All of my Blog Posts

You bring your children into the world with love. You raise them with love. If you’re going all the way as a parent, you also create an estate plan to safely pass on your legacy of love as well as your assets. But does your plan simply leave your assets outright, so they pass directly to your children all at once? Or are they protected via a trust?

A trust is a must if you’re looking for true protection when passing on assets. Just as you protect your children from harm while you raise them, you can also protect them from any threat that could come from irresponsible behavior or external risk. The safest choice is to place the inheritance in a trust.

Trusts can be designed to protect assets from things like bankruptcy, creditors, lawsuits and even divorce. No one is immune from making a few mistakes during their lifetime, but that shouldn’t have to cost them their inheritance. If your child has a marriage that dissolves, for example, their future inheritance can be safely tucked into a trust, separating those assets from marital property and rendering them untouchable by an ex-spouse.

You can also set up a trust to distribute an inheritance according to your own wishes and for specific purposes, such as education, starting a business, maintaining a family vacation home, or whatever will benefit your children the most.

Gifting a large sum of cash to a 21-year-old is not usually considered best practice. Many parents leaving assets in trust choose to stagger distributions at certain age milestones, which helps children learn to manage their assets over time with the help of a trustee. Then, at a later age, the child can become the trustee with full control when they have the knowledge to make better financial decisions.

If your child is still a minor or has special needs, a trust is even more critical. Under the law, minors cannot inherit outright, so a trust is necessary to safeguard the assets for their benefit until they reach the age of maturity. The trust preserves assets for their benefit, names a trustee to oversee distributions, and does not disqualify them from receiving special government benefits like an outright inheritance would.

Inheriting in trust provides substantial benefits that an outright inheritance does not. We can help you plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a bucket this summer, it’s likely you’ve heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you haven’t yet been called on to donate or douse yourself with a bucket of icy water, you’ve certainly seen the thousands of videos of people far and wide -- famous and not -- gasping from a freezing bath. Now the ALS Association has filed two patent applications to trademark the term, “Ice Bucket Challenge” for use in raising money for charity. Since the end of July, ALS has raised almost $94 million via the Challenge, [more]
As hard as it is for all of us to “plan” for our deaths, doing so is one of the best things you can do for your family. Adding to their grief and pain by giving them no clue as to where to find your personal and business paperwork should not be a memory you leave behind. Gather the following information in a folder and let your family know where they can find it in case you die unexpectedly or have a health crisis: Advisors - Provide the name and contact information of any financial advisors, including attorneys, estate planners, [more]
When venturing into a new business, there is much to be considered. Below are a few key topics to explore prior to committing your time and/or financial resources. 1. Why do you want to work for yourself? If your desire to start a new business comes from how much you dislike your current job, you may want to reconsider a decision to become an entrepreneur. To be successful, you should be pursuing a new venture because you have a passion for it, not because you are running away from something else. 2. Are you self-motivated? When you are just beginning, [more]
One of the most eloquent responses to Robin Williams’ death came from his best friend Billy Crystal, who posted on Twitter simply: “No words.” When someone close to us dies -- especially in a sudden and tragic way -- the grief is so deep that we truly don’t have any words to describe it. And while Robin Williams may have lost the battle to take care of himself, it appears that he did take care of his family through a number of sophisticated estate planning strategies that will at least spare them the pain and cost of a public [more]
Every business owner makes the decision to assume some portion of risk when they operate their own business, but no one wants that potential risk to affect their personal wealth. Unfortunately, there are all too many business owners who neglect to implement the correct asset protection strategies to firmly separate business risk from personal wealth. There are a number of important steps business owners should take to make sure personal wealth is protected from business liabilities, including: Choosing the right business entity. Setting your business up as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) will better protect you in case [more]
If you own real estate, chances are you have purchased insurance to protect your assets against damage or loss. But have you taken the necessary steps to protect your assets against lawsuits or probate? If you own rental properties, there is likely a nagging fear in the back of your mind about being sued by one of your tenants. And if there isn’t, there probably should be. It’s a major risk. And while it may be heartbreaking to think about, there is always a chance your death could trigger a family feud over your home, vacation home or [more]
One of the first decisions an entrepreneur should be making is the selection of the right form of business entity. This is a critical decision because of its ongoing legal and tax consequences. Liability protection is the most important non-tax consideration in the business entity selection process. The business owner has to have a shield or umbrella of liability covering his or her business activities in order to protect their personal assets from liability exposure. There should be no debate over whether or not to create a liability-shielded entity in which to operate the business or to go “bare” and [more]
While most parents have the best intentions when it comes to teaching their children about handling finances wisely, sometimes the lessons don’t take. In addition to concerns about spendthrift behavior, some children experience problems with substance abuse or have mental issues that make giving them access to wealth a problem. This is where a trust can be a parent’s best friend. Trusts allow you to put controls on the distribution of your wealth. For example, you could elect to make partial distributions at predetermined ages throughout a child’s life, or select a trustee who will make the [more]
We are a nation of entrepreneurs, but we are also living in a litigious society, so if you are starting a new venture and there are other founders involved, a founder’s agreement is essential to protecting your fledgling enterprise. Here are some tips on how to properly structure a founder’s agreement: Assign roles and responsibilities. People tend to go into business with others who have strengths they themselves may be lacking, and this can be a good thing. But it is important to solidify those roles and responsibilities or you could find yourself with too many cooks in [more]
Casey Kasem, the celebrity radio host who counted down America’s Top 40 popular songs for years, died on June 15 at the age of 82 and left behind an estimated $80 million fortune. He also left a family feud of biblical proportions between his surviving spouse and his three children from a prior marriage. This is why we do what we do -- to keep your family out of court and connected in love, not conflict. Kasem married his second wife, Jean, who is 22 years his junior, in 1980. Together, they had one child, Liberty Kasem. Casey also had [more]
Choosing the right type of entity for your business is a critical decision that can have long-lasting ramifications in terms of taxes and personal liability. It is not unusual for those starting a business for the first time to have some misconceptions about incorporation; here are the top five: Myth #1: Incorporation helps avoid state income taxes. No matter what state you incorporate your business in, you will still be liable for state income taxes if you operate your business in a state that requires businesses to pay state income taxes. For example, if you incorporate in Nevada, which has [more]
Maria Shriver knows the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand. Her beloved father Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and one-time candidate for Vice President of the United States, died of the disease in 2011 after being diagnosed in 2003. Often called “the long goodbye,” Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million Americans and its prevalence will continue to grow with the aging population. Shriver recently reported for NBC.com on the five things Alzheimer’s or dementia victims should do once a diagnosis has been confirmed: 1. Execute powers of attorney and advance medical directives. These allow for the designation [more]