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Stephan R. Leimberg. (Photo: Leimberg)

Life Health > Life Insurance > Permanent Life Insurance

Stephan Leimberg, Estate Planning Expert, Dies at 79

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Stephan R. Leimberg — an estate planning attorney, former American College of Financial Services professor, photographer and longtime National Underwriter author — has died at the age of 79, the college reported Monday.

Leimberg may be best known as the creator and principal author of National Underwriter’s Tools & Techniques book series, which includes The Tools & Techniques of Estate Planning, The Tools & Techniques of Financial Planning and The Tools & Techniques of Life Insurance Planning.

He was a lecturer in law at Temple University from 1971 through 1995 and at Villanova University from 1995, and he was on the faculty of The American College of Financial Services for about 30 years.

He founded Leimberg Information Services Inc., an online trust and estate planning web publication, with Robert LeClair in 1998. and in 2017 teamed up with LeClair and Vince Lacker to form Leimberg, LeClair & Lackner, an estate planning software firm.

National Underwriter Life & Health, a print publication that became part of the family of publications that owns ThinkAdvisor, quoted Leimberg frequently and ran many articles that he wrote or co-authored.

He also was a professional photographer. He was the 2008 International Nikon — Popular Photography Mentor Series grand prize winner and won first place in the 2014 Amelia Island Shrimp Festival for photography. He posted many of his photos, including photos taken underwater, on UnSeen Images Galleries.

Leimberg was born in Philadelphia to Edward and Sylvia Leimberg and grew up in North Wildwood, New Jersey.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1965 and a law degree from Temple’s law school in 1971. By 1974, he was chairman of the American College School of Advanced Career Studies.

In 2009, he testified at a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on life settlements. At the hearing, he talked both about the possible benefits of life settlement transactions for older life insurance insureds and potential risks that must be addressed. Many of the recommendations he gave at the hearing, such as enacting uniform federal standards, were eventually enacted into federal law.

In October, Valmark Financial Group named Leimberg the first recipient of its Golden Rule Lifetime Achievement Award. Larry Rybka, chairman of Valmark, said the firm gave Leimberg the award in recognition of his dedication to professionalism and ethics.

Leimberg was also a strong advocate for transparency. In 2003, he spoke at a LIMRA Advanced Sales Forum about the importance of disclosures as a defense against possible problems with strategies such as charitable split-dollar life insurance planning.

“What needs to be disclosed is all the information needed to make an informed decision, including the fact that there are people who say this strategy isn’t going to work,” he said. “You not only have to do your due diligence, you have to have a letter in your file saying that you have shared with the prospective client — that they understand it and they had it in their hands before the policy was sold.”

Stephan R. Leimberg. (Photo: Leimberg)


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