Latest Blog Posts

Flexible Tax Strategies Now Needed in Succession Planning for Business Owners

Posted on: July 27th, 2016
Far less than half of all family businesses survive to the third generation, which means that a significant percentage of closely-held businesses are sold at some point during the second generation’s lifetime. Given all of the above, for most closely-held businesses does it still make sense to adopt a strategy of creating minority interest discounts, or is a more flexible tax strategy for succession planning now in order?...

Maryland ABLE Program “Achieving a Better Life Experience” ABLE Act

Posted on: August 12th, 2015
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Restraint And Seclusion Mandate Advances In Senate

Posted on: April 20th, 2015
A plan to rewrite the nation’s primary education law is set to go before the U.S. Senate and it now includes a provision related to restraint and seclusion in schools....

The Executor's $1.2 Million Mistake

Posted on: March 6th, 2015
Here’s a tale of caution about being an executor, the person you appoint in a will to oversee your estate after your death....

Death and War in Families

Posted on: February 10th, 2015
Ever since Leah stole Rachel's promised husband and Cain Killed Abel, sibling rivalry has fostered emotions from anger, jealousy and depression to a lifetime of estrangement. Let the parent of such adult children die and leave a will designating that those adult offspring must settle the estate together as executors or choose one over the others….watch out….World War III erupts. ...

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015

Posted on: January 30th, 2015
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, helps people with disabilities save for health-care costs, housing, lifelong education, and other needs. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, and it allows military retirees to name special needs trusts as beneficiaries of their Survivor Benefit Plans (SBP)...

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will: 3 Critical Mistakes

Posted on: November 5th, 2014
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a drug overdose in February 2014. Sadly, he left behind three young children - and a fortune estimated to be worth $35 million. ...

10 Tips for Helping Families with Special Needs

Posted on: November 5th, 2014
Many disabled people rely on SSI, Medicaid or other government benefits to provide food and shelter. You may have been advised to disinherit their disabled child - the child who needs their help most - to protect that child's public benefits....

IRS Raises Limit on Tax-Free Transfers

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014
As many estate planners anticipated, The Internal Revenue Service has raised the limit on tax-free transfers during life or at death. Beginning in 2015 that amount, known as the basic exclusion, will increase to $5.43 million per person, up from $5.34 million this year. ...

Asset Protection Tips

Posted on: September 27th, 2014
3 Asset Protection Tips You Can Use Now A common misconception is that only wealthy families and people in high risk professions need to put together an asset protection plan. But in reality, anyone can be sued. A car accident, foreclosure, unpaid medical bills, or an injured tenant can result in a monetary judgment that will decimate your finances. Below are three tips that you can use right now to protect your assets from creditors, predators and lawsuits. What Exactly is Asset Protection Planning? Before getting to the tips, you need to understand what asset protection planning is all about. In basic terms, asset protection planning is the use of legal structures and strategies to transform property that creditors might snatch away into property that is completely, or, at the very least, partially, protected. Unfortunately, this type of planning cannot be done as a quick fix for your existing legal problems. Instead, you must put an asset protection plan in place before a lawsuit is imminent, let alone filed at the courthouse. So, now is the time to consider implementing one or more of these tips. Now, on to the three tips. Asset Protection Tip #1 – Load Up on Liability Insurance The first line of defense against liability is insurance, including homeowner’s, automobile, business, professional, malpractice, long-term care and umbrella policies. Liability insurance not only provides a means to pay money damages, it often also includes payment of all or part of the legal fees associated with a lawsuit. If you do not have an umbrella policy, then now is the time to get one since it is relatively inexpensive when compared with more advanced ways to protect your assets. You should also check all of your current insurance policies to determine if your policy limits are in line with your net worth and make adjustments as appropriate. You should then review all of your policies on an annual basis to confirm that the coverage is still adequate and benefits have not been stripped to keep premiums the same. Asset Protection Tip #2 – Maximize Contributions to Your 401(k) or IRA Under federal law, tax-favored retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs (but excluding inherited IRAs) are protected from creditors in bankruptcy (with certain limitations). Therefore, maximizing contributions to your company’s 401(k) plan is not only a smart way to increase your retirement savings, but it will also keep the investments away from creditors, predators and lawsuits. On the other hand, if your company does not offer a 401(k) plan, then start investing in an IRA for the same reasons. Asset Protection Tip #3 – Move Rental or Investment Real Estate into an LLC If you are a landlord or a real estate flipper or investor, then aside from having good liability insurance, moving your real estate into a limited liability company (LLC) can be a great way to help protect your assets from creditors, predators and lawsuits. There are two types of liability that you should be concerned about with rental or investment property: (1) inside liability (where the rental or investment property is the source of the liability, like a slip and fall on the property, and the creditor wants to seize an LLC owner’s personal assets) and (2) outside liability (where the creditor of an LLC owner wants to seize LLC assets to satisfy the owner’s debt). An LLC will limit your inside liability related to the real estate, such as a slip and fall accident on the front stairs of the property or a fire caused by faulty wiring located at the property, to the value of the property. In addition, in many states the outside creditor of the member of an LLC cannot get their hands on the member’s ownership interest in the company (in some states this will only work for multi-member LLCs, while in others it will also work for a single member LLC). This type of outside creditor protection is often referred to as “charging order” protection. This means that a creditor will have to look to your liability insurance and any unprotected assets to collect on their claim. If you are interested in asset protection planning for your investment real estate using an LLC, then you will need to work with an attorney who understands the LLC laws of the state where your property is located to insure that your LLC will protect you from both inside and outside liability. ...

Protecting special needs kids financially

Posted on: September 13th, 2014
More than 56 million Americans have some type of disability, according to the Census Bureau. Autism, for example, affects one in 50 children. For parents of a child with a disability, the great fear is: "What happens when we're gone?" One answer: Set up a trust for the child. ​Here is how:...

Should I Put My Life Insurance Policies In My Living Trust?

Posted on: August 30th, 2014
Generally speaking, all titles and beneficiary designations should be changed to your living trust. But there are some exceptions, including IRAs and retirement plan benefits, and your attorney will be able to advise you about them. Regarding life insurance policies, it will depend mostly on the size of your estate—and if it will be subject to estate taxes after you die....

Aligning Insurance Products within a Planning Structure

Posted on: March 8th, 2014
work with a team of advisors who have the knowledge and experience to help you make sure your risks are covered at the appropriate levels, without duplication and unnecessary costs....

Why You Should Name a Stand-Alone Retirement Trust as Beneficiary

Posted on: March 2nd, 2014
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What to Do with an Inherited IRA

Posted on: March 2nd, 2014
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Family Wealth Transfer

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
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Wealth Protection: Avoiding Losses

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
You can’t create wealth until you preserve it first....

Business Succession Strategy

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
Have you been looking forward to the day you can retire, perhaps turn your business over to a son or daughter, or sell it? Even if you are not planning to stop working, you need to plan for the day you cannot run your business due to unforeseen illness or death. Most business owners do not take the time to plan for how they will leave their business....

Are You Wasting Money?

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
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Understanding Losses: Compounding Interest

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
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Prevent/Reduce Losses to Grow Wealth

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
Any time you can prevent or reduce a loss, you preserve wealth...

How to Leave Assets to Minor Children

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
Every parent wants to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives often want to leave some of their assets to young children, too. But good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results....

Special Needs Trusts

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
A Special Needs Trust is a trust that can supplement the needs of a special needs beneficiary while allowing the beneficiary to maintain his or her governmental benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security and Medicaid...

Long-Term Care Planning, Part 2 Your Funding Options

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
Who Pays for Long-Term Care?...

Long-Term Care Planning, Part 1

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
Health care has been the topic of discussion lately, but the greatest threat to your financial health is long-term care. This is the kind of care you need if you are not able to perform normal daily activities (such as eating, dressing, bathing and toileting) without help, and it is expected that you will need this help for an extended period of time, often for the rest of your life. ...

Paying for College . . . and accomplishing estate planning too

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
One tool that can accomplish both is a college savings plan commonly known as a 529 plan (named after the Internal Revenue Code section that creates them). Contributions to 529 plans are generally not subject to gift, estate or GST tax, gains are not subject to income tax if used for qualified higher education expenses (QHEEs), and these assets are not owned by the student for financial aid purposes, making them an excellent tool for saving for college....

Who Should Be Your Successor Trustee?

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
If you have a revocable living trust, you probably named yourself as trustee so you can continue to manage your own financial affairs, but eventually someone will need to step in for you when you are no longer able to act due to incapacity or after your death. The Successor Trustee plays an important role in the effective execution of your estate plan...

Should You Disinherit a Child?

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
Most parents choose to leave their estates equally to their children. But sometimes, parents intentionally choose to not leave anything to a child. There may be what the parents consider to be a legitimate reason: one child has been more financially successful than the others; not wanting a special needs child to lose government benefits; or not wanting to leave an inheritance to an irresponsible or drug-dependent child. Sometimes a parent wants to disinherit a child who is estranged from the family, or to use disinheritance as a way to get even and have the last word....

The Value of Having a “Plan” in Estate Planning

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
All too often, estate planning is viewed as a transaction: a will, a living trust, powers of attorney, etc. But the best planning happens when the professional can get to know the client on a deeper level, to uncover hopes, dreams and aspirations. It becomes more about family and values, and it becomes a process instead of a transaction....

Recovering Emotionally from Past Financial Errors

Posted on: January 13th, 2014
Most of us will admit to having made some financial mistakes we regret—running up credit card debt, impulse buying, or making a bad investment or business decision. While there can be significant devastation, the key is to move beyond regret into productive action. What, then, are some strategies that can restore a person’s self-confidence and avoid financial failures in the future?...

Protecting Against Financial Fraud in Charitable Giving

Posted on: December 15th, 2013
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Estate Planning for Unmarried Partners Part One: Planning for After Death

Posted on: June 11th, 2013
Estate planning is creating a set of instructions that specify how property is handled after death, and how property and health care decisions are handled during a period of incapacity. Proper estate planning is important for everyone. But for unmarried partners--opposite sex or same sex--it is critical. Part One of this two-part article will address some issues for unmarried partners to consider for after-death estate planning....

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