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Expert: Wealthy Keep Wealth

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The results of the presidential election should increase high-net-worth individuals’ interest in estate planning.

Rich Shaeffer made that prediction in a recent interview.

The estate tax on inherited wealth “is not going away,” says Shaeffer, a vice president at a life insurance unit of Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford. “We’ll have to address it.”

Although there has been an erosion of their wealth in the current economy, “the wealthy are still wealthy,” Shaeffer says.

Shaeffer, who works in a Charlotte, N.C., office, says most small business owners, who make up an important subset of the high-net-worth market, have avoided wealth shrinkage, because their net worth is in their businesses.

“What keeps business owners lying awake is thinking, ‘How am I going to help my business continue?’” Shaeffer says. “Life insurance offers them 2 exquisite solutions: leverage and accumulation. Leverage can be offered through universal life with a focus on high death benefits. An accumulation product set would be an indexed variable universal life policy. Those products are gaining momentum.”


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