THE NEED FOR A PROPER BUSINESS STRUCTURE
There are a variety of business entities that can be incorporated into your wealth preservation plan. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a commonly used structure that provides its “members” (owners) with control over assets, without the risks associated with having title in their own personal names.
By owning your assets in an LLC, you are safeguarding them from being pulled into a lawsuit brought against you, as you do not “own” them. The LLC provides higher liability protection than a corporation and, if organized correctly, any potential creditor or litigant would be limited to gaining only a charging lien against the LLC. Your home and other assets (bank account, etc.) may not be touched, because you do not own the business directly, thus you are not personally liable. It’s like being a stockholder in a corporation.
Due to the fact that there are several requirements to properly forming an LLC, you will want to seek an attorney (that has a thorough understanding of such asset protection) to assist you in ensuring that the LLC is valid; otherwise, your safeguarding efforts will be futile. Also, keep in mind, the timing of the asset transfer cannot be done to actively avoid a present creditor, as it may be considered a “fraudulent conveyance.” Therefore, it is important to partake in these asset protection strategies prior to any legal or financial problems.
By utilizing estate-planning techniques, you can protect yourself and your family from unnecessary hassles, while safeguarding your assets. With the help of an estate-planning attorney, there are a variety of tools that can be customized to your goals, and implemented to ensure that you get to enjoy your assets and investments without that pesky law suit target that comes when you own them in your own name.
TAX DAY BE DAMNED: GIVE OR IT SHALL BE TAKEN
Tax day just passed and you may have made a commitment that you will make better tax decisions for 2016; just like you promised for 2015. The time has come to introduce this resolution to your inner humanitarian, as you can make donations to a good cause, while reducing your tax liability. This year, be sure to find an organization that is qualified by the IRS, so you can make an itemized deduction on your tax return. Use the following tips to ensure that you can receive a deduction for your charitable donation.
1. Itemized Deduction: First of all, you cannot make a qualified charitable deduction under the “standard deduction,” as they can only be reported through itemized deductions.
2. Determine whether your donation is qualified for a deduction: To receive a deduction for your donation, it must be made to a “qualified organization.” The “Exempt Organizations Select Check” is an online tool provided by the IRS to help you determine whether your donation was made to a qualified organization. If you don’t want to do the research, you can always count on larger charitable organizations like Red Cross.
3. Keep a record: When you make a charitable donation to a qualified organization, you must maintain a record in the form of a bank record or a written communication from the qualified organization containing name of the organization, the date and amount of the contribution. If your contribution has a value of $250 or more, you must get a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the qualified organization indicating the amount of the cash, a description of any property contributed, and whether your received a benefit in return (if so, it must include the estimated value of the benefit received).
4. Submit a Form 8283: If your charitable donation deductions exceed $500, you must submit a Form 8283 with your return. It’s a Wild World, are you protected?
April Fools is one week away and for some this means it’s time to brace yourself. Maybe you have children that scheme all year or perhaps you are married to the ultimate prankster – whatever your situation may be, it’s time to prepare for a possible heart attack and get your estate plan in place today.
A properly executed estate plan will allow you to remain in control, to some degree, either during times of incapacity or even after you’re long gone. By executing some important documents, you can rest easy knowing who will raise your children, how your children’s inheritance will be managed and where everything will be going. Some important documents to consider include:
- Revocable Living Trust – Whatever assets held in trust will avoid probate, saving your loved ones the money and hassle. The trust will also direct the trustee to manage and distribute your assets according to your terms.
- Last Will & Testament – Nominate your Personal Representative, choose a Guardian for any minor child, and add any burial or cremation requests.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Nominate an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf or qualify you for public benefits, should you not be able to do so yourself.
- Living Will – Advanced directive or “pull the plug” document. Allows your healthcare surrogate to give the doctor the “ok” to pull the plug if you are being kept alive by artificial means.
- Designation of Healthcare Surrogate & HIPAA Release – Designate the individual of your choosing to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf, in the event you cannot do so yourself.
Don’t just prepare for the anticipated pranks coming next week – prepare for your future and family today! Call (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation.
For more information on Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Probate Administration visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.
It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected?
Let’s face it – life requires insurance. Cars crash, homes get flooded and people pass away. As morbid as this topic may seem it’s purely realistic and the best way to deal with it is to be prepared. Most Americans fail to realize the importance of life insurance. Once a loved one passes, they are likely to leave behind a variation of expenses such as a funeral bill, business expenses, or an unpaid mortgage. These expenses can cause the surviving family to deal with an unnecessary financial burden and experience a great deal of stress. Have no fear, life insurance is a great way to alleviate this stress! Once your policy is coupled with the right estate planning technique you can walk away with peace of mind knowing that the family will be fully protected.
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is an estate planning tool that is commonly used. The ILIT will allow your family to continue to benefit from the life insurance policy without the hassle of a possible tax issue. Great news, right?! Here is how it works: The ILIT transfers the benefit into the trust while you relinquish all control over the policy. This relinquishment of control is required by the IRS to avoid possible estate taxes. Doing this removes the life insurance policy from your estate and decreases any potential taxation the family may have faced. Now, all that remains is an increase in overall asset protection for the family!
Considering creating an ILIT? Be sure to first consider who you will designate as Trustee, the individual who will distribute the assets, as well as who you wish to designate as a beneficiary (can be a spouse, child or any other individual you deem appropriate). The terms of the trust are up to you – you can choose how you wish the assets to be distributed but be certain you are happy with how it’s created because once in place the terms of the ILIT cannot be changed.
This estate planning technique offers tax free protection for the family. Alleviate the potential financial burden your family could face by calling an experienced estate planning attorney today!
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?
You may have heard the term “basic.” What does it mean to be basic? If you like your pumpkin spice latte in a holiday cup or really anything mainstream or popular then you may be considered basic. Being basic isn’t always a bad thing and having an estate plan in place may mean your basic too – well, not really but it should because being prepared should be more popular. Unfortunately, the idea of estate planning doesn’t create the urgency to grab your phone for a quick selfie with your attorney and post to social media – but it should! Instead of feeling all doom and gloom about the topic try to imagine the peace of mind both you and your family will feel from this positive experience. Creating an estate plan should be at the top of everyone’s priority list because what can possibly be more important than planning for the future of yourself and your loved ones?
Whether your estate is large or modest, protecting it for future generations should be a priority. Estate Planning is the process of deciding during your life how your property will be handled should you become incapacitated or how the assets will be distributed after you pass away. The most popular estate planning tool for accomplishing this the Revocable Living Trust. By creating a revocable living trust to hold your assets you are preventing your family from being subjected to the stressful and lengthy process of Probate Administration. Instead, the assets will be distributed directly to the beneficiaries that you designate and according the terms of the trust that you created. You can choose a different individual to manage your child’s assets until they have reached an age of majority, or any age that you deem appropriate. The revocable living trust will also provide the beneficiaries with asset protection against any unsecured creditors they may encounter such as divorce, bankruptcy or litigation.
For full protection of our clients, we also included the following documents with your Trust based plan:
Last Will and Testament: Nominate your Personal Representative, choose a Guardian for any minor child, and add any burial or cremation requests.
Living Will: Advanced directive or “pull the plug” document. Allows your healthcare surrogate to give the doctor the “ok” to pull the plug if you are being kept alive by artificial means.
Durable Power of Attorney: Nominate an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf or qualify you for public benefits, should you not be able to do so yourself.
Healthcare Surrogate & HIPAA Release: Nominate an individual to access your medical records and make informed decisions on your behalf, should you not be able to do so yourself.
Being “basic” is more than ok when the popular thing to do is plan for your future. Call the South Florida Law Firm of Wild, Felice & Partners today for your free consultation at (954) 944-2855. For more information on Estate Planning or Revocable Living Trusts, visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.
It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected? SM