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Asset Protection Planning

Estate Planning Isn’t Just for People with Children

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It’s very common for clients to seek out estate planning when a child is born or when they are preparing to travel without children for the first time, but adults with children are not the only ones that need proper estate planning. In fact, in some ways it is more important than ever for childfree individuals and couples to consider a comprehensive estate plan.One primary issue that must be addressed for a person without children is: who will inherit your assets (e.g., real property, bank accounts, personal effects, etc.) upon your death? As set forth in the probate code, the...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families

Family Play

The unique nature of a blended family – that is, a family where one or both spouses have children from a previous marriage – necessitates careful estate planning. With a number of potentially difficult dynamics at play, the trustors (the creators of the trust) must carefully address issues such as difficult interpersonal relationships and planning for the entire family at death.  Even when relationships are harmonious amongst the spouses and the children - mutual children and children from prior marriages – estate planning is still vital. Many questions remain for the trustors, including:At the passing of the first spouse,...

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Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire

dollars

In the midst of all of the talk about potential federal estate tax repeal, many individuals have elected to postpone further estate planning trusting that the repeal will occur.  However, if you are a California citizen it appears that no such hope will exist.  Back in February of this year, California State Senator Scott Weiner, proposed a ballot measure that would provide for a California estate tax if the federal estate tax is repealed.  This tax would be equal to the federal estate tax that would have otherwise been paid by a California resident decedent.  Subsequently, on March 23rd of...

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Major Estate Planning Mistakes by Celebrities

Prepared Family

Because of some very obvious and egregious mistakes made by famous celebrities with respect to Estate Planning, all of us can learn and benefit and make sure that we eliminate these mistakes in our own planning.Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as Tony Soprano on the hit TV series, died at the age of 51 in 2013, The Gandolfini Estate Plan was based on a Will rather than a Trust.  Accordingly, his private affairs became public because of the Probate process.  His failure to remove any of his assets from his Estate will result in a 40% estate...

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Asset Protection Planning

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Many times we think of Asset Protection Planning only with respect to potential creditors who might sue us.  However, in the event that you have substantial separate property and are planning to remarry you may want not only to consider a pre-nuptial agreement, but an Asset Protection Planning structure in addition.  Many affluent and wealthy investors, executives and celebrities have found out that divorce can be very expensive in spite of the pre-marital agreement.  Building a protective plan should be a top priority for individuals of high net worth.  Everyone who has any assets should examine their situation from the...

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CALIFORNIA TRANSFER ON DEATH DEEDS: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Photo of a Home

Sarah Spenless is an elderly widow with just one asset holding value: her home, which is worth $500,000. She would like her three children to inherit the home. She doesn’t want to spend the money to create a living trust, and she doesn’t want her children to have to go through a probate proceeding. With situations like hers in mind, the California legislature ushered in a new way to pass property to a beneficiary upon death: the California Transfer on Death Deed (“TOD deed”). Assembly Bill 139, effective January 1, 2016, was hailed by lawmakers as a way to avoid...

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Implications of New Leadership in the White House

The White House

Regardless of the outcome of this election, we can be certain that the future of estate taxes is uncertain.Both major party candidates for president have set out proposals for changes in US fiscal policy.  Fiscal policy is not set solely by the president, but if the president has cooperation from Congress, he or she can have a major impact.Current federal estate tax law exempts estates worth $5.45 million or less ($10.9 million for a married couple). Estates worth less than $5.45 million will not pay any estate tax at all.  According to a 2015 report from Congress’s Joint Committee on...

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New Proposed Regulations Under Code §2704

family business

On August 4, the Treasury Department issued long-awaited Proposed Regulations on valuation discounts for family-owned businesses under §2704 of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”).  The regulations are out for public comment until the public hearing on December 1, 2016.  If adopted, the regulations will become effective on or after the date of publication of the Treasury decision.The Proposed Regulations will introduce significant changes that eliminate almost all valuation discounts in the family context.  These changes clarify the application of IRC §2704 and curb transfer tax valuation discounts used by family-owned businesses.  The Proposed Regulations (1) apply to limited liability companies...

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Why Go Offshore?

Asset protection planning has been practiced by attorneys, financial planners and accountants for several decades. Business persons have always had concerns over the exposure of their personal assets to claims against their business. The corporate form of business entity with its shield of limited liability has been invoked for centuries. Certainly, protecting one’s assets from the myriad of risk involved in business and personal financial planning is not a novel objective or planning idea.Since the 1970’s, expanding theories of liability and the proliferation of litigation have given increased emphasis to asset protection planning to the extent that it is now...

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Yes, Your Family Needs Asset Protection Planning

If you’re like most people, when you hear “asset protection planning” you think of someone like JR Ewing of the 1978 show Dallas, Bill Gates, or the Kennedys.WARNING: Common Misconception A very common misconception is only wealthy families and people in high-risk professions need asset protection planning. But in reality, anyone can be sued and lose all of his or her assets.A car accident, foreclosure, job loss, medical crisis, business failure, or an injured tenant can result in a huge monetary judgment, decimating your finances.The goal of this newsletter is to provide you with a quick overview of asset protection strategies....

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