Everyone should be concerned with protecting assets even if you do not believe that you currently have an estate big enough to warrant protection. Of course, wealthy people must consider asset protection because their assets are more at risk and they may become a more frequent target of a major lawsuit.
However, many people tend to confuse estate planning tools with asset protection planning tools and the most commonly misinterpreted tool is that of a revocable living trust. Many people who put together a revocable living trust may have an inflated sense of security that this accomplishes both their estate planning and their asset protection planning goals with a living revocable trust, when in truth, it may be that they have significant assets still exposed to risks with creditors.
A revocable trust is often used to hold assets while the person creating the trust is still alive. Assets can be moved in and out of the trust as the individual wishes and the trust will often avoid the costly and lengthy process of probate. However, you should not count on your revocable living trust as a comprehensive safeguard from civil judgements or creditors. A revocable living trust is also not an effective vehicle to avoid paying taxes. Instead, you may want to consider other asset protection planning services that you can learn more about by speaking with an experienced asset protection planning attorney. There are many different concerns you may have in this process and this is why it is essential to work with someone who is familiar with various strategies of asset protection planning.
One of the primary reasons that most individuals consider putting together a will is because they have personal property they would like to bequeath to future beneficiaries. Unfortunately, this is not an easily done process unless you have the expertise of an estate planning attorney.
The advent of do-it-yourself forms on the internet makes it tempting to seem as though you can accomplish this quickly in an hour or less but doing so could actually create further confusion for your loved ones and may even lead to your will being ruled invalid in future court hearings.
That’s why it’s better to take the time to set up an appointment with an estate planning attorney. When it comes to your personal property, one of the biggest challenges is frequently that you might change your mind. People might also choose to give away property during their lifetime that is outlined in the will, raising confusion and arguments between siblings or family members who may believe it was their right to have access.
One of the most successful ways to handle personal property is to put together a personal property distribution letter in the will. A personal property distribution letter allows clients to change their minds or to update a distribution list whenever they choose to without having to set up an additional meeting with an attorney. The will should also include a provision that if the beneficiaries are unable to agree on personal property distribution within five months of the loved one’s death, then the personal representative will step in to sell the property and split the cash. In many cases, this is enough to encourage compliance and working together. Meeting with an attorney to accomplish the process of personal property distribution through a will can be extremely valuable.
There are many different reasons to approach the subject of business succession planning. It gives you greater peace of mind and clarity about the future and can make things easier for family members who may need to become involved after you depart the business suddenly. Unfortunately, however, business succession planning is essential for your employees as well.
If staff members do not feel as though they are being valued in the company or being prepared to take on a bigger role when the transition time comes, they may begin to look for other opportunities. This can be a critical sign that business succession planning is necessary. A continuity plan is valuable for clients but also for employee motivation and retention. Effective business succession planning is about a multi-pronged approach.
Hiring loyal and talented employees from the outset can be essential, but an entrepreneur is responsible for treating these employees right and making them feel a valued member of the team. They should also be included in training and incentive programs that help to support their growth to higher and higher roles. If an employee feels as though there is no growth opportunity, then they may consider searching out other employment options. This can be devastating when a business owner who must suddenly depart the business has a choice only of inexperienced employees currently on the payroll because older and more experienced employees have chosen to depart due to lack of appreciation. If you are ready to initiate the succession planning process, reach out to a New Jersey business succession planning attorney today.
Many families believe they don’t have to worry about estate taxes because they don’t believe they owe that much. Unfortunately, individuals may not realize that if their estate totals more than $675,000 the executor will be writing a check to the state of New Jersey.
Many clients feel as though they don’t have any money, but think carefully. Even a modest home in North Jersey could cost as much as $450,000. Add in life insurance, investments, retirement plans and savings accounts and it’s not that hard to hit the estate tax threshold. The estate tax in new Jersey has been in the spotlight recently as a bargaining chip in the political argument about using a gasoline tax to pay for bridge and road repairs.
In fact, Republicans in Trenton voted to accept a higher gas-tax in exchange for reducing or eliminating the estate tax. Opponents of that idea however, allege that only 4000 New Jersey individuals pay estate taxes at the state level each year and the state budget is already crippled and unable to function without the money that those taxes bring in. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to set up a meeting with a New Jersey estate planning attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests going forward. Negotiating the estate tax and taking various planning options can help you minimize your obligations.
In early August the Treasury Department issued proposed regulations that eliminate or restrict valuation discounts on family owned business under Internal Revenue Code Section 2704. While the regulations will go into public hearing at the beginning of December, it is important to consider the potential impact for family business owners now.
The potential loss of discounts could be devastating for estate planning purposes. One of the planning techniques to consider in light of this is the Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, also referred to as a GRAT. A low interest rate environment would increase the probability of success for a GRAT. Currently the 1.4% rate is a low threshold to exceed and makes GRATs useful from that perspective. It is possible, however, that a new administration will pass new tax legislation.
It is also possible there will be a loss of discounts after the year’s end or shortly thereafter when the regulations are anticipated to become effective. GRATs take assets remaining at the end of a trust term to the remainder beneficiaries. This will be the excess of the appreciation of any assets given to the GRAT assets over an annuity of payment includes a return of the principle value of the gift. The appreciation over this hurdle amount is transferred free of gift tax. In order to learn more about how this might impact you, consult with an experienced New Jersey estate and asset protection planning attorney today.
The IRS may face challenges as they work to finalize newly proposed regulations about curbing particular gift tax and estate planning tactics according to practitioners in the field. Those proposed regulations were issued on August 2nd and place limitations on using valuation discounts that minimize the overall value of assets inside a family owned business. This might have the effect of lowering a decedent’s gift tax and estate tax liability at the time of death.
Practitioners, however, believe that taxpayers as well as their advisors are planning to bring up multiple arguments against the IRS rules at a hearing scheduled in early December. The majority of this discussion is expected to revolve around whether or not the IRS has overstepped their bounds by issuing these regulations. If the rules are finalized as is, that question could be answered in U.S. tax court.
According to one expert, one of the primary reasons to question whether the IRS and the treasury department have overstepped their authority, is to look beyond the Obama administration’s budget proposals. If you have questions about how potential changes in the laws could impact you and your estate planning, set up a consultation with an experienced attorney today to learn more.
Although it’s not yet clear how this issue will proceed, it’s smart to plan ahead and speak to an attorney knowledgeable about advanced estate planning issues now. A New Jersey estate planning attorney can help you determine how these issues will impact you now and in the future, should the changes be accepted.
Along with the surge in gray divorce or increasing numbers of individuals above age 50 and 65 who are getting divorced, it’s important to think carefully about planning ahead for estate planning as you get remarried.
Some of the most pertinent issues include:
- Children from a previous relationship
- Family harmony and balance in general
- Financial security for your surviving spouse
- Assets that are inherited or acquired during the second marriage
- Assets that you own and are bringing into the relationship
Some of the most important steps you can follow with your new spouse include:
- Discussing finances
- Evaluating previous commitments
- Considering whether a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement could help you
- Reviewing your estate planning documents
- Carefully considering how children from prior relationship will be influenced with any new estate planning documents
It’s important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who has handled complex estate planning issues before. Having an attorney who is committed to finding the best possible strategies and documents for you is critical for your success.
When the Small Business Administration lending partners come across an applicant who has ownership interests or assets inside a trust, the first question made by that lender is whether or not the trustee or the trust itself needs to be a borrower or a guarantor on that loan.
The answer is that if the trust in any way benefits from the loan, then it should be classified as a borrower. However, lenders need to also keep in mind that the answer could be impacted by the actual terms of the trust agreement in addition to any state or federal laws. A trust does not have to meet criteria ‘small’ under SBA regulations in order to qualify for a Small Business Administration loans. Beneficiaries of the trust are not considered for eligibility purposes and they are not also required to be guarantors of a Small Business Administration loan. If the trust owns 20% or more of the small business applicant, then that trust has to guarantee the loan and the trustee should sign the guarantee on behalf of the trust.
Lenders may also need to be aware that certain state laws and the terms of some trust agreements may require that the assets inside the trust can be held in title by the trustee individually rather than in the name of the trust. These issues can be complicated and require the insight of a knowledgeable attorney when you go through the process of putting together your trust itself. Do not hesitate to reach out to a New Jersey estate planning attorney sooner rather than later in order to protect your interests and to understand how these issues could potentially impact this.
While no one plans ahead for a divorce when they get married, if your marriage does come to an end there are certain steps you should take in order to protect your individual interests and to ensure that your estate plan reflects your newly updated marital status. Although this process can feel overwhelming, you do need to consider everything.
Once your divorce decree has been issued and a judgement is rendered from a court, you need to revise and review all of the following estate planning and legal documents:
- Life insurance policies
- Powers of attorney
- Retirement accounts
If you don’t make these changes you could be exposing your other beneficiaries to a serious issue. If you were to suddenly pass away, for example, and your partner is still listed on your life insurance policy, he or she may receive all of the proceeds instead of your children or other beneficiaries. This is true even if your other estate planning documents explain that these proceeds should go to your children. While there are some situations in which you may want your ex-spouse to be your beneficiary, there are others where you would need to change this as soon as possible. Updating all of these documents immediately after a decision has been handed down is critical. Do not hesitate to set up a meeting with an estate planning attorney in New Jersey as soon as possible after you get divorced. A comprehensive review of your full situation can help to illuminate any potential issues and give you a framework from which to start.
At the beginning of August, the Treasury Department issued proposed regulations under section 2704(b) of the Internal Revenue Code and a hearing has been scheduled for December 1st, 2016. These new regulations, while still in the proposal period, would take away all valuation discounts for inter family entity transfers that are controlled by the transferor or his or her family.
While these regulations might not take effect until sometime in the following year, it could be necessary to complete any discount related planning over the next several months. Some of the biggest changes adopted in the proposed regulations are outlined below. These regulations give a broad definition of control. For example, control is classified as holding 50% or more of equity in a company based as an LLC partnership or corporation. For limited partnerships, control is equivalent to having an interest in the LLC’s general partner. The proposed regulations would change valuations for transfer tax purposes of interests in family owned entities that are subject to restrictions on redemptions or liquidations.
Specifically, these restrictions will be disregarded in terms of valuing such interests for estate tax or gift tax purposes when the interest is transferred by a family member. The reasoning behind this is that after such a transfer the restriction would lapse or could be removed by the transferor or a member of his or her family. These would have a significant impact on wealth transfer tax valuation for family controlled entity interest. Practically no minority discounts would be allowed. In order to learn more about this process, you need to consult with a New Jersey estate planning and asset protection planning attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help you protect your interests- reach out to our office today by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any number of news stories about celebrity estates highlight just how much confusion can be generated when you skip estate planning. The woes of skipping a will, however, are not only reserved for the rich and famous. Skipping a will can cause problems for your beneficiaries by making things more difficult than necessary. It’s worth the appointment with your estate planning attorney. According to a recent survey shared by Google, two-thirds of adults in the U.S. don’t have a will at all. A further nine percent have an out-of-date will. Having a will with old information can be just as frustrating for your loved ones, as it could mean that your old intentions are carried out instead and that you spark arguments between family members.
The survey also discovered good news as far as a person’s age and his or her likelihood to have a will. Sadly, however, individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 mostly did not have a will: more than 80 percent of respondents in that age range did not have plans for their belongings if something were to happen to them. It’s a myth to believe that you don’t need a will if you’re younger or have a modest-sized estate. Meeting with an estate planning attorney to discuss your goals and articulate your plans is something you should begin early on.
One other interesting fact from this study was that the income category least likely to have an updated will were those individuals earning more than $100,000 per year. With more income and assets come great responsibility. Putting your family through the additional stress of letting the court decide what happens to your belonging is unnecessary and frustrating for them. It can also add delays to the processing of your estate.
Contact a New Jersey estate planning attorney today if you’re ready to begin talking about putting together a will. It’s worth the time and effort and will give you a lot of peace of mind about the future.
One of the most beneficial steps you can take in your estate planning process is to put together a living trust. This helps to avoid the probate process entirely, eliminates court control, unnecessary taxes and helps to retain your privacy. Many different kinds of trusts are available for people across the U.S., but you should have a conversation with your estate planning attorney about what tools are recommended for your situation.
A living trust can be controlled entirely by family members and can be resolved in a matter of weeks. This is just one of the benefits of using a living trust. This is especially important after a loved one passes away, since there is already a high level of stress and the challenges of coping with the emotions of a lost loved one.
The average time for the probate process in states across the U.S. is between 9 months to 2 years, which can add to your loved one’s frustration and make things difficult for them in the interim. The probate process is also a very public domain, so anyone who has the interest can go to the courthouse to identify your estate’s value and to determine how it was distributed. If you value privacy, then this is a valuable tool to use.
Contact a New Jersey estate planning attorney if you’re thinking about how a living trust can help you.
If you are preparing to ship your new college student off to campus in the fall, it can be challenging to help him or her in a medical emergency if you don’t have the right estate planning tools to do so.
Many adult parents are still paying for services like car insurance premiums and health insurance when their younger children go off to college, but the adult child turning 18 can present numerous problems. For example, if you attempted to call the doctor’s office near campus to pay your son or daughter’s medical bill, they might not even speak to you, let alone pay it.
Many parents are unfortunately unaware of what happens in the medical world when their child turns 18 and without the proper estate planning documents they may be very confused and frustrated. As a child’s parents, you have no more legal right to your son or daughter’s medical information than you would to a stranger’s. This is partly due to the fact that federal legislation in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 put into place. HIPAA was designed to protect confidentiality of any person’s health information.
When your child turns 18, he or she is legally classified as an adult. In the event of a medical emergency though, this can present serious problems. Having a HIPAA release can be very beneficial for planning purposes. You may also wish to talk to your son or daughter about having a financial or healthcare power of attorney to help protect them in the event that something goes amiss. Contact a New Jersey estate planning attorney today to learn more.
You will certainly get better sleep when your affairs are in order the older that you get. Thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind for your loved ones is an important step to take. Estate planning is a major concern for everyone, regardless of the size of your estate. You might want to ensure, for example, that any assets you have accumulated are used wisely by those that you intend to give it to.
This is one of the primary reasons why many individuals approach estate planning with questions about how they can retain control. You may be able to put assets aside now in order to plan for these situations, but you might also want to support you and your spouse’s needs through retirement. This generates complex estate planning questions.
You’ll need to have full ownership of these funds for the time being, but also retain income and full withdrawal rights. There are also issues associated with tax. More individuals who relocate and move to a new country may be impacted by cross-border taxation and this is a major issue that can be easily overlooked. A trust gives peace of mind that assets are planned for appropriately and managed correctly. If you have concerns about your loved loves being able to manage things properly then you need to consult with an estate planning attorney as soon as you can. Setting up a meeting now will help to alleviate the vast majority of your concerns and also help you prepare for the future. Your loved ones may otherwise end up in major arguments over the intention of your assets and could resent you for your lack of planning.
If you are thinking about passing on that amazing vacation home to your loved ones and you want to keep it in the family for future generations to use, taking the time to plan now can be extremely beneficial. First of all, you need to consider who actually wants the property. A second home you have held in sentimental value for a long time might lead you to think that your children are automatically interested in having a stake.
However, you need to make sure that family members are actually interested in owning it. Some of the practical issues for your family members could include whether or not their income can contribute to the taxes, upkeep, and other costs. Others might not be able to travel to visit the home on a regular basis and therefore don’t see the benefit.
Your children might also prefer a more liquid asset. In the event that you have identified family members who are interested in owning the vacation property, the next step is determining the right form of ownership. Although the simplest method is to leave that home outright to your children in your will or to the family members who wish to inherit it, this could add additional complexities and disagreements for your heirs.
One option is to pass down your vacation home through a trust which would help to minimize some of the concerns associated with outright ownership. You would appoint a trustee to be in charge of all decisions associated with the home and then your heirs would become the beneficiaries of that trust.
Did you know that only about 45% of adult Americans have already put together their estate plan? As individuals accumulate more assets with every year that they age, it increases the importance of putting together estate planning.
This also increases the probability of problems if you do not engage in estate planning at all. If you don’t have clear planning documents, your family could be exposed to:
- Wasted time
- Not receiving what you intended for them to receive
- Costly court and attorney expenses
When you pass away, your assets could go to taxes, attorneys, appraisers, friends, family, charity, courts and other service providers. Having your estate planning documents in order can help speed up this transfer process as well as decrease cost and minimize family arguments. If you haven’t done so already, talk to an experienced estate planning attorney. You might be under the impression that an estate plan and a wealth transfer plan is the same. Did you know that 70% of family wealth is lost by the second generation and more than 90% of family wealth is lost by the third generation? It can be challenging for your loved ones to adapt to being responsible for a vast sum of money, but using trusts in your wealth transfer plan can help articulate how these individuals receive these assets and use them.
You might not initially think that you have much in common with the Prince estate, but as a business owner you have more than you likely realize. Prince left behind no will or no plan, meaning that he created a lot of legal questions for his multi-million-dollar legacy and empire. Putting together a business succession plan is essential, if you intend to protect your business interests after you pass away.
In some families, for example, only one child wishes to be involved in the future business. With no estate plan, all of the children may automatically receive an interest in the business that they are not necessarily interested in. With the trust, however, the individual who has the business has the opportunity to funnel this business to the interested child. This is usually the child who has already working in the business. That inheritance can be offset to other children with other assets. Cash and a house may be some of the most common assets, but this allows the business to pass on to an invested child who wants to remain involved for many years to come.
The probate process can be lengthy and the sudden departure of a key individual in a business can present many unique legal challenges and problems. It can be difficult to identify a successor if this process has not already been done with the business succession plan. Make things easier for your business and your loved ones by consulting with a business succession planning attorney as soon as possible.
The biggest driver of demand for estate planning trusts over the last two decades has been minimizing the consequences of estate taxes. The biggest considerations for many people from an estate planning sense today are income and capital gains taxes.
There are many positive reasons to consider creating a trust as opposed to passing things on outright. Trusts are powerful vehicles for allowing individuals to manage assets for themselves, their beneficiaries and their families both during their lifetime and after they pass away. Trusts allow you to pass assets on to your children in a controlled and thoughtful manner and give you more control over how those assets remain available to others and who is able to access them.
For wealthy parents especially, trusts make sense for protecting children from overspending. Trusts are a very powerful means to provide for the administration of wealth and property for family as well as philanthropy. Meeting with the right advisor in the form of an estate planning attorney can help you reveal some of the most pertinent issues you should consider when putting together a trust.
An attorney can analyze your individual situation and make recommendations based on that to help point you in the right direction.
Our world is increasingly digitalized, meaning that you can catch Pokémon, text someone, watch videos or any number of phone related activities while you are taking the train to work, going on a morning run, walking the dog, or even while you’re taking a swim.
End users of the new Pokémon Go application may start to think about putting real value, both sentimental and financial on their progress in the game. So what happens to these assets when someone passes away. What happens to other accounts like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and any other game purchases.
The answer is at the same time easy as well as complex. The short answer is that all applications, accounts, and digital games have some kind of property right attached to them. When you pass away, these assets become part of your digital estate. However, if you don’t go through the planning process, it’s all too easy for these items to be difficult to access. For example, perhaps you want a friend or family member to be able to access your Facebook account after you pass away.
Without any digital estate planning, you might not be able to accomplish this and you can create a number of problems and further difficulty for your loved ones. Some states have an act of legislation to allow executors or fiduciaries obtain access to digital assets when the owner passes away. But if your digital assets are treated more like traditional assets then your state succession laws, trust laws or real rules could account how these are transferred upon death.
Even if you are an older adult without any children and without a spouse, it is still beneficial to have an estate plan. Many individuals in this position put off putting together an estate plan because they believe that if something happens to you, an adult child, then the parents would get everything. It is a good idea, however, to encourage your adult children to plan, especially if you have recently gone through the planning process yourself.
If an asset has a beneficiary designation name, then that asset doesn’t transfer according to the New Jersey inter-estate rule. Even if you do not have any minor children or a spouse who may be eligible to receive part of your estate, consulting with an estate planning attorney can help you identify your next steps and to help prevent further confusion or problems in the event that a loved one passes away suddenly.
Putting together an estate plan can be easily accomplished by consulting with a New Jersey estate planning attorney sooner rather than later. A knowledgeable attorney can help advise you if the relevant documents you may need in addition to a will, including whether or not it makes sense to put together any trust, a durable power of attorney, a financial power of attorney and other materials. Only an attorney should be used for the estate planning process as it’s all too easy to make mistakes when doing this on your own.