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Study Shows Small Business Owners Are Ignoring Opportunities for Succession Planning

April 20, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

According to CNBC, the baby-boom generation and are approaching retirement has been a threat for decades. These days, however, it’s easy to see how the many individuals retiring on a daily basis is influencing our economy as a whole. Every month, more than 250,000 Americans reach age 65. Nearly 20% of this group reports that they are presently retired, which is an increase from the 10% of individuals aged 65 entering retirement in 2010. shutterstock_221394253

These numbers also have implications for small businesses. It’s expected that around 10 million small-business owners have plans to close or sell their businesses within the next decade. These business sales will be a critical source of retirement funds for the business owners.

Up to 80% of small business owners today plan to sell their businesses in order to fund their retirement. These same business owners see their business sale at the potential to find out for all of their retirement needs. Despite this vast interest in selling a business, less than 30% of small business owners have an actual written succession plan. This most recent statistic comes from a national survey of 182 financial advisors.

While business owners clearly see the benefits in selling what they have built, there’s a knowledge gap regarding the importance of succession planning. Without a proper plan in place, a business owner who is counting on the sale to fund retirement could be putting his or her future in jeopardy.

Are you a small business owner? We can help you get started thinking about the need for succession planning. Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner: Should We Put Holdings Into a Trust?

April 17, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Being a family business owner is often challenging and also rewarding. In this position, there are important questions you should answer about the future of your business. This is certainly true when it comes to passing on the business interests to the next generation with minimal tax impacts. A will, annual gifts, and trusts can all be used to some extent for this purpose. Let’s walk through this third option. shutterstock_134435297

In order to minimize the tax implications for the next generation, you could transfer the holdings for the family business into a trust. A revocable trust, for example, would allow you to designate the owner as the trustee as well as the grantor. The role of grantor involves actually funding the trust and the role of trustee allows the owner to maintain control over those same assets.

The trust can be structured so that in certain events, the trust releases out assets to heirs. This might be graduating from college or achieving a particular age. There are ways to plan for the business after death, too. For example, naming alternate trustees determines who can control the business after the main owner has passed away. If the owner passes away before the children are old enough or experienced enough to handle running the business, the power to control the assets for the business can be granted to a trustee until the heirs are capable.

For more specifics about planning ahead for the family business, contact us today. We can help set up your initial consultation at info@lawesq.net.

New Study Shows that Outliving Money is the Leading Concern for Retirees

April 16, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

According to research from the American Institute of CPAs, clients are sharing concerns about retiring with enough money. This is, in fact, the leading concern that clients to their financial advisors. Secondary concerns included how much should be withdrawn from retirement accounts and the rising costs of healthcare, all of which play into critical issues faced during and after retirement age. shutterstock_143828704

Planning ahead can be done successfully when you work with a team of knowledgeable professionals to create a comprehensive approach. With regards to financial and estate planning, you may have common goals across both spheres. Protecting the wealth that you have worked so hard to build may involve strategic planning like trusts or other vehicles.

There’s a great deal of uncertainty about retirement, but many of these questions can be accomplished by putting together the team of professionals to help you reach your goals. Knowing where you stand now and the best way to protect your wealth in the future will provide you with peace of mind and confidence. In order to get the most out of estate planning, you need to be regularly involved in reviewing your document and determining whether any changes in your life warrant a change in your plans.

Get started today so you can plan ahead for retirement. Reach out to us at info@lawesq.net.

Estate Planning and Remarriage: Mistakes to Avoid, Part 2

April 15, 2015

Filed under: Blended Families — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

When you are getting married for the second or third time, there are important things you need to consider related to your estate planning. Since remarriage is only on the rise, prepare to avoid these common mistakes by working directly with an estate planning attorney.

Mistake #4: Not Updating the Will

A remarriage is a big life change and one that warrants an update in your will. You may need to include new family members like the spouse and his or her children in your will, so it’s worth a review. Along the same lines, make sure the language in your will is clear. When you make a reference to “my children”, what does that actually mean? Likewise, “my family” can be quite vague. shutterstock_132297164

Mistake #5: Not Factoring In the Feelings of All Family Members

It’s often overlooked just how much your family might care about your estate planning. This is especially true for children and stepchildren in blended families. Even if the relationship with all these individuals seems good now, that ca change in the future. Be open to reviewing your documents at least once a year.

You can avoid these common mistakes by setting up an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney. Estate planning is not an activity that you can schedule once and forget- it’s an ongoing process that can be altered based on the changing needs of your life. Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Estate Planning Around Tax Day? Dealing With Debts Upon Death; Who Handles Your Affairs When You Can’t? Running a Business- Asset Protection Planning; 3 Spring Cleaning Planning Tips for 2015

April 14, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 2:18 pm

Hear the Attorneys of the Law Firm of Shah & Associates, P.C. describe the highlights of this weekly Blog Posts. For the full post, visit: http://lawesq.net/blog/

Who Handles My Affairs If I Am Unable to Do It?
One of the cornerstones of elder law planning involves a durable power of attorney that helps you safeguard against a possible inability to manage your own affairs. Many people are familiar with the benefits of having a will to allow smooth distribution of assets upon death.thers, however, skip out on planning for a possible disability that could render them unable to manage their personal. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/who-handles-my-affairs-if-i-am-unable-to-do-it/

Income Taxes and Estate Planning: The Time is Right
If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that wills and living trusts each accomplish three goals, but they are not one and the same. Neither document is likely to be a comprehensive solution for all your needs, so you’ll need to consider what time period you are planning for. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/income-taxes-and-estate-planning-the-time-is-right/

Dealing With Debts on Death: Some Planning Tips
In the majority of cases, a deceased person’s debts land in their estate for payment. If the amount of debt involved is substantial, however, it can be a shock for heirs to learn how much the size of the estate has been minimized due to debt payments. This is why more people are considering debt planning in the estate planning process. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/dealing-with-debts-on-death-some-planning-tips/

Running a Business? You Need a Personalized Asset Protection Plan
Every business owner should have an asset protection plan, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with day to day tasks and let this fall by the wayside. There are numerous reasons why it’s a good idea to start an asset protection plan, though, such as the fact that owning and operating a business can be very risky. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/running-a-business-you-need-a-personalized-asset-protection-plan/

Spring Cleaning: Three Tips to Organize Your Life for the Rest of 2015
With spring on the way (or hopefully on the way shortly), it’s a great opportunity to do your spring cleaning. Your home isn’t the only thing that might benefit, though, as you can do a few other personal items to ensure that the rest of 2015 is successful for you. Here are three easy tips to help you succeed. Click here to know more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/spring-cleaning-three-tips-to-organize-your-life-for-the-rest-of-2015/

Visit us at www.LawEsq.net

Call us to request a copy of the Newsletter: 732-521-9455
Like us on Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TrustsEstatesBusinessLaw

Estate Planning and Remarriage: Mistakes to Avoid, Part 1

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A second marriage can be a time of excitement and celebration, but there are also important planning steps you need to take to ensure that you’re moving into this new partnership successfully. What follows are some of the most common mistakes you can make with regard to a second or third marriage and your estate planning. shutterstock_140279116

Mistake #1: Creating a DIY Will

If you have a blended family, it’s all the more important to get professional legal help so that you can appropriately draft a will. Small mistakes can turn into catastrophes, so avoid the attempts to do it on your own and enlist help instead.

Mistake #2: Skipping the Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance policies can be very successful in navigating the tricky waters of providing for blended families. This is especially helpful when you intend to leave property to other family members but also want to provide for your new family.

Mistake #3: Not Evaluating Trustee Options Entirely

It might be tempting to automatically make your new spouse, a stepchild, or your own child a trustee, but it might not be what’s best for you. Choosing an outside trustee with no vested stake in the situation might help reduce arguments between family members after you pass away.

For more advice about structuring your estate planning after a second or third marriage, contact us today. Reach out to us for help at info@lawesq.net.

Don’t Be Blindsided by Long Term Care Needs

April 13, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A recent interview with Rob Lowe shows how people are often unaware of the pervasive long term care issue in the United States. Lowe, like many adults in the early processes of caring for parents, feels “blindsided” by the depth of these needs. Just a few of the statistics that triggered the connection for Lowe include: shutterstock_224167837

  • The cost of care around the country in a nursing home or a living facility, could be $87,000 a year or higher
  • 70% of those individuals above age 65 will require some type of long term care at least once
  • Nearly 60% of Americans are not comfortable talking to their families about their long term care needs

The need for long term care is one thing, and it’s certainly a lesson that is becoming more real for adults everyday as they struggle with the difficulties of helping aging parents. The statistic that is perhaps most alarming, however, is the last one. Talking to family members about long term care is a critical first step that opens the door for planning opportunities. Pre-planning for long term care events is extremely valuable for informing family members about what actions can and should be taken in the event that long term care is required. Knowing where to turn for help is essential. When you’d like to plan ahead for your own long term care, get advice from the specialists at our office who can help you and your parents chart out a safeguarded future.

For more information about long term care planning in New Jersey, contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Spring Cleaning: Three Tips to Organize Your Life for the Rest of 2015

April 10, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

With spring on the way (or hopefully on the way shortly), it’s a great opportunity to do your spring cleaning. Your home isn’t the only thing that might benefit, though, as you can do a few other personal items to ensure that the rest of 2015 is successful for you. Here are three easy tips to help you succeed. canstockphoto20962943

Review Taxes, Your Credit Report, and Your Budget

You’re probably already in tax mode, so go ahead and request that free credit report to see where you’re at with regard to debts. Clear up any mistakes. Look at how well you’ve been meeting your 2015 budget so far this year. Is it time to adjust? What changes can you make?

Review Estate Planning

These documents inside your estate plan should be updated on an annual basis or whenever a major life change happens (like marriage). If you’ve let this slip because you’ve been overwhelmed, you’re not alone- but it’s definitely time to get it on the calendar.

Revisit Retirement Planning

Ask for a report from your retirement plan to see how things are performing. Are you putting in enough? Look at projections to see how well your planning matches up with your expected retirement date. It might be time to tweak your contribution.

These three tips can help you accomplish several goals at once and ensure that you’re ready for the rest of 2015. Contact us at info@lawesq.net if we can help.

Running a Business? You Need a Personalized Asset Protection Plan

April 9, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Every business owner should have an asset protection plan, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with day to day tasks and let this fall by the wayside. There are numerous reasons why it’s a good idea to start an asset protection plan, though, such as the fact that owning and operating a business can be very risky. canstockphoto10099152

What if your business defaults on an open vendor account, a mortgage, or a secured bank loan? If the debt is personally guaranteed by you as the owner, you might be exposing yourself to a lot of unnecessary risk. This doesn’t even cover the circumstances related to what happens if an employee does something negligent while carrying out company business. Consumers can also bring claims for injuries or unfair or deceptive business practices.

Although none of these are easy to think about, it would likely be a disaster if just one of them happened to you. One incident like this and you could be exposed to financial catastrophe. An asset protection plan explores all of these risks and outlines a strategy through which you attempt to protect them. Taking the right steps today could help you insulate personal and business assets from creditor claims. Asset protection planning is aligned to your needs, so reach out for advice sooner rather than later. We can help you- call us at 732-521-9455.

Will Or Living Trust; Qualify for Medicaid; Estate Tax Repeal Bill; Business Protection Planning

April 8, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 1:42 pm

Hear the Attorney’s of the Law Firm of Shah & Associates, P.C. describe the highlights of this weekly Blog Posts. For the full post, visit: http://lawesq.net/blog/

Should I Do a Will Or Living Trust? Part One
Anytime you hit the Internet to do some kind of research, you’re likely involved in thinking about the situation at hand, how a product or service will fit into your own life, and any unintended consequences that might pop up during the way. Just as choosing a new car or new home involves the careful weighing of options for your unique needs, estate planning involves the selection of tools that are most appropriate for you and your situation. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/should-i-do-a-will-or-living-trust-part-one/

Should I Do a Will or a Living Trust? Part Two
If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that wills and living trusts each accomplish three goals, but they are not one and the same. Neither document is likely to be a comprehensive solution for all your needs, so you’ll need to consider what time period you are planning for. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/should-i-do-a-will-or-a-living-trust-part-two/

Should I Just Give My Assets to My Kids To Qualify for Medicaid?
In the event that you or your spouse are facing a long-term care crisis and are concerned about spending down your assets quickly in order to qualify for Medicaid, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls of acting too fast without carefully considering your options. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/should-i-just-give-my-assets-to-my-kids-to-qualify-for-medicaid/

Estate Tax Repeal Bill Likely Headed for a Vote
In early March, Representatives Kevin Brady and Sanford Bishop introduced an estate tax repeal bill currently known as HR 1105. Although this isn’t the first estate tax repeal bill to appear as possible legislation, it’s quite likely to head to the House floor for a vote. It would be the first estate tax repeal bill in the last decade to make it that far. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/estate-tax-repeal-bill-likely-headed-for-a-vote/

Benefits of an Annual Business Protection/Continuity Planning Review
Business owners are continually focused on managing risks, expanding the company, and enhancing profitability. As your company grows, it’s especially important to look at your vulnerabilities on a yearly basis to evaluate the plans you already have in place as well as future plans you may need. Click here to know more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/04/benefits-of-an…lanning-review/

Visit us at www.LawEsq.net

Call us to request a copy of the Newsletter: 732-521-9455
Like us on Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TrustsEstatesBusinessLaw

Dealing With Debts on Death: Some Planning Tips

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

In the majority of cases, a deceased person’s debts land in their estate for payment. If the amount of debt involved is substantial, however, it can be a shock for heirs to learn how much the size of the estate has been minimized due to debt payments. This is why more people are considering debt planning in the estate planning process. canstockphoto16940829

When you’re planning ahead, you can reduce a lot of confusion that might otherwise arise when you pass away. Limiting any confusion for your loved ones can go a long way for their emotional state, especially since they’ll be grieving your loss. Here are a few tips to get the most out of debt planning when you incorporate it into your general estate planning:

  • Be clear and honest about the situation. Get an annual credit report for yourself to see what’s out there. It’s not always easy to admit the truth, but you’re definitely one step ahead if you know what’s there. As an added benefit, this is a good opportunity to clear up any mistakes or debts that should have been removed from your credit report so they don’t impact your estate mistakenly.
  • Get advice. If you want to know the best way to structure your estate planning, you need a qualified professional to answer your questions. Enlist the help of an estate planner with experience.
  • Organize documents. If you keep all the debt-related documents together, it’s going to be much easier for your loved ones or Executor to review these details on your death so that anything outstanding can be paid promptly.

If you’ve got debts and you’re concerned about the impact on your estate, do some planning now. Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Income Taxes and Estate Planning: The Time is Right

April 7, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

If you’re ahead of the curve or right on time, you should be wrapping up your income tax preparation for the year. Being knowledgeable about where you or your business succeeded in the past year can be a wakeup call about revising your estate plan. Over the course of one year, a lot of things can change in a person’s life or a business. This might call for some changes in your asset protection planning or estate planning as well.download

This can be a very valuable exercise especially if you claimed new deductions from this past year- did you buy a house? Have a child? It might be time to reconsider your approach towards planning or to at minimum update your estate planning documents to reflect new beneficiaries.

Since you’re already in the mindset of thinking about how things have changed over the past year, it’s wise to get ahead of the planning curve and reach out for an estate planning review now. You might be surprised and a new strategy that could help you accomplish your goals more effectively. Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Who Handles My Affairs If I Am Unable to Do It?

April 6, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

One of the cornerstones of elder law planning involves a durable power of attorney that helps you safeguard against a possible inability to manage your own affairs. Many people are familiar with the benefits of having a will to allow smooth distribution of assets upon death. Others, however, skip out on planning for a possible disability that could render them unable to manage their personal, financial, and business affairs. While you’re aware of the benefits and are of sound mind, it’s a good idea to establish a durable power of attorney so that your interests are protected. canstockphoto0953453

A durable power of attorney allows you to name the person who will manage your affairs in the event of a disability. This eliminates the necessity of otherwise having a guardian appointed to help you, which requires a court procedure. Since disability can happen as a result of numerous causes, like old age, an accident, illness, or an injury, it’s simply prudent to think about who can help you manage your affairs. While disability is something that no one wants to consider, it’s a possibility that should be safeguarded against. Even if you’re approaching old age in relatively good health, you should contact an elder law professional to set up your durable power of attorney sooner rather than later.

Our offices can help you today-send us a message at info@lawesq.net.

Benefits of an Annual Business Protection/Continuity Planning Review

April 3, 2015

Filed under: Business Planning,Business Succession Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Business owners are continually focused on managing risks, expanding the company, and enhancing profitability. As your company grows, it’s especially important to look at your vulnerabilities on a yearly basis to evaluate the plans you already have in place as well as future plans you may need. canstockphoto8307303

One of the primary reasons to do this every year is that your tolerance for risks you’ve identified in the past may have shifted, opening your eyes to new challenges. There are a few key questions you can ask during this annual assessment for risks and vulnerabilities, including:

  • Have you taken any actions during the past year to reduce some common risks?
  • Have your risk environment changed due to alterations in your facility or surrounding location?
  • Has the environment changed such that previously identified “low risk” concerns should now be a higher priority?
  • Has the external environment altered to impact your profitability or existence, like new transportation types, regulations, or population changes?
  • Has the structure or size of your company changed such that you may want to reconsider the internal structure and the tax implications associated with it?
  • What challenges have you found yourself facing as a business owner, and can outside experts help you manage those challenges?

Business protection planning is an important part of being able to succeed over the long run. To meet with our planning specialists for your first annual review meeting, get on the calendar by reaching out to info@lawesq.net.

Estate Tax Repeal Bill Likely Headed for a Vote

April 2, 2015

Filed under: Taxes — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

In early March, Representatives Kevin Brady and Sanford Bishop introduced an estate tax repeal bill currently known as HR 1105. Although this isn’t the first estate tax repeal bill to appear as possible legislation, it’s quite likely to head to the House floor for a vote. It would be the first estate tax repeal bill in the last decade to make it that far. Changes on Pocket Watch Face. Time Concept.

While the specifics of the text inside are not released yet, it’s anticipated that it would suggest amending the Internal Revenue Code to repeal generation-skipping transfer and estate transfer taxes. It’s also expected that a maximum 35 percent gift tax rate would become permanent alongside a $5 million lifetime gift tax exemption.

Repealing the estate tax does have traction in the public, especially because it’s perceived to be so harmful to American businesses and farms considered the backbone of the economy. Combined with the fact that the estate tax brings in under 1 percent of the government’s revenue, the Representatives who introduced the bill believe that it’s time for changes with the estate tax. The bipartisan legislation has already moved though subcommittee hearings, a Senate introduction of the bill, and the vote on the House floor.

To learn more about possible changes in the estate planning sphere, contact us to set up a meeting for review of your plans. Reach out to us at info@lawesq.net.

Should I Just Give My Assets to My Kids To Qualify for Medicaid?

April 1, 2015

Filed under: Asset Protection,Asset Protection Planning,Medicaid — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

In the event that you or your spouse are facing a long-term care crisis and are concerned about spending down your assets quickly in order to qualify for Medicaid, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls of acting too fast without carefully considering your options.

Individuals who are not familiar with the Medicaid qualification process might think that it’s a safe bet to pass on assets to children in order to reduce the volume of assets linked to the individuals attempting to qualify. Passing on these assets to children may be done with good intentions, but it can actually do more harm than good if you’re not careful. canstockphoto1739163

One of the disadvantages associated with transferring these assets is that doing so gives you no control over them in the future. Imagine a scenario where the child is sued and all of the assets are taken. Although this can be disheartening to think about, it’s also important to consider that giving away too many assets in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid can actually trigger a penalty. Medicaid looks back at gifts over the previous five years to determine if an individual has attempted to disperse assets in order to qualify for the government program. Since Medicaid is geared towards low-income individuals, if it is found that you transferred assets too aggressively in an attempt to qualify, a penalty may be calculated to determine the amount of nursing home care that could have been paid for with that gift. The applicant will be ineligible for Medicaid during a particular period if this is determined.

While Medicaid is a critical program for most individuals facing a long-term care crisis, you need to apply for it and prepare for it under the guidance of an experienced elder law professional. Don’t take any actions until you’ve consulted with an expert- email us at info@lawesq.net.

Asset Protection Trusts; Long Term Care- 4 Ways to Pay; Gift Tax Return Needed? Convert S Corp into LLC

March 31, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 3:50 pm

Hear Neel Shah, Managing Attorney of the Law Firm of Shah & Associates, P.C. describe the highlights of this weekly Blog Posts. For the full post, visit: http://lawesq.net/blog/

Gift Tax Returns and Penalties for Not Filing
A fair amount of taxpayers are familiar with at least the basics behind gifts and taxes, but it’s important to understand your obligations when making taxable gifts to others to ensure your compliance with the Internal Revenue Code. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/gift-tax-returns-and-penalties-for-not-filing/

Asset Protection Trusts: Guidelines for Efficient Integration
One of the most popular approaches to estate planning has to do with safeguarding assets against possible losses. Asset protection trusts are one common way to protect property for you and your beneficiaries.Asset protection trusts refer to irrevocable trust structures in which a trustee holds property and distributes it out under his or her discretion. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/asset-protection-trusts-guidelines-for-efficient-integration/

Self-Settled Asset Protection Trusts: A Growing Estate Planning Trend?
Self-settled asset protection trusts get more buzz these days, but they weren’t even recognized in the United States until the latter part of the 1990s. Before this time, putting together a self-settled trust required establishment outside U.S. borders. In 1997, though, Alaska recognized self-settled trusts and Delaware followed. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/self-settled-asset-protection-trusts-a-growing-estate-planning-trend/

The Four Ways to Pay For Long Term Care
With increasing longevity and awareness surrounding elder care issues, more people are seeking out options to plan for long-term care. In the event that you or a loved one needs long term care assistance, there are four primary ways for which that case can be paid for. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/the-four-ways-to-pay-for-long-term-care/

Should I Convert My S Corporation to an LLC?
It’s very popular for business owners to operate under the structure of an S corporation. This allows business owners to generally avoid “double taxation” that could impact owners of C corporations. Operating as an S corp may help a business owner avoid self-employment taxes typically affecting LLCs that choose to be taxed as partnerships. Click here for more, http://lawesq.net/blog/2015/03/should-i-conve…tion-to-an-llc/

Visit us at www.LawEsq.net

Call us to request a copy of the Newsletter: 732-521-9455
Like us on Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TrustsEstatesBusinessLaw

Should I Do a Will or a Living Trust? Part Two

Filed under: Trusts,Wills — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that wills and living trusts each accomplish three goals, but they are not one and the same. Neither document is likely to be a comprehensive solution for all your needs, so you’ll need to consider what time period you are planning for. canstockphoto10979354

If you are looking simply to plan for what happens after you pass away, both a will or a living trust can be a good option. If incapacity, however, is your primary concern, a living trust is far and away the more superior tool. Many people focus on what happens after they pass away when it comes to estate planning, but disability and incapacity are increasingly important concerns regardless of your current health.

Assets inside a living trust will already be under the control of a trustee you named to manage things in the event of your incapacity, this allows for a smooth and quick transition. Rather than having to wait out months in a legal disability proceeding, you’ll have a trustee who is empowered to act right away. There are a few other reasons that a living trust wins out over the will, such as if you have a vacation home or real estate located in another state. This is because you won’t have to worry about the estate being probated separately in each state after you pass away, so long as the property is inside the trust.

As you can see here, neither one of these tool is an all-encompassing solution, so you should talk about your needs with an experienced estate planning attorney. We can help at info@lawesq.net

Should I Do a Will Or Living Trust? Part One

March 30, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Anytime you hit the Internet to do some kind of research, you’re likely involved in thinking about the situation at hand, how a product or service will fit into your own life, and any unintended consequences that might pop up during the way. Just as choosing a new car or new home involves the careful weighing of options for your unique needs, estate planning involves the selection of tools that are most appropriate for you and your situation. shutterstock_85369789

Each person’s estate planning goals are different, meaning that these goals need separate documents and strategies. Even if the overarching goal is the same- like helping family members to avoid the probate process, life experiences and long term goals will help point you in the right direction regarding the actual tools to use. One of the most common questions that a person new to estate planning has regards whether to use a will or a living trust. In this two-part post, we’ll look at what differentiates these documents from one another to help you identify whether one is a better fit for you than another.

A will accomplishes three primary goals: determining how and to what people your assets are distributed once you pass away, it can allow you to name a guardian for a minor child or disabled adult, and it establishes a personal representative for your affairs.

A living trust also accomplishes three goals: it establishes how your disability is determined and who will handle your affairs in the event you are disabled, it determines how and to what people your assets are distributed after your death, and it names a success trustee to handle your affairs after you pass away.

Tune in to tomorrow’s post to learn more about wills versus living trusts. As always, we’re here to answer questions and walk you through it: info@lawesq.net

Should I Convert My S Corporation to an LLC?

March 27, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It’s very popular for business owners to operate under the structure of an S corporation. This allows business owners to generally avoid “double taxation” that could impact owners of C corporations. Operating as an S corp may help a business owner avoid self-employment taxes typically affecting LLCs that choose to be taxed as partnerships.

Even though dividends from S corps are not calculated in terms of self-employment taxes and provide more income tax benefits for this reason, they don’t provide the kind of asset protection that a business owner might prefer. shutterstock_232372861

Stock linked to C corps and S corps can be exposed to risk in the form of judgment creditors. If there are major assets inside your S corp, there may be benefits to converting to an LLC to protect them. Whereas an S corp has stockholders, an LLC is limited to members. So long as the LLC documents are drafted in the right way and you have more than one member, a judgment creditor should not be able to access assets inside the company.

If you own an S corporation and are weighing the benefits of converting, communicate with an business protection planning specialist to determine how your state laws view this. In many cases, statutes will allow for this conversion for long that the ownership of the LLC is identical to the previous structure.

Contact our office to learn more about to advantages associated with converting your business type- you can schedule an appointment by emailing info@lawesq.net.

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