The SECURE Act: Everything You Need to Know (and How to Advise Your Clients!)

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed a spending bill which had attached to it a piece of legislation that much of the estate, tax and financial world has been anxiously awaiting for an update on called the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019” (or “SECURE Act”). The SECURE Act went into effect January 1st, 2020 and is set to dramatically impact retirement planning for you and your clients! As many are aware, the most important provision of the SECURE Act to impact our clients and the planning we do for them includes the elimination of…

The 2010-2019 All-Decade Estate Planning Awards

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) This past decade has arguably seen more changes in the estate planning industry than ever before. This article will highlight many of these changes by handing out awards in a number of different categories. #1. MOST SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN THE LAW AWARD WINNER: SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION. The change in the law that has been the most significant was the substantial increase in the federal estate tax exemption. No other change in the law played such a prominent role in the way estate planners plan since this essentially turned estate tax planners…

Conduct a Successful 2020 “Kick-Off” Meeting with Your Firm

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law I’ve found that the best way to ensure a successful new year is to start off with a big stride in the right direction, by holding a firm “kick-off” meeting.  The purpose of this meeting is to establish clearly defined goals for the year, outline the implementation process and get everyone on board, excited and motivated!  It also provides an action checklist that you and your firm can periodically refer back to during the year, so you stay on…

Year-End Sales Tip to Get Clients to Engage You

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law As we head into the final weeks of the year, you may experience some push back from clients and prospective clients you are meeting with.  In particular, they may say that the holiday time is too busy and they’d like to revisit things sometime next year. The problem with this is that once they leave your office, it’ll be much harder to circle back with them, get them in, get them re-motivated to do the planning, and do business…

Santa’s 2019 Estate Planning Naughty or Nice List

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Have you been naughty or have you been nice in 2019?  This article is directed towards all estate planners, including attorneys, accountants, trust officers, life insurance agents and financial planners.  This will help you decide whether you’re been naughty or you’ve been nice. Staggered Distribution Trusts: If you encourage your clients to create trusts that make mandatory outright distributions to the clients’ children upon reaching staggered ages, then you’re on the Naughty List.  This subjects the trust assets to the creditors and divorcing spouses of the children.  Trusts should generally be designed to…

Are You (or Have You) Drafted IRA Trusts? You Better Make Sure You Do THIS!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist As you may be aware, the SECURE Act threated to reduce the IRA beneficiary stretchout from life expectancy to only 10 years. However, after passing through the House in late May, it has yet to make its way through the Senate. It’s still unclear if and when it may get passed and now into December, it doesn’t seem likely to pass sometime this year. If you have been and/or are drafting standalone IRA Beneficiary Trusts (or IRA Inheritance Trusts®) for your clients, you may nevertheless have these or other law changes in the…

Top 10 Year-End Practice-Building & Marketing Ideas of 2019

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist As we head into the final 2 months of 2019, you may be wondering where all the time went and what can you do in these final two months to really help your practice end the year with a BANG! I’ve put together what I consider to be the Top 10 Year-End Practice-Building and Marketing Ideas for 2019 so that you can end this year on a productive, positive note and head into 2020 with some momentum! IDEA #1: Clean up your database. Now is a great time to take a look at…

Is Your Office a Safe Place for People to Work?

By David Giuliano, Business Coach For over 40 years I have worked in the business world and I’ve learned many lessons. One of the most important aspects of business success is a work environment where people feel safe, can communicate honestly, and grow as a whole.  Having an unsafe environment causes the most damage to the owner of the business.  This might seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is in this day and age, it’s extremely hard to maintain a healthy work environment, but very necessary to do so. My work has shown me that if we can address…

The Spousal Lifetime Access Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Imagine that there is a type of trust that you can set up where you can transfer assets and not only protect them from creditors and estate tax, but also have access to them through your spouse.  No, this is not a hypothetical world where there are rainbows and unicorns!  This world really does exist! This trust is often called a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust, or “SLAT” for short.  Most people are aware of the completed gift version where estate tax avoidance is the primary motivating factor.  However, there are really two different…

The Philosophy Behind Protecting Assets from Creditors

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Asset protection has become necessary for just about every physician, every businessman, and every person with even reasonably substantial wealth.  It has become customary to have some form of an asset protection trust. As we see case law develop in the asset protection area, it seems that every time a new decision is issued there are numerous blogs and comments made about the case at conferences, whether positive or negative.  The litigators generally claim that the new case spells the end of the technique that was used and failed to work in this…