Once we assess the type of assets you own through our Family Wealth Worksheet questionnaire, we will better understand your specific risk factors and the level of protection you desire.
We assist our clients in determining the appropriate level of asset protection planning for their particular circumstances.
If you have a business, it is necessary to review how it is set up. Our Small Business Legal Audit is a key first step.
Customized combinations are layered depending on your needs. There are many different strategies to accomplish the protection of your assets while you are alive and after you are gone.
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As family structures become more varied, we’re learning that when it comes to raising children, the marital status, gender, and even relationship status of the parents matters less and less.
What children need most are parents who are committed to loving and supporting them. Whether or not the parents have a romantic relationship with one another is immaterial to their ability to raise healthy and happy kids, so long as their co-parenting relationship is solid.
One new child-rearing trend that highlights this notion is platonic parenting. Also known as co-parenting, platonic parenting involves two or more people who agree to raise children together without a romantic connection. And we are discovering this nontraditional style of parenting can produce children who are just as well adjusted as those raised in a happily married household.
An alternative arrangement
Platonic parenting was pioneered within the LGBTQ community, where until recently same-gender couples couldn’t legally marry and didn’t have the court system to make up rules for them about post-breakup parenting. Following a romantic split, they were forced to create innovative, outside-the-box parenting arrangements on their own.
More recently, platonic parenting has spread to married couples looking to more effectively raise their children following divorce. By maintaining an amicable and cooperative relationship—sometimes even cohabitating—a couple whose romantic connection has dissolved can not only spare their children the trauma of divorce, but they may also find the arrangement is much healthier for them. Indeed, couples who stay unhappily married for the children’s sake often find the arrangement can be even more harmful to the whole family than a clean divorce.
And now, more and more people are choosing to raise children together using platonic parenting, without ever having a romantic relationship to begin with.
Although there is currently no federal sales tax, 45 states, and many localities, as well as the District of Columbia, have a sales tax. Different taxing authorities have their own regulations, tax rates, exemptions, and deadlines, which can be quite confusing, especially for entrepreneurs who have just started a new business. There are several key points to keep in mind.
Is your product or service subject to sales tax?
Unless your business is located in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon, which do not have a state sales tax, it is important to find out which products or services are subject to sales tax in your state. Keep in mind that there may still be local sales taxes in states that do not have a state sales tax.
In the first part of this series, we discussed how some professional adult guardians have used their powers to abuse the seniors placed under their care. Here, we’ll discuss how seniors can use estate planning to avoid the potential abuse and other negative consequences of court-ordered guardianship.
The New Yorker exposed one of the most shocking accounts of elder abuse by professional guardians, which took place in Nevada and saw more than 150 seniors swindled out of their life savings by a corrupt Las Vegas guardianship agency.
The Las Vegas case and others like it have shed light on a disturbing new phenomenon—individuals who seek guardianship to take control of the lives of vulnerable seniors and use their money and other assets for personal gain. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of such abuse is that many seniors who fall prey to these unscrupulous guardians have loving and caring family members who are unable to protect them.
In the first part of this series, we detailed how criminally-minded individuals can take advantage of an overloaded court system and seize total control of seniors’ lives and financial assets by gaining court-ordered guardianship. Here we’ll discuss how seniors and their adult children can use proactive estate planning to prevent this from happening.
It’s important to note that any adult could face court-ordered guardianship if they become incapacitated by illness or injury, so it’s critical that every person over age 18—not just seniors—put these planning vehicles in place to prepare for potential incapacity.
Keep your family out of court and out of conflict
Outside of the potential for abuse by professional guardians, if you become incapacitated and your family is forced into court seeking guardianship, your family is likely to endure a costly, drawn out, and emotionally taxing ordeal. Not only will the legal fees and court costs drain your estate and possibly delay your medical treatment, but if your loved ones disagree over who’s best suited to serve as your guardian, it could cause bitter conflict that could unnecessarily tear your family apart.
Furthermore, if your loved ones disagree over who should be your guardian, the court could decide that naming one of your relatives would be too disruptive to your family’s relationships and appoint a professional guardian instead—and as we’ve seen, this could open the door to potential abuse.
If operating as a partnership or LLC, a well-drafted partnership or LLC operating agreement will be crucial to memorialize your economic agreement, organizational structure, and key terms, and should include provisions designed to prevent deadlock if a disagreement later arises about important business decisions.
A disagreement concerning a major decision could impede the ability of a business to move forward, placing the future of the business itself in jeopardy. Even if the deadlock concerns a less important decision, the resulting frustration can be damaging to the owners’ relationship and thus harmful to the business. A deadlock could even lead to an expensive and lengthy litigation or to the dissolution of the partnership or LLC.
Business owners can avoid this situation by entering into a well-drafted partnership or operating agreement containing provisions designed to prevent a deadlock from ever happening. There are a variety of potential solutions, and the following are among the most common.
And when they do leave something behind, what you likely cherish most about the object are the memories and feelings it evokes, not the thing itself.
For the founder and CEO of New Law Business Model, Alexis Katz, the most treasured memento her late father left her wasn’t even something she intended to be special—it was just a random voicemail on her cellphone. And the message wasn’t meant to be anything sentimental.
His message simply said, “Lex, it’s your dad. Call me back.”
Following his death, Alexis loved listening to that message to hear her father’s voice. Of all the assets he left behind, that voicemail was what she cherished most.
Until one day, she went to listen to the message and discovered it had been erased—and her father’s voice was lost to her forever. She still recalls that day as one of her worst ever, yet like most painful events, it taught her an important lesson.
Losing that voicemail ultimately inspired Alexis to build a new feature into her family-centered model of estate planning, known as Family Wealth Legacy Passages. This feature, which is included in every plan we create, allows you to preserve and pass on something that’s inherently more valuable than any tangible asset you might leave your loved ones.