N E W S L E T T E R
June 1, 2013
Re: Wills, Trusts, Estate Administration, Corporate and Asset Protection Legal Matters
This letter is intended to provide you with an update of some of the types of work my clients and I are undertaking at the current time in case you or your clients have similar issues:
1. The new tax laws allow individuals to gift or leave at death $5.25 million as an individual, $10.5 million as a couple. As a result of this new law many larger wealth clients are exercising their ability to make large gifts now in a sophisticated way so they can continue to control the assets. Married couples with less than $10.5 million are doing away with their two separate revocable trusts and using one joint revocable trust for simplicity purposes. This issue needs to be closely considered though.
2. New clients begin their estate planning and repeat clients continue it. Basic estate planning includes incapacity documents to avoid court guardianship proceedings to make health care and financial decisions. Trusts are also drafted to avoid probate and to properly handle the anticipated inheritance for minors or financially challenged beneficiaries. Basic estate planning legal work includes amendments to existing estate plans due to changes in health, financial and family situations.
3. Clients are using charities more as part of their estate planning, including their own private family foundations, which can be used to avoid income taxes on retirement accounts and encourage the entire family to be involved in charitable endeavors prior to the main asset owners’ deaths.
4. Asset protection has become the primary concern for high wealth individuals and high risk individuals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, appraisers and other professionals. Proper ownership of your assets is imperative and that may include forming separate entities to segregate potential assets from the claims related to other activities.
5. Clients are forming sub-chapter S corporations for ongoing businesses and structuring limited liability companies for real estate ventures. This approach allows for pass through income taxation (single taxation instead of double taxation) and also more flexibility with real estate ventures to have different types of owners.
6. Clients are buying and selling the assets or ownership interests of ongoing businesses, which must be structured in such a way to obtain the best income tax advantage, minimize potential liability and also to negotiate the seller’s ongoing ability to compete.
7. Many clients ask us to do contract work for their ongoing businesses which include employment, consulting, lease, buy/sell, non-compete and other agreements.
8. We have numerous estates and trusts that are being administered by our clients with our assistance. In addition, we have some clients who are beneficiaries of ongoing estates administered by others that need our assistance to closely watch the administration for their benefit.
These are the types of issues that are consistently being addressed by our clients. If they are also your or your clients’ issues, please do not hesitate to get us involved if you think it serves a valid purpose.