How Do You Properly Compensate (and Incentivize) Associate Attorneys?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law One of the biggest mistakes I see attorneys that own their own practices make is failing to properly incentivize associate attorneys.  The primary way I have done this successfully for many years is through monthly bonuses.  Whereas attorney bonuses are usually purely discretionary and undefined in advance as to their amount and frequency, the bonus system that I have developed is based on a clearly defined formula.  By utilizing monthly bonuses, you will not only make your associate attorneys…

The Importance of Periodic Life Insurance Policy Reviews

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, J.D. | Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2014) Everyone who owns an insurance policy should be certain to conduct insurance reviews.  A recent study found that in 75% of cases, the person insured could have reduced their premium outlay by an average of 40%, or increased their coverage by an average of 40% for the same outlay.  These changes occur because insurance policies have evolved over time. Mortality rates have improved, people are living longer, and since insurance companies are going to pay claims later, newer policies will be cheaper than older policies even…

The End of the Great Migration Into Bonds (Part 2 of 3)

Allocation Risk Budgeting for Income Overview By Jeffrey Dunham, Financial Advisor | Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2014) As The End of the Great Migration into BondsSM continues, fixed income investors may experience detrimental consequences to their bond investments as interest rates rise. For investors who depend on the distributions from their bond funds, the challenge will be maintaining a proper level of income while providing relative protection of their principal. In last month’s issue of The Ultimate Estate Planner’s newsletter, we introduced you to a turnkey marketing campaign designed to allow financial advisors to focus on the vast assets currently held in…

Top Ten Asset Protection Mistakes Attorneys Make

By Steven J. Oshins Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Asset protection has become one of the hottest areas of practice, especially over the last decade.  Although asset protection planning should be a fixture in every estate planner’s repertoire, there are still many asset protection opportunities that are missed.  This article describes ten asset protection opportunities that are often overlooked. Asset Protection Mistake #1: Not discussing asset protection planning. Nearly every estate planning attorney makes a will and revocable trust discussion a given in every estate planning meeting, yet asset protection is often merely an afterthought.  For many attorneys, unless the client or…

Form 8960—The Net Investment Income Tax

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) | Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2014) In 2013, a new tax planning focus area, the net investment income tax (NIIT), was added to the already long list of hot topics all trust and estate practitioners must understand– charitable trusts, gain harvesting, loss harvesting, income smoothing strategies, income shifting strategies, asset protection trusts, tax-aware investing, decanting, portability, advanced strategies for clients with taxable estates, etc. While the NIIT is far from clear in some areas, parts of this new tax planning focus area have recently been clarified through the release of the…

Is Your Receptionist Losing You Business?

By Kristina Schneider, Executive Assistant | Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2014) In a time when a lot of people utilize e-mail communication, the telephone is still, by far, one of the most common forms of communication for businesses.  In a personal service industry such as estate planning – – regardless of whether you’re an attorney, financial advisor, CPA, life insurance agent, trust officer or some other kind of advisor to clients – – telephone communication plays an even bigger role for having a successful business. So, why is that we see so many estate planning professionals have flawed systems…