The Art of Confirming an Appointment

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Knowing the steps of how to properly confirm an appointment – – any kind of appointment, including a phone appointment, client meeting, lunch meeting, etc. – – is extremely valuable to any office looking to continue to operate efficiently and effectively. However, I have found that a lot of people don’t do this (or don’t do it properly) and this can result in a lot of disruption in the office. Whether or not you are the one responsible for confirming appointments, if you know that your office could benefit from a makeover in your…

Multiple Financial Advisor Referral Relationships May Be a Big MISTAKE!

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Does that sound crazy to you? Probably! But, hear me out. (By the way, if you’re a financial advisor, what I’ll say applies equally to you having too many estate planning attorney relationships.) Over the years, I have consistently heard fellow estate planning attorneys tell me all of the reasons why the dedicated, single-financial advisor referral relationship (or a relationship with only one company or group of advisors) that I use in my practice doesn’t work or why it…

The Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (“ILIT”) is a trust that owns one or more life insurance policies and is designed to avoid estate taxes on the death benefit. The trust must be irrevocable in order to accomplish this. The general plan is to create the trust prior to the purchase of the life insurance and have the trustee of the ILIT purchase the insurance and elect to have the ILIT named as both the owner and the beneficiary of the policy. However, in the event that the life insurance policy is owned outside…

The Floating Spouse Provision and More: Designing a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust for Maximum Access and Maximum Divorce Protection

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) A Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (“SLAT”) is an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the settlor’s spouse and descendants. The settlor makes transfers to the trust that must come from the settlor’s separate property. If drafted properly, the trust assets are protected from the creditors and divorcing spouses of the settlor and of the beneficiaries and aren’t subject to estate taxes (if using a completed gift version) when the settlor and settlor’s spouse pass away. THE KEY IS IN THE DRAFTING A general fear that many clients and advisors have is that they…

Blow Up Your Annual Client Maintenance Program!

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In this article, I addressed the marketplace issues confronting estate planning attorneys, in particular commoditization of our “products” and increasing low price competition.  One of the ways that I discussed to combat these issues is to emphasize how your “product” is better than your competitors’.  Another way to differentiate yourself is to emphasize your “service after the sale.”  When someone purchases a car, he or she wants to know what kind of service or maintenance program is available and what…

Top 10 E-mail Etiquette Rules for Estate Planning Professionals (and Their Assistants and Staff)

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Electronic mail (otherwise known as e-mail) plays an important part in any business these days. It’s helped make communicating and doing business far more efficient and simpler. However, as with most things in business, there are certain rules that professionals should follow when it comes to using e-mail. If not done correctly, it can actually create unnecessary confusion, chaos, and an unnecessary amount of miscommunication (and maybe even legal liability!). Below, you will find what I consider to be the ten most important e-mail etiquette rules to live and work by. (NOTE: These are…

Effectively Managing Your Boss’ Busy Calendar

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Whether your boss is an estate planning attorney, CPA, financial advisor or life insurance agent, chances are, he or she has an overwhelmingly busy calendar.  From client meetings, phone calls, seminar presentations, conferences and CE programs to numerous projects to be completed, goals to be reached, and endless obligations to be met. How do you organize, prioritize and manage it all while getting everything scheduled and done? Ask for Assistance with Prioritizing First, ask for assistance in prioritizing your tasks (and your boss’ tasks).  Thankfully, most executives acknowledge that their assistants are juggling several…

Do Client Maintenance Plans Really Work?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Two of the major issues confronting estate planning attorneys are the commoditization of our “products” and increasing low price competition thanks to the do-it-yourself kits and internet trusts.  One way to combat these issues is to emphasize and show your prospects how your “product” is superior to what your competitors have to offer, such as by differentiating the services available to the client after the sale.  Think about it, when you purchase or lease a car, don’t you usually…

Poll Results: The New First-Tier Trust Jurisdictions

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) In May of 2021, I conducted a LinkedIn poll asking, “[w]hich of the following are the first-tier trust jurisdictions?” The choices were (a) AK, DE, NV and SD, (b) NV and SD or (c) NV, SD and TN. The purpose of the poll was to see if the general public still believes that Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota make up the first tier. Or have Nevada and South Dakota distanced themselves enough from Alaska and Delaware to deserve their own tier? Or has Tennessee improved enough to join Nevada and South Dakota…

NING Trusts for California Residents: “Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Late last year, the California Franchise Tax Board announced that it was planning to bring legislation to abolish the use of Incomplete Gift Non-Grantor Trusts, otherwise known as “ING Trusts”. The two states where most of these trusts are established are Nevada (“NING Trusts”) and Delaware (“DING Trusts”). However, since these trusts are non-grantor Domestic Asset Protection Trusts, this article will assume that the draftsman would select Nevada which is generally considered the number one asset protection trust jurisdiction. The legislation was to be effective for any taxable income earned on or after…