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The Network… For Professionals Only

Are you a professional?… Lawyer. Insurance consultant. CPA. Personal financial planner. Trust officer. Or other wealth transfer planner. Then, unquestionably, this Network part is the most important part of the website for you.

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For each professional advisor who reads these words, the goal of this website is simple: to make you a hero to your clients.

Just how can such a bold goal be accomplished?… Via Our Network.

“No question about it, after all other professionals had given up, you and your Network solved all of my client’s wealth transfer and business succession problems.”
Donald Clement, CPA—Bismark, ND

“When teaching you how to work with his Network, Irv Blackman is a combination guiding light, mentor and tough task master. He won’t let you up for air until you get it right.”
Giovanni Pizzoferrato, Financial Planner/Insurance Consultant—Long Beach, CA

Let’s start The Network story by asking and answering this question…


The simple, but correct, answer to the question is that the conventional estate planning system is bogged down in complexity without an organized way of dealing with the complexity. In spite of a burgeoning estate planning industry (CPAs, lawyers, insurance agents, financial planners, bankers and other advisors all want a piece of the action), when a person of wealth goes to his/her final reward, almost 100 percent of the time the IRS wins the tax game. Then, it’s too late to work the tax magic taught on this website. Your client’s family loses. Our professional input is usually limited to an after-the-fact business valuation and some post-mortem planning for the estate.

To win the estate tax game, proper planning must be done while the client is still alive and well.

Most of us know why the IRS wins so often…in a word, COMPLEXITY. Face it. The tax law is complicated. Big. There is not one person we know who even pretends to know it all. Yet, the conventional system saddles the client (call him Joe) with the task of trying to beat the IRS. Joe must coordinate the necessary professionals: His CPA (who is not trained to do transfer or estate planning); his insurance agent (who is trained to sell the policy but is not trained to be a tax expert); his lawyer (who is trained to draw your death documents); and sometimes his banker (who will hold the documents until Joe dies) and other professional advisors. What’s wrong with this picture?…Joe must lead, coordinate and coach this team of professionals (chances are he has little or no tax training).

Whether you call it Estate Planning or Wealth Transfer Planning, the success of Joe’s Plan—tax-wise and how happy he and his family will be—is directly proportional to the skill of his advisors.

If you were Joe’s professional, did you ask the right questions? Like, what are your specific objectives?… For you and your spouse?… For your kids?…Grandkids?… Your business?… Your retirement? Do you have enough after-tax income to maintain your lifestyle for as long as you live?… The same for your spouse? Do you want to keep control of your business after the transfer? How do you treat the kids fairly?… Those in the business…Those not in the business? The type and number of questions vary depending on Joe’s type of business, the make-up of his family, his objectives, the type of assets he owns, his overall wealth and other factors.

Why so many questions?… Because Joe’s answers dictate The Strategies you must select to legitimately help him disinherit the IRS. If he uses the right Strategies — as discussed on this website — together with the right knowledgeable professionals he can and will, with your help, develop a Plan to defeat the IRS. Every time. And legally.

The Conventional (Estate Planning) System—Who Are the Professional Players?… What Do They Do?

Let’s look at the professional players — basically in estate planning, business succession planning and asset protection — one at a time.


Your author is a CPA specializing in taxes. Particularly succession/estate planning and related disciplines. But guess what?… This CPA doesn’t even prepare his own tax return. Don’t know how. It’s done by a tax partner of our accounting firm, Blackman Kallick Bartelstein, LLP (B/K).

We have people in our office who specialize in tax return preparation. Most specialize in the audit area. Others specialize and consult in various areas. (B/K is the largest single office CPA firm in Illinois.) Yet, with the exception of our tax partners and senior tax department people, none of our audit department or management consultants are trained to do complex tax planning. They do not know and are not expected to know our specialty.

Let’s put it another way: When you take the author of this website away from his narrow area of tax specialization, he’s a klutz.

As far as we know, all CPA firms, in one respect, are like our firm: aside from rare exceptions, nobody in the firm is trained or expected to do our particular specialty — business succession/estate planning and related areas.

The Lawyer

Okay, so this author is also a lawyer. Do I draft estate planning documents?…No! That’s a job for people who spend 100 percent of their time practicing law and specialize in estate planning. Hands down, the most important person needed to draw the documents for your Tax Plans is a competent lawyer.

In practice, for most lawyers, estate planning means basic death planning. Yes, there are many fine lawyers who go beyond the basics and are conversant with and have expertise in The Strategies discussed on this website. We know. They taught us most of what you will read on this website.

Getting the right lawyer is critical to the success of the tax planning discussed on this website.

The Insurance Agent

Is there such a thing as a knowledgeable insurance agent when it comes to estate planning? Absolutely! Best of all, such insurance agents know the most about the available insurance products, which to buy, which to stay away from, and which do the best job in very specific circumstances. In general, they are a pleasure to work with. And remember, they sell the one product that—when properly used—not only pays the estate tax, but actually can create tax-free wealth in addition. Actually, we must say “Thank you” to the many insurance agents who have taught us how to best use The Insurance Strategies described on this website.

Sorry to say it, but most insurance agents—based on my experience—just search for the premium dollar. They usually find it in the corporation (rarely the right place). They say, “We do estate planning,” but the raw truth is most of them use this estate planning pitch as the opening line of their sales pitch. They have only one single goal—to capture the insurance sale. Estate planning is simply not their bag. (Note: Your author is licensed to sell insurance.)

The Banker

When a bank is selected as executor and/or trustee, it holds the documents and ultimately invests and manages the assets that are part of your estate. An important job. Select your bank trustee and executor with the same care you use to select your other professional advisors. Yet, like a CPA, a banker rarely is expected to be or is knowledgeable in the estate planning process.

But, after you die, the banker (as executor and trustee) becomes the most important player. Managing the wealth you will leave behind requires skills that few people have. Also, the bank will not get sick or die. As a result, selecting the right bank is a must. Do your necessary due diligence. The wrong bank is an expensive nightmare for your heirs. The right bank is a pleasure. (Note: Your author is chairman of the board of New Century Bank, Chicago, Illinois.)

Knowledge (Not the Title Your Professional Has) Is What Counts

The people (the professional players and their clients) involved with the conventional (estate planning) system seem to be hung up on the titles of various professionals (i.e., lawyer or CPA). And true enough, that’s where the talent can usually be found. But be watchful. You’ll occasionally find a financial planner, insurance agent, charitable-giving expert, or some other nontitled individual who has what you should be looking for: knowledge, competence, experience and the creative talent to get the tax and economic results you desire.

The Body of Knowledge and The Network

The huge amount of technical knowledge needed in accounting, taxes, law, insurance, charitable giving, trust administration, wealth management, and other disciplines makes it impossible for any one person (or even any one organization) to know all the answers to the questions that arise concerning the subject matter and The Strategies revealed on this website. What to do? To get the results you and your clients will savor after reading the tax tricks that The Strategies can perform, you must work with more than one professional.

It’s no different than playing professional football, doing different types of surgery or building a complex high-tech product: Different professionals with different skills must work together to get the job done right.

Your author gets the job done—and done right—by working with a group of professionals. We call ourselves “The Network.”

Before this website was a gleam in your author’s eye, I wrote a manual/book called “Tax Secrets of the Wealthy.” The manual/book is now in its fourth edition.

We also hoped some professional advisors would buy the manual/book, be impressed and ultimately, that some of them would join The Network. Our vision was to build The Network and change the way wealth transfer is done in the United States from the conventional system to Our System.

But surprise!… Actually two surprises. First, the manual/book was purchased by more client-type readers than we had ever dreamed. But an even bigger surprise was the huge number of professionals that gobbled up the manual/book. Referred clients. And wanted to join The Network or just wanted us to help their clients. Here’s a list of the types of professionals who purchased all four editions (in the order of number of manual/books purchased):

  1. Insurance consultants
  2. Lawyers
  3. CPAs
  4. Personal financial planners
  5. Planned-giving officers of charitable institutions
  6. Bankers (mostly trust officers)

It took a while—four years—but the message finally came through. Yes, our concept of changing the way Wealth Transfer should be done was working. The Network idea was more successful than even our wildest fantasy. But the question soon became obvious… Why only one network?—Our Network.

Our intention is to organize the Family Wealth Protection Institute (INSTITUTE). The purpose of the INSTITUTE is to use every known method of communication—for example, seminars, various types of tapes, the Internet and e-mail—to teach The System and The Strategies presented in the manual/book (and on this website).

Gone is the idea of One Network. Our desire is to teach other professionals how to set up their own networks. All The Networks will be tied together through membership in the INSTITUTE. In the beginning, New Networks can lean on Our Network for talent they have not yet found or developed.

Introducing The Network

First a story. You’ve probably heard it before. It was an accepted fact: Nobody could ever run a four-minute mile. One day an English runner by the name of Roger Bannister broke the barrier—he ran the mile in less than four minutes. Then a flood of runners followed in his footsteps.

Originally, we took the education road:

  1. To educate and share our knowledge
  2. As a marketing tool for our CPA firm’s
    1. Business transfer/estate planning department
    2. Business valuation department

Both reasons are old hat because your author has educated by the written word (tax columns, articles, special reports and books) and spoken the word (speeches, seminars and workshops) for years. Each educational activity, in its own way, is a marketing tool.

The clamor for more information—like the flood of runners following Roger Bannister—after each of the above educational activities convinced us that The Strategies and our tax-saving, wealth-building system(The System) would make an interesting manual/book. The subject matter is unique, and we know it all works well in practice. But as we began writing, we realized that the driving force (the real success of The Strategies and The System) was The Network. Even of greater importance was that the conventional (estate planning) system was a dinosaur. For many reasons, the conventional system just does not get the results that The Network gets.

The phone, fax, Internet and e-mail allow us—members of The Network—to give and receive information almost instantly. Difficult questions and problems are often answered and solved quickly. Working with the same professional Network members—again and again—makes the entire consulting process more efficient than we ever imagined.

Consider Joining The Network

Since the first edition of the manual/book, The Network has become a group—an ever-growing group—of accomplished Wealth Transfer specialists. No individual member even pretends to know how to do it all. All members of the group know how to explain in simple language and totally implement their portion of the overall Wealth Transfer Plan. They understand the total concept of how to use The System and The Strategies presented in the manual/book (and on this website) when applied to their area of expertise.

Just as important, the members are aware of what they don’t know and, of course, who to call to get the needed help.

Clients have uniformly embraced the idea of working with The Network. If you are a professional and want to work with Our Network or start your own, you must bite two bullets:

  1. Admit you don’t know it all, and
  2. Be willing to share your client.

Two significant goals of the manual/book and this website are to teach other professionals how to set up their Own Network and to change the way Wealth Transfer Planning is done in the United States—from the conventional system to Our System. Whether you choose to set up your Own Network or work with ours is not important. We are dedicated to help you either way.

No matter what your specialty, you are able to serve your clients better. Give them the results they want. In less time. And with less effort.

You’ll learn how to move your practice to the next level of service and profitability.

If you charge a fee for your services, the total fees to each individual client will probably decrease, which the clients love. But because of The Network your overall fees and profits will skyrocket. You will quickly abandon billing by the hour. Value billing will replace the old hourly rate method. Your earnings per hour will go up dramatically.

If your compensation is in the form of commissions, your total earnings will rise dramatically.

You’ll also receive on a regular basis

  • Winning practice development ideas and strategies
  • Time-saving shortcuts
  • Marketing tips

The Network is part of A Proven System that makes estate planning professionals rich and their clients even richer.

Learn The System and you—not the competition—will quickly become the standard of excellence in your market area.

Forming A Network

Your Network should contain at least the following practitioners:

  1. A tax planner (to create the plans) who knows how to use The System to accomplish each client’s specific objectives.
  2. An experienced lawyer who is an expert in using The System, understands all of The Strategies, and knows how to draft all the necessary documents.
  3. A knowledgeable and experienced insurance consultant.
  4. When assets must be valued—most often, a business—a valuation expert.

It is essential to the success of Your Network that you be able to answer your client’s questions because:

  1. You know the right answer, or
  2. A member of The Network knows the right answer, or
  3. You know who to call to get the right answer.
    (Note: Oddball or crazy questions excepted.)

The body of knowledge necessary to create the right Wealth Transfer Plans for clients has exploded. And it continues to mushroom. It is no longer stylish to try to even pretend you know it all.

Some disciplines—like Wealth Transfer/Estate Planning/Business Succession—require many skills: law, accounting, economics, insurance, business valuation, and an understanding of human emotions. All of these skills are not possessed by any single person or firm. Yet, practitioners in the estate planning area of practice do not share clients. As a result, the client cannot be well served.

A Network of skilled professionals—sharing the client so each individual practitioner can contribute his/her specialty and expertise—get better technical results and client satisfaction. More efficiently. And at less cost.

The Network makes it easier to discover the tax secrets of the wealthy and then adapt those secrets to enrich others.

The body of knowledge is not stagnant; nor is The Network. Our members regularly run across exciting New Tax-Saving Strategies and wealth-building techniques. Best of all The Network gives us the wherewithal to immediately integrate (and use) these New Strategies and techniques into Our System.

The Geographic Service Area of The Network

Since its inception, The Network continues to prove that geography is not a significant factor. The bulk of what we do is easily handled by phone, fax and overnight couriers. Eyeball-to-eyeball contact is sometimes necessary. Then, one or more of The Network members meets with the client. Often, other members of the client’s family, as well as the client’s regular local CPA, insurance consultant and/or lawyer, attend these meetings.


It will come. If the ideas on this website are sound, the greatest compliment that can be paid to us is that the competition will try to replicate what we already have in place.

We’ll maintain our competitive advantage by continuing to be the best at what we do.

The Network Is Not for Everyone

Many professionals ask me a question something like this: “Irv, will the network help me make a lot of money?”

My response is, “Yes!… but it is essential that you concentrate on helping the client… not making money. Serve the client first. And the money will come.

“It’s never a slam dunk. You must know what you are doing. But you don’t have to know everything. The Network will help you fill in the blanks when your knowledge falls short.

“Let me state it simply: You…not the Network, is what makes good things happen for your clients. You must have a passion for what you are doing… for helping people… for being the best. If you don’t… don’t join the Network.”

Want to Join A Network?… You Have Two Choices

  1. Start your own network from scratch. We did. You can do it too. We’ll help you. Just ask.
  2. Work with Our Network. Work with us for as long as you want (or until you start your Own Network).

Send me, Irv Blackman, a fax (847-674-5299) or e-mail ([email protected]). Tell me about you and your firm. Don’t forget to include every phone number where you can be reached.

Although not required, it would be helpful if you acquire and read the manual/book, “Tax Secrets of the Wealthy,” as soon as possible. Click here to learn more about the manual/book (and go to “At Last, a Manual/Book That Puts You—Not the IRS—In the Driver’s Seat.”)

Most professionals join The Network (or try it out) when they have a tough problem or matter that they (or anyone they know) cannot solve.

So, the next time you have one of these don’t-know-how-to-handle-this-problem cases, give me a call (847-674-5295.)


Irv shares the podium at a tax seminar with President Bush in Austin, TexasTax-Killing Results
Wealthy by Any Definition
On the Road to Wealth
Applying The System to the Mega-Wealthy

New Estate Tax Law
Confusion, Yet Opportunity
How to Plan Your Estate

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