Avoid These Common, Expensive Mistakes - Part One

How to Leave Assets to Minor Children Most parents want 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 good friends sometimes want to leave gifts to beloved young children too. Unfortunately, good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results. Do not make these common, expensive mistakes. Instead, here is how to both protect and provide for the children you love. Common Mistake: Do not Use a Simple Will to Leave Assets to Minor Children Many parents think if they name a guardian for their minor children in their wills and something happens to them, the named person will aut

Give Your Employees the Business - Business Owner Series - Part IV of IV

Retiring from your business can a tough decision. To ensure that what you have built continues on, there needs to be a plan for succession. For some people, they have spent years grooming a child or other family member to take over, wanting the business to stay in the family. Others look to sell to a third party for a quick way out that will also give them a nest egg for their next phase of life. However, there is a third option--transferring the business to your employees. In other words, children and investors are not the only options. If you are open the idea of transferring your business to long-time faithful employees who have contributed greatly to the company’s success over the yea

Why Not Create Your Own Estate Planning Documents?

There are many software programs, as well as websites, that sell do-it-yourself estate planning documents. These websites and form tools seem to offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to consulting with an estate planning attorney. But do they really meet your needs and protect your family? Is online, do-it-yourself estate planning worth the perceived upfront savings? Penny Wise and Pound Foolish In all but the simplest scenarios, do-it-yourself estate planning is risky and can become a costly substitute for comprehensive in-person planning with a professional legal advisor. Typically, these online programs and services have significant limitations when it comes to gathering infor

Retirement Planning for Business Owners - Business Owner Series Part III of IV

We all know there are differences between employer and employee. Well, have you ever considered how those differences impact retirement and estate planning? For many employees, saving for retirement is usually a matter of simply participating in their employer’s 401(k) plan and perhaps opening an IRA for some extra savings. But, when you are the owner of a business, planning for retirement requires proactivity and strategy. It is not just the dizzying array of choices for retirement accounts, there is also planning for the business itself. Who will run the business after your retirement? Additionally, your estate plan must integrate into your retirement and business transition strategy. Owne

Five Surprisingly Common Planning Mistakes Baby Boomers are Making in Droves

Baby boomers - we are the first generation tasked with the responsibility of planning for and funding their golden years. This generation, which includes those of us born between 1946 and 1964, have entered and continue to enter into retirement. As we make this financial transition into retirement, many of us are learning that we have made some of the most typical retirement mistakes. But, even if you have made a financial mistake or two, there is still time to avoid or correct these five surprisingly common planning mistakes baby boomers are making in droves. Mistake #1: Believing Estate Planning is Only for the Wealthy - While baby boomers are not the only ones guilty of this mistake, the

Passing Along a Benefit, Not a Burden - Business Owner Series Part II of IV

Incapacity planning for business owners is an indispensable component of your plan. Most business owners have their estate planning prepared because they are worried about what will happen to their business after they are dead. However, proper estate planning has the added benefit of allowing you to make plans for what will happen if you are incapacitated or needing to be away from your business for an extended period of time. As the owner, you are responsible for the day-to-day operations of your business. Of course, it would be an understatement to call this a full-time responsibility. But what will happen if you cannot be there all the time? You do not necessarily have to be in a coma t

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Planning Window is Now!

Like all things, tax laws are constantly changing. Together, we need to respond quickly and strategically to the new developments in the tax law landscape. While you should not wait to review your estate plan in light of the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), making a knee-jerk reaction is rarely the best course of action, either. The best decisions are made when we carefully analyze all angles of your estate to come up with the best strategy for you and your family. The law’s benefits will accrue most for those who take a proactive approach rather than those who wait until the last minute. Here are several reasons the tax changes need to be top-of-mind: The increase in the stand

Building an Enduring Business: What's Your Endgame? Business Owner Series Part I of IV

The entrepreneurial life is profoundly demanding. In theory, the idea of “being your own boss” sounds empowering. In practice, running a business tests everything you are made of. In fact, many of us probably even worked yesterday! You must show grit, embody patience, provide value, take massive action, embrace the reality of uncertainty, and never lie to yourself about what is really happening. The founder’s journey is so consuming, however, that it is easy to forget the world outside your company’s bubble. In the worst case, entrepreneurial workaholism can negatively impact relationships and health. All the daily firefighting (the vendor who is late, the client demanding extra attention, t

Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

Before I begin, Happy Birthday to my first love, my beautiful and wonderful mom, Iris Newman! Love you with all my heart and soul! Keep doing what you are doing. We want you here for many many more years to come! Now, there is no good segue, so I will just begin. ---------------- In the event of your untimely death, the manner in which your beneficiaries--or those people who receive your assets from your estate--are determined is highly dependent on how your property is titled. Generally, property with title includes vehicles, boats, real estate, bank accounts, savings bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and stock certificates. If you die without a will or a trust and have n

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