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Video: What is the difference between a “Will”, a “Living Will”, and a “Living Trust?”

November 25, 2015

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 11:50 pm

What is the difference between a “Will”, a “Living Will”, and a “Living Trust?” Hear Attorney Neel Shah of Shah & Associates P.C. explain.

For your Free consultation with Attorney Neel Shah, click here


The Three Steps to Estate Planning

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

While techniques and strategies abound for estate planning, motivation to act in this manner is harder to trigger. Many people fear volatility and uncertainty leading them to become decisive. Many others are put off still by a perception that they do not need estate planning, meaning that they skip out on the process altogether.shutterstock_165450731

Solutions are much better understood when initiated with open ended questions. This should help illicit what a person’s ultimate wishes are and the tools they are currently using, followed by an evaluation of whether those tools are working. Rather than looking at charts or statistics, looking at real stories from people who have faced similar situations can help explain other options. Finally, the key is to implement a plan that sees a benefit for the individuals such as avoiding higher interest. Contact an estate planning attorney today to learn more about your options.

Medicaid: The Community Spouse and the MMMNA

November 24, 2015

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

When a Medicaid applicant has been approved and placed in a nursing facility, the community spouse’s income does not figure into determining eligibility for that nursing care.shutterstock_294531311

But it is still important to understand the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance. This can work the family funds in the opposite direction as the Medicaid agency will look at the spouse’s income and compare it to housing costs.

If the Medicaid agency determines that this is insufficient, an applicant’s income will be taken to aid the spouse and the remainder minus a personal needs allowance each month will go to the facility. For more answers about important elder law questions that you may have as you or a loved one approach the need for nursing home care. Make sure to consult with an elder law attorney who has worked in this field for some time.

Why is Business Succession Planning an Ounce of Prevention?

November 23, 2015

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


A person given a one-third chance of survival in life is alerted to this fact. But in many cases a person whose business faces the same chances will prefer to deal with the matter later on down the road.shutterstock_320674358

The key in this situation is a balance between business Goals and family relationships as well as balancing emotion and logic.

In the process of conducting business succession planning you should identify the objective first. Is it to sell the business? Is it to give the business to someone? When will this take place? And who will be the key parties involved. After this initial need has been accomplished, it is time to consider the financial need. Does the retiree need business proceeds on which to live and if so, how much and how will these be paid out? And finally, key employees should be kept for the purposes of continuity and employment agreements can aid in this situation, building incentives and using non-compete agreements for structure.

What Happens to Your Debt When You Die?

November 20, 2015

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

Although there’s plenty of talk about how you should prepare your assets for your death, it’s also beneficial to think about handling your debts.

If you have a will, the assets in your esatte will be handed over to the state for determining your next of kin. A living will gives you the opportunity to have a say in where your estate is headed, though.

Once you have passed away, your estate will owe your final debts. If you have assets in your estate to pay for these, an executor will be responsible for selling those assets and settling with creditors. In most cases, if your estate cannot cover these debts, then the debts will die when you do. This is not always the case, though.

The major exception to your dying debts is when a loved one serves as a guarantor or co-signer on one of your loans. This means that this individual assumes the debt if you are unable to pay for it.

Student loans with the federal government will die when you do, but private student loans can be particularly difficult to get rid of- if there’s a co-signer and no assets in your estate, the banks can come after the co-signer. If you do have assets in your estate, a private student loan can quickly eat through these. shutterstock_172836131

Planning ahead for your estate can give you a realistic expectation about what your heirs may actually receive after debts have been paid. Talk to an estate planning lawyer to learn more.


What is a Captive Insurance Company?

November 19, 2015

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

In the process of putting together a risk management plan, your attorney or other advisor might suggest using a captive insurance company for your business. Knowing what this is and how it can benefit you is a good place to start if you’re not familiar with this concept. shutterstock_159587510

A captive insurance company refers to a business formed by a business owner for the purpose of insuring affiliated and relaeted business risks. The premiums received by the company are invested as opposed to lost and this is one of the biggest benefits of using a captive insurance company.

Captives also give the business an opportunity to insure against risks that would be uninsurable on the general market. These risks may be too expensive or unable to be covered at all with traditional insurance. This also provides access to the reinsurance market. The owner is more easily able to determine retention levels and structure a more flexible program in-house when using a captive insurance company.

Although there are plenty of benefits for using a captive insurance company, it must done properly if the business owner wants to maximize these advantages. Speak directly with an attorney to learn more about how these should be structured and managed in order to truly protect your risks and provide you with maximum benefits.

What is the CEO Succession Crisis?

November 18, 2015

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

It’s been said that the CEO succession process is broken in America. Although many situations call for a new generation of leaders to take the reins of a business, surprisingly few businesses have taken advantage of planning opportunities to do this.


According to research from Harvard Business Review, half of companies with more than $500 million have no clear CEO succession plan. And those that do have plans are unhappy with them. The Corporate Leadership Council asked nearly 300 large company HR reps to rate their happiness with a succession plan, and only one in every five was pleased.

Simply put, a CEO who has been in place for several years with no clear succession plan is a recipe for disaster. The future of the company is at stake when this happens, exposing everyone to potential risks. Do you have a plan in place for your business? If not, contact a business succession planning attorney today.

Three Basic Reasons for Physician Asset Protection Planning

November 17, 2015

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

The successful physician may find himself or herself suddenly catapulted into a whole new income bracket after years of education and training. With this new income bracket come some great opportunities, but also some risks. Read on to learn more about three of the biggest reasons why physicians should consider asset protection planning.shutterstock_262395656

High Risks

Any profession where there’s a reasonable concern that you could be sued is a high-risk profession, and medicine definitely falls under this category. Effective planning can minimize or eliminate the chances for a creditor to tap into your income, but you must plan early and revisit it annually to determine whether you’ve taken the right steps.

Legal Process

You need to consider how the legal process could impact your current and future income. Protect what you’ve built with solid legal strategies from an asset protection planning attorney.

It’s About More Than Money

Your high-value assets and personal property should also be factored in, and these are likely to grow as your income and wealth grows, too. Make sure they are protected.

Strategies for Shifting Income for Taxpayers

November 16, 2015

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

Wealthy taxpayers who have incomes above a certain threshold should be aware of some basic tips for shifting incomes and minimizing the hit of taxes. One popular technique for addressing this concern is to gift assets to cousins, grandchildren, or other relatives. This is known as the gift tax exclusion, but in order to get the most out of it, you need to know the limits and how it affects your estate.shutterstock_327831587

One other option is a family limited partnership. In this scenario, the money is moved to others more indirectly, but as a result of the relatives either performing routine tasks or an outright act of bequeathing the gift.

Of course, your individual strategy will depend on your unique needs, and you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to craft the right strategy for you. Contact our office to learn more about shifting income.

Is a Revocable Living Trust the Best Way to Provide Asset Protection?

November 13, 2015

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

Although a revocable living trust is one of the most commonly recommended by an attorney when you are crafting your will or taking other estate planning steps, you need to carefully consider the own circumstances of your estate to determine whether it’s truly the best fit for you.shutterstock_264000620

The primary purpose of a revocable living trust is to avoid the frustration and expense of probate after you pass away. While this is a worthy goal for your beneficiaries, you need to consider whether a revocable living trust goes far enough if one of your goals is to protect assets. Don’t let your loved ones find out too late that creditors can relatively easily access assets inside a revocable living trust.

Even though the trust is a legal entity, for legal purposes you are established as the owner of the trust assets allowing creditors’ potential access to these assets. If you set up a typical revocable living trust, you will name yourself as the trustee. This gives you complete control over the assets transferred into the trust so that you can take property in the trust, take it out, sell it or give it away without any restrictions. For legal and practical purposes, the property is still yours. Bear in mind though that having control over these assets also means that a creditor might be able to tap into it in the event of a lawsuit.

You may need to speak specifically with your asset protection planning attorney to shield assets from creditors. Planning for asset protection has become of increasing importance in recent years and finding a law firm that can help you do this is easier than ever. Make sure to ask questions about their experience in asset protection so that you feel confident about the role they are playing for you. Contact us at for more information.

The Benefits of Asset Protection Planning in Nevada

November 12, 2015

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

When a liability issue arises, action is often too late even if it’s well-meaning. Early formation of an LLC or an asset protection trust in Nevada can be protective and can serve as a hindrance to creditors. Only an experienced asset protection planning attorney should help you put together an LLC or other structure out of state. shutterstock_61178815

But it can usually be done with very little reporting on a tax-free basis and very quickly. One of the main benefits of working with an asset protection trust in Nevada is that it provides charging order protection. This means that liens attached carry economic interest only, not allowing a creditor to see shares or take control.

When devised properly, the asset protection trust prevents creditors from seizing assets held within the trust, and another major benefit of going this route is that it can be set up quite easily by an individual. When this protection planning is used, it can create a double layer of protection. A creditor may not receive a distribution or make decisions but assets are also protected by the trust forcing a lower settlement of any lawsuit. In fact using this kind of trust in general can help to prevent lawsuits because creditors may realize that they are not able to tap into the assets they thought they might be able to. As always, only consult with an experienced assets protection planning specialist before putting together any kind of trust.

Tips for Business Succession Planning: Is Selling the Business Always the Better Choice?

November 11, 2015

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

When confronted with what to do for business succession planning, a business owner might consider multiple options including passing the business on to other family members, selling the business to stakeholders currently working in the business or even selling the business to an outside individual. Scenarios such as sudden disability or death of a business owner can present serious challenges for a sole practitioner.shutterstock_322084454

Despite these potential challenges, the reality is that too little succession planning is done. Less than one third of businesses actually pass to the next generation and less than 30% of those go on to pass to the third generation. If no grooming of a successor has happened yet, selling the business may be the best choice. This involves careful analysis of the uniqueness of the company, the local market, and potential profitability.

Working with a business broker can help to better understand how to set a realistic selling price and legal advisors can counsel about all possible options. Remember that planning for your business succession now can help to reduce legal challenges and concerns in the future.

What Role Does Ageism Play for Elders?

November 10, 2015

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

First defined in 1968, ageism refers to the systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals as a result of their age. Social scientists argue that we first look at new people through the prisms of gender, race and age. While gender and race are politically sensitive, perception of age will often serve to present as stereotypes like being frail, stubborn, unable to learn or unable to remember.

Many people approaching older ages feel as though these stereotypes are persistent throughout their daily life even when they are not accurate. According to a recent survey done by AARP, 58% of interviewed individuals argue that they had been subjected to humor and jokes based on their age.shutterstock_141755074

Age discrimination can be found indirectly in healthcare where research money and even ICU treatments skews towards the younger, and where facilities for the treatment of the elderly often fail to meet minimum standards.

On a more positive note, AARP research did determine that a positive attitude and perspective from an individual about growing older can add an average of seven and a half years to that person’s life span. When it comes to choosing a facility for elder care, make sure you research it properly in order to determine whether ageism is a potential issue. Consult with an elder law attorney to learn more about potential issues.

Risks and Opportunities Associated With Estate Planning Linked to Europe

November 9, 2015

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

Recently European succession regulation went into effect for all members of the European Union except Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland. One important regulation for those considering estate planning abroad is that a person’s habitual residence at the time of their death determines the law which applies to estate determinations.shutterstock_104523023

In essence, this means that US citizens who habitually lived in Paris could be bound under French law for the purposes of managing the estate. In some cases, this could be overridden if an individual selects to be bound by the laws of his or her nationality, thereby bypassing local law completely. The key is to plan ahead to examine the options given your situation and to realize that a regulation may provide unprecedented flexibility in estate decisions.

If you spend a great deal of time in Europe or elsewhere, make sure you’ve consulted with your US based estate planning attorney to factor in potential challenges or opportunities based on your living situation.

What a Second Marriage Means for Estate Planning

November 6, 2015

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

A second marriage can raise many questions about who gets what, whether these people should get property, and will feelings be hurt? Each spouse should allot 30 minutes to spend time listing assets and discussing the potential future of these assets. Each member of the couple should also consider carefully what happens if the other spouse were to pass away first.shutterstock_284165645

Getting married again provides the perfect opportunity to re-examine your will and make it as specific as possible in terms of beneficiary listings in particular. It is important that none of these beneficiary listings violate an existing divorce decree.

One common estate planning tool used by those in a second marriage is an irrevocable trust. This provides specificity of heirs, privacy and near certainty. As few irrevocable trusts are overturned in court, many require beneficiary approval and the judge to do this, making them an obvious choice for estate planning purposes.

Tips for Saving on Estate Planning Costs

November 5, 2015

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

Knowing what you need is simply the first step in estate planning. Most people will use a power of attorney, a will and a healthcare directive but more advanced planning could use trusts. When learning more about putting together a trust with your estate planning attorney, ask about the cost for this upfront. shutterstock_87188584

If the attorney offers a flat fee, be sure to ask whether this includes limits on time or document preparation. Selecting the right attorney the first time is crucial to your success when putting together a trust. Make sure that this individual has experience and the rapport to discuss sensitive decisions with your family members.

Finally, it’s important that you be prepared. Make sure you have all documents necessary during the initial meeting and be prepared to be decisive. Being unclear about your goals or not sure what step to take next could result in additional charges. Having an upfront knowledge about what an attorney charges to put together your trust gives you peace of mind about what to expect and the benefits you will receive from this service.

What Does the CCRC Mean for Estate Planning?

November 4, 2015

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

Planning for your later life and how you’ll use your assets to support your retirement might involve a Continuing Care Retirement Community. This rides the spectrum from independent living all the way through to 24-hour care. And these can offer the benefit of lifetime membership and participation.shutterstock_154024799

Entry fees for these retirement communities however, can be expensive. The fees for initial entrance could be more than $20,000 and monthly fees could reach $3,500. As this is a once in a lifetime decision, great care and consultation should be used to explore the financial soundness and the maturity as far as length and time of business at these facilities.

Many CCRCs mandate Medicare A and B, while some add the supplement and some accept long-term care protections. But State by State standards and enforcement will vary, so care must be taken. When making any decisions about your own future or that of a loved one, consult with an elder law specialist who can advise you about your options and whether a Continuing Care Retirement Community is truly the best fit.

Is Business Succession Planning a Question of Fairness?

November 3, 2015

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

It’s very likely that a business could turn out to be the largest asset held within a family. But fairness of how to deal with this in terms of succession planning can arise as an issue if all family members are not involved in the conversation in one way or another. Especially in the event that the business is sold, non-members could be unhappy if they feel as though their distribution is smaller. There are also challenges if full and equal distribution is made because this can place a burden on members active within the business.shutterstock_312773633

One way to handle this situation and to even the playing field is to use life insurance allowing for a gradual buy out of non-members. And this also eliminates concerns associated with managing equal distributions. One of the most important ways to handle this challenge is to sit down with all family members and discuss the potential future of the business.

A business owner could be under the impression that one or more of his children or other relatives are interested in continuing on with the business. But a conversation brings this issue front and center and gives clarity to any concerns. In addition to hosting the initial conversation about how to handle business succession planning, it’s also important for the business to be valued accurately before any distributions are made considering depreciating factors like the lack of marketability.   Contact us today to learn more about business succession planning.

What Role Does the Executor Play?

November 2, 2015

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

When a last will and testament is created, an executor begins to play an important role in carrying them out. During and after probate, an executor provides critical functions. This is why you should carefully consider who you will select as your executor.shutterstock_257815480

An executor is bound by fiduciary duty, meaning that he or she is required to adhere to high standards when administering the estate. During the administration phase, an executor will gather information, pay debts, and deal with expenses and taxes associated with closing the estate. Since the executor manages important responsibilities like filing tax returns and handling distributions from the estate.

Some of the factors that might preclude an individual from serving as an executor include history of felony convictions, being a non-resident, being found unsuitable by the judge at his or her discretion, or the naming of a corporation not authorized to serve as a fiduciary.

Be sure to speak with your estate planning specialist about how to narrow down your search for an executor. Understanding the role this person plays in managing your estate is essential for success in the long term.

Estate Planning: Make Sure You Have a Trust Protector

October 30, 2015

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

Appointing a trustee is an important evaluation that should involve careful consideration of a person’s ability to help serve in this role. If a trustee eventually proves poor at his or her job or they pass away, a trust protector may aid with flexibility and control. A trust protector can be seen as like a police officer who can write out tickets. shutterstock_245739646

The protector role can even be customized functioning from everything from an advisor to the trustee to someone who monitors actions and could eventually remove a trustee who is no longer the right fit for the job. The trust protector is a perfect fit for the irrevocable trust where the creator has no control. The protector can add beneficiaries, manage a special needs child over the long-term, and monitor estate law changes so as to maximize tax savings and income.

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