By Boyce F. Lowery, CLU, ChFC
Most people don’t know this about me, but my father was a life insurance agent most of his working life. My identical twin brother was also a very successful agent before I decided to enter the business four decades ago. (I guess you could say it runs in the family.)
I founded Suncrest Advisors years ago because I love helping business owners, professionals, and executives plan for two of life’s most challenging (yet inevitable) financial events: retirement and death. We also provide valuable assistance in many other areas as well.
What We Do
At Suncrest Advisors, we specialize in offering expert financial advice on complex business and planning issues. We’ve found over the years that many business owners and professionals don’t have the time to find solutions to complicated wealth accumulation, protection, and transfer issues.
That’s where we come in.
Instead of having to come up with financial strategies on your own, we help you get the answers you need to make life-altering financial decisions with confidence—whether you’re trying to figure out how to exit your business, improve the value of your business, retain key employees, or protect and grow your hard-earned assets.
How We Help
The vast majority of our clients are successful business owners looking to:
- Grow their business
- Protect and grow their assets
- Minimize income and estate taxes
- Attract and retain employees
- Have a succession plan in place for an unexpected event
- Plan for their eventual exit from the business in the most favorable way possible
We offer a suite of comprehensive services designed to help you meet all of these goals. We also partner with a network of top-tier professionals—including ESOP experts, financial planners, attorneys, lenders, wealth advisors, and more—so you can be sure you’re getting the most holistic advice for your situation.
All of our services are designed to help business owners and the affluent maximize their wealth, minimize their taxes, protect their assets, and create a clear-cut plan for how they’ll eventually transfer those assets upon their death. Here’s a brief overview of what we offer.
We offer a complimentary business valuation service where we help you figure out how much your business is worth. Afterward, you can use this information to decide if you should sell your business, update your buy-sell agreements, adjust your estate plan, and more.
Life Insurance Audit
For business owners, a life insurance audit can potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. We look at important issues like policy ownership, beneficiary designations, policy objectives, and comparative analysis, as well as compliance with the relevant tax laws for business-owned life insurance.
Tax-Free Cash Flow
Almost 100% of clients want to find a way to legitimately save on income taxes. Two well-known ways to save taxes on the growth of investments are through the use of a Roth IRA and a “maximum funded” and properly designed life insurance contract from the most competitive insurance carrier based on your unique profile. Properly structured, these tools can provide tax-free cash flow for many years and be more efficient than various alternatives.
A business owned by more than one person should have a well-drafted buy-sell agreement that states what would happen in the event of death, disability, retirement, termination, bankruptcy, and divorce. At Suncrest Advisors, we help our clients and the attorney put together the agreement and assist in determining the proper funding terms and resources.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are a terrific tool for qualifying businesses for the owner to plan their exit in a very tax-efficient manner and at 100% of the business value. ESOPs certainly will increase employee retention, save the seller and the business substantially in taxes, and allow the seller to retain control until full payment has been received.
At Suncrest Advisors, we and our professional partners together will handle the ESOP plan design and financial analysis, arrange the financing, and help you with ESOP repurchase obligation planning and funding.
Key Man Insurance
A “key man” life insurance policy is simply a regular life insurance policy owned by the business with the business as the beneficiary. The policy insures the life of a key employee who has special skills, important business relationships, or vital knowledge so that the business doesn’t suffer a financial loss if the key employee dies. We’ve had numerous key employee policies result in death claims and the benefits paid were a godsend for the business.
Many of our clients have one or more employees that are really important to the business itself. Retaining these key employees is crucial to the long-term success and value of the business. There are many strategies available for creating “golden handcuffs,” including deferred bonus plans, supplemental executive retirement plans, executive bonus plans, split-dollar plans, and phantom stock plans. Deferred compensation plans funded by the business for the benefit of an employee can also serve as golden handcuffs.
In qualifying circumstances, many business owners and other affluent clients choose to utilize bank premium financing for paying life insurance premiums. The leverage provided in today’s low-interest-rate environment can be extremely attractive, whether funding insurance for estate liquidity, providing for future tax-free cash flow, or some combination of planning objectives. We routinely facilitate these transactions from start to finish.
Estate planning is a broad term that can include legacy planning as well. For our services, we use common tools such as wills, many types of trusts, medical directives, powers of attorney, and life insurance for our clients. For larger estates, we also use annual exclusion gifts, lifetime exclusion gifts, estate freeze techniques, discounting, premium finance, private financing, private split dollar, foundations, and many other estate planning tools and techniques to meet estate planning needs.
If you have a life insurance policy you no longer wish to keep and have a life expectancy of 15 years or less, you may choose to sell it through a life settlement. To get the highest potential value for a policy in the life settlement market, it’s critical to work with someone who is willing to shop around for multiple offers so you can be sure you’re getting the best one. This is exactly what we do for our clients.
As clients approach retirement or find themselves already retired, they often look for safety of principal, reasonable returns with low risk, and sometimes even guaranteed lifetime income. We have access to all the various types of annuities in the marketplace and routinely assist in finding how to best utilize an annuity for our clients, where applicable.
Why Business Owners Choose Us
Most business owners choose to work with Suncrest Advisors because they know there are many potential pitfalls when dealing with life insurance, annuities, taxes, estate planning, and/or a complex business situation. They appreciate the expertise and advice we offer, as well as our network of vetted professionals who work collaboratively to help them accomplish their business and wealth management goals.
Take the First Step
We at Suncrest Advisors know the unique challenges you face as a business owner. That’s why our main goal is to give you peace of mind and clarity regarding every piece of your financial puzzle. Whether you need help valuing your business, creating a succession plan, or protecting your key assets through asset protection strategies and adequate insurance coverage, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Call us at 888-827-0146 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.
Boyce Lowery is a 40-year veteran and established expert in the insurance industry. As the managing partner of Suncrest Advisors, he, his partner, and their associates all aim to provide financial security and peace of mind to business owners, executives and professionals, and high net-worth individuals across the United States. Along with more than four decades of experience, Boyce is a Chartered Life Underwriter® (the premier designation for insurance professionals signifying specialized knowledge in life insurance and estate planning) and a Chartered Financial Consultant® (known as the advanced financial planning designation). To learn more, visit https://suncrestadvisors.com/ or connect with Boyce on LinkedIn.