Bloodline Trusts: No, No, No, No and No!!!

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) People sometimes talk about so-called “bloodline trusts” – trusts that specifically disinherit anyone and everyone who doesn’t share the blood of the settlor. Although in theory this sounds like a great idea, it actually isn’t.  The problem is that it often cuts out the wrong people.  This article focuses on two specific problems with bloodline trusts. The Worst Problem of All The worst problem is the assumption that adopted children should be treated as though they are strangers. The best way to describe this travesty is by example. Assume that Client sets up…

Stop the Constant Fire Drills and Chaos at the Office with This Simple, But Effective Tip!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach A recurring theme that I continually see coming up for estate planning attorneys that I speak with is this overwhelming stress that they’re feeling like every single day feels like they’re just constantly putting out fires and everything is in chaos and disarray.  When you are so busy in this reactive mode, it can be extremely difficult to know how to get out of it.  You become too consumed with being in the deep trenches of working in your business to have enough time, let alone a breath of fresh air, to even begin…

Clearing the Bubble—The Transition To Fixed Fees

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 a bill collector,…

Are Your Employees Quiet Quitting?

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about the concept of “quiet quitting”.  You may have seen conversations on LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok or even some articles online or on news outlets.  Many employers are experiencing this concept and there has been a lot of debate about exactly who is to blame and what, if anything, can be done about it. What is Quiet Quitting? So, what is it exactly? “Quiet quitting” is a term to describe employees who are not outright quitting their jobs, but who may be essentially “quitting” in other ways. …

Why Nine of the Domestic Asset Protection Trust Jurisdictions Have a Big Problem

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Nineteen domestic jurisdictions have statutes that allow a person to set up a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (“DAPT”). A DAPT is an irrevocable trust set up by a person (the “settlor”) for the benefit of him/herself and other beneficiaries. Under the statutes of each of those jurisdictions, after a certain waiting period, the assets transferred to the trust by the settlor should be protected from the settlor’s creditors. Affidavit of Solvency Asset protection planners will generally have their clients sign an Affidavit of Solvency which essentially says that the client isn’t making a…

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…

Estate Planning Attorneys – Stop Sending Your Clients Drafts!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach At just about every single Ultimate Level event that we hold, the issue of sending clients drafts of their estate planning documents comes up.  There’s always at least one, but usually several, attorneys that have a regular practice (or as part of their estate planning process) to send clients drafts of their estate planning documents prior to signing them. It is to no surprise that these attorneys then also complain about some (or all!) of the following challenges: Trouble reaching clients to get them to move forward An enormous amount of questions Hours of…

Projecting the Year-by-Year Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Amount

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The federal estate and gift tax exemption is currently $12,060,000 per person. This number increases (or decreases) each year based on inflation and then is rounded. This article does nothing extraordinary. It simply lays out the projected increases over the next few years based on the most recent inflation rate which is 8.5%. Anybody with a calculator can compute these numbers, but many people have not yet done so, so the numbers outlined herein may come as a shock! Trump Tax Act The Trump Tax Act increases (or decreases) the federal estate and…

Successful Seminar Marketing 101: Tips for Getting Started

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law It’s no secret that I am a big proponent of seminar marketing.  That’s because I have regularly used seminars to successfully build and grow my practice over the past 40 years. Benefits of Doing Seminars Before we get into how to start up the seminar marketing process, it’s important for you to understand the benefits of doing seminars.  Some people believe that seminars are about educating people on estate planning or building your image and firm name in the…

The Importance of Taking Time Off and Getting a Break from Work

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach The concept of taking time off of work or stepping away from work seems like an obvious one, but for those that are super-dedicated to their job, this can actually be a difficult task to do sometimes. It took me some time, but it was something that I had to learn over a number of years of going full-steam, with very little to no breaks. I can recall when I was first hired by Phil back in 2004, I was an eager, freshly graduated college student. There were a lot of details to my…