Tips for Boosting Morale In Your Office This Thanksgiving

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist There’s no doubt that this year has been a challenging one for many people – – both professionally and personally.  There’s been a whirlwind of things going on this year and it’s hard to just “check it at the door” when you come into the office. Speaking with numerous attorneys about their current challenges in their practice, one thing seems certain.  Office morale is down. Low morale at the office usually results in reduced productivity, compromised work performance, tardiness and absences, and even personal conflicts and emotional outbursts. As we wind down the…

Punditry, Politics, and Your Portfolio

By Jason Oshins, Financial Advisor, MBA Most advisors are fielding the same question multiple times each day: “What should I do about my investments?”. With the election fresh on our minds, let’s review context and determine a prudent answer to this ubiquitous question. Let’s face it, if 2020 were a song, it would be “Macarena”. Meaning, for most, it can’t end soon enough. We’re definitely in the thick of it. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about the state of the world. What if Biden wins the election? What if Trump is reelected? How will COVID-19 impact everything? What does…

9th Annual Dynasty Trust State Rankings Chart Released

By  Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The 9th Annual Dynasty Trust State Rankings Chart has been released! This year’s Chart factors in the new era of Dynasty Trusts. The Chart is an easy-to-use summary of leading Dynasty Trust states that shows the material differences among the states and ranks them according to usability and flexibility. Planners often focus on the multi-generational estate tax benefits of a Dynasty Trust. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 essentially doubled the federal estate and gift tax exemption which, after inflationary increases, is now $11.58 million per person, or $23.16 million…

Six Big Mistakes When Choosing an Associate Attorney

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Although attorneys are trained in the technical aspects of the law, we haven’t been taught how to run a successful business, often relying upon trial and error as costly teachers. In the process of building my own practice, I have made each and every one of the following mistakes when hiring associate attorneys, so I am speaking to you from experience. Mistake #1: Focusing mainly on the associate’s law school, credentials, experience and technical expertise. As educated and experienced…

Trustasaurus: The Gradual Extinction of the Age 25, 30 and 35 Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Read nearly every trust drafted by nearly every law firm and you’ll see provisions that make mandatory distributions at staggered ages. Why is this done? I have no idea. Maybe because their standard “form” trust agreement does that??? Is it good planning? Absolutely not! STAGGERED DISTRIBUTION TRUST A “Staggered Distribution Trust” is a trust that makes mandatory staggered distributions upon the beneficiary reaching staggered ages. The most widely-used provisions distribute one-third at age 25, one-half of the balance at age 30 and the balance at age 35. The philosophy of doing this is…

6 Ways You’re Holding Yourself (and Your Firm) Back Without Even Knowing It!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist If your practice isn’t where you want it to be and you feel “stuck”, do you know why?  There may be plenty of reasons why.  However, more often than not, there are a lot of things that you, the estate planning attorney, are doing (or not doing) that are the reasons why can’t seem to move forward. Having worked with estate planning attorney, Philip Kavesh, for over 16 years, both in his law practice and with our attorney customers of The Ultimate Estate Planner, I’ve seen a commonality in most attorneys and what’s…

Tips for Managing the Top 5 Interruptions at the Workplace

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist One of the most costly killers of productivity in the workplace is interruptions.  There are some startling statistics about how much interruptions really cost a business.  It is believed that interruptions can cost a company up to over 6 hours per day in productivity, which equates to over 30 hours in a week (almost an entire full-time employee!).  It’s also estimated that social media alone costs the U.S. economy over $650 billion per year in all of the lost production.  Crazy, right? Interruptions are pretty much impossible to avoid, but there are definitely…

The Biden Estate Tax Cliff: Gifting Like it’s 2012 All Over Again!

By  Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Those estate planning attorneys who were in practice in 2012 surely remember the last few months of the year when prospective clients were calling and emailing all day long every day literally begging us to take “just one more client”! There was a mad rush to make $5 million gifts before the estate tax exemption was going to drop back down when the clock struck midnight at the end of 12/31/2012. Most of the experienced attorneys were so busy that they stopped taking new clients in October or November. FAST FORWARD TO 2020…

Having Disconnects and Conflicts in the Office Right Now?

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist With everything going on in the world right now, it is safe to say that most people are under much more stress than usual.  From concerns about health and safety, managing the constantly changing day-to-day barrage of headlines and politics, to feeling a whole spectrum of emotions about all the change that has happened in such a short period of time.  Business owners and employees with young children are having to juggle their own set of challenges trying to navigate the upcoming school year, while the technologically-challenged have been completely overwhelmed with a…

6th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart Released!

By  Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Different states have different rules as to what creates a “resident trust” that is subject to taxation in that state.  States may tax a trust based on the residency of the settlor or testator, based on whether there is a resident trustee or beneficiary or whether there is administration in that state, or for a combination of these factors and/or other similar factors. So it isn’t as easy as simply situsing a trust in a state with no state income tax.  You have to look at the state taxing statutes that may apply….