October, 2015 | Shah & Associates, P.C. Estate Planning & Business Law Blog
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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.

Estate Planning: Preventing the Money Split

October 29, 2015

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

Keeping a family together requires talking and planning, and this is also essential when putting together your goals for your estate. In this process you should be focused on the people involved rather than simply the tax and investment considerations. Be aware of some key concerns when thinking about planning for your own family’s future such as trying to dictate a career choice, bailing children out of repeated bad decisions or paternalism.shutterstock_121741804

Fight entitlement by demonstrating and promoting appreciation and explain the process of how acquisition decisions are made within your family. Finally, communication is key. Communicate as to how money will pass down after you have passed away. Involve children from the process of planning money, and analyzing it from a young age with family meetings. You might even consider setting up a family foundation to help teach your children important lessons about their finances.

Asset Protection Planning: What is the Nevis LLC?

October 28, 2015

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

Have you ever heard of Nevis Island before? It’s a no-tax offshore domicile within the country of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is totally independent. In addition to these benefits the island is a popular location because its passport processing is relatively quick, with the average being just around 6 months for someone to receive a passport.shutterstock_83499952

Structuring an LLC on the Island of Nevis can be done with just one member. This also comes with the added advantage of no mandatory audits. Minimal compliance with meetings means that meetings can be held anywhere.

Unlike Hong Kong, no local residency is required within the legal structure for a Nevis LLC. And any creditor has to first post a $25,000 bond and deal with Nevis courts.

Confidentiality is complete when it comes to a Nevis LLC and there are no public databases of corporate records. Make sure to speak directly with your asset protection planning attorney about whether a specific kind of LLC or offshore location could help to add a layer of protection for your business interests.

Business Succession: Tying a Plan to Your Vision

October 27, 2015

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

Setting a course for the future of your business involves looking well into the future. Difficulties can often act to narrow and constrict your long-term plans, and focus can easily turn to quarterly results and reactions if you are not careful. shutterstock_254049055

When thinking about the future of your business, you need to take time to zoom out from this smaller picture into the bigger one so that focus is once again concentrated on how to grow as well as the people to help accomplish these goals. A wide focus helps receive buy-in from the staff of your organization in understanding that personal decisions will influence outcomes.

Some key questions to consider during this process involve which people may be intending to retire in the next five years, what people are already in the pipeline for future development, and whether promotions would generate position gaps within your company. Putting together a business succession plan should only be done under the experience of an estate planning attorney.

Ready to plan ahead? Contact us for more information.

Planning Ahead for the Special Needs Child

October 26, 2015

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

 Being the parent of a child with special needs requires careful planning and consideration of the child’s future. It’s important to know many children with special needs often live full lifespans. Knowing that you are likely to precede your child in death is a good opportunity to plan ahead and set up a structure to help support them well into the future.

One way that parents can do this is by being an advocate for the child’s education. This is a mandated right until age 21. As a parent you have the opportunity to help secure and monitor all available services with regard to education for your child. In addition to focusing on all educational opportunities available for your child, make sure that you create a life care plan that addresses housing, financial and medical needs. One way to do this is through the creation of a special needs trust.

Additionally, you may want to consider the possibility of appointing a guardian to help the child manage assets within a trust or other structure. If the child’s capabilities permit it, the child could also be involved in authorizing an agent to assist with the process of planning for a financial future. If necessary, life insurance can be a good supplement to help you. Finally, create a letter of intent that conveys all of your aspirations for the child so that a future guardian or healthcare assistant can understand your perspective.

Elder Law: Do We Really Need a Medicaid Specialist?

October 23, 2015

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

 

When a family member is looking at the need for long term care, it might seem overwhelming because there is so much material to be found about this transition both online and in print. Some of it greatly simplifies the Medicaid process, making it look as though you can easily guide your loved one through qualification.shutterstock_168375044

The reality is that what seems like small mistakes now can end up costing your loved one later in a big way. Attempting to pass on all assets quickly, for example, presents a concern because Medicaid uses a lookback period. This means that your loved one might face penalties if he or she is determined to have tried to circumvent the system in order to qualify for government assistance sooner rather than later.

Medicaid may be a critical component of your loved one’s care, but you need to understand what’s allowed and what’s not. In addition to these basic guidelines, an experienced elder law attorney can give you advice about other strategies that provide the best possible outcome for your loved one. Don’t hesitate to get professional help in these important situations

The Benefits of Getting References On Your Estate Planning Attorney

October 22, 2015

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

 

It goes without saying that knowing one estate planning attorney does not mean you know them all. Finding the right mix of experience, expertise, and compassion is important for anyone looking to put together a plan for the future.shutterstock_241365595

In an initial consultation, it’s a good idea to ask for testimonials. Your attorney might have them directly posted on a public forum like Avvo or a business Facebook page, but you can do your own due diligence by asking for contact information of satisfied clients, too. Hiring someone to put together these materials for you or your family is an important task and one that should be undertaken with care. Make sure you consult with others who have engaged an attorney’s services so that you understand how your own needs will be handled.

In the best case scenario, this can highlight just how much value you get from working with the right attorney. In the worst case scenario, it gives you a heads up before engaging in a business relationship that is not the right fit for you.

A Tale of Family Business Woes

October 21, 2015

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

Family business carries with it a unique set of responsibilities and requirements, and the story of Cloyce Box illustrates that clearly. Cloyce went from having a football career with the Detroit Lions to founding Oklahoma Cement and Box Energy. After raising four sons, Cloyce passed away suddenly in 1993.shutterstock_1653291981

Prior to Cloyce’s death, a ten-year legal battle involved the cement firm and a new marriage presented serious issues. When Cloyce passed, his two brothers, serving in the roles of CEO and Chairman, were unable to get along with other siblings and had no shared vision.

Lawsuits led to an appearance in federal court and the sale of the company for $220 million. While this seems like an exciting tale ending in a good result for the brothers- the resale of the company by the new buyer yielded a price of $1.36 billion. That’s why Brother Doug Cloyce now works as a consultant, warning others with the cautionary tale of his family’s business arc.

Asset Protection: Increasingly Intriguing and Needed by the Wealthy

October 20, 2015

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

We’ve talked about asset protection planning a fair amount on this blog, but that’s because it carries a message worth repeating: you’ve worked hard to build your wealth and it’s equally imporant to protect it as much as possible. This type of advanced planning is becoming more and more appreciated by the ultra-wealthy, who see it as a critical strategy for protecting assets during their lifetime and structuring a plan for when they pass away, too. shutterstock_181812692

One of the reasons for the increased attention to this issue has to do with structure. Our society is litigation-driven, unfortunately. This idea that someone is always to blame for an accident or incident means that individuals face a higher risk of being sued by someone, and being perceived as wealthy only ups this risk.

And the costs associated with a lawsuit extend far beyond attorney’s fees and the expense of a lost suit. It’s about the emotional drain from protracted litigation, too. Extended litigation can be extremely draining for a defendant, particularly when there are no foundations to the allegations. A strong asset protection plan can be essential for not only handling lawsuits when they arise, but also for detracting would-be litigants from filing a suit in the first place.

 

Talk with your attorney about the various strategies that can be used to protect your assets. Set up your meeting today at info@alawesq.net.

Planning for Medicaid? Best to Include an Attorney

October 19, 2015

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

With an aging baby boomer population, concerns about paying for long-term care are front and center for many people right now. This has also led to a burst of programs marketed to individuals at or post-retirement, promising to help with the Medicaid qualification process. When engaging in this, you should consider setting up a meeting with an experienced elder law attorney to walk you through how this process works and what you can do to prepare legally.shutterstock_176062208

Medicaid planning is full of intricacies and strict government requirements, so someone with a background in helping others accomplish similar goals is prudent. As a potential Medicaid beneficiary, it’s also helpful for you to understand how this government program can support your needs for healthcare now and in the future.

Small mistakes can cost you in a big way, especially if you attempt to spend down assets without some insight from an elder law attorney. Since the federal program uses a look-back period to analyze how you might have disposed of any assets, an action you thought that might be helping you could actually delay the time period during which you become eligible for benefits. This is where an attorney’s counsel becomes so important: talk with your elder law attorney about what steps to take to better understand Medicaid and to legally qualify for it.

Be Aware of Estate Planning Across State Lines

October 16, 2015

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

It’s not a surprise that people are increasingly mobile these days, and that applies to more than just the online sphere. More clients are coming to us with assets in multiple states, all of which must be addressed properly in an estate plan. shutterstock_173550188

Rules within states can vary from one to another, so it’s critical to have an estate planning attorney who is looking at the bigger picture. Read on to learn more about the key issues to watch for in this situation:

  • Differing inheritance and estate tax rules. These situations can get complex very quickly, so do an evaluation with your attorney to talk about where your assets are at.
  • Learn about transfer taxes. Sometimes, pieces of properties will be transferred between spouses or engaged with alternatve gifting strategies. Your attorney can help you understand any income or gift tax consequences associated with these transfers.
  • Factor in the potential for multiple healthcare directives. You might need proxies that consider the laws of the states where you spend the most time.
  • Plan to avoid ancillary probate. Having property in more than one state can complicate things- talk through your options with your estate planning attorney so that you’re clear about the best options for your situation.

Estate Planning Details You Might Have Forgotten

October 15, 2015

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

Even if you have the basics covered through a will or other documents, make sure you don’t forget some of the other key aspects of estate planning. If something happens to you, it’s overwhelming and frustrating for loved ones to say the least. Read on to learn more about some of the other aspects you should consider. shutterstock_156563393

Paying Bills

Are you the one who pays the bills in your house? Your spouse might not even be aware of when the bills are due or how they are to be paid. Make sure to keep a folder of this information so that it can be easily found if something happens to you- a ledger that keeps track of the most recent payments you made is helpful, too.

Copies of Documents

If you already have a will, you probably expect that your spouse will find it. Just in case, however, try to leave a copy of the document with other parties like an accountant or an attorney. This way your spouse can find these critical documents just in case they cannot find the copy you left at home.

Lists of Income, Assets, and Liabilities

If, as mentioned above, you are the one who handles most of the finances, your spouse might not have a complete picture of your financial situation. Try to provide an overview document, stored with the information about paying the bills, so that he or she can visit with a financial planner, accountant, or estate planning attorney to figure things out if something happens to you.

In the wake of grief, your loved one probably already has enough on his or her plate. Planning ahead can make things much easier. Need help thinking through the details? Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

 

Asset Protection Tips: Vet Your Advisors Carefully

October 14, 2015

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

Being aware of where you invest your money might seem like an obvious asset protection tip, but it’s one that bears repeating. Of course, you should always discuss your investment options with your financial advisor and then schedule an appointment with your asset protection attorney to determine the right vehicles for protection.

The sad news is that sham investments are back on the rise. That’s because  a scheme involving Turkish bonds has now emerged, and many people are trying to buy in. These bonds are non-existent.

According to some reports, as many as 120 people have purcahsed more than $28 million in worthless bonds. Even though the individual who created the scheme is off to prison for his part in the scheme. He was not even a financial advisor, either.

How can you protect yourself? Make sure that you’re always working with professional advisors. Look for a financial advisor with credentials and years of experience before agreeing to do  business together. Check around to get references and slowly build your trust with this person. The same goes for your asset protection attorney- look for a team that is truly committed to doing the right thing for you both now and in the long run. With your hard-earned money on the line, it’s critical to carefully vet anyone you consider working with.

Parental Leave and Business Succession

October 13, 2015

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

A leader’s primary contribution to a company is their availability and vision, this makes it important to plan ahead for maternity or paternity leave. Since the U.S. does not cover extensive paid leave, and only 11 percent of people have it offered through their company, it’s critical to think about how a temporary leave can influence the business.

U.S. laws do permit 12 weeks of unpaid leave with job security, although 40 percent of people do not even qualify for this. Alleviating the stress of the situation is paramount, so planning ahead for what this means for the company owner and the business is a wise decision.

This is also a good opportunity to do a practice run for business succession. A temporary leave that is going to happen anyway empowers individuals with the chance to enhance their management skills and gain a better grasp of what is required while playing a bigger role. It might help to identify people who flourish with this opportunity, but it can be equally useful to determine who struggles with it.

Fostering a culture where all players focus on vision and meeting company objectives is the best way to plan for the departure of a key individual, whether it’s temporary leave or a permanent exit.

Planning can help to save money and efforts spent trying to hire executives from outside the company who may not completely understand the existing culture. To learn more abou planning for business succession, contact info@lawesq.net.

Quick Tips for Better Health Decisions

October 12, 2015

Filed under: Healthcare Power of Attorney — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Using a healthcare power of attorney might seem emotionally exhausting when compared with a financial power of attorney, but it’s still a critically important document you must consider in your overall planning. Make sure that you carefully consider all the impacts of drafting a power of attorney and what events would trigger someone else making healthcare decisions for you.

One option is known as the springing power of attorney, which outlines the exact scenarios where someone else making such decisions could be triggered. This requires knowing your own thoughts and wishes when it comes to planning ahead, but these decisions should be made with care.

Keep a copy of any power of attorney you create on hand for hospital visits and ensure that a patient in serious condition is not left alone. If you are a loved one for someone who has serious medical needs, he or he may need assistance from family or other caregivers.

It is also prudent to keep track of a pad of paper to record medications, contact details for physicians, and any dietary restrictions. This can help keep the power appointed with the healthcare power of attorney “in the know” about the patient’s needs and desires.

It’s no small decision to select someone to play a potentially important role in your life. Walk through the basics of your power of attorney with an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

What Do “Trigger” and “Elimination” Mean in Long-Term Care Insurance?

October 9, 2015

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

Whether you have just purchased it for yourself or for an aging parent, it’s important to understand the factors involved in a long-term care insurance policy and when it will pay out. Long-term care insurance is a solid option to support or to stand in line with a general healthcare plan.

The term “trigger” refers to an event that activates the need for long-term care, such as difficulty with an activity of daily living or a cognitive impairment. The elimination period refers to the time that a patient must wait before benefits officially kick in. This usually means self-payment for care if some kind of care is absolutely necessary.

Make sure you understand the elimination period so that you or a loved one are not counting on insurance picking up the tab only to learn that self-pay is necessary in the interim. You can learn more about long-term care insurance and other options for planing ahead by consulting with an elder law attorney.

What’s a Grantor Trust?

October 8, 2015

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

 

A grantor trust means that the person who creates it is still responsible for estate tax and income tax purposes. The grantor also maintains control over the trust, including the income, the benefits, and the assets. Because of this power to control elements of the trust, the owner is also responsible for the income taxes linked to it.

All revocable living trusts are grantor trusts during the owner’s life. An irrevocable trust could even be considered a grantor trust if the owner meets IRS requirements for becoming the official owner of the assets. Depending on the structure, an irrevocable trust could also be set up to split the income taxes from the estate taxes. This is known as an “intentionally defective grantor trust”.

Want to learn more about whether a grantor trust makes sense for your estate planning? Contact us today to set up a meeting.

Tips for Funding a Succession Plan

October 7, 2015

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

It is not enough to think only about the people who might take over your business after you have stepped down or passed away- you need to think about the funding considerations that come with such a concern. That’s why funding the plan is an important component of your overall guidelines, and it’s something that should be discussed with your business succession planning attorney. shutterstock_210557374

Some of the most common issues to consider under this umbrella include:

  • Terms of the agreement
  • Price
  • Future involvement of the seller

When the business transfers from the seller to buyer, all three of these factors should be considered carefully.

If the seller opts to finance the transaction, common methods might include lines of credit, creation of an ESOP, set-aside funds, or insurance. Buyer financing is usually accomplished through the securing of investors or third-party borrowing. Securing investors helps to avoid the need for collateral determination.

Compromise arrangements might be an option, too. This means that the buyer pays a portion of the sale price while leaving the seller with a note for the remaining amount. If you have more questions about planning ahead for business succession, contact an experienced attorney today. Email us at info@lawesq.net.

How Much Do Changing Laws Call For an Estate Plan Review?

October 6, 2015

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

While your documents might have been in order at the time you created them, shifting laws can change this can cause your well-thought-out plans to miss the mark. Having an ongoing relationship with an estate planning attorney is one of the best things you can do to avoid the challenges associated with the potential for law changes at the state or federal level.shutterstock_60938278

One of the best steps you can take to ensure that your plan is line with current guidelines is to schedule a yearly meeting with your estate planning attorney. This is so that you can review not only whether any changes have happened at the state or federal level, but also so that you can discuss what has changed in your life and how this affects your planning.

Updating documents and naming new beneficiaries might be the most basic purpose of this meeting, but you could discover that there are other opportunities like establishing a trust that are also ideas you might entertain. Contact your estate planning attorney today to learn more.

Three Tips for Asset Protection Planning

October 5, 2015

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

Making sure you’ve reduced risks associated with your assets is an important part of your overall planning for finances and your estate. Read on to learn more about five key tips to get started. shutterstock_60555508

Consider the Pros and Cons of Offshore Money

Unfortunately, some recent cases involve courts mandating that debtors bring back overseas assets through “repatriation orders”. If you do not comply, the court can issue a bench warrant leading to contempt of court. Make sure you know the rules and current interpretations in the U.S.

Make Sure You Can Explain Your Asset Protection Plan

It’s not very valuable to you if you cannot walk through how it works. Imagine being asked about your planning structure in deposition- could you easily explain the setup? The best plans are those that you can understand and see the benefit of. Make sure you work with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Know That the Planning May Become Completely Visible to Creditors 

Even if your plan is successful in shielding your assets, creditors might be able t know what’s in it. A plan that requires secrecy usually has other complex elements like ensuring that a former spouse does not speak to creditors or help from an experienced tax specialist when you must report the activity on returns. Talk with your asset protection attorney about the best structure for your plan.

 

 

 

 

 

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