Friday, August 31, 2018

Gaynes Financial Services ~ Wealth Management & Estate Planning Super Heroes

Aretha Franklin Died with the World's Respect. 
Yet She Did Not Have a Will.

This means The Queen of Soul’s estimated $80 million fortune will not be settled efficiently according to Ms. Franklin’s documented wishes. It will be settled very inefficiently by a Michigan probate court - and many other courts of law.

If one dies without a will or other legal documents to be discussed here, one is said to die “intestate”. With intestate succession, or the distribution of property, laws vary widely from state to state. If the deceased held assets in multiple states the complexity of succession becomes substantially more complicated.

A signed and witnessed will is the most basic legal document by which a person designates how their estate should be settled and possessions distributed after they die. The person designates an executor, whose job is to pay all debts and apportion what remains according to instructions of the deceased.

A will is revocable and subject to amendment at any time during one's lifetime. It can also be contested by heirs on a variety of grounds. Heirs may claim the deceased was of unsound mental capacity or was unduly influenced. If a will is successfully challenged it can be voided in whole or in part.

A living trust is another legal document that provides lifetime and after-death property management. If a living trust is properly written and funded one can avoid probate on assets, plan for the possibility of their own incapacity and prevent their financial affairs from becoming a matter of public record.

A living trust is more expensive to set up than a typical will because it must be actively managed after it is created. It must be funded, and it controls only those assets that have been placed in the trust.

Beyond a will or living trust is state and federal estate or inheritance tax, not so popularly also known as “death tax”. Rumors that estate tax has been repealed abound. Though it has again been modified, federal estate tax has not been repealed.

Federal estate tax applies only to individuals with a net worth of over $11 million, for a married couple, $22 million. That still affects a significant number of affluent Americans. It will certainly affect the estate of Aretha Franklin.

Proper estate planning can address any number of issues following one’s death. 

  • Right of survivorship can transfer jointly owned assets to a spouse without the need for an executor. 
  • Trusts of many varieties serve to control and preserve assets, during one’s life and upon theirs death. 
  • Trusts may be revocable and irrevocable. Life insurance trusts and testamentary trusts have unique applications and benefits. 

Upon one’s death a myriad of factors come into play.
 A single person with children faces different issues than a single person without children or a married person with children. Unmarried couples and domestic partners face unique issues of their own.

If the deceased owns real estate or other fixed assets in a state other than where they reside, without a will the state in which that property is located will determine ownership.

In the case of Aretha Franklin and her $80 million net worth, estate settlement will indeed be a time consuming and pain staking process. Years will pass before determinations are made and heirs receive property. Vast sums that could go to those heirs will instead go to attorneys, and, in all likelihood, federal and state governments.

Regardless of one’s net worth, be it $100,000, $80 million or something in between, estate planning is essential to ensure that net worth is preserved during one’s life and distributed as one wished upon death.

The Value of a Trusted Advisor

Having a strong relationship with an advisor can help you be better prepared to live your life through the ups and downs of the market. That’s the value of discipline, perspective, and calm. That’s the difference the right financial advisor makes.


David Gaynes
Gaynes Financial Services

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Celebrating the Life of Friend & Selfless National Hockey League Veteran ~ Kurt Walker & Dignity After Hockey

In 1985 Kurt Walker invited me to a Legends of Hockey fundraiser game he organized for a cause I can not recall. It was indicative of charitable acts Kurt would perform his entire life.

The venue was Chicago's UIC Pavilion, and Kurt fulfilled his promise that big names would take the ice. Following a spirited contest I walked down to the rink.

The first to skate off was Gordie Howe. Followed by Bobby Hull. Then came Stan Mikita. Then Keith Magnuson. And other Hall of Famers. Each slowed as they exited, likely expecting that I wanted their autograph.

I felt I had to say something, probably, "Thanks, I'm waiting for Kurt Walker." They grinned politely and continued on without comment. If I had to guess, they were probably thinking ...

"Then you must be waiting for a fight."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I did not know then what I know now. In 1985 I knew Kurt only as a genuine, smart and immensely fun guy to be around - who happened to have played a few years in the NHL. I had no clue he was a legendary enforcer for his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kurt and I were fellow sales guys for the same corporate events company. The firm moved me to Chicago and Kurt to Boston to open their first regional sales offices. I never made it to Boston during those years, but I hosted Kurt often on his business trips to Chicago. The "Legends" game is one of few experiences I can share about our times together in a family friendly document.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fast forward 30+ years. Not long ago I messaged Kurt via some new age medium that confused both of us, "Hey, are you in Georgia now? I just moved back for the first time since 1984."

Weeks later he apologized for messaging ineptitude and replied, "Ya man! I am in Roswell - let's get together." Sadly, we never did.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kurt passed away on August 17 after a freak injury that was no doubt a result of long term abuse to his body decades after his athletic career came to an end.

Kurt's memorial service and life celebration were amazing. 

On the left is trade show industry legend Johnny Merritt. I am pretty sure he introduced me to Kurt. Johnny too has colorful Kurt Walker stories to share, many of which may not be of a family friendly nature.

Folks who claimed to not be adept at public speaking were in fact more than adept. 

Two speakers are pictured below on the right. I must identify those two on the left. They were most colorful and engaging conversationalists, yet I did not get their names.

Since first draft I learned that the gent on far left is Willi Plett. To his right is Eric Vail. Both are former Atlanta & Calgary Flames. See NHL cards for them and Kurt at bottom of this article.)

First to take the podium was former Atlanta Flame Richard Mulhern, who once looked like this:

Richard now looks like this. He has held up remarkably better than the guy to his left.

Next to speak was former Atlanta Flame & Maple Leaf Tim Ecclestone, who once looked like this:

Tim now looks like the 2nd guy from the right in the foursome above.

Richard and Tim spoke of Kurt's courage, loyalty, drive, spontaneity and generosity. They too confessed to having many stories not appropriate for a family friendly audience.

Last to speak was Kurt's daughter Zoe. She shared touching memories of her Dad as only a Daddy's girl could.

One constant prevailed throughout this day of celebration:

Kurt Walker lived his life to help others. He relished in it. More often than not he helped those who had zero opportunity to return the favor.

Kurt's dedication to those in need is manifest in Dignity After Hockey. Kurt founded the non-profit group to assist former professional hockey players who have fallen on hard times. 

Dignity After Hockey lives on through the efforts of Kurt Walker's friends and family. They ask that you honor the life of this great man by making a donation to continue Kurt's mission.


Dignity After Hockey

Postscript: Having learned the identity of two NHL legends pictured above it is fitting to share images from their playing days:

Just received a Kurt NHL card. Never knew he played for the Kings.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Lake Lanier Association to Celebrate 30th Anniversary Shore Sweep ~ the Largest Trash Cleanup Effort in Georgia

"30 Years & 1000 Tons of Fun!"

Georgia's Lake Sidney Lanier is the premier recreational destination and water resource for Atlantans and others from many miles around. Lanier annually attracts over 11 million visitors who sail, ski, camp or just cruise.

Imagine what lake life would be like if the litter and refuse from those millions of patrons accumulated on islands and shores for decades.

Thanks to the sustained efforts of the Lake Lanier Association - or LLA - one only need imagine that unattractive image. For thirty years LLA members and volunteers have united on an appointed day in September and toiled to make the lake area clean and safe.

On August 25 and September 15, 2018 LLA will host its 30th Anniversary Shore Sweep. August 25 will be a Volunteer Celebration and Band Party, and September 15 will be the traditional Shore Sweep across all of Lake Lanier.

Shore Sweep has grown each year in both number of volunteers and volume of junk removed. Today thousands of workers turn out on foot and by boat, truck and every imaginable vehicle. The event attracts lake residents, marina employees, recreational boaters and anyone else willing to lend a hand.

The amount of debris collected and removed now totals thousands of tons. Some teams compete to break records, with the current title holding crew having accounted for 9 tons of trash in 2017. Content ranges from cans and bottles to discarded tires, furniture, appliances - and even vessels themselves.

Lake Lanier Olympic Park - or LLOP - is known worldwide as the site of rowing and kayaking competition at Atlanta's 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. LLOP will be the venue for LLA's first ever August Shore Sweep Volunteer Celebration & Band Party. 

The day will feature live music by the Fly Betty Band, a water slide large enough even for adults - and much more. Wear your T-shirt from a previous Shore Sweep to receive a free prize.

The LLA will provide food, beverage and prizes patrons will talk about for ages. 


Saturday, August 25, Lake Lanier Olympic Park - LLOP
1 PM to 4 PM - 
Volunteer Celebration & Band Party

Saturday, September 15, Multiple Marina & Hub Sites
8 AM to 1 PM - Shore Sweep ~ All of Lake Lanier 

One important detail: Students or anyone needing credit for community service can earn it at Shore Sweep. Contact LLA for details.

So mark your calendars twice - on two different days.

If you love Lake Lanier or just want to participate in a fun and worthwhile environmental project, save these dates:

August 25, 2018 and September 15, 2018

The LLA will never host another 30th Anniversary Shore Sweep.

You will want to tell your friends, kids and grandkids that you were there. You will want to make them wish they were there. Or you can tell them now and bring them with you. The choice is yours.

For more information on how to participate or sponsor, call 770-503-7757 today. Operators are standing by, yet they may be busy. If so please leave a message that you want to help with Shore Sweep and any important details you can offer. Someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Lake Lanier will thank you for it.

More detailed info is also available here.


Lake Lanier Association
North Georgia Community Foundation Building
615F Oak Street #200
Gainesville GA 30501