Asset Protection Planning: Move Assets Off of Your Balance Sheets

If you are thinking about the best way to protect yourself, regardless of the current political laws surrounding estate and tax planning, it’s a good idea to engage with a lawyer who also has a background in asset protection planning.

Most people don’t understand what asset protection planning includes until it’s too late. Shielding your assets from creditors and predators in advance, however, is essential if you don’t want to learn the lesson the hard way.

As a client, you will want to consider all real estate, family business, investments accounts and life insurance interests by transferring them into a trust, if possible. Issues like a family business can complicate your estate planning significantly. Since a family business usually seen as a long-term investment, you might want to sell it into a trust. This will give an income stream to older people who want to give up the day to day operations and responsibilities of the business without losing all of their access to the security of the financial security provided by the asset. Business interests should typically be sold when the value is modest, so that growth can occur outside of the individual person’s estate. Selling off a business interest also allows for things known as valuation discounts, such that greater equity goes into the trust. Life insurance can also be sold into a trust in order to avoid three years look back issues.

In the event that you choose to gift life insurance into an irrevocable trust and pass away within three years, typically the internal revenue service will put that asset back into the estate, but a sale of the life insurance policy into a trust can avoid this problem. Finally, real estate can be sold into a trust for similar reasons as family businesses. asset protection lawyer

If you wait until a legal claim or issue has already come up, the options for really protecting your assets are much more limited. That’s why you need the support of an attorney months or years in advance.

Protecting these assets and also considering the different ways that a family business or an individual could be exposed to the risk of lawsuits and other challenges should be carefully considered with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney when you are planning to look forward into the future and to do as much as possible to prevent problems and personal liabilities.

 

New Study Shows That Many People Expect to Delay Retirement

Plenty of Americans have not started the process of retirement planning at all or admit that they feel that they are in over their head and haven’t set aside enough money. With increasing longevity numbers and rising cost of long term care, retirement planning has become increasingly important.

However, a new study completed by Northwestern Mutual indicates that many people expect to delay their retirement years as a result of financial concerns. This comes from the 2018 planning and progress study known as Living Long and Working Longer, which discusses some of the long term financial security threats currently facing the older generation. 

More than 2,000 adults were included in this study and 8 out of 10 people say they are somewhat or extremely concerned about being able to achieve an affordable retirement. Up to two-thirds of U.S. adults who responded in the study believes that it is possible that they will outlive their retirement savings.

A total of three quarters of Americans believe that it was only somewhat likely or not at all likely that social security benefits would be available when they retire. Unfortunately however, nearly half of adults who participated in the study said that they took no specific to prepare for the potential of outliving their individual savings.

However, one quarter of them did say that they had increased the amount of money they were putting aside each month. Less than 20% of people who responded in the survey had put together a financial plan to help get them to retirement and beyond.

More than half of the American people who responded in the study who anticipated living past the traditional retirement age said they had to so as a result of necessity, due to a lack of confidence in social security’s ability to protect their needs and inadequate savings.

Other concerns that came about as prominent in these responses included having to care for loved ones or rising health care costs. If you or someone you know has not thought carefully about how your retirement plan intersects with your estate plan, set aside time to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer.

 

Anthony Bourdain’s Will Could Be Open to Legal Dispute

A trust was initially created for the daughter of the celebrity chef who recently passed away. However, if the divorce wasn’t finalized, the ex-wife may be eligible to obtain one third of the estate. Details from his will reveal that his estate may be not have been as large as many people expected.

Documents were filed recently with Manhattan’s Surrogate Court, estimating that the estate was worth approximately $1.21 million. Some people estimated that he was worth as much as $16 million.

The 11-year-old daughter of Anthony Bourdain was listed as the primary beneficiary and the trust established will distribute assets to her when she is 25 and 30 years old and she will then be able to act as the balancer when she turns 35. Since Anthony Bourdain’s daughter is still a minor, a guardian will be selected by the court to ensure that the inheritance is safeguarded. Trusts that pay out over a period of time are extremely popular for young beneficiaries to ensure that they do not face the challenges of getting a big inheritance all at once. 

A beneficiary can benefit from the assets that are inside over the long run and this information can be especially helpful and valuable for someone who is thinking about drafting a trust.

A will can be contested if it appears to have been procured through undue influence or if the person signing it was not capable of understanding the act or the will itself, among other reasons.

Although Anthony Bourdain’s will might become subject to passing up majority of the assets inside to his wife from whom he was separated, this is an important lesson for people to sit down with their experienced estate planning attorney to verify that any separated spouses are excluded from these documents and that legal details have been addressed.

 

Can Probate Really Take as Long as Six Months?

One of the most common reasons for people to initiate the estate planning process early on is to avoid the process of probate. Probate is a public matter and one that can have substantial time and expense for your loved ones after you pass away. Not having a will or other estate planning tools means that your estate will transfer into probate. Any person who has to administer a deceased loved one’s estate knows that it can take up to six months after someone passes away or even longer in the event there are contests and challenges that emerge.

The word probate on a stamp on a big folder of paperwork

Assets that are governed by contracts, such as certain bank accounts and life insurance are governed by applicable roles inside the contract, but there are other assets that are governed by probate law. The value of contracts like bank accounts, real estate transfers and life insurance is triggered by death, and these have significant value related to affordability and speed. Probate process, however, can be extremely lengthy and frustrating largely because the primary purpose of probate is to ensure communication and fairness.

There is a great deal of grief associated with the passing of a family member, which means that other family members may become extremely impatient during probate administration. However, estate administration going through the probate process usually takes at least six months. The six-month period is because of the many different elements of closing on a person’s estate that needs to occur as soon as possible after someone passes away. Each of these stages, however, can take some time.

For example, all debts must be paid, all paperwork must be obtained and properly filed, and if someone comes forward to challenge the validity of the will or the estate itself, this can lead to additional challenges on behalf of the loved ones who were anticipating that probate would be closed out as soon as possible.

If you would like to streamline the probate administration process by conducting appropriate estate planning well in advance with the support of a lawyer, an estate planning attorney can walk you through every phase of what to anticipate and can help you avoid some of the most common missteps.

A lawyer can tell you the best strategies to use to avoid probate so that your loved ones can move on sooner rather than later.

 

What Makes Baby Boomer and Millennial Women Different with Regard to Wealth Planning?

Whether it’s planning for your own retirement or even setting aside time to think about your legacy plan with your estate, you need to ensure you have a lawyer to support you. Women in particular must be concerned about long-term needs because they often live longer and must factor in these additional years.

Far too many women are unprepared for retirement and especially for the risk of long-term care needs down the road. If their spouse passes away, the challenges can amplify.

A study recently completed by RBC Wealth Management indicated that there has been a major change in the attitude about wealth shared between millennials and the baby boomer generation. Approximately half of boomer women who participated in the study said that they took the lead on financial planning, whereas up to 72% of millennial women were responsible for this area of their households. This trend was consistent across charitable giving, will planning and day to day banking.

Friends Together at Beach

The wealthier the household, the higher the chances were that a woman was leading the financial planning and was actively involved in the legacy and estate planning. For those households that had greater than $5 million in investable assets, women were the primary decision maker. Key differences also recorded in the study between the two generations were shifts away from thinking about money as a method of providing security, and instead towards the opportunity to do more for the world. Approximately 41% of boomer women said they intended to pass on their wealth to their children, whereas only 15% of millennial women responded the same.

A total of 65% of women classified as millennials felt that it was their responsibility to use their wealth to benefit society at large compared with only 52% of women in the boomer category. Women who are wealthy as millennials are much more likely to have developed their wealth on their own when compared with boomer women. If you have recently found yourself in the position of needing the services provided by an experienced estate planning attorney, now is the time to schedule a consultation to talk about leaving behind a legacy, asset protection and other important issues connected to estate planning.

 

Stan Lee’s Elder Abuse Conflict Holds Lessons for Estate Planning

 

 Everyone can benefit from estate planning and every so often, there is a celebrity controversy or story that shows the challenges of financial predators and elder abuse. The 95-year-old creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, has a fortune apparently under attack from financial predators.

Los Angeles – USA – October 31, 2015: Stan Lee American comic book writer during Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The creator of X-Men, Black Panther, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four has an estate that is valued at more than $50 million. However, his current memory, vision, and hearing impairments are being used to claim that he is unable to resist undue influence from caregivers, family members and business associates. Experts believe that increasing numbers of people who are closely connected to Lee will try manipulating him to get control of his assets.

Financial advisors and estate planning professionals have shared that this type of circumstance might become more prominent in coming years as people benefit from increased longevity and living into their nineties or hundreds, but might not have the mental faculties in order to manage their affairs effectively during this time period.

Estate planning accomplishes the overall picture about distributing someone’s wealth after their death, but all too often, skips out on later life planning and other issues connected with aging. Consolidation of financial accounts can help to ensure that the simpler balance sheet is easier to oversee, and appointing someone else to take over financial affairs, as well as using revocable trusts, are powerful tools for accomplishing the clients’ goals without putting them at risk of elder abuse.

Schedule a consultation today with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about what you can do to protect your best interests.

 

A New Generation of Those Set to Receive Assets Should Be Prepared with Estate Planning

More than $30 trillion will be transferred from baby boomers to future generations in the coming years, but most of this younger generation is not appropriately equipped to handle such a sudden influx of assets. Because of this, this is an excellent opportunity for people who wish to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Those baby boomers who are intent on passing on assets to future generations should also consider a consultation with an estate planning lawyer to ensure that their own documents to protect themselves over the course of their life and after death, is important. According to a recent study of financial advisors, this asset transfer that is pending in the future poses significant risks, if planning opportunities are not taken. 

Only one-third of advisors shared in a study completed by Investing Channel Inc. Insight, that some sort of asset transfers plan is in place for these baby boomers. That study included more than 700 financial professionals indicating that while estate planning is a crucial component for many people who are looking forward into the future, failing to follow through and develop the right tools can put clients at significant risk.

Anyone who is set to receive a massive inheritance in coming years should have the opportunity to develop their own team of professionals, including an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor to protect their best interests and to articulate a long-term plan for their own needs and what they intend to accomplish with their estate planning in the future.

Far too many people put off the process of estate planning because they assume that it doesn’t affect them. But younger generations who might not even have any estate plan or a will at all, could receive significant inheritances from their grandparents, thus putting them in a difficult situation of having no estate plan and significant estate assets.

 

Be Prepared to Tell Your Representatives What Is involved in Settling an Estate

Are you thinking about appointing someone to handle your estate after you pass away? This is a wise decision and one that should be discussed directly with your estate planning attorney, but it is equally important to sit down with the person you intend to appoint and to figure out whether or not they are clear about the many different tasks involved in settling an estate. Settling an estate means concluding the legal, financial and personal affairs of the person who passed away. NJ-estate-lawyer

Typically, a trustee of a trust or the executor of a will is the person in charge of the relevant tasks when someone passes away. Some of the more immediate needs that must be handled by this person include locating paperwork including trusts, burial and funeral arrangements, wills and any veterans’ information that could be connected to benefits. Furthermore, the social security administration and post office must be notified in addition to friends and family members.

Distribution of the decedent’s assets happens by inventorying and then titling the assets. If the decedent also had a trust, the trustee is responsible for distributing assets amongst the beneficiaries, according to the directions listed in the trust.

This is done without the interference of a court proceeding. An administration proceeding administrator, will executor, or trustee has to figure out all of the assets linked to the decedent to protect and manage those estate assets, to pay out any debts and taxes, and to distribute any remaining assets to beneficiaries regarding any specific wishes that were shared about personal or household items. It is very important that the person who steps into this role is prepared to do so and is detail oriented.

 

What to Know About Telling Your Kids After You Have Done Your Estate Planning

Estate planning is a very personal process but because of that, many people choose to put it off until it is too late. Thereby, leaving their family members to try to pick up the pieces after a financial disaster caused by someone’s mental or physical incapacitation or sudden death. For these reasons, it’s important to at least have a conversation about the benefits of estate planning and how you’ll break the news about what you decided to your kids. 

Many people are confused about just how much information they should give to their children about estate planning and whether or not these documents should have copies made and given to the kids. There is no one-size-fits-all answer about how much information should be shared with children since every person’s circumstances are different. Many people share a lot of information with their clients.

Most people who meet with a probate lawyer after a person has passed away within their family already know what’s in the estate plan but might not have copies of the critical documents. Usual recommendations from estate planning attorneys are to keep the estate planning documents in a secure, accessible and safe place.

These documents are extremely important and they may be needed someday and in the heat of the moment, you want to ensure that everyone has access to them.

Giving copies of these estate planning documents to an experienced estate planning attorney and advising key family members who may be stepping in in the event of an incapacitation or sudden death, about how to find this information, can be instrumental in minimizing the challenges typically associated with estate planning.

If you have a plan developed well in advance and things are organized in a clear and easy to locate manner, you are that much more likely to be effective with communicating these goals to family members and enabling them to find this critical information when the time comes about. Bear in mind that your decision about how much to share with your family members regarding your estate plan is ultimately up to you and that many people choose customized decisions based on how comfortable they feel with the relevant family members.

You can ask questions of your estate planning attorney to help figure out what may be in your best interests.

 

Don’t Skip Out on Business Succession Planning Issues

Even if you have an individual estate plan, it is not enough if you also own a company. Many different challenges can befall your family members or employees if you don’t have a business succession plan in place. In fact, up to 90% of businesses in the United States are owned by families but less than 10% of them will make it to the third year in the family and less than 33% will survive even into the second generation. business-succession-lawyer

Owners sit down in the business succession planning meeting to determine a plan to move forward in the event that an owner needs to leave the company due to illness, retirement or death. Estate planning strategies are customized in the business succession planning process and multiple options are evaluated with the help of a professional to ensure that there is a smooth transition in place.

Common issues addressed in the business succession planning process include disagreements, estate taxes, management capabilities, liquidity and percentages of ownership. In addition to developing a comprehensive business succession plan, those key stakeholders involved are responsible for communicating this to the relevant stakeholders. Training of key team members needs to occur well in advance and should never be left until the last minute.

Failing to have a plan can set the business up for a catastrophic problem and many business owners want to avoid this as much as possible. This business succession plan process is also an opportunity to figure out whether the family members that you anticipate taking over the company ae truly interested in doing so. If you discover that a child or other family members do not intend to take over the company, you can begin to make alternative arrangements. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced business succession planning attorney to learn more.