Our Philosophy & Process
Estate & Financial Planning
Take a moment now and look at yourself, not as an employer, not as a professional or owner, but as an individual.
You have assets that need to be managed as soundly as any business. Yet all too often, these decisions are shoved aside by the press of day-to-day business. You end up taking care of other people’s business, not your own. Too often the interaction between your business or profession and your personal affairs is overlooked.
To illustrate this, take this short quiz. If you are like most of us, you’ll be surprised at the answers.
- Do you really know how much you’re worth?
- Are you where you planned to be at this point in time?
- How much is your pension and/or profit sharing program worth right now?
- Is your will up-to-date?
- Does your wife also have an up-to-date will that is coordinated with yours to minimize taxes?
- Is your estate set up to take advantage of the marital deduction?
- Have you taken advantage of gift tax provisions to lessen the estate taxes?
- Will your insurance premiums stop if you are disabled?
- Would your estate have to sell assets to pay taxes?
- Are you saving enough in your peak earning years to secure your retirement?
- Have you actually considered the eroding effect of inflation on the purchasing power of your retirement funds?
- Would your business go under if you had died last night?
- Who legally owns your life insurance? Your home?
- Have you integrated your company benefit programs into your own estate plan yet?
- How much time do you have for managing your personal affairs?
- Will your heirs be able to manage your estate as well as you?
- How long has it been since you’ve taken an inventory of your personal assets?
The questions are endless. The point is, very few people have their personal affairs in as good order as their business.
And one of the problems is that the increasing complexity of legal and tax regulations, both federal and state, makes it almost impossible for the individual to coordinate all the details.
Selecting the person to do your estate planning is as critical as your selection of banker, attorney or accountant. He must be a specialist in an increasingly complex, specialized field. How well he does his job, to a large degree, determines how comfortable you’ll be with the assets you’ve been able to acquire. How uncomplicated your estate will be to settle and administer. How smoothly you will make the financial transition from earning to enjoying.
Clearly this job is for a specialist who thoroughly understands the human side of insurance, the provisions of employee benefits plans, the tax and legal consequences of various courses of action, and fiduciary responsibilities.
At LYTLE Associates we have these specialized skills. From long experience as independent insurance brokers handling employee benefits programs for companies and individuals in Western New York, we work with these problems on a daily basis. We help make certain your decisions are informed choices. Not stab-in-the-dark guesses that will come back to haunt you, or your heirs, years later.
Our service is a little different from what insurance companies offer. We’re compensated differently; we are consultants and by charging a consulting fee, we are able to maintain an all-important objectivity.
We provide the professional skills to physically coordinate your policies, your will, trust agreements, etc. by working closely with you, your attorney, banker and accountant. And we provide the follow through, the continuity of service that is so critical to your financial plan.
First, we listen to you. We find out what you want your money to do for you. Then we review your present finances, inventory your assets to get a clear picture of your financial position. This also enables us to locate problem areas so we can let you know where your assets aren’t meeting your objectives.
Now we are able to offer you alternatives – informed choices. There are often several ways to reach the same goal. We chart the avenues open to you and present the advantages of each. Once you make your choice, we coordinate implementation.
But our work doesn’t stop there. Situations change. So we get back to your regularly to see if the path you’ve chosen is the best one and still working for you. Sometimes we are asked to provide the discipline required to keep an estate plan on schedule.
And finally, we provide continuity of service. Our firm continues to serve each client regularly. There’s no interruption of service, no transferring of records, no breakdown in communication.
Whether your estate plan involved just you or spills over into your ownership of a business or practice, this kind of personal, professional skill can enable you to accumulate and conserve assets, manage those assets and minimize taxes.
We’d like to help you take an objective, business like approach to your financial planning.