protecting youre assets

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.

 

We consider:

  • Insurance
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Asset Segregation
  • Choice of Jurisdiction
  • Gifting
  • LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and asset protection trusts

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.

 

Contact us at (650) 761-0992 for a Family Wealth Planning Session™  or book an appointment online now to find out which strategies may be right for you.


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When Something is NOT Better Than Nothing—Part 2

You might think you can save time and money by using do-it-yourself estate planning documents you find online.

You’re probably anxious to check estate planning off your life’s to-do list, and these forms offer a seemingly quick and inexpensive way to handle this important task.

 

Last week, we shared the first part of this series discussing the hidden dangers of do-it-yourself estate planning. In part two, we cover one of the greatest risks posed by DIY documents.

 

You may even realize such generic plans aren’t as high quality as those drafted with an attorney’s help, but with your hectic schedule, a DIY will is just way more convenient. Besides, having “something” in place is better than having nothing, right? Unfortunately, this is one case in which SOMETHING is not better than nothing.

 

Indeed, the false sense of security offered by DIY wills can lead you to believe you have things covered and no longer have to worry about estate planning. The reality, however, is that such generic forms could end up costing the loved ones you leave behind more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing anything at all.

 

In this way, DIY wills and other legal documents are among the most dangerous choices you can make for the people you love. In part one, we discussed the many ways DIY plans can fail to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, and here we’ll explain how these generic documents can leave the people you love most of all—your children—at risk. 

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Use Estate Planning to Enrich Your Family With More Than Just Material Wealth

In the weeks before her death from ovarian cancer, author Amy Krouse Rosenthal gave her husband Jason one of the most treasured gifts a person could receive.

She penned the touching essay “You May Want to Marry My Husband” in the New York Times as a final love letter to him. The essay took the form of a heart-wrenching yet-humorous dating profile that encouraged him to begin dating again once she was gone. In her opening description of Jason, she writes:

 

“He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day.”

 

What followed was an intimate list of attributes and anecdotes, highlighting what she loved most about Jason. It reads like a love story, encompassing 26 years of marriage, three grown children, and a bond that will last forever. She finished the essay on Valentine’s Day, concluding with:

 

“The most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.”Just 10 days after the essay was published in March 2017, Amy died at age 51.

 

Finding meaning again

 

Amy’s essay immediately went viral, and Jason received countless letters from women across the globe. Although he has yet to begin a new relationship, Jason said the outpouring of letters gave him “solace and even laughter” in the darkest days following his wife’s death.

 

Just over a year later, Jason wrote his own essay for the Times, “My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me,” in which he expressed how grateful he was for Amy’s words and recounted the lessons he’d learned about loss and grief since her passing. He said his wife’s parting gift “continues to open doors for me, to affect my choices, to send me off into the world to make the most of it.” Jason has since given a TED Talk on his grieving process in hopes of helping others deal with loss, something he said he never would’ve done without Amy’s motivation.  

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3 Deadly Sins of Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is one of life’s most important financial goals. Indeed, funding retirement is one of the primary reasons many people put money aside in the first place.

Yet many of us put more effort into planning for our vacations than we do to prepare for a time when we may no longer earn an income.

 

Whether you’ve put off planning for retirement altogether or failed to create a truly comprehensive plan, you’re putting yourself at risk for a future of poverty, penny pinching, and dependence. The stakes could hardly be higher.

 

When preparing for your final years, it’s not enough to simply hope for the best. You should treat retirement planning as if your life depended on it—because it does. To this end, even well thought-out plans can contain fatal flaws you might not be aware of until it’s too late.

Have you committed any of the following three deadly sins of retirement planning?

 

1. Not having an actual plan

 

Even if you’ve been diligent about saving for retirement, without a detailed, goal-oriented plan, you’ll have no clear idea whether your savings strategies are working adequately or not. And such plans aren’t just about calculating a retirement savings number, funding your 401(k), and then setting things on auto-pilot.

 

Once you know how much you’ll need for retirement, you have to plan for exactly how you’ll accumulate that money and monitor your success. The plan should include clear-cut methods for increasing income, reducing spending, maximizing tax savings, and managing investments when and where needed.

 

What’s more, you should regularly review and update your asset allocation, investment performance, and savings goals to ensure you’re still on track to hit your target figure. With each new decade of your life (at least), you should adjust your savings strategies to match the specific needs of your new income level and age. The plan should also take into consideration unforeseen contingencies, such as downturns in the economy, health emergencies, layoffs, and inflation.

 

Failing to plan, as they say, is planning to fail.

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When Something is NOT Better Than Nothing—Part 1

Go online, and you’ll find tons of websites offering do-it-yourself estate planning documents.

Such forms are typically quite inexpensive. Simple Wills, for example, are often priced under $50, and you can complete and print them out in a matter of minutes.

 

In our uber-busy lives and DIY culture, it’s no surprise that this kind of thing might seem like a good deal. You know estate planning is important, and even though you may not be getting the highest quality plan, such documents can make you feel better for having checked this item off your life’s lengthy to-do list. But this is one case in which SOMETHING is not better than nothing, and here’s why:

 

A false sense of security

Creating a DIY Will online can lead you to believe that you no longer have to worry about estate planning. You got it done, right?

 

Except that you didn’t. In fact, you thought you “got it done” because you went online, printed a form, and had it notarized, but you didn’t bother to investigate what would actually happen with that document in place in the event of your incapacity or when you die.

In the end, what seemed like a bargain could end up costing your family more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing anything at all.

 

Creating a DIY Will can lead you to believe that you no longer have to worry about estate planning. In the back of your mind, you might even promise that one day you’ll revisit and update your plan with something better, but chances are, having done “something” will lead you to put this off until it’s too late.

 

By doing nothing, on the other hand, at least you won’t be lulled into a false sense of security, and estate planning will still be at the top of your life’s to-do list, as it should be until you handle it properly.

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Business Trademarks: What’s Really in a Name?

If you’re thinking of starting a business (or already have a business in the works), make sure that the name you use is not already taken.

Original names are essential for three reasons:  marketing power, clarity, and trademark infringement avoidance.  For example, if you’ve decided to open a coffee shop, it’s fairly easy to determine that the name “Starbucks” is not an option.  But, what about “Smith’s?”  And what happens if the “Smith’s” trademark is an auto insurance company in your town?  

 

What’s Really in a Name When it Comes to Business Trademarks?

 

Before attempting to trademark your business’s name, find out if the name is available on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website.  TESS, the Trademark Electronic Search System database, will indicate whether someone else has already claimed the name or symbol you want to use.  

  • While U.S. trademark protection is granted to the first company to use it in its operational geographic area (regardless of registration), a company that grabs the trademark first will generally have a stronger case in court.
  • In some situations, the similarities between names or symbols may be negligible.  That’s where an experienced business attorney with intellectual property experience can help.
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