6 Signs You (or Your Staff) Are Burning Out – – And How to Fix It!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Burnout is real and it’s affecting businesses all over the world.  Whether you’re an estate planning professional who owns your own practice or not or perhaps you’re a support staff (employee), it is important that you are aware of the signs of burnout and do what you can right now to make necessary corrections to resolve the issue. If you don’t, your own physical and mental health will be dramatically affected and possibly your business (or employment), which will then impact your personal life as well. What Is Burnout? Before I get into the…

Steve Oshins’ 2021 Estate Planning Naughty List

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Were you naughty or have you been nice in 2021?  This article is directed towards Congress, all estate planners, including attorneys, accountants, trust officers, life insurance agents and financial planners.  This will help you decide whether you’ve been naughty or you’ve been nice. 1. [Now Apparently Defunct] Build Back Better Act’s Potential 8% Surtax on Trusts: The language in the [now apparently defunct] proposed legislation applies a 5% surtax to taxable income (technically Modified Adjustable Gross Income) above $200,000 and an 8% surtax to taxable income above $500,000 in a non-grantor trust regardless…

Staff Reviews & Setting Goals at the Beginning of the New Year

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In successfully running a law practice for over 40 years, I have found that it’s vitally important to periodically meet with each of my staff members (even ones that may be part-time or independent contractors) to review their job performance and set clear and defined goals.  Once you do these reviews on a regular basis, you will be amazed how much more motivated and productive your staff will be! I do these reviews semi-annually, at the beginning of January…

The Success of Your Business Starts with a Happy Work Environment

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist “Businesses often forget about the culture and ultimately suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”  – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos   An often overlooked aspect of developing a successful business is really taking the time to look at the employees, the work environment and the company culture.  The fact is, if you have a disorderly, stressful, and hostile work environment, chances are that you have unhappy employees who don’t like coming into work every day.  And the bold truth of it is that your business will suffer…

Will the Build Back Better Act Apply an 8% Surtax on Taxable Income in Trusts for Children?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) At the time of the writing of this article, the proposed Build Back Better Act includes an income tax surtax of 5% on taxable income (actually Modified Adjustable Gross Income) above $10 million and an 8% surtax on taxable income above $25 million. However, the current language applies the same 5% surtax to taxable income above $200,000 of taxable income and the same 8% surtax to taxable income above $500,000 in a non-grantor trust regardless of the wealth or taxable income of its beneficiaries. This includes a simple trust for the benefit of…

Are You Missing Out on the Lucrative “New” Estate Planning Market?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve seen a big shift in the new client market. It used to be that a large percentage of the people coming to our office had no Living Trust or other estate plan. Today, the market has almost completely flipped, with many if not most people coming in with an existing trust or plan. Why has this market shift occurred? Like it or not, the truth I’ve witnessed (and you likely will…

Kick-Start Your Boss’ Calendar in the Right Direction for 2022

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach It’s hard to believe that we are already heading into the final months of 2021.  As the former Executive Assistant to busy attorney, Philip Kavesh, what this time of year typically meant for me is that I would be typically preparing Phil’s calendar for the next year so that we can maximize the best use of his time, while also making sure that I don’t overlook important items that need to get onto his calendar. Here are some tips for laying out the 2022 calendar for your boss (whether he or she is an…

Is 2021 the Greatest Year Ever for Estate Planners?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) History repeats itself. First, there was the fiscal cliff in 2012. Then there was the “threat” of a Biden presidency and an upcoming tax act in 2020. Now we are living through the “threat” of an upcoming tax act as we near the end of 2021. Each of these three years has something in common — a supply/demand ratio that made it impossible for many potential clients to be able to find a capable estate planning attorney to take on their work and be able to complete it by year-end. YEAR 2012 In…

Are You Fitting Jobs to People?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Hiring, training, and managing employees have certainly not been easy things to learn when it comes to owning my own law practice.  I say it time and time again, but these are the things that we never learned in law school, but yet seemingly take up a great deal of time (and expense) if not done well. One common mistake that I am guilty of making in the past, but that I’ve seen come up quite a bit lately…

What to Do When Everything is Urgent & Important?

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Too often for most people, there’s far too much to do and not enough time to do it.  This requires a balancing act of figuring out how to prioritize your work. For most people, the work that gets set aside are the non-important, but also sadly, the non-urgent and important items.  The things that you know you need to get to, but that don’t have a looming deadline to be met.  Those tasks will constantly be backburnered into an oblivion, perhaps for eternity. We implement what is known as the “Urgent & Important” (or…