Family Business Succcession Planning

By Brandon E. Crooks, Principal at Counsel Trust Company There are over 5.5 million family businesses in the US with an average life span of 24 years (familybusinesscenter.com, 2010). About 40% of family-owned businesses turn into second-generation businesses; approximately 13% are passed down successfully to a third generation, and 3% to a fourth generation or beyond (Businessweek.com, 2010). Business owners are attractive clients due to the amount of wealth that lies within family-owned businesses. The challenge for advisors working with this group is that the business succession risks are greater than ever because nearly a third of owners have no…

2014 Year-End Tax Planning

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA/PFS, MST, AEP (Distinguished), CGMA As we near the end of 2014, year-end tax planning again takes center stage. In this article we summarize a number of strategies that may produce substantial tax savings with just some year-end tax planning. Making Trust Distributions The tax brackets for trusts are much more compressed compared to the brackets for individuals. This suggests, if the governing instrument allows it, that trustees should consider making discretionary distributions of income to beneficiaries at the end of 2014 to reduce tax rates. Harvesting Ordinary Income Harvesting ordinary income is another part of…

8 Steps to Hiring a Great Executive Assistant

By Kristina Schneider, Executive Assistant An executive assistant is an often overlooked position for many estate planning professionals. I know this because I often interact with a lot of attorneys, financial advisors, and CPAs directly on matters that I also know would be best handled by an executive assistant. Not having an executive assistant means that you, the executive, are often stuck with a lot of daily administrative tasks in the office. And that’s fine if that’s something that you enjoy doing and it works for you. But, for most estate planning professionals, that’s a huge misappropriation of the skills…

The Top 10 Marketing Must-Do’s for Estate Planners

By Jennifer Goddard, CEO & James Campbell, Vice President, Integrity Marketing Solutions If you’re an estate planning professional, you know that your bank account is only as fat as your appointment book. Because there are few residuals, long-term retainers, or grand-slam homeruns in estate planning, the marketing imperative is never-ending. That’s right. You wake up mostly “unemployed” every single morning. Learning how to develop that steady stream of qualified referrals, new inquiries, and new clients is probably the most important—and possibly the most difficult—aspect of your particular business. Estate Planning Marketing Must-Do #1: Look in the Mirror. The first thing…

Clearing the Bubble—The Transition To Fixed Fees

Download Printable Article By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In the past, I have emphasized and reemphasized the advantages of utilizing a fixed fee structure rather than an hourly billing system. Here’s just a few of the main advantages for a fixed fee structure: Fixed fees avoid the need to maintain hourly records and keep track of every moment of your time. Fixed fees avoid having to go through the effort of preparing, reviewing and sending out billings. Fixed fees avoid you having to be…

3rd Annual Dynasty Trust State Rankings Chart Released

Every year, nationally renowned estate planning and asset protection attorney, Steven J. Oshins, J.D., AEP (Distinguished), puts together a state rankings chart for Dynasty Trusts, showing which states rank among the highest in the country for Dynasty Trust planning. To download a free copy of Steve’s 3rd Annual Dynasty Trust State Rankings Chart, complete the form below. In particular, some highlights of this year’s chart: include: The top 3 states are #1 South Dakota, #2 Nevada and #3 Alaska. The #4, #5 and #6 states will surprise many people. More weight was put on Decanting in this year’s chart versus…