Is Now the Right Time for Investment Management?

There are many reasons that you might want to hire a professional investment manager. Perhaps you’ve handled things on your own up until now or you’re working with another company but are looking for a transition. Knowing when is the right time to partner with someone else can help you make this decision more confidently.

Most people end up with a collection of investment accounts over their working years, and the next challenge then becomes figuring out what you do with all those accounts and how to best align each one for future benefits. Investment management is crucial for streamlining your financial life by bringing together all of your different accounts into one place so that you can see how they impact one another.

Moving all those accounts into one place, however, is only the first step. If you’re not feeling confident about making your own investment decisions, if you want someone else to have tabs on your portfolio and step in to rebalance things where necessary, or if you’re dealing with complex issues like retirement planning for your income, tax concerns, or an inheritance, it’s beneficial to have that outside influence of an investment manager.

But one of the biggest reasons that people finally reach out for investment management help is because there’s been a big event in their life that has caused them to step back and reevaluate their plans. A major change in income or having a child are big reasons, because these often prompt you to consider new goals or, with a higher income, potential risks or tax issues.

Having someone else with a fresh perspective to assist you during these change periods in your life affords you peace of mind that no matter what you’re facing, you have the right strategy to pivot and adapt.

Contact our office today for more help in understanding how these assets under management influence your financial future.

When To Know It’s Time to Sell Your Business

Putting all of your effort into your business for many years is a common problem for entrepreneurs. They have a great deal of passion and excitement about growing their business, but there may be times when you need to think about selling. In today’s current economic climate, this could be a very important opportunity for you to evaluate your options to sell your business.

It may be in your best interests to sell your company if you are facing significant issues with current management or feel as though your business has outgrown you. It is the goal for many entrepreneurs to replace themselves in their business by building teams, systems and processes that can help to carry on the business without them.

During your working years, this might have been used to allow you to go on vacation, but as you get closer to retirement, you must think about the benefit of business succession planning. Business succession planning can help you see the talent bench you have that will progress your business in ways that you might not have imagined. This can factor into your decision about when to retire because based on your current financial goals and what you might take away from an exit of the business, you may have more assets than expected or need to stay a few longer years than you expected.

Consulting with the right team of financial professionals is instrumental in outlining your success when selling your company or making any other big transition in your life. Contact our team of dedicated professionals to help answer your questions today. We’re here to help you decide what this transition looks like and how to make the best of it.

Do Downturns Lead to Down Years?

Stock market declines over a few days or months may
lead investors to anticipate a down year. But the US stock
market had positive returns in 17 of the past 20 calendar
years, despite some notable dips in many of those years.

• Intra-year declines for the index ranged from 3% to 49%.
• Many years with large intra-year declines saw positive
annual returns. In 17 of the last 20 years, US stocks
ended up with gains for the year.
• Even in 2020, when there were sharp market declines
associated with the coronavirus pandemic, US stocks
ended the year with gains of 21%.

Volatility is a normal part of investing. Tumbles may be
scary, but they shouldn’t be surprising. A long-term focus
can help investors keep perspective.

Sources: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

What Is the Difference Between A Power Of Attorney And A Living Trust?

A power of attorney document enables what is known as an attorney in fact to do very specific things on behalf of the principal while the principal is alive. A living trust also enables the person appointed to do certain things for the maker of the trust during that person’s lifetime. This appointed party is known as a trustee. However, these powers also extend beyond death.

A power of attorney is like a living trust, in that both allow another person to manage someone else’s assets. A trustee, much like an attorney in fact agent, can manage another person’s assets like doing investments, banking transactions, and many other actions. However, the trustee only has control over those assets that are titled in the name of the living trust. There could be a potential conflict between someone’s actions as an attorney in fact and a trustee’s actions.

This typically comes up if the principle of your power of attorney also has a trust and the powers for both of you overlap. Your attorney may have to prepare a document notifying the trustee about the power of attorney. For example, maybe the home of the principal is owned by a trust, but you have been empowered by a power of attorney to sell that home.

This can create a conflict and potential problems which can be easily avoided. If you would like to learn more about establishing a living trust or a power of attorney document, set aside time to meet with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer.

Should You Rewrite Your Will After Your Divorce?

Divorce represents plenty of changes in your life and it can be hard to keep track of all those details.

Any major change in your life should prompt you to reconsider your current will and other estate planning documents. It is vital to update your will at these points in time because you need to verify that your estate plan is up to date overall. If you fail to update your will or other estate planning documents after a divorce, your ex-spouse may legally be entitled to certain assets inside your estate.

One of the first steps you should take after getting a divorce is to meet with your estate planning lawyer. Many people are relieved to receive their final divorce decree and want to move on with their life but meeting with an estate planning lawyer is critical for protecting your interests and ensuring that you have updated all of your beneficiary designation forms as well. For example, do not forget about retirement accounts or life insurance policies where that same spouse may also be listed as a beneficiary.

If you have other questions about what’s involved in the estate planning process and how you can approach it most effectively following any major change in your life, now is the perfect opportunity to consult with an experienced and dedicated estate planning lawyer. Bring copies of your current documents to your meeting with your estate planning attorney to discuss the next steps you need to take and any other updates that you might need to make.

Is There a Relationship Between A Power Of Attorney and a Living Will?

A living will reflects your individual wishes as to whether or not you want certain medical procedures to terminate when you are diagnosed as in an irreversible coma or terminally ill.

A health care power of attorney and a living will are both termed advanced health care directives because you create them in advance of an incapacitating event. In the event that you are unable to communicate with your own doctors or are unable to understand the information they are sharing with you, your living will is a legally enforceable method of ensuring that your wishes are still honored.

Whether or not a person has a living will that is in effect, an attorney in fact agent on a power of attorney can make health care decisions if that power of attorney gives the exact requirements relating to the manner of execution and the agent follows them.

For this reason, you may want to create a separate advanced directive known as a durable power of attorney for health care. In all of these situations, it is very beneficial to work directly with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

Only an estate planning attorney can tell you more about what to expect in the planning process and can make it that much easier for you to approach your next steps. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming to move forward with an estate plan, but working directly with a dedicated estate planning attorney can increase your level of comfort overall.

A NJ estate planning lawyer can help you with this process.

What’s The Difference Between Supervised and Unsupervised Probate?

Depending on which states you own assets in and how much estate planning you have done, there may be a need for supervised or unsupervised probate after you pass away.

Probate is the formal legal process for transferring your assets after you pass away, and it is important to remember that not every asset you own is part of your probate estate. However, there are sometimes situations in which non probate assets are brought into a probate estate.

Both kinds of probate administrations do require some level of court involvement, but a supervised probate situation requires much more court involvement, because nearly every action taken by the executor or personal representative must be formally approved by the court. There is much less court involvement, however, in an unsupervised probate administration, because the court will appoint a personal representative and then tell him or her to manage all of the assets by filing an inventory with the court.

At that point, the personal representative has a lot of discretion regarding following either intestate succession rules or the terms of the person’s will, and at the conclusion of this a report is submitted to the court.

The more estate planning you do, the easier it will be for your loved ones to receive the assets that you have set aside for them. contact an experienced estate planning lawyer to learn more about which assets are part of your probate estate, and how advanced planning can help your loved ones in the future.

If you need help understanding an upcoming New Jersey probate, set aside a time to meet with an estate planning lawyer to discuss your options.

Do You Have Enough Assets To Leave Behind?

A recent study reveals that 33% of Americans don’t have a basic will because they assume they don’t have enough assets to leave behind for other people. The study included the responses of over 2,600 American adults, looking at the attitudes and behavior of people from various backgrounds.

Only 33% of the respondents had a living trust or a will. 40% of respondents indicated they haven’t gotten around to it and the most common reason for failing to complete an estate plan was indeed, procrastinating, followed by those who think they don’t have enough assets to pass on to loved ones.

Highly educated Americans and high earners are most likely to say procrastination is their reason for not creating a will. A total of two out of three Americans who have advanced degrees have not gotten around to this either, but respondents with the lowest amount of income and those who don’t have any college education are using perceived lack of assets as a reason to procrastinate on their estate plan.

The truth is that many people do have assets and may need to cover other bases in their estate plan, such as naming a guardian for a minor child, or creating a power of attorney to allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Speaking with an estate planning attorney can help you clear up how simple or complex your estate plan should be and can give you a great deal of peace of mind about your future.

New Study Shows All Americans Are Thinking About Retirement Differently

Retirement is on plenty of people’s minds whether they are approaching it in the next decade or looking at it early on in their career. The recent pandemic has prompted plenty of people to rethink their career and retirement plans.

Many people are nervous in thinking about the prospect of retirement, but it is extremely important to follow through on a retirement planning strategy that helps to protect you and your loved ones. A recent Investopedia study of over 4000 people sought to explore Americans’ perception of financial literacy. The study found that two thirds of Gen X and Millennial adults are already planning for retirement, with 42% of Gen Z members doing the same.

Across generations, however, many Americans felt uncertain about their strategy of retirement planning, and many also believe that cryptocurrencies will feature prominently in their retirement planning future.

While many older adults don’t expect to retire early, those polled between the ages of 18 and 25 answered to the tune of nearly 60% that they intend to retire early. Those younger adults hope to stop working at age 57 for Gen Z and age 61 for millennials.

It’s important to think about how you can create and adapt your retirement planning strategy based on your individual goals. You should also align your retirement strategy with your estate plan. So set aside a time to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your next steps.

Retirement and estate strategies should work together to help you accomplish your goals. Since you’ll want to support yourself and potentially help loved ones through retirement planning, contact a dedicated lawyer who can help you align your estate plan.

Missing the Market’s Best Days

In case you are tempted to jump out of your investments and jump back in when the time is ‘right’, just make sure you know exactly when that time is going to be ‘right.’

The impact of missing just a few of the market’s best days can be profound, as shown by this animated look at a hypothetical investment in the stocks that make up the S&P 500 Index.

Sources: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Can You Name A Beneficiary For Crypto Assets In Your Estate Plan?

Do you hold crypto assets or are you looking into owning some? You need a plan for how you’ll hold it during your life and what happens to it after you pass away.

Crypto is only becoming more possible but this raises plenty of questions for people who hold crypto assets about what happens to those assets when they pass away. If you do not have a specific plan for cryptocurrency assets in your will, these could all disappear permanently when you pass away. Crypto transactions live on a blockchain and are verified independently by a network of computers, which means they are assets handled and stored differently than those inside traditional banks.

Crypto is considered a probate asset because it will need to go through probate before it can be legally transferred to your beneficiaries when you pass away. A beneficiary is an organization or a person who you want to inherit a particular asset when you pass away. In order to make sure that the right person has access to all of these details, you need to list out all of the crypto assets in your estate plan, name where they are stored, and which beneficiary should receive them.

Furthermore, you’ll also need to appoint an executor as part of your will, and this is the person responsible for administering your last will and testament. A digital property executor may also need to be appointed and it may be a separate person who is familiar with cryptocurrency. For more support in drafting a comprehensive strategy for your cryptocurrency in your estate plan, set aside a time to meet with a lawyer.

Why A Will Isn’t Enough For Business Estate Planning

If you own a business, you need business succession planning and careful consideration about how to craft your estate planning to support your individual and company needs. Many business owners might only have the most basic of estate planning tools of a last will and testament.

If your estate plan only has a will in it, your estate, including all of the assets inside your business will have to go through the court supervised process known as probate when you pass away. It can take a few months for someone to appoint a person on behalf of you and your company to take action. This can significantly disrupt cash flow and operations. Furthermore, many people who have worked hard to establish a business want to maintain control over that and benefit from privacy. Remember that probate is a very public process, meaning that the affairs of your business could be open to your competitors or your neighbors.

Having the insight of an experienced estate planning lawyer is strongly recommended for every business owner who is looking forward to the future. Creating a business succession plan is one of the cornerstones of your estate plan because it allows for the transfer of the business based on decisions that you make now.

It can also include important documents, such as a buy-sell agreement, which allows certain other people to be able to step in and purchase your portion of the business if needed. Having these options is instrumental for keeping your company operating after you have stepped away, and it ensures that the right people have been tapped to step into leadership roles as necessary. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced business succession planning lawyer to discuss this option more.

What Expenses Are You Potentially Leaving Behind?

A recent study by has shown that the average family incurs over $12,000 in unexpected expenses after a family member passes away. Every year, 3 million individuals pass away in the United States, some of whom have estate plans and others who leave all the questions to be answered by their family members. Funeral costs can be extensive and expensive.

Many people do not realize the comprehensive aspects of planning ahead for a funeral, and failing to plan is still a plan because it leaves your loved ones in the difficult situation of making these decisions after you pass away. This doesn’t incorporate your individual wishes and intentions and could even put them in a financial bind. Some of the average costs for services spent by family members around the country include:

  • $3,910 in attorney fees
  • Over $7,000 for funeral or memorial expenses
  • $2,456 for accountant support
  • $4,461 for real estate professional help
  • $1,637 for social workers or therapists

Approximately one in seven families had a little bit easier road with these expenses because their loved one had paid in advance for those costs. Set aside the time to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure you have thought of a way to help plan for these potential expenses and make things easier on your loved ones.

Most people want to, at a minimum, make sure there are no burdens or messes left behind when they pass away. This means thinking about what advanced planning you’ve done and how it can help your family members during an otherwise difficult time.

What Are The Most Common Reasons That A Trustee Is Sued?

A trustee is an important person who has a great deal of responsibility assigned to them in the management and administration of a trust. Unfortunately, suing the trustee of a trust can happen, and it can put the trustee as well as beneficiaries in a very difficult situation.

Proactive trust planning can help to minimize the possibility of dealing with problems associated with suing the trustee of a trust. It is important to decide who you will install in this role, since they will need to communicate effectively with all beneficiaries on the trust, comply with all the terms of the trust and adhere to the law.

Although plenty of trustees work efficiently and diligently to carry out all of their tasks and will treat every beneficiary equally and fairly, this is not always the case. In some situations, when a trustee crosses the line, they can be held personally accountable and removed from their role. Trustees can be sued both as the trustee of a trust and in a personal capacity.

Any trustee can be sued personally for improper or illegal administration of the trust, and minors can sue trustees so long as an adult files the lawsuit on their behalf. Common causes of action for lawsuits against trustees include self-interest fraud, conflict of interest and embezzlement.

Lawsuits against trustees are typically brought in probate court and can impact the overall value of assets inside the trust as these funds will need to be used to handle the legal claim. Be proactive in your trust planning by choosing the right person to serve in this role and in minimizing the possibility of problems. Schedule a time to meet with an experienced attorney today.

Are You Falling For This Living Trust Myth?

A living trust, when used properly, can be an important component of your estate plan. In some cases, it may help to ensure that all of the wishes that you have regarding how your assets pass is covered accurately. However, it can be a big misconception to assume that a living trust negates the need for a will.

It is unlikely that you will put every item that you own into your trust and there’s also the possibility that you could include additional assets between the time you draw up the living trust and the time you pass away. Your lawyer might recommend something that is known as a pour over will, which essentially allows for the transfer of anything that you have excluded. You may still need a will to help incorporate all estate planning concerns since a will is the only place you can name a guardian for your minor children, for example.

When drafted together, your living will and your trust can cover a lot of bases in the estate planning process and can combine with other things, such as a medical power of attorney, a durable power of attorney and a living will to ensure that all of your wishes are followed to the letter. If you have concerns about making sure that your loved ones are put in a good situation when you pass away in terms of the appointment of an executor, the transfer of assets and more, it is important to work directly with an estate planning law firm.

A living trust works well as part of your overall estate plan based on your personal goals. Let our estate planning office help you put it into action.

Meme Investing? Try Human Ingenuity Instead

What do mean stock investors and Wall Street have in common, and where are they different? How does humanity’s tendency to persevere show up in the market? I enjoyed the article below by David Booth from the Dimensional Fund Advisors website. I hope you enjoy it as well.


We’ve all been conditioned to see meme investors and Wall Street in opposition, but it seems to me that they have a lot in common. Both believe in picking stocks and think they can beat the market. In my mind, the important distinction is that Wall Street stands to make a lot of money off meme investors, simply from trading costs. For those who say apps don’t charge for trading, think about it: When was the last time Wall Street gave away anything for free?

I think the best long-term investing strategy has little to do with prediction or stock picking, and everything to do with investing in human ingenuity. Human ingenuity is the engine that drives the stock market. The real anti-Wall Street revolution began in academia in the 1960s and evolved into the formation of index funds more than 50 years ago. The academics spearheading this revolution found no compelling evidence that any individual can consistently beat the market, but that the market itself returns, on average, about 10% a year.

Why do individuals have such trouble beating those returns?

In transparent public markets governed by the rule of law, enormous numbers of buyers and sellers come together to trade. Both sides of every trade must feel like they got a good deal. Otherwise, they wouldn’t trade. That’s what people mean when they say prices are fairly set.

When Wall Street or meme investors think they can capitalize on “mispricing,” they’re not betting against Wall Street so much as they are betting against human ingenuity.

So when you bet on individual stocks, you might win or you might lose, but over 10 years, you’re unlikely to harvest a better return than if you invested in the whole market. If you stop and think about it for a minute, this makes sense. Markets only work if they are unpredictable. After all, they are constantly responding to all the new information that comes in every day. If we could predict when the market was going to move, there would be no market. The fact is nobody knows when a certain stock will go up or down. Contrary to what both Wall Street and meme investors want you to think, there is no method of analysis, no matter how “proprietary” or sophisticated, that tells us what’s going to happen when.

So when Wall Street or meme investors think they can capitalize on “mispricing,” they’re not betting against Wall Street so much as they are betting against human ingenuity. I’m referring to the millions of people working hard to maximize the value of their companies, and millions of investors trying to make the best possible trading decisions based on all available information. Sometimes speculators get lucky, and sometimes they don’t. Regardless, I don’t call what they’re doing investing. I call it speculation—even gambling.

Buying the market is a totally different approach. It’s investing in human ingenuity. People working to maximize the value of public companies are innovative and resilient. They adapt to improve products. They create new processes to solve problems. While you can’t predict what any one person will do on any given day, you can predict that humanity will persevere. The market reflects this simple truth.

The market can reward us for having faith in our fellow human beings. Investing—like life—is full of uncertainty, but at the end of the day, it’s uncertainty that drives opportunity, and returns. Investing is not about trying to outguess Wall Street or meme investors on which stock will go up or down and when. It’s about choosing to side with human ingenuity and betting on a future that’s better than today—because of the hard work of everyone you know, and the many millions you will never meet.

David Booth
Executive Chairman and Founder

Sources: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Estate Plan Created Before 2010? It’s Time For An Update

Many things change in the state and national landscape over the years, and there’s a good chance that many things have changed in your life too. If you haven’t revisited your estate plan since 2010, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting with an estate planning attorney in your area for a review and an update.

Many things have changed in the last 10+ years, both at the state and national level and also likely in your life.

For example, have you:

  • Set up contingent beneficiaries?
  • Included all children and grandchildren in your plan?
  • Changed your marital status?
  • Acquired more property?
  • Got rid of some property?

You should probably hire a new attorney to do the updating but be aware that some lawyers may be uncomfortable being held responsible for a document they did not initially draft. It is essential to work directly with an attorney because there are many potential mistakes that could happen in the drafting or updating of your estate planning tools.

The more you’re familiar with some of these possible concerns, the easier it is to consult with an attorney and make sure you have covered all of the various bases. If you have gone through significant life changes since the last time you originally created your estate plan and, in particular, if you have acquired a great deal of property or adopted or given birth to children in this time period, you’ll want to have a lawyer who can help walk you through this process.

What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind For Your Family?

A recent study by has shown that the average family incurs over $12,000 in unexpected expenses after a family member passes away. Every year, 3 million individuals pass away in the United States, some of whom have estate plans and others who leave all the questions to be answered by their family members. Funeral costs can be extensive and expensive.

Many people do not realize the comprehensive aspects of planning ahead for a funeral, and failing to plan is still a plan because it leaves your loved ones in the difficult situation of making these decisions after you pass away. This doesn’t incorporate your individual wishes and intentions and could even put them in a financial bind.

Some of the average costs for services spent by family members around the country include:

  • $3,910 in attorney fees
  • Over $7,000 for funeral or memorial expenses
  • $2,456 for accountant support
  • $4,461 for real estate professional help
  • $1,637 for social workers or therapists

Approximately one in seven families had a little bit easier road with these expenses because their loved one had paid in advance for those costs. Set aside the time to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure you have thought of a way to help plan for these potential expenses and make things easier on your loved ones.

Need more support with the next steps in your planning? It’s time to talk to an experienced lawyer about your options. We’re here to help and guide you through the process.

How To Effectively Choose a Trustee

Do not put off finalizing or signing your estate planning documents because you’re not yet sure who you want to name as trustee. You should speak directly with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer about the best steps to approach this.

Choosing someone to manage your estate when you pass away is an important decision, but it is equally important who you choose to serve in the role of irrevocable trust trustee. This is because assets placed inside an irrevocable trust are removed from your personal ownership and fall under the discretion of the trustee. The trustee must adhere to the terms you have outlined in the trust and represent beneficiary’s best interests.

If you choose a friend or family member to serve in the role of trustee, they should be good with money and financially aware. You want someone who is at a bare minimum level familiar with the concept of investing and preferably someone who already has assets of their own that they are investing with the help of a financial professional. Many people like to start by considering family and friends as trustees because these individuals are most likely to be familiar with your personal goals and intentions.

However, this is not always the right choice, if the person that you select is unable to communicate effectively with beneficiaries or could potentially cause further problems. You need to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer before setting up a trust to ensure that it covers all of your individual intentions.

How High And Low Interest Rates Can Impact Wealth Transfers

Current global conditions have contributed to a spike in inflation which was already on the rise. It is expected that the Federal Reserve will respond by raising interest rates by as high as 2% in the next 18 months. These changing rates impact estate planning and generate important wealth transfer considerations and conversations. There is no one size fits all strategy for either a low rate or a high rate environment.

Instead, it is important to have an established relationship with an estate planning professional who can help guide you through this process and answer many of the most common questions that you have about the process.

The support of an attorney can be instrumental in identifying adaptations to your state plan that you should implement as quickly as possible and finding the right support for this kind of task is very important. When the Fed raises rates, work with your estate planning attorney to implement strategies that work best when interest rates are higher. Likewise, do the reverse when interest rates are lower. Typically, the rate that applies to a specific strategy you’ve used is the rate in effect on the date the strategy was implemented, this calls on you to take proper action.

Right now, in a low interest rate environment, lending strategies that take advantage of these low interest rates can help you transfer wealth to other people with no gift tax or very little gift tax. For more information, make sure that you set aside the time to speak with a dedicated lawyer.

Our estate planning law firm regularly works with people to make sure they’re getting the most out of every aspect of estate planning. We know it can be hard to adjust in a shifting environment, but it’s our goal to be there by your side with your estate planning.