Why You Need A Will

There is no denying that thinking about death, as well as planning for it, is unpleasant. The emotional burden of merely considering it often discourages one from engaging in financial or legal planning. However, the lack of a will and basic estate plan can have disastrous effects on your loved ones. The following is a brief case study of what could happen: Tom, age, 46, was a successful businessman, providing for his family with a six-figure income. He and his … Continued

Tips On How To Avoid Probate

Recent strategies for avoiding the lengthy and expensive probate process Contrary to popular opinion, avoiding probate does not have to be difficult. Many people can use the following simple and effective ways to ensure that all, or some, of their property passes directly to their heirs, without going through the lengthy and expensive probate court process. What is Probate? Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone passes away. It includes: Proving in court that a deceased person’s … Continued

Should I Incorporate My Business

Choice of Entity (continued) Corporation (this discussion assumes a traditional – “C” rather than “S” – corporation).  Corporations sit at the top of the business entity pecking order, in terms of formality of internal structure and management, and legal/compliance obligations.  A corporation is the best vehicle for attracting investment, particularly from a broad or sophisticated investor base.  Every state has corporate statutes that clearly establish stockholders’ rights, and over the long history of corporations, a robust body of case law … Continued

Should I Incorporate My Business

Introduction “Should I incorporate?”  It’s a question most entrepreneurs ask themselves at some point, in the belief that it’s necessary to form a corporation in order to limit personal liability or establish a true “business,” often based on a vague appreciation of the advantages of the corporate form, perhaps informed by an vendor’s online recommendation (typically accompanied by an offer to do the formation work!).  While each individual’s situation is different and a general reference source cannot comprehensively address this … Continued

Basics Of A Revocable Living Trust

In the right situation, a revocable living trust can pave the way for a smooth, quick transfer of assets at death without the hassles of probate, which is the court-supervised process of settling an estate.  Revocable living trusts (also called revocable inter vivos trusts) are trusts that you establish, and can revoke or alter, while you are alive. Do assets in a living trust bypass probate?   Yes.  Only assets held in your name at death are “probate assets.”  Assets not … Continued

The Real Estate Closing Attorney’s Role

A typical house hunter is very selective about which real estate broker they work with, looking for good chemistry, responsiveness, experience and professionalism.  It makes sense to give the same careful consideration to the often-overlooked choice of “closing attorney.” The decision should not be taken lightly: the closing attorney will interact with a buyer constantly during the time period leading up to closing, and as illustrated below will handle many tasks that are crucial to protecting the buyer’s interests and ensuring … Continued

Wealth Transfer And Tax Efficiency

There are many reasons that individuals are reluctant to make lifetime (inter vivos) gifts a part of their estate plan.  The most fundamental reason is the loss of control over the transferred assets, and the accompanying fear that a donor’s remaining wealth may not be adequate to support him or her for the remainder of his or her life.  Another commonly cited objection to making a lifetime gift is the belief that an at-death (testamentary) gift is more tax-efficient; i.e., … Continued

IRA Inheritances And Tax Strategy

Recently, the Senate abandoned a proposal to require the complete distribution of IRAs within five years of the deceased owner’s death. The proposal would have eliminated a huge tax advantage under the current law, which permits heirs to take distributions from an inherited IRA across their life expectancies. Currently, at age 70.5 an IRA holder is required to begin taking distributions, the minimum annual amount of which is calculated based on his or her life expectancy. In the event that … Continued

Planning For Incapacity

Nearly as unpleasant as contemplating death, is contemplating incapacity—the substantial impairment of one’s physical or mental faculties, whether temporary or long-term. While no one finds it easy to face the prospect of incapacity, failing to plan for the same can have dramatic negative consequences. Financially, without proper planning, neither a legally incapacitated individual nor family member may have access to the individual’s financial resources, allowing unpaid bills to mount up, credit to be damaged, and liens on assets to be … Continued

Title Insurance: Q&A

What is title insurance? Title insurance is a product that few homebuyers understand, despite the fact that lenders require it to protect their interest in the property, and virtually all homebuyers opt to purchase an owner’s policy to protect themselves as well. In order to understand title insurance, you first must understand the meaning of “title” to a property. What is a title? Title to a parcel of real property is the sum of all the facts on which ownership … Continued