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Lessons from the Joan Rivers Estate

September 30, 2014

Filed under: Asset Protection Planning,Beneficiaries,Estate Administration,Estate Planning For Business Owners,Estate Taxes,Home Probate,Pets,Probate,Trusts — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:28 pm

Joan Rivers was heralded as a stellar performer, but she also left behind a legacy as an incredible businesswoman. Her estate included income, collectibles, and real estate that was estimated in value between $150 million and $250 million. She left behind detailed instructions for her assets after her death, which is rare in a society when many celebrity deaths highlight the weaknesses of their estate plans. Photo Credit: breitbart.com

Looking at her careful planning, there are a few key lessons: be prepared for the unexpected, outline plans for pets, and correctly title the assets. Joan Rivers was also masterful in giving her family a brief overview of the estate plans to help improve clarity and reduce the possibility of arguments. Rivers made use of family trusts to reduce the tax burden for her beneficiaries and titled her assets

appropriately to allow for the smooth transition of business assets. This act alone helped to diminish her capital gains taxes.

Regardless of the size of your estate, proper planning allows you to pass on assets to your heirs in the most efficient manner while minimizing the tax liability. Contact our offices today for a consultation for your business and personal needs through email at info@lawesq.net or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455.

When LLC Members Pass Away: What Are Executor Rights?

September 18, 2014

Filed under: Business Law,Business Planning,Business Succession Planning,Estate Planning For Business Owners,LLCs — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:36 pm

A recent case highlights some of the questions surrounding the situation mentioned in the title. According to the default rule in New York, the death of a member doesn’t trigger a dissolution of the LLC unless the survivors vote to take action on dissolving.

There are a few important outcomes of this new default rule, known as 701b in the New York LLC law. First, executors only have limited powers in their ability to exercise member rights or to become members themselves. Second, family members who inherit a deceased member’s interests are not admitted for official membership unless those other members consent to this. Third, without such consent, the inheriting family member retains only economic interest, not management or voting powers. Finally, these individuals can be considered non-members and do not have any decision making authority when it comes to judicial dissolutions or mergers and consolidations.

One example of this rule in action is the Budis case. An executor-husband of his late wife had his case dismissed against other LLC members for lack of standing. The operating agreement stated that the death of a member was seen as a voluntary withdrawal, and the estate thus became an interest holder but not a member per se. The solution is to include something in the operating agreement stating that a family member or executor inheriting the deceased’s LLC interest should be treated as a member of the LLC with all rights and powers afforded to other LLC members. To learn more about protecting your interests in an LLC, contact us today info@lawesq.net or via phone at 732-521-9455

Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes: Unfunded Living Trusts

June 16, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning,Estate Planning for Attorney,Estate Planning For Business Owners — Neel Shah @ 12:22 pm

When used properly, living trusts can be valuable tools for passing on assets. When planned for early on, you can really maximize what a beneficiary gets out of a living trust. Unfortunately, individuals don’t always plan correctly with the living trust. If you forget to put any assets into the trust, for example, you’ll miss out on the opportunity for assets to be passed to heirs outside of the probate process. After the trust is set up, you’ll need to retitle assets into the trust’s name.

Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes Unfunded Living Trusts
(Photo Credit: kiplinger.com)

Simply listing the assets you plan to transfer with a schedule attached to the trust may not be enough. The schedule is more like a notification of the assets you do plan to transfer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve actually transferred those assets. Real property is going to require a deed and bank and stock accounts will need to be retitled by financial institutions. You can speak with a professional estate planner to learn more about the steps to follow after establishing a living trust.

There are numerous trust possibilities that can help maximize asset value and minimize the influence of taxes, but you have to follow through on setting them up properly. To learn more about living trusts as an estate planning tool, email info@lawesq.net or reach out at 732-521-9455.

For the Furry Ones in Your Life: Estate Planning With Pets in Mind

April 25, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning,Estate Planning for Attorney,Estate Planning For Business Owners,Estate Planning for Children — Tags: , , , , — Neel Shah @ 8:10 am

Although many people have heard about the traditional aspects of estate planning, like a will, it’s all too often forgotten that you may have others you need to include in your plans. The majority of houses across the country have pets inside, and it’s worth considering what you’d like to happen to your animals if something happens to you. Pets are treated as personal property, so it’s crucial that you do a little research about where you’d like them to go.

For the Furry Ones in Your Life Estate Planning With Pets in Mind
(Photo Credit: the-hunting-dog.com)

A pet trust, for example, can outline the type of care your animals will receive after you pass away. With a funded pet trust, you can rest assured that your animals will be taken care of no matter what. This trend is expanding in use across the estate planning industry. A first step in your pet plan is to write a description of all animals, including any distinguishing characteristics. This helps to avoid copycat pets or mistakes receiving care that you intended for your own animals. Microchip numbers, too, should be included for identity verification.

You can work with an estate planning professional to determine the cost of care for your animal. Factor in vet care, routine medications, any special supplements, pet insurance, and food, multiplied by the life expectancy of your pet. Talking this over with any family members can be helpful for establishing those who may want to care for your animals, too. Have questions about pet trusts or other planning tools? Send us an email at info@lawesq.net or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455.

Estate Planning and Reproductive Technology

April 24, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning,Estate Planning for Attorney,Estate Planning For Business Owners,Estate Planning for Children — Tags: , , , — Neel Shah @ 11:33 am

Unfortunately, estate planning law hasn’t really stayed on pace with reproductive technology and rights, generating quandaries about inheritance rights. It would make sense that children conceived after the death of an individual (or statements denying inheritance rights about these individuals) should be included in estate planning documents.

forbes.com
(Photo credit: forbes.com)

A trust might be a more appropriate vehicle for managing inheritance rights in this way when compared with a will. A comprehensive estate plan, too, can also be valuable with regard to genetic material. Much the law with regard to inheritance rights and genetic material is very specific to each state, which is why it’s recommended to work with a professional if you’re concerned about children conceived posthumously. In many states, the law has not provided a framework for the disposition of embryos or gametes at the death of the donor.

While not every estate plan will include such instructions and details, it’s critical that those in this situation think about whether those individuals conceived later will have any inheritance rights. Planning in advance for this and documenting your wishes is a vital step in ensuring that your wishes are carried out after you have passed away. Advance planning can be complex, but the process is made easier when working with an experienced estate planning lawyer. To learn more about complex estate planning needs involving reproductive issues, contact us at 732-521-9455 or email us at info@lawesq.net

One Family’s Quest to Pass on the Business

February 13, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning,Estate Planning For Business Owners,Family Business,Small Business Owner — Neel Shah @ 9:00 am

For families that own small businesses, one vital part of estate planning is succession planning. Through succession planning, a business owner plans for the future of his or her business. A recent article discusses how Charlie Luck IV is planning to keep family-owned firm, Luck Stone, in the family.

English: gravel being unshiped

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At only 53, Luck is in no hurry to pass the business on to his heirs. However, in planning ahead, Luck shows the forethought that all small business owners should have when it comes to succession planning. Luck is already considering which, if any, of his three children display the responsibility and interest necessary to run the business.

Although Luck’s biggest goal is to keep the business in the family, he knows that it will only work if he selects the right successor. As Luck explained, “One of the worst things in the world you can do is put any person in a company role, family or non-family, that does not align with who they are, with their skill set and their capacity…that is unethical.”

Statistics are not on the side of family businesses. Only three percent of family businesses in the same position as Luck Stone – moving from generation three to generation four – survive the transition.

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