The Lyon Group Blog

Why We Do It

Posted by The Lyon Group on October 7, 2018

“What do you do when you’re full of life, and you learn
there’s a fast-growing cancer inside of you?”

Nautilus Member Bill Lyons shares the story of his client, Noelle, a free spirit who would rather spend her time helping others than think about herself.

Watch Bill’s story (3:01) to see how this remarkable woman reacted to the news that she would not watch her daughters get married, after all.

Asset Titling

Posted by The Lyon Group on September 2, 2018

Even if wills and revocable living trusts are drafted to maximize estate savings, titling and beneficiary designations of property may prevent the documents from operating as intended. Additionally, assets may not pass to the intended beneficiaries if not titled properly.

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Choosing the Right Insurance Mix

Posted by The Lyon Group on August 6, 2018

Should you purchase term insurance or is permanent insurance the better buy? If you already own a term policy, should you convert it to a permanent plan, such as whole life? Or is a flexible plan such as universal life the way to go?

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Donor Advised Fund

Posted by The Lyon Group on June 26, 2018

Donor advised funds (DAFs) are separate accounts of a sponsoring charitable organization established by a donor. The donor (or his designee) retains the right to make nonbinding recommendations for fund grants and investments. The sponsoring charity typically receives a small annual management fee and may assist the donor with selection of worthy grant recipients and performing due diligence on donor’s recommended grants.

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Planning for Privacy in a Public World

Posted by The Lyon Group on May 30, 2018

We live in a public world, where anyone with a computer, smart phone, or tablet can easily access an unsettling amount of our clients' personal information. Clients have become increasingly concerned with protecting their privacy and personal security, and often look to professional advisors for practical solutions. Below are several privacy planning strategies the professional advisor can recommend.

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Tax-Advantaged Education Funding

Posted by The Lyon Group on April 21, 2018

Saving for college education can be an intimidating undertaking for many parents who may be inexperienced with tax laws, and unsure how to balance their own financial goals, such as saving for retirement and the financial needs of their children. There are many options available to finance a child’s education, and which one or more options to choose requires consideration of many important factors.

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Gifts to Minors

Posted by The Lyon Group on March 4, 2018

Helping a child with his or her education or support often requires gifts. Fortunately, there also may be income and estate tax savings to making gifts to minor children. Gifts can be made directly or indirectly to a child, or to a trust for his or her benefit.

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Section 457 Plans for Non-Profit Organizations

Posted by The Lyon Group on February 10, 2018

Section 457 of the Tax Code provides the rules that govern all NQDC plans sponsored by “eligible employers.” The term “eligible employer” is defined to include states, their instrumentalities (e.g. schools, police departments, etc.) and tax-exempt organizations, but does not include “the federal government or any agency or instrumentality thereof.” A plan sponsored by a state or local government entity does not have to meet a specific ERISA exemption.

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Charitable Gifting

Posted by The Lyon Group on January 20, 2018

The desire to assist a charitable organization must be a primary motive for making a gift; if no charitable inclination exists, charitable giving is difficult to justify. Alternatively, if a charitable motive exists, the tax laws provide various methods and incentives to encourage the donor’s goodwill.

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Supporting Organizations

Posted by The Lyon Group on December 12, 2017

Since the adoption of the Tax Reform Act of 1969, charitable organizations which qualify as exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code ( IRC) are classified as either public charities or private foundations based on Section 509 “public support” tests. Organizations classified as public charities are subject to less restrictions and yield greater tax deductions than those classified as private foundations. Public charities are generally afforded these advantages due to Congress’s belief that if the public is heavily involved in the funding and/or operation of a charity, that charity will be less likely to operate for the private benefit of those in control. By the same logic, supporting organizations are deemed to be under the same public scrutiny as the public charity it supports, and are thus “exempted” from satisfying the public support test.

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Using the 1040 to Find Planning Opportunities

Posted by The Lyon Group on November 16, 2017

For most taxpayers, the best way to reduce current income is to establish and fund a qualified retirement plan or IRA. After deductible retirement plan contributions have been maximized, the next best thing from an investment standpoint is to find ways to defer investment income. Roth contributions may be appropriate where a current tax deduction is not as important as future tax-free income. Additionally, certain assets—such as non-dividend paying (growth) stocks, tax-efficient mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, deferred annuities, and life insurance—can defer income tax. With regard to investment income that cannot be repositioned or earned income, when possible, time the recognition of income to stay below the next highest tax bracket.

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365 Saturdays

Posted by The Lyon Group on November 8, 2017

Here’s an interesting question...“On which day of the week do you spend the most money?”

For most people, it’s Saturday. In retirement...every day is Saturday!

How will you pay for your 365 Saturdays a year?

I hope they are everything you wish for them.

Watch Video

7 Steps to Protect Yourself After the Equifax Breach

Posted by The Lyon Group on October 3, 2017

From May through July, hackers exploited a website vulnerability at Equifax, one of the major consumer credit reporting agencies. If you have a credit report, there is a chance your sensitive and personal information including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers, may have fallen into the wrong hands. The stolen information could be used in tandem with passwords taken from other databases to commit financial crimes against you, reported a source cited by Consumer Reports.

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Tax Diversification

Posted by The Lyon Group on September 17, 2017

Is it better to fund your retirement with pre-tax dollars or after tax?

Most of the emphasis on diversification has revolved around having the right mix of stocks and bonds. But when it comes to tax-treatment, it’s not always so simple.

Watch a short video that may make a big difference in how you think about taxes:

Watch Video

Junk Drawer

Posted by The Lyon Group on July 3, 2017

Most of us have at least one “junk drawer” in our house. But does the concept describe our financial lives?

Check out this two-minute video by my partner. See if you can relate.

De-cluttering – whether it’s your junk drawer or your finances may help you improve your game!

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Human Capital: The Missing Piece of Your Portfolio

Posted by The Lyon Group on June 21, 2017

What do you include when asked to determine the value of your total economic wealth? If you are like most savvy investors, you probably turn to a balance sheet of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate holdings and retirement savings accounts to calculate your financial net worth. This traditional definition of wealth, however, is incomplete. It overlooks what may be your largest asset – your “human capital.”

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Bank of Dad

Posted by The Lyon Group on May 11, 2017

We might give counsel to a client on a number of things – how to plan his estate, how to protect his family from the unexpected, how to manage his assets, how to structure his business. But recently, I was on the receiving end of some advice from a client, Joe. Maybe it could be helpful for you and your kids / grandkids / nieces or nephews.

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Income in Respect of a Decedent (IRD)

Posted by The Lyon Group on April 18, 2017

Income in Respect of a Decedent (IRD) is all the income a decedent would have received had death not occurred, but was not properly includible in his/her final income tax return. IRD must be included in the income of the decedent's estate, if the estate receives it. Or if the beneficiary receives the income, it is income on the beneficiary’s income tax return. IRD retains the same tax nature after death as it would have had if the decedent had received the item of income while alive. There is no step-up in basis for IRD items.

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Medical Directives

Posted by The Lyon Group on March 13, 2017

Every state now has legislation authorizing the use of some form of advance health-care directive—a power of attorney, a living will, or both. For those who have not executed an advance directive, some states have "surrogate decision-making" statutes allowing family members and others to make health-care decisions for individuals who lack decision-making capacity.

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Revocable Living Trust (RLT) vs. Traditional Will

Posted by The Lyon Group on February 8, 2017

Revocable Living Trust: No estate tax savings. Trust assets are included in the grantor's gross estate and subject to estate tax. The same estate tax planning methods are available as with a traditional will.

Traditional Will: Assets owned by the decedent are included in the gross estate and subject to estate tax. The same estate tax planning methods are available as with a revocable living trust.

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Taxation of Business Entities

Posted by The Lyon Group on January 6, 2017

Certain tax issues arise when distributing assets, including cash from a business. The type of entity the business is organized as largely determines what the tax consequences will be. C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships each have certain business advantages and disadvantages and are taxed differently. A limited liability company (LLC) can elect whether it will be taxed as a C corporation, S corporation, partnership, or, if it has only one member, a sole proprietorship.

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Business Transfer Issues

Posted by The Lyon Group on November 8, 2016

The most common types of buy-sell agreements are the cross purchase plan (between the owners) and the entity purchase or—if the business is incorporated—stock redemption plan (between the owners and the business). The distinguishing feature is the party that agrees to buy the interests of the withdrawing or deceased owner. In a cross purchase plan, the individual owners themselves agree to buy the interest of a withdrawing or deceased stockholder; in an entity purchase, the business itself buys (redeems) the departing owner’s interest.

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Cash Flow Analysis

Posted by The Lyon Group on October 17, 2016

Cash flow analysis begins with identifying income inflows and outflows. The process of gathering accurate inflows and outflows data is crucial to the process – "forgetting" certain inflows and/or disastrous effects on a client's long-term financial situation. Client checklists of income inflows and outflows can be very valuable in the process, and decrease the likelihood that the client will overlook certain information.

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