Attorneys who offer estate planning and business succession planning services are not just in the business of passing assets to the next generation. We are in the business of helping to protect those assets too. Asset protection involves ensuring that as many assets as possible are outside the reach of creditors and the bankruptcy courts.
While bankruptcy is sometimes necessary and/or the best option for a fresh financial start, it can expose hard-earned assets to seizure and liquidation by the bankruptcy trustee. It is not always possible to predict whether you (or one of your heirs or beneficiaries) will need to file for bankruptcy. But it is possible to take asset protection measures just in case.
Bankruptcy laws provide for certain types and amounts of properties to be “exempt,” placing them outside the reach of the bankruptcy trustee. In addition, there are certain strategies that are “exemption-like,” which end up offering similar protection.
For many individuals, their interest in a business is one of their most valuable assets, not only from a financial standpoint… Read More
These days, it seems you can find people, even those you haven’t seen in years, in a matter of moments. A quick internet search can find that long-lost friend or second cousin, yielding social media accounts, emails, phone numbers and even physical addresses. It may feel as if it is impossible to escape the sticky tendrils of the aptly-named “world-wide web.” Even in death, digitized Social Security death records, ancestry sites, and websites like findagrave.com mark a person’s existence and passing.
Most people, when creating or updating a trust, don’t anticipate the possibility that one of their beneficiaries will simply disappear without a trace. Yet this very outcome happens with disturbing frequency. Online trails may go cold, and there may be no conclusive evidence that a beneficiary has died. What happens to a trust when a beneficiary is living off the grid, or perhaps not living at all?
It may seem impossible that someone who is the beneficiary of a trust would walk away from thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars,… Read More
Since the enactment of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2017, fewer people have been itemizing charitable deductions on their income tax. The TCJA nearly doubled the standard deduction available to taxpayers, making it less burdensome for many to simply take the standard deduction than to itemize such things charitable donations in an effort to reach a higher deduction amount.
Those who still itemize donations because it makes better financial sense for them may do so because they have significant charitable donations. Those taxpayers need to be aware of the limitations on deductions for various types of property donated to various types of organizations. In other words, not all charitable donations are created equal for the purposes of income tax deductions.
When the TCJA offered a higher standard deduction without the need to make charitable donations, such donations, predictably, declined. Then along came the COVID-19 epidemic, plunging many Americans into dire financial straits. Charit… Read More