In this section, I recommend websites that can help estate planners in their practice.
Www.MorningstarAdvisor.com now carries my monthly Q & A column, “Ask Natalie,” and my monthly podcast, “Benefits Update”. This is a subscription site for financial planners and investment advisors. You have to register, but registration is free.
Www.benefitslink.com is a huge free web site with articles, “Benefits Buzz,” Q & A columns, links to ERISA sections, and a Benefits Yellow Pages. Aimed mainly at the plan sponsor and plan administrator market, but I found here an actuary to evaluate an individual’s pension options and an IRA provider willing to hold non-traditional investments.
Www.FreeERISA.com provides, in easily searchable form, extensive information about private pension plans obtained from IRS and DOL filings. It is geared towards developing sales leads; for example, you can look up what companies in your state have filed with the IRS to terminate their pension plan (so their employees may be looking for a place to roll over money). You have to register. Registering is free (though it brings you a certain amount of e-mail ads from ERISA-related providers whose ads support this site).
Www.rothira.com overflows with useful information about Roth IRAs: copies of the statute legislative history and Technical Corrections Bill; many articles; links to software that helps evaluate Roth IRAs. Always check this site for the latest developments in Roth IRAs.
In January 2001, the IRS updated its old “PS58” table (replacement term rates for single life insurance) but neglected to give the new rates for the “US38” table (joint and survivor life). You can find the new US38 rates at www.tigertables.com thanks to the indefatigable Larry Katzenstein.
For nonrecourse secured loans to IRAs, see http://www.iralending.com/.
One father I heard from chafes at having to hire a professional to help him provide for his disabled child. He points out that he can save tax-free for his retirement (with an IRA or 401(k)), or for his able children’s education (with a 529 plan), all without hiring a lawyer; but the only way he can provide for his disabled child is with a special needs trust (not tax free— in fact, trusts are taxed at higher rates than individuals) that he must hire a lawyer to prepare! If you agree with him that “there is something wrong with this picture,” check out his organization, United Disabled for Economic Security at www.uniteddisabled.org.