Paid Time Off vs. Paid Sick and Vacation Leave: Which is Better for Your Practice?

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Add this to the list of items that law school doesn’t teach budding lawyers about when it comes to setting up their own practice.  What kind of benefits should you offer employees, particularly with respect to paid time off? In recent years, many employers have moved more to a model of straight paid time off hours (otherwise known as “PTO”).  This would be a specific number of hours off per year given to employees, sometimes varied depending on full-time or part-time status and many times tiered depending on tenure at the firm.  One attorney…

The 10 Biggest Mistakes Estate Planning Attorneys Make – – Running Their Business!

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 40+ years, I have been blessed with a successful and fulfilling estate planning law practice.  But, it was not always successful and it was not always fulfilling.  It was through my own set of expensive, costly and stressful sets of trial and error that I was able to see what worked and what does not.  Based on my real-world experience, I have compiled what I believe to be the 10 most common mistakes that I’ve seen most…

Generate More Revenue This Year with More Referrals from Clients

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law If you’ve read any of my previous newsletter articles or purchased any of my presentations (or attended our Ultimate Level event), you know that I am a huge systems nut. Systems for EVERYTHING – – from marketing to receptionist scripts, to conducting initial client meetings, to generating trust documents, to signing meetings, and regular client follow-ups.  Utilizing time-tested systems for everything involved in operating an estate planning practice is how you develop a successful practice. Yet, even those who…

The HUGE Problem with DAPT Jurisdictions that Require Affidavits of Solvency

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) At the time of this writing, there are twenty states that have enacted Domestic Asset Protection Trust (“DAPT”) statutes. However, not all of these states have superior laws.  This article describes just one of many differences among the various states’ DAPT statutes.  Specifically, it explains the Affidavit of Solvency differences among these states. What is an Affidavit of Solvency? An Affidavit of Solvency is a sworn statement that indicates that the transfer of assets an individual is about to make will not render that individual or entity bankrupt or insolvent. Attorneys generally have…

Ten Tips for Boosting Office Morale

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach With all that’s going on right now in the world, office morale may be down.  A lot of change has impacted people over the past few years.  Perhaps you have different staff now, but the effects of the pandemic, the politics, the news stories, and the fears of the economy have left a lot of people feeling burnt out and empty. Even if you have tried your best to keep these things from impacting the overall environment in your office, morale in your office may be taking a hit. Boosting office morale is not…

The “L” in SLAT: “Lifetime” or “Limited”?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Some articles call it a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust, while others call it a Spousal Limited Access Trust. Which is it?  It can’t be both!  It depends upon how it’s drafted. Spousal “Limited” Access Trust When I draft a SLAT, it’s a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust because distributions aren’t “limited”.  Why would the draftsman want to limit distributions?  One of the objectives is for the settlor to be able to indirectly live out of the trust via distributions to the settlor’s spouse who can then share them with the settlor. Drafting in substantial…

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…

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

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach 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 you can’t seem to move forward. Having worked with estate planning attorney, Philip Kavesh, for over 18 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…

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…