,000 IRA at the rate of the children.  Assuming there is one child, the child would add $300,000 to his taxable income and pay taxes on the inheritance at that rate. Lets assume the child has a $100,000 household taxable income and add in the $300,000 inheritance.  They would pay income tax at 39.6% (in 2013 based on joint return).  39.6%+4.5% and a state income tax of 3.07% in Pa = 44.08% would be the tax rate that would be lost from the IRA.  That’s over $88,000 of your legacy gone because proper planning never took place!!!

Agents, Stock Brokers, product pushers, Attorneys, CPA’s, etc., who may be nice people and really great at what they do, but unless they specialize in the area of Estate Planning and Coordination, you may not get the tools, documents, and information needed to achieve your desired results. In most cases we have encountered, the people have either tried to take the “SELF SERVE” approach or had their generalist attorney, CPA, Insurance agent, offer their advice and in those same instances, we found many changes that had to be made to achieve the desired results. Unless the professional has abundant information and education on both sides of an issue, you will get a biased view. (ie: Trust vs. Will, Permanent Insurance or Term, working with an order taker or a qualified advisor etc.)

We have met with many attorneys, asked specific questions to find out their areas of knowledge.  We found that many, who advertise estate planning, are not trained in any estate planning techniques other than a simple will, power of attorney, and living wills.  They are basically looking to gather as many wills as possible, to probate at a later date…possibly for retirement.  The average administrative fees we have seen charged are around 5%, meaning a $10,000 attorney fee for a $200,000 gross estate.  From what we’ve been told by attorneys, it takes only about 5-15 hours to administer/probate the typical estate.  At $250/hour, that’s only $1250-$3750 if paying the attorney by the hour.  You decide!

The attorneys we work with for administration, usually charge by the hour, not a percentage of your estate.  This is usually the only fair way to charge.  Most times, a $200,000 estate takes the same time to administer as a $500,000 estate or $1,000,000 estate.  This is a general rule of thumb.  Sometimes estates with problems, disagreements, etc, may be better to pay a flat fee than by the hour.

Yes, there are attorneys who do know how to do “Their Part” of estate planning, but how do you know who they are?  We recommend first talking with a competent Estate Planning Advisor, who may have working relationships with qualified local experienced attorneys.

Integrity Estate Advisors work with several local and regional attorneys who have experience in planning minimal estates to large $100,000,000+ estates.  We earn no fees from these attorneys and offer the qualified referrals as part of our comprehensive estate planning service

Because Elvis Presley lived for the day and didn’t plan for his future, his estate lost 73% to taxes, leaving only $2.8 million of his $10.2 million dollar estate to his beneficiaries. This was a voluntary loss!  He didn’t take the time to plan…to show his heirs that he cared about what happened after his death….when ever it may have occurred.  Don’t procrastinate!

Bing Crosby, on the other hand, planned and no one knows what his worth was and who got how much. It’s YOUR choice.

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