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,…

Reduce Your Number of No-Shows and Cancellations with a Proper Confirmation Process

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Having worked with numerous estate planning professionals over the years, one of the issues that a lot of people have struggled with are appointment and seminar no-shows and cancellations.  One of my first questions is always, “What does your confirmation process look like?” For some, they don’t have any process in place at all.  For others, they have a mixture of an e-mail that is sent or a phone call the day before.  While something is better than nothing, there is always room for improvement to help reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations….

A Conversation About Perceived Value

By Melinda Merk, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, AEP® (Distinguished) This time of year, we tend to see an uptick in estate and trust administration and guardianship cases. All too often, we see situations where the deceased or incapacitated person did their estate planning on the cheap, did it themselves or, worst of all, did nothing. Unfortunately, their families and loved ones are now bearing the added cost and emotional burden of a court-supervised probate or guardianship proceeding and other unintended consequences, which could have been alleviated had the proper planning and documents been in place, working with an experienced estate…

What Things You Can Learn From (and During) This Crisis

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist There’s no denying that what we are all experiencing right now is certainly uncharted territory and unlike anything any of us have ever gone through.  And, while the news reports and uncertainty that we may be surrounded by right now may create a lot of stress and concern, what I will say is that I do think that there’s a lot of silver linings and positive lessons to be learned from all of this right now.  Here are just a few things that I think this whole COVID-19 crisis has brought to light (at…

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…

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…

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…

Tips to Maintaining a Positive Online Reputation

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist With the growing use of the internet, clients, prospective clients and professional referral sources will look you up online and learn about you before they decide to do business with you.  So, you have to maintain a quality online presence, more than merely having a good website.  You also must maintain a positive online reputation! First, let’s start with some basic questions: Have you ever Googled yourself or your firm before? Do you know that Yelp, Google, and Facebook create profiles for your business (even if you didn’t initiate one) and customers can…

Steve Oshins: Interview About the 2019 State Rankings Charts and State Income Tax Chart

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) While at the WealthCounsel Symposium in Boston, we at The Ultimate Estate Planner (“UEP”) had the opportunity to sit down and interview nationally-known estate planning and asset protection attorney, Steve Oshins (“SJO”).  The interview consisted of a number of questions related to his State Rankings Charts and State Income Tax Chart. UEP: Please tell us about your charts and where they can be accessed. SJO:  I currently have four charts.  Three of the charts rank the states that have the best Domestic Asset Protection Trust laws, Dynasty Trust laws and Decanting laws, respectively. …