Restructuring a Business for Asset Protection

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 in asset protection, Business Plan |

Restructuring a Business for Asset Protection

          If you have a business, you know how hard you’ve worked to maintain it: all the late hours, countless phone calls, endless paperwork, and more. When you pass on, you’ll want to make sure that these assets you’ve worked so hard for are protected. Estate planning can help you do that.

Not only are regular assets (money, property, etc.) eligible for protection through estate planning, less conventional ones are as well. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be protected via a trust, ensuring that everything you want protected—even something outside the traditional asset realm—is kept safe and secure.

What is a Trust?

A trust is pretty simple to understand. It’s essentially a three-party fiduciary relationship. You have your trustor (you, in this case), who transfers assets to a trustee for the benefit of the third party, known as a beneficiary. This transfer grants the trustee nominal ownership over assets. These same principles of a three-party relationship apply to your business assets. The trust is treated, by the IRS, as an entity.

When you pass on, your trustee will confer your assets to the beneficiary. You may be thinking, “How is this better than a will?” Many people, when they think of estate planning, automatically jump to the last living will and testament as the golden document to have. But actually, a living trust is more advantageous.

Trust vs. Will

A trust goes into effect the moment you create it, whereas a will only becomes effective after you die. You can use a trust to start transferring your property prior to death; you cannot do that with a will, so you have a little less control. Also, a trust will get you out of probate court. If you die with just a will, you have to go through probate, which is a long, tiring process where a court distributes your assets for you. This can tie up your family for years while a court ensures the validity of the will.

Lastly, a trust can be kept private, whereas a will is on the public record. While a trust doesn’t include the ability to make funeral arrangements and name your children’s guardian if they’re minors, it does let you save on taxes and make disability arrangements.

Crypto: The New Wave

Everyone’s talking about Bitcoin these days, and everyone seems to have an opinion about it. If you’re a Bitcoin investor, or an investor in other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, and more, you’ve heard all the opinions, made up your mind, and, now, most likely just want to know how you can protect your coins via an estate plan.

As cryptocurrency jumps in popularity, more and more estate planners are encouraging clients to work their crypto into an estate plan. Cryptocurrency is, like your other assets, subject to distribution. Your crypto cannot be inherited, however, and, if you don’t include it in your estate plan, it will be as though it never existed. A trust is, as with your other assets, the best way to manage this property.

When deciding how to manage your cryptocurrency, make sure that your intended beneficiary is able to manage an entity like crypto, which is very volatile. You’ll also want to ensure that your directions are clear, including how to access your account to get the coins. This complicated, especially as cryptocurrency is relatively new, hence why an estate plan is best carried out under the guidance of a professional estate planner.

If you want to make sure that your business is protected after you pass on, a trust is the way to do it. Your assets will be protected, and you’ll be able to start the process before death, allowing you a measure of control and the ability to avoid probate.

 

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THE IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUST

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in asset protection, Business Plan, estate planning, Probate, Special Needs Trust, Trusts, Wills |

 

If you haven’t considered life insurance before then today should be the day you do!  Life insurance provides assurance for your family after you die.  Funeral expenses, business expenses, unpaid mortgages and other expenses can cause the surviving family members to suffer a great financial burden.  Life insurance can be a way to alleviate this stress.  However, since you own the life insurance it will contribute to your estate’s overall value upon your death which means your family may face unnecessary tax issues.  Luckily, this too can be remedied by seeking the help of a qualified estate planning attorney.

An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is an estate planning tool commonly used to remedy the above scenario.  By creating this type of trust, you allow your family to still benefit from the life insurance without the hassle of a possible tax issue.  The ILIT transfers the benefit into the trust and you relinquish all control of the life insurance policy.  Relinquishing control is required by the IRS if you wish to avoid estate taxes.  Doing so removes the life insurance from your estate and decreases the taxation your family may potentially face.  The end result is an increase in overall asset protection for the family.  When creating the ILIT you must designate an individual you trust to distribute the assets (a Trustee) as well as designate a beneficiary, which can be a spouse, child or any other appropriate individual.  You may also include detailed instruction with respect to how you wish your trust to be managed.  Once in place the terms of the ILIT cannot be changed.  Upon your death the ILIT will transfer the funds to your beneficiaries just as a Revocable Living Trust would but what they will inherit will fall outside the IRS.  This estate planning tool offers ultimate tax free protection for the family.  Whether you left a home with an unpaid mortgage or a business with a hefty overhead, your family will be able to tackle the financial burden with ease.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild World.  Are You Protected? SM

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December Is Hot! Failing to Plan is Not.

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in asset protection, Business Plan, Elder Law, estate planning, Probate, Trusts, Wills |

Let’s face it – we all had high hopes for a cooler winter. Yet, any hope we had has definitely been blown away but what feels like a summertime breeze. This December has produced record breaking temperatures. Throughout the month, temperatures have remained above average across much of the United States. Luckily December is early in the winter season which means some of us still have hope for cool weather but for now, it’s hot. While December is most definitely hot, not having a plan for your future is not. We have been taught from earlier years that planning is important. In high school we bought a day planner for class and likely way too many highlighters. In college, we had to map out our schedules and finances, and probably still bought way too many highlights. As an adult we are tasked with so many responsibilities, which is why it is essential to plan for the unforeseen. No matter what stage of life you are in, our attorneys can help you:

BUSINESS: Are you a business owner? Maybe you are the sole proprietor of a brand new Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) or perhaps just joined a multi-member LLC. If so, then you need to consult a qualified attorney regarding either an Operating Agreement or Partnership Agreement. These documents will include provisions relating to business and equity structure, management and what is perhaps most important in terms of estate planning; the right to transfer membership interest and restrictions on such transfers. These documents are “living” documents, meaning that they should be amended accordingly as the needs of the business change.

FAMILY: Whether you are single or married; if you have young children you really need to consider an estate plan. The most favorable plan is the trust based plan. By creating a Living Trust, you are able to control where your assets go, who gets them, and even when they get them. You can set limitations on the disbursement of assets to ensure your children first go to college or reach a mature age, in the event you are not here. The assets remain protected against unsecured creditors too, so you can rest assured that your assets stay in the family. Along with your Living Trust, you will also receive a Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Assignment of Property, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate and HIPAA Release.

ELDERLY: The needs of the elderly differ greatly which is why it is crucial to have an elder law attorney assist in their planning. Whether it’s planning for long term care, Medicaid or Medicare planning, or creating the necessary documents to avoid a court appointed guardian, our attorneys can help.

CHANGES: As life changes your plan will need to change with it. If you are recently married, divorced, remarried, have had additional children or experienced any other major life changing events, contact the law office of Wild, Felice & Partners and allow our attorneys to update your estate plan to ensure your needs are met and your goals are achieved.

Let December be the only reason you break a sweat this month. Plan ahead and worry less! Call the To learn more about estate planning, probate and asset protection, visit our website at www.wfplaw.com or call 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s Wild World. Are You Protected? SM

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Protect Your Assets Like Tim Tebow is Protecting His Family Jewels.

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Business Plan, estate planning, Probate, Trusts, Wills |

Tim Tebow has just passed the toughest test of his life: remaining celibate while dating Miss Universe, Olivia Culp.  Unfortunately, passing this test didn’t lead to a sense of accomplishment and some sort of reward.  Instead, Tebow found himself dumped, heart-broken and headlining all social media.  If Tim Tebow is literally losing women over protecting his most valuable asset, we suggest spending a few hours a year on protecting your assets. However, the assets we are referring to come in a much different form, of course.

The assets we are referring to come in the form of estate planning and business planning. There are many benefits to creating an estate plan.  You can appoint a guardian to look after your children, avoid probate and even control over your assets from beyond the grave.  Many individuals don’t realize that without an estate plan someone you don’t know or maybe don’t even like could end up raising your children and/or spending your money.  Proper estate planning guarantees your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s always the right time for an estate plan!  Even if you aren’t married and don’t have any children, you still should consider protecting the wealth you have accumulated.  Perhaps you own a small business of your own or are part of a partnership with a friend. What if your business is sued? You may find yourself personally liable for judgment against your business and at risk of losing everything that you personally own. This can easily be resolved through creating a trust.  When your assets are in a trust, they cannot be reached by creditors, litigation, bankruptcy or even divorce.

Do like Tebow:  protect your assets!  While Tebow wasn’t rewarded, you surely will be.  Call Wild, Felice & Partners today to schedule your free consultation and allow our attorney’s to provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that both you and your family are protected.

To learn more about asset protection through estate planning visit http://wfplaw.com

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

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Don’t strike out! Protect your assets.

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in asset protection, Business Plan, estate planning, Probate, Trusts, Wills |

With the World Series now underway, the New York Mets face off against the Kansas City Royals. This should be quite the battle since the Royals have not held a World Series title since 1985 and the Mets have not seen a title in the last 29 years.  Each team is undoubtedly pumped and their fans are likely wearing their lucky unwashed undergarments (gross but necessary).  Just as each team is taking the necessary steps to avoid striking out come game time, you too should take the necessary steps to protect your assets and be prepared for any curve ball life may throw your way.

Every individual, no matter what their circumstances are, should be concerned with protecting their assets. With 16 million new civil suits being filed each year, no one is completely safe from the possibility of litigation.  No need to be stifled with fear, however.  At Wild, Felice & Partners, P.A., our attorneys focus on asset protection through estate planning and business formation.

Estate planning

The most favorable estate planning tool is the Living Trust.  By creating a Living Trust you are protecting your assets and loved ones from probate.  Probate, the legal process of proving one’s will, is costly and can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to complete.  Avoiding probate through the creation of a Living Trust allows for the assets you leave behind to be distributed timely and in any manner you deem suitable.  Further, the assets remain protected long after you’re gone as they are segregated from any possible lawsuit, divorce, or bankruptcy your beneficiaries may become part of.  Other important documents that will be included in your trust based plan include a last will and testament, assignment of property, durable power of attorney, living will, healthcare surrogate and HIPAA release form.

Business formation

Asset protection for business owners begins with choosing the proper business form. Whether you own a business as a sole proprietor or as part of a general partnership you can be held personally liable for all of the debts of the business.  However, you can avoid these business debts and protect your assets through creating a Limited partnership, Limited Liability Company, or Corporation.

The Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) is a commonly used structure that offers higher liability protection than a corporation would. Once the LLC is formed it then assumes ownership of the assets.  By eliminating your personal ownership and, instead, owning your assets in an LLC, you are safeguarded from being pulled into a lawsuit brought against you.  This means your home and personal accounts (i.e. bank account) remain untouched since you are not personally liable.  This feature allows the LLC members to remain in control of the assets without having to worry about any risk associated with having title in their name.  Since there are many steps involved in properly forming an LLC, it is imperative that you contact a qualified attorney to assist you from start to finish.

Don’t strike out. Protect your assets from probate or a possible business debt. Whether estate planning or business formation is the appropriate technique for you, our attorneys can assist you.  For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 and schedule your free consultation, or visit our website at www.wfplaw.com

It’s a Wild World. Are You Protected?  SM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Always The Right Time To Think About Your Estate Plan

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in asset protection, Business Plan, Elder Law, estate planning, Probate, tax, Trusts, Wills |

Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is something done only for the wealthy. In reality, a basic estate plan is essential for everyone, regardless of income or net worth, because we all would like this process to be as seamless and easy as possible to reduce costs, delay and stress for our loved ones. The topic of estate planning, or even one’s mortality is a stressful one to discuss, but an important one. Without proper preparation and documentation, assets—like houses, retirement plans and savings accounts—can end up in limbo for years, sometimes requiring expensive legal assistance to straighten matters out.

Everyone should have the following items in place:

 

  1.  Living Trust –A trust can be more expensive to set up, but it provides benefits that a will cannot. First, when they’re structured properly, trusts will help avoid probate, which helps beneficiaries gain access to assets more quickly as well as save time and court fees. Depending on how it’s structured, a trust may also reduce estate taxes owed and can protect an estate from heirs’ creditors. 
  2. Assignment of Property – place all of your property into the trust, and avoid costs & headache associated with probate.
  3. Last Will & Testament – used to distribute property to beneficiaries (or a trust), specify last wishes, and name guardians for minor children.
  4. Durable Power of Attorney – A power of attorney is a written authorization that allows someone else to make financial and legal decisions for a person if that person should become hospitalized, disabled or otherwise incapacitated.
  5. Combination Living Will & Designation of Healthcare Surrogate – gain control by making important healthcare decisions in advance.

This will allow you to ward off:

  • unnecessary taxes
  • costs and headache associated with the probate process
  • creditors and outsiders who may have claims against you
  • any undesignated individual making legal or healthcare decisions on your behalf in case you become incapacitated

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or www.wfplaw.com to schedule your free consultation.

 It’s a Wild world. Are you protected? SM

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