Fence = Privacy–Well Sort of

Let PPLI Be Your First Defense

Part 1

Our next five articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI meets Leonardo da Vinci.

These two neighbors are discussing a new tax law in their fenced backyard. Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) is a well-established, yet conservation ring fence for your assets. Once assets are structured properly in a PPLI policy, the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner of the assets.

According to Investopedia, “a ring fence is a protection-based transfer of assets from one destination to another, usually through the use of offshore accounting. A ring fence is meant to protect the assets from inclusion in an investor’s calculable net worth or to lower tax consequences.”

This definition reveals the etymology of the word fence. The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that in the 14th century the word fence was used as an “action of defending, resistance; means of protection, fortification.”

The advantage of an insurance ring fence is that life insurance is a common structuring tool and is used by millions around the world to provide financial security.

Now back to our two neighbors. In our scene the barbecue is pouring out smoke, and smoke can mean trouble. Indeed, it is black smoke which reminds us of a passage at the beginning of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House. We will visit Charles Dickens’s London later on, where Dickens uses fog as a metaphor for the decrepitude of polluted London in the mid-19th century. Indeed, Dickens’s London was a mixture of both fog and smoke during much of the year.

In the context of our story, smoke, whether foul or benign, can easily escape a fenced backyard. Smoke is subject to wind currents, and other atmospheric elements. PPLI structures use a “smoke free” strategy. One that is not subject to the vagaries of the weather.

A properly structured PPLI policy is a ring fence that gives wealthy clients’ assets an airtight chamber. Inside this chamber the six principles Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) breathe clean air with no pollutants. The six principles of EWP are: Privacy, Asset Protection, Succession Planning, Tax Shield, Compliance Simplifier, Trust Substitute.

Imagine the scene in our panel taking place anywhere in the world. A government passes a new tax law and its citizens must compile with it, or face certain penalties. Tax laws change frequently and how you must compile–how much tax you must pay under the new law–does not always translate into a simple answer or number on your tax return. This is why we thoroughly research our PPLI structures, and make sure they compile with all the tax authorities involved in the locations of a client’s assets.

Let us back up briefly and visit an excellent basic description of PPLI.

Al W. King III, left, and Pierce McDowell III, are co-founders of the South Dakota Trust Company, LLC in Sioux Falls, S.D. We give you the opening paragraphs from their Trusts & Estates article, “Powerful Private Placement Life Insurance Strategies With Trusts.”

“What is PPLI?

PPLI is essentially a flexible premium variable universal life (VUL) insurance transaction that occurs within a private placement offering. The private placement component adds extensive flexibility to the VUL product pricing and asset management offerings. Because PPLI is sold through a private placement memorandum, every situation can be individually negotiated and custom designed for the client. PPLI can be for single life or survivorship and is offered only to an accredited investor.

PPLI has both a death benefit and a cash value (that is, investment account) and is generally designed to maximize cash value and minimize death benefits. Consequently, PPLI is usually designed as a non-modified endowment contract (non-MEC) policy, with four to five premiums versus a single premium policy (that is, a MEC). In this way, cash values can be accessed tax-free during an insured’s lifetime.

The PPLI cash value is generally invested among a variety of available registered and non-registered fund options (that is, hedge funds, private equity (PE) and other alternative investments).”

From Cole Porter we give you a different aspect of a fence: one that constricts and prevents the innovative structuring techniques that are possible with PPLI. The mystique of the American cowboy roaming the vast open spaces of the western U.S. comes alive in this popular song from the 1930s, Don’t Fence Me In,” courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc..

“Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above

Don’t fence me in

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love

Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze

And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees

Send me off forever but I ask you please

Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle

Underneath the western skies

On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder

Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences

And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses

And I can’t look at hovels and I can’t stand fences

Don’t fence me in

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies

Don’t fence me in

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love

Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze

And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees

Send me off forever but I ask you please

Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle

Underneath the western skies

On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder

Till I see the mountains rise

Ba boo ba ba boo

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences

And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses

And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences

Don’t fence me in

No

Poppa, don’t you fence me in”

We now travel back to London for a discussion of privacy and data protection. This subject is key to the debate about tax that is taking place on the world’s stage. What our two neighbors are discussing in their backyard is an important topic for governments and those that advise wealthy clients. Caroline Garnham is a London attorney, who heads the firm of Garnham Family Office Services, and is one of our favorite writers on this subject.

First, we give you Dickens’s memorable depiction of foggy London.

“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their skipper, down in his close cabin, fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ‘prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.”

Was Tony Blair right second time?

Is privacy and data protection a good thing or not?

Should there be a public register of what you own? Would you like your neighbours, friends, children and employees knowing precisely what you own; properties, businesses, pensions and bank accounts? Why not – if you have nothing to hide?

Tony Blair, is on record as saying that one of his greatest regrets had been his own Freedom of Information Act. Why because in his view ‘information is neither sought because the journalist is curious to know, nor given to bestow knowledge on ’the people’. ‘It is used as a weapon’.

To protect his privacy once he left office and started to make money, he erected barriers to prevent an accurate assessment of his wealth His income was channelled through a complicated legal structure. At the top was BDBCO No.819 Limited a company called either Windrush or Firerush. Windrush Ventures No.3 LP was part owned by Windrush Ventures No.2 LP which in turn controlled Windrush Ventures Ltd. The scheme’s advantage was that the LPs, or limited partnerships, were not obliged to publish accounts. Even without public registers and the protection of limited partnerships, Tom Bower, author of ‘Broken Vows’ managed to track down these details – so why do we need a public register?

Furthermore, the drive for a public register is for ownership of companies and properties, but  not of the beneficiaries of a trust – so for anyone wishing to disguise their ownerships they simply need to set up a trust – or take their assets outside the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – in which case Britain plc is shooting itself in the foot. We will get nothing and business will flee from the territories we should be protecting.

This week a Government Bill designed to protect the City in the event of a no-deal Brexit was pulled in the face of almost certain defeat after MPs added an amendment that would have forced greater transparency on the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey – the Crown Dependencies.

The idea of public registers of companies, was originally proposed by David Cameron and George Osborne in 2013 in the fight against the use of offshore financial centres to launder money using a myriad of offshore companies. It was dropped when May became Prime Minister, but resurrected by a bank benchers Hodge and Mitchell.

It is generally accepted that the UK cannot interfere in the affairs of another country even an ‘Overseas Territory’ such as the BVI or Cayman, or a ‘Crown Dependency’ such as Guernsey except in extreme circumstances.”

The UK has however intervened in the affairs of the Overseas Territories, such as in the repeal of the Death Penalty in 1991 and decriminalising homosexuality in 2,000, but has made no such intervention in the Crown Dependencies, which is why the bill had to be pulled to give time for a more detailed debate.

Hodge takes the view that a public register of ownership to stamp out the ‘traffic of corrupt money and illicit finance’ across the world’ justified such intervention! The Paradise Papers according to the campaign group Global Witness estimates that £68bn flowed out of Russia via the British-overseas territories between 2007 and 2016, – but what of other countries? To date only three prosecutions have been made. Is this a good enough justification for undermining the privacy of many others?

Andrew Mitchell takes it one stage further, ‘It is only by openness and scrutiny, by allowing charities, NGOs and the media to join up the dots, that we can expose this dirty money and those people standing behind it. Closed registers do not begin to allow us to do it’

That did not prevent Tom Bower finding out all he needed to know about Tony Blair!

The real debate needs to be on how far can we undermine the human right to privacy enshrined in many countries so that rich countries can pick out a few bad apples in a barrel of good ones?”

Find out today how an asset structuring technique–PPLI–can be both conservative and sophisticated. PPLI can give you both privacy and full compliance with the world’s tax authorities. We welcome your call or email. Contact Us right now!

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

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Transformation Abounds

Professor PPLI and the Caterpillar

Part 5

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Our next series of articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI to the Rescue.  

In our earlier articles we entertained several views on the word rain, and explored various ways that the English language used the word rain in colorful ways to describe its effect on a client’s assets. Professor PPLI has a rye sense of humor! You will receive more in this vein further in our article from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Professor PPLI meets his match in the person of the Caterpillar.

We also cast life insurance, in particular Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), in the role of a protective outer garment that can protect client’s assets against the assault of the rain.

Now I ask you to exchange this protective outer garment for one of nature’s most magical acts: the Resolving the Contradiction of Changeless Changetransformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The cocoon, like PPLI, does indeed provide protection, and the amazing transformation that occurs inside the cocoon is analogous to the transformation of client’s assets once they enter the PPLI policy.

From the Scientific American, Ferris Jabr brings us

“How Does a Caterpillar Turn into a Butterfly? To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself. But certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures”

“As children, many of us learn about the wondrous process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar, or what is more scientifically termed a larva, stuffs itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.

But what does that radical transformation entail? How does a caterpillar rearrange itself into a butterfly? What happens inside a chrysalis or cocoon?

First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out.”

Like the transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly, the of re-characterizing of assets inside a PPLI becomes an equally magical experience. Once assets are placed inside the PPLI policy, these assets take on the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP): privacy, asset protection, succession planning, tax shield, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.

We are not finished with the Caterpillar, and now reveal him in a new guise. Because Professor PPLI has such a rye sense of humor, we now switch to a master of quizzical, British humor, Lewis Carroll, in Alice in Wonderland.  The very idea of raining inside an insurance policy is puzzling, and brings to mind an equally puzzling exchange between Alice and the Caterpillar.

“’Who are you?‘ said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ said the Caterpillar sternly. ‘Explain yourself!’

‘I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, ‘because I’m not myself, you see.’

‘I don’t see,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,’ Alice replied very politely, ‘for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’

‘It isn’t,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice; ‘but when you have to turn into a chrysalis — you will some day, you know — and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?’

‘Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,’ said Alice; ‘all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.’

‘You!’ said the Caterpillar contemptuously. ‘Who are you?’

Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar’s making such very short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, ‘I think, you out to tell me who you are, first.’

‘Why?’ said the Caterpillar.

Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.

‘Come back!’ the Caterpillar called after her. ‘I’ve something important to say!’

This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.

‘Keep your temper,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Is that all?’ said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.

‘No,’ said the Caterpillar.

Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said,

‘So you think you’re changed, do you?’

‘I’m afraid I am, sir,’ said Alice; ‘I can’t remember things as I used — and I don’t keep the same size for ten minutes together!’

‘Can’t remember what things?’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, I’ve tried to say “How doth the little busy bee,” but it all came different!’ Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.”

Alice’s state of mind reminds me of tax advisor who doesn’t understand PPLI. These advisors can’t conceive of an insurance policy accomplishing more than a trust. But in a sense, this can be seen with a little reflection–these advisors are mostly in the business of creating trust, or giving tax advice, and think that insurance is beneath their dignity. Much like Alice regards the Caterpillar.

Ironically, most PPLI policies are owned by trusts. PPLI greatly expands the trust’s possibilities by coupling amicably with a properly structured PPLI policy.

Tax in the Real World 

I think most people would agree that in an ideal society, taxation would promote the common good. But putting this into practice is extremely difficult. Who to tax and how much to tax is much debated throughout the world, and countries approach this dilemma in many different ways, depending on the type of government and their societal goals.

Strong central governments are able to implement their programs with greater ease than in societies that are more pluralistic and democratic, but this is still no guarantee that the programs implemented will be successful, and promote the common good.

Promoting the common good reminds me of the quest to rid the world of the One Ring in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Written during the time of World War II, Tolkien’s epic novel offers us an example of a quest to rid the world of a device, the One Ring, that had the ability to unleash destruction and enslave the peoples of Middle Earth. In the end, service and steadfast devotion won out over greed and power.

At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. our quest is to give you maximum tax efficiency and privacy while maintaining your compliance with the world’s tax authorities. Our PPLI structuring uses a simple, straightforward, and traditional tool–life insurance. Our service and steadfast devotion to your needs produces exceptional results. Please let us know your situation so we can create a plan that works for your own unique set of circumstances.

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

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The Rainmaker Cometh

Professor PPLI’s Tanned Face

 Part 3

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 Our next series of articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI to the Rescue.  

Professor PPLI has arrived to educate our advisor on what PPLI can accomplish for this frustrated client. We continue our analogy of rain, and cast Professor PPLI in the role of the rainmaker, which the Cambridge English Dictionary defines as “someone who makes a lot of money for a company or who helps someone or something to succeed.” This is an apt description of Professor PPLI.  As you will find out, Professor PPLI has a studious approach to the tax savings and tax compliance benefits of PPLI, (Private Placement Life Insurance).

It is not raining in the third panel of the Concept Map which includes a palm tree. In this article, we will explore how the rain exits and how “PPLI can stop the rain.” Frequently wind can accompany rain, but it also can blow it away.

Before we detail how “PPLI can stop the rain.” Please enjoy a memorable passage from Charles Dickens on the wind from his novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Think of this wind as the same wind that blew the rain away.  This rain that so disturbed the client’s assets in frame two of our Concept Map.

“An evening wind uprose too, and the slighter branches cracked and rattled as they moved, in skeleton dances, to its moaning music. The withering leaves no longer quiet, hurried to and fro in search of shelter from its chill pursuit; the labourer unyoked his horses, and with head bent down, trudged briskly home beside them; and from the cottage windows lights began to glance and wink upon the darkening fields.

Then the village forge came out in all its bright importance. The lusty bellows roared Ha ha! to the clear fire, which roared in turn, and bade the shining sparks dance gayly to the merry clinking of the hammers on the anvil.

Out upon the angry wind! how from sighing, it began to bluster round the merry forge, banging at the wicket, and grumbling in the chimney, as if it bullied the jolly bellows for doing anything to order. And what an impotent swaggerer it was too, for all its noise; for if it had any influence on that hoarse companion, it was but to make him roar his cheerful song the louder, and by consequence to make the fire burn the brighter, and the sparks to dance more gayly yet; at length, they whizzed so madly round and round, that it was too much for such a surly wind to bear; so off it flew with a howl giving the old sign before the ale-house door such a cuff as it went, that the Blue Dragon was more rampant than usual ever afterwards, and indeed, before Christmas, reared clean out of its crazy frame.

It was small tyranny for a respectable wind to go wreaking its vengeance on such poor creatures as the fallen leaves, but this wind happening to come up with a great heap of them just after venting its humour on the insulted Dragon, did so disperse and scatter them that they fled away, pell-mell, some here, some there, rolling over each other, whirling round and round upon their thin edges, taking frantic flights into the air, and playing all manner of extraordinary gambols in the extremity of their distress.

Nor was this enough for its malicious fury; for not content with driving them abroad, it charged small parties of them and hunted them into the wheel wright’s saw-pit, and below the planks and timbers in the yard, and, scattering the sawdust in the air, it looked for them underneath, and when it did meet with any, whew! how it drove them on and followed at their heels!

The scared leaves only flew the faster for all this, and a giddy chase it was; for they got into unfrequented places, where there was no outlet, and where their pursuer kept them eddying round and round at his pleasure; and they crept under the eaves of houses, and clung tightly to the sides of hay-ricks, like bats; and tore in at open chamber windows, and cowered close to hedges; and, in short, went anywhere for safety.”

Now contrast this chaotic and disruptive wind to the placid palm tree next to Professor PPLI in panel three of our Concept Map.  Here is a description of palm trees from Wikipedia.

“Palms are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. They have been important to humans throughout much of history. Many common products and foods are derived from palms. In contemporary times, palms are also widely used in landscaping, making them one of the most economically important plants. In many historical cultures, because of their importance as food, palms were symbols for such ideas as victory, peace, and fertility. For inhabitants of cooler climates today, palms symbolize the tropics and vacations.”

In January and February when walking the sometimes icy New York City streets, you are apt to encounter the sun tanned face or two on the crowded sidewalks. It is difficult not to have a pang of jealousy. You know that this lucky person has just returned from a pleasant Caribbean island where palm trees abound, and the bitter cold winter wind is not felt. At this time in the Caribbean, the temperatures are usually ideal–not too hot or too cold. This balance reminds us of the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP), and how these six principles together with PPLI achieve such outstanding asset structuring results.

In the STEP Journal, Simon Gorbutt TEP, Director of Wealth Structuring Solutions at Lombard International Assurance, demonstrates how the six principles of EWP solve many common issues for wealthy clients.  (Note in this article that the term “investment-linked life insurance” is used for PPLI.)

“Bill Gates once said that ‘with great wealth comes great responsibility’. Gates was referring to philanthropy, but, for many wealthy clients, the responsibility they feel is twofold: to their communities, but also to their ultimate beneficiaries, to ensure that wealth is not unnecessarily eroded before it reaches them. Wealthy clients cite succession and inheritance issues as their greatest concern in terms of wealth creation and preservation in the coming years.1 In an age of political turmoil and where globalisation and digitalisation make all manner of personal and professional change swift, ensuring the continuity of one’s legacy can be challenging, as can finding a single vehicle that delivers the flexibility and longevity clients require. However, life insurance may be that vehicle.”

Preservation

Mobile lifestyles are fast becoming the norm: a third of wealthy clients hold a second passport or nationality, 22 percent plan to buy another home in a foreign country in the next year and 41 per cent send their children overseas for education.2 However, every connection with a new country brings a risk that existing wealth structures will be rendered ineffective. A mainstay of planning in one jurisdiction, such as an excluded property trust for a UK resident non-domiciliary, may not survive elsewhere: on a move by the settlor or beneficiary to France, the trust attracts reporting obligations and, potentially, tax. Spain and other countries that have not ratified the Hague Convention of 1 July 1985 on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition may disregard it entirely. And the issue is by no means exclusively European: acquisition of US taxpayer status by a non-US resident can require a client to contend with two tax regimes simultaneously, and investment options may be constrained – e.g. by punitive tax and reporting associated with passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). While there is likely no panacea, investment-linked life insurance can go a long way towards alleviating these concerns.

Importantly, life insurance is not a uniquely civil- or common-law creation. As such, its treatment in law and tax is reasonably uniform, and a well-structured insurance policy will be immune to a move between civil- and common-law jurisdictions. Whether unchanged or with subtle amendments, it can continue to defer tax on linked investments across borders and even in the hands of dual or multi-tax residents. Further, policy assets are owned by the insurer, rather than the policyholder – a distinction that grants the policyholder exposure to investments, such as PFICs, that might otherwise be taxed unfavourably. Similarly, policy investment gains may be protected on emigration, given that, in some countries (e.g. Spain and France), life insurance is not subject to exit tax. In the meantime, the policyholder retains access to their preferred investment managers, appointed by the insurer.

Transition

Over time, life can be complicated not only by travel, but also through the gradual dispersal of family, wealth and other interests – not to mention death, separation and remarriage, and the extended families that can follow. When the time comes for assets to pass to the next generation, these intricacies can frustrate intentions. At death, a matrimonial property regime may apply and should be dealt with first. If time has been spent in various locations, assets are widely distributed or the residence and domicile of a client no longer match, there is scope for more than one succession regime to apply. Some jurisdictions recognise the concept of a deceased’s estate, while elsewhere succession is direct. Others apply forced-heirship rules, and then there is the prospect of double taxation. While the landscape has seen some simplification, e.g. with the EU Succession Regulation (the Regulation)3 and enhanced European cooperation in matrimonial property matters,4 it can be hard to ensure assets reach the right hands.

One of the attractive features of life insurance is the possibility to designate beneficiaries to whom some or all policy proceeds are paid directly when the contract ends. Amounts transferred in this way are generally excluded from the estate of the deceased and are therefore not subject to probate. In some cases, such as in Sweden, a beneficiary can automatically become the new policyholder when the holder dies. At European level, life insurance is a notable exclusion from the scope of the Regulation.5 This is not to say that a life policy in force at the holder’s death cannot be subject to the Regulation, but it provides comfort that payments to beneficiaries will be made immediately, rather than being gathered in and distributed with the broader estate. In this context, it is also significant that, regardless of the number and location of a policy’s linked investments, the policy remains a single asset with a single situs.

There can be little comfort, however, in assets reaching their destination if their value by that time has dissipated. Life insurance is not only subject to a specific legal framework, but also usually sits under a specific head of taxation. As a result, proceeds, on withdrawals or termination, can be taxed more lightly than direct investments and direct inheritance. In France, for example, death proceeds of a policy funded prior to the assured’s 70th birthday are taxed at beneficiary tax rates of 20–31.25 per cent, rather than at succession tax rates of up to 60 per cent. Even where reduced tax rates are unavailable, a life policy might be paired with high death cover from the same provider to meet, rather than mitigate, the liability.

If there is concern that when assets change hands they will be consumed by family disputes or further taxation, bespoke policy terms can reduce this risk: a couple in Spain has the option to take out joint life policies, each spouse naming the other as beneficiary should they be the sole survivor. After an initial term, the sole survivor receives a contractual right to end the policy and take the proceeds. However, the spouses can agree at the outset that receipt of this right will be delayed by a term of years or be invalidated by family disputes or remarriage during this time. Succession tax is not due until the right is received. Crossed policies such as these can smooth the transition of wealth and offer time to plan before a tax bill can arise.

Control

Two of the primary reasons wealthy individuals are concerned about intergenerational wealth transfer are that children will not know how to handle the investments and that they will be irresponsible with the money.6 Having earmarked wealth for the next generation, retaining control over how it is applied can be difficult, particularly overseas. A life policy could solve the conundrum.

In the UK, for example, where beneficiary designations are uncommon, a gift of a foreign life policy to an individual is not chargeable to income or capital gains tax and, for a domiciled (or deemed-domiciled) client, is potentially exempt for inheritance tax purposes. If there is concern that a child or grandchild may be insufficiently mature to handle the value transferred or share the family’s wealth management objectives, policy terms can be tailored before the gift so that, for a period of time chosen by the donor, the policy cannot be brought to an end and withdrawals are prohibited or capped. Elsewhere, beneficiary designations can bestow a form of veto right: although not unique to Belgium, Belgian insurance law provides that an accepting (irrevocable) beneficiary must consent to certain policy transactions, including withdrawals of policy value by the holder. A grandparent who gifts a policy to a child but is irrevocably designated a beneficiary in first rank will possess a veto right during their lifetime over access to the policy value, which value will then inure to the benefit of the child, and ultimately the grandchild as beneficiary in second rank.

Connection

Of course, circumstances may dictate that a combination of solutions or an addition to an existing vehicle is required. In this context, the incorporation of an insurance policy can enhance the efficiency of a larger plan and expand the available investment options. A practical example is the addition of US-style insurance and annuities to foreign non-grantor trusts to limit the effect of the accumulation and distribution rules.7 Similarly, should a beneficial owner spend time in a jurisdiction that disregards a foreign entity, such as a trust, or treats it as transparent (attribution rules in South Africa, or tainted protected settlements in the UK), a life policy held by the entity and compliant in the beneficiary’s country of residence can preserve tax deferral and investment flexibility.

Conclusion

As families and their wealth gradually disperse, and business and personal relationships evolve, even established planning tools can be rendered inefficient or, worse, obsolete. While no structure will weather all eventualities, the flexibility inherent in life insurance and the breadth of its recognition make it an attractive candidate for completing a modern wealth and succession plan.”

  • The Wealth Report 2016, Knight Frank
  • As above, note 1
  • Regulation (EU) No 650/2012
  • Council Regulation (EC) 2016/1103 and, in relation to registered partnerships, Council Regulation (EU) 2016/1104
  • art.1(2)(g), subject to point (i) of art.23(2)
  • As above, note 1
  • See Danilo Santucci, ‘Distribution and Throwback, Part 2’, STEP Journal (Vol25 Iss10), pp.34–35

In our next article we will discuss in more detail how the six principles of EWP in conjunction with PPLI give “magical powers” for structuring assets to achieve exceptional outcomes for clients. Let us know how we can accomplish the same for you!

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

 

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