Keep It Real! – Join The “Real Men Wear Pink” Campaign

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 in Legal News | 0 comments

August 16th is the kickoff for the “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign, which raises awareness about breast cancer. Male community leaders and figures from around the country wear pink to support survivors of breast cancer and raise funds to continue research into finding a cure for the disease. Men pledge to wear pink all through the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’re happy to announce that Michael Wild will be one of the men featured at the August 16th kickoff! Here’s a little more about Real Men Wear Pink and the cause it supports. 

More About This Important Cause 

Real Men Wear Pink gets men involved in what has been predominantly, and inaccurately, thought of as a woman’s issue. In reality, families of breast cancer sufferers are affected as well (not to mention that men themselves, though a tiny percentage, can actually get breast cancer too). Participants in Real Men Wear Pink make several commitments to help win the fight against breast cancer. These commitments include wearing pink all during the month of October, using social media to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need to continue to fund research, and raising at least $2,500 to donate to the American Cancer Society, which sponsors Real Men Wear Pink. 

Pink has always been thought to be a feminine color, but Real Men Wear Pink has shown that it is not. Pink became the color for breast cancer awareness after participants in the Komen New York City Race for the Cure® received pink ribbons in 1991. Since then, the color has stuck, and Real Men Wear Pink demonstrates support for breast cancer survivors and their families by showing that wearing pink can be “a guy thing” too. 

Seeing the Early Signs 

There is a lot of information available on the American Cancer Society website (among many others) about breast cancer, but here are some important facts and statistics, curated from the nonprofit BreastCancer.org, to know about this disease: 

First, invasive breast cancer will develop in one in eight women (that’s 12.4%) over the course of her lifetime.  In 2018, this number will reach 266,120 new cases. The number of new cases of invasive breast cancer has gone up and down over the years, but, since 2000, the overarching trend has been an increase in cases. 

Second, this form of cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer, with African American women under 45 being at the highest risk of mortality. Right now, over three million women in America possess at least some family history of breast cancer. Family history, lastly, is a major indicator of breast cancer. If you have a close relative that has the disease, your chances of contracting it are very high when compared with someone with no family history. 

Though scary, these statistics and others form an important picture to understanding the seriousness and severity of breast cancer across the country, highlighting why campaigns like Real Men Wear Pink are so important. 

How Can Wild Felice & Partners Help You and Your Family? 

Estate planning can help when dealing with an illness and planning for the future. Schedule an appointment to form an estate plan that will benefit you and your family.

Breast cancer affects thousands upon thousands of women. The Real Men Wear Pink campaign has managed to help many people, both on a personal level and a societal level, by raising awareness and money to battle breast cancer. There will be a cure one day, and the more attention and funding we can raise for this fight brings us that much closer to helping find a cure. In the meantime, aiding survivors and their families is something we can do right now, today. 

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August is National Golf Month: Make Sure Your Estate Plan Doesn’t Have a “Hole in One”

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018 in Legal News |

When it comes to estate planning, you want to make sure that you do not have a hole in one. Estate plans cover a wide range of topics, and asset protection is one of the most important. It’s vital that you go over and check your estate plan for things you may have missed or things you need to add. Estate plans should be assessed every three to five years. You can assess them before that, of course, if there are major changes in your life. 

Here are some reasons and factors that make reassessment of your estate plan a valuable tool. If these have occurred in your life, you should definitely update your estate plan. But, even if they have not, you should still do a routine assessment every three to five years. 

Deaths in the Family 

Unfortunately, it happens. If there is a death in the family, you will need to check and see whether that affects your estate plan. If the person who has passed on is, for instance, someone you intended to leave guardianship to or grant some other important position, you want to get that redone immediately so that there are no holes in the estate plan. 

You may feel a temptation to put off making the assessment appointment, but, if something bad happens and you haven’t updated your plan, your family can really find themselves in a tough spot. 

New Marriages 

New marriages mean new relatives! If you want to include your in-laws in your estate plan, make sure that you update the plan to reflect the new people coming into the family. Or perhaps a marriage has, sadly, ended, and you want to take someone out of your plans. These are grounds for assessment. 

On a related note, childcare issues are considerations for additions. If you yourself are getting married and planning on having children (or perhaps you’re combining families), you should have guardianship plans in place in the event that something happens to you or your spouse while the children are still minors. 

College Plans 

There is a very valuable 529 plan offered by the IRS that allows you to put aside money to pay for a student’s college tuition. The money will be subject to certain tax breaks and exemptions. Generally, these plans are able to be used interstate, for public or private school (but your estate planner will, of course, check to make sure that your state’s law covers this). If you have kids in your family who are set on college, the 529 college savings program can be an important addition to your estate plan. 

Changes in the Law 

Estate law is complex, and it does change. For example, there are recent alterations to the law in the form of the gift tax and the estate tax, where the exemption amount has increased. Now, $22.4 million in income can be excluded by a couple (with over $11 million each available for exclusion by a single person). Tax-exempt gifts at or over this amount should be given now, in case the law sunsets. This is an example of a change in the law that can alter the way your estate plan is formulated. 

Make sure there isn’t a hole in one of your asset protection plans by updating and checking them at regular intervals. This way, no one will get left out of your estate plan and things will be smooth sailing—i.e. there will be no need for probate court. Schedule an appointment today if you find that you’re in need of making any changes. 

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Summertime Estate Planning – Vital For Business Owners

Posted by on Jul 26, 2018 in Legal News |

Summer means extra time to check up on things you may have pushed to the side during the year. For business owners, this summer period is especially important, as it gives the time to review your asset protection or update partnership agreements. 

Estate planning is particularly vital for business owners, as their business is part of the legacy that they’ll continue to leave behind after their passing. Here are some ways that business owners can update their estate plans this summer. 

Review Asset Protection

An example of such protection is a succession plan. This is important for any business form, whether a partnership, sole proprietorship, or family-owned business. If you don’t formulate a plan for when you pass on, your business will be without direction, and that can seriously harm your company, if not sink it entirely. 

For sole proprietors whose business and personal assets are not separated, you especially need a solid plan of action. An example would be using your personal assets to cover business debts and settle them after you die. You can also pick your successor or, if you plan to sell when you die, find ways to make the sale easy and painless for your heirs. 

Family-run businesses might do things differently, choosing to pick heirs based on their level of contribution to the company. You might want those who are most involved to take over the business and buy out the less-involved stockholders. Losing a family member is difficult enough; you want to make sure that the direction you’re giving your family makes this experience less painful.

Update Partnership Agreements

Updating partnership agreements is another area in which business owners (partnerships) can benefit from thorough estate planning. An example of a common tool that partnership agreements use in the event of a death of one of the partners is a buy-sell agreement. 

In a buy-sell agreement, the partners establish a plan for the business in the event of the death/incapacitation of one of the owners. In this document, you can tell your partners whether or not you want them to buy out the share you own, block certain people from becoming involved in the business, or sell your share. This requires a lot of communication, but it is worth it to ensure the health of your business. 

Tax Minimization 

The “death tax” is just as ominous as it sounds. It is a tax on the value of your business that is due in less than a year of your passing. To prevent your death from turning your business into a must-sell, there are two different types of tax breaks, found in sections 303 and 6166 of the IRS code, which have to do with stock value and deferral. You can use estate planning to take advantage of these sections and save your business’s value after you die.

Business owners, whether they’re proprietors of small, mid-size, or large businesses, all need to stay up on their estate plans, as this diligence will ensure the future growth of their businesses even after they have passed on. Use the extra hours this summer to review your plan and make updates if needed.  

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International Travel: Time For An Update!

Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 in Legal News |

There’s nothing more thrilling than a great international vacation! As you make your checklist of things to do before you travel, don’t forget to put “Update estate plan” on the to-do list. 

When you’re about to travel internationally, you want to make sure that you update not just your passport, but your estate plan as well. Every three to five years, you should review your documents. There might be papers in your estate plan that you drafted a decade ago; it would definitely be a good idea to look over those, as it’s very likely something in your life has changed in the past ten years. 

Why should I update my estate plan? 

International travel in particular Is a significant catalyst for updating your estate plan because it has a lot of unknown variables. You’re overseas, and if something happens, the situation will not be handled in the same way it is here; your doctors aren’t overseas, and your entire family and lawyer probably aren’t traveling with you. Updating your estate plan is important in case something happens. If you become sick, incapacitated, or even pass away while on the other side of the world, documents in your estate plan will become tools to guide others on how to manage the situation and get your affairs in order.

Documents to Review 

Not only should you review these documents, you should also update them if necessary. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you might find that there are more things you need in your plan to ensure your total preparedness for travel. 

That said, here are the major ones to be on the lookout for: 

  • Power of attorney. A power of attorney is a trusted individual that you select to make healthcare and/or financial decisions for you in the event that you become too sick or incapacitated to do so. While you may have chosen your power of attorney with domestic ailments in mind, you should also add a stipulation for that person (or perhaps someone else) to be in charge of your healthcare and finances should you be incapacitated while overseas.
  • Living will. Your living will is a healthcare directive that tells doctors and hospitals what to do with you when you are receiving treatment yet are unable to communicate your health wishes. This state usually happens when you’re too sick to tell the doctors what you want. Update your living will to include a provision that makes similar arrangements for when you’re hospitalized overseas, as well as arrangements to transfer you to your preferred hospital if possible.
  • Guardianship. Worst case scenario, you pass away while overseas. If you have young children, you don’t want there to be a delay in finding the proper guardian for them. Choose your minor children’s guardians beforehand. That way, if something happens, they’ll be in the best hands possible.

Have fun on your trip! You’ll have greater peace of mind while traveling just knowing that, in the event something happens, you’ll be in good hands. Reviewing and updating your estate plan is not a cumbersome process at all, and it will be time well spent. 

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July Is Unlucky Month For Weddings. Compensate For Bad Luck With A Good Prenup!

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Legal News |

Did you know? July is the Unlucky Month for Weddings. If you’re beyond superstition and decide to defeat the odds, make sure at least that you have a prenuptial agreement in place and all of your affairs in order. After all, lucky or unlucky, we do not need to bring up the stats on divorce rate, do we?? Take our advice and consider setting up a prenup, cause it’s better to live in “richer” than in “poorer” once the wedding bells stop ringing. 

A prenuptial agreement isn’t pessimism, so much as it is smart business planning. Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into prior to the marriage that discuss what will happen to each party’s finances in the event the marriage fails. Broaching the subject of a prenup can be tricky, as your future spouse might think you’re betting on the relationship to fail, but it is an important conversation to have in order to protect yourself and your assets. It’s about smart business planning and minimizing risk.

What is a Prenup?

Prenuptial (prenup) agreements are often called “premarital agreements.” This type of private ordering functions as a contract. The contract is entered into by people prior to their marriage or civil union. Prenups can cover a lot of different areas, but the idea is pretty much consistent: protecting your assets in the event of a divorce. Categories of prenups have to do with property division, spousal support, and asset forfeiture. There are also guardianship conditions that can be included, though child support and custody is not modifiable via a prenup. Only a court can determine and modify child support and custody. The reason for this is that what you put in the prenup might not be in the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child takes precedence over whatever private order you might seek. 

Five things are required for a prenup to be valid. First, the prenup has to be in writing, Second, the prenup must be voluntarily executed by the parties. Third, at the time of formation, all information has to be fully and fairly disclosed. Fourth, the prenup can’t be unconscionable (which means so unfair that it “shocks the conscience” of the average observer). Lastly, it needs to be notarized the same way that a deed would be. If you meet all of these conditions, you have got yourself a prenup.

How do I get a Prenup?

Prenups are a common asset protection tool of estate planning. Consult an estate planner to see what he or she has to say about organizing the prenup. The planner will ensure that the above elements are met and your prenup is valid. But, remember, a prenup has to be voluntary, so your future spouse must be on board with the idea. Otherwise, the prenup won’t be valid. 

Benefits of a Prenup 

Your personal and business assets will be protected in the event that your marriage is unsuccessful. You can guard them against forfeiture and division, and you won’t lose what you’ve worked hard for because of your divorce. Should the marriage go south, your business will survive and you won’t get hit hard financially. 

Hopefully, this article has encouraged you to have the conversation about prenups. These agreements aren’t a reflection of the strength of your relationship; they’re a reflection of how careful you are about finances, and fiscal responsibility is always a good characteristic to have in a partner. Consult an estate planner to create or update your prenuptial agreement today. 

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