Jason Zimmerman

Senior Managing Director, Schechter Wealth Strategies, Birmingham. The E-Interview

DB: Where are you?

JZ: In Scottsdale, Ariz., at a conference where we share ideas and strategies on wealth transfer with life insurance and other estate-planning concepts. There are over 180 firms from around the country in our network.

DB: What are the latest developments in the life-insurance marketplace?

JZ: With low-interest rates and volatile equity markets, many high-net-worth families are recognizing the value of life insurance as an asset class that may be deserving of a piece of their overall portfolio. Low-interest rates have also made life-insurance financing opportunities very interesting.

DB: What are the latest strategies for transferring wealth?

JZ: Right now, with the AFR (applicable federal rate) so low (around 3.5 percent), many of our clients are lending money to their children or grandchildren and having them invest in a program we’ve developed that results in a 7 percent to 9 percent cash yield on an AA/AAA investment. The program capitalizes on an arbitrage between two life-insurance companies. Families can move wealth with no gift or estate taxes.

DB: What are some of the latest trends in terms of the estate tax?

JZ: A few years ago, many thought Congress would eliminate the estate tax, [but] now no one is planning on it going away. Our firm is advising clients and operating on the belief that the current exemption of $2 million per person will be raised to a proposed $3.5 million. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shapes out with the upcoming elections.

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