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

By Kristina Schneider 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. Here’s the confirmation…

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins: Nevada vs. Delaware Dynasty Trusts

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Testing his theory that in every man dwells a good and an evil force, the reserved Dr. Jekyll develops a formula that separates the two, turning him into an argumentative estate planning attorney named Mr. Oshins who tells it like it is. Dr. Jekyll soon realizes he is becoming addicted to his darker self as he unleashes his opinions on the estate planning industry. In this article, Dr. Jekyll tackles the issue of which trust jurisdiction is superior for Dynasty Trusts, Nevada or Delaware. As expected, Mr. Oshins will provide a different view…

What Trust Jurisdictions Other than Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota Are Best?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Some of these jurisdictions are up-and-comers and others are underrated.  This article focuses on the “Other Four States”. Most practitioners focus on Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota as the Big Four States when it comes to selecting a trust situs.  These four states collectively receive a substantial amount of the out-of-state trust business, in part because of their spectacular laws and in part because of their longevity as trust heavyweights. However, there are other states that are more than respectable and worthy of praise.  And in many aspects they are competitive with…

The Most Effective Way to Handle the Price Objection

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law If you were to ask most estate planning attorneys to narrow down the most common objection most people have about moving forward with their estate planning, price would definitely be on the top of the list. With the influx of cheap, online and do-it-yourself estate planning, living trusts have become a commodity and people are more price-sensitive than ever. While price may still be one of the main reasons a prospective client may choose not to do business with…

2019 ABA Heckerling Reports from 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute

For the past 22 years, the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law with the permission of the University of Miami School of Law, releases several extensive reports highlighting the various lectures and proceedings of the Heckerling Institute, one of the nation’s largest estate planning conferences, held every year in January. This week in Orlando, Florida, the 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning took place.  To view, download and access these extensive reports (which are still being updated and added), see below. Further, at the above website, you can also access reports from prior Heckerling…

Top Mistakes Attorneys Make Marketing Their Seminars

By Kristina Schneider Many estate planning attorneys think that seminars don’t work—for a variety of reasons.  Some of these reasons may be valid, but the most common reason that I find when I talk to estate planning attorneys is they say, “I tried it and they didn’t work.” It’s then that we begin to have a discussion about how they went about marketing it and as we begin to look into things further, it is clear to me why they don’t think that seminars work.  Worse yet, for some attorneys, I have found that when we actually reviewed the return…

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts for the Large Estate

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The federal estate and gift tax exemption is at an all-time high, thereby leaving only a tiny percentage of people who have taxable estates.  This shift in demand for advanced estate tax planning has similarly reduced the number of estate planners who handle advanced estate tax planning, an expected result of supply and demand.  Even if an estate planner doesn’t personally practice in the high-net-worth area, the planner absolutely must be aware of certain estate tax-saving techniques such as the Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (“GRAT”). A GRAT is an irrevocable trust into which…

529 Misconceptions About 529 Plans

By Alan S. Gassman J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), Florida State Bar Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts & Estates, AEP (Distinguished) Internal Revenue Code Section 529 was enacted in 1996 to allow interest, dividends, and capital gains that occur under mutual fund-like wrappers to be tax-free if the entire fund is spent on qualified educational expenses. The 2017 Tax Act expanded qualified educational expenses to include up to $10,000 per year for kindergarten through 12th grade tuition, beginning in 2018. There are many misconceptions and thousands of mistakes made with respect to 529 plans.  The following list and explanation should be helpful to many. #1. …

The Beneficiary Controlled Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The Beneficiary Controlled Trust name was first introduced to the estate planning industry by my father and I in our two-part article, “Protecting & Preserving Wealth into the Next Millennium,” published in the September and October 1998 issues of Trusts & Estates magazine.  [Portions of this article were taken from the 1998 article.]  Since that time, the Beneficiary Controlled Trust concept has been widely used by estate planners all over the country.  This article describes this philosophy. Background Most trust scriveners draft trusts that make mandatory distributions to the beneficiaries upon reaching certain…

How to Use Bonuses to Incentivize Your Staff

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In this newsletter article, I talked about how to use bonuses to incentivize your associate attorneys.  In this article, I will address how to also incentivize your support staff. The principles are basically the same, but there are a few important items that are tweaked for support staff.  First and foremost, non-attorney staff members cannot receive some percentage or share of firm revenue or profit.  Virtually every State Bar’s Professional Ethics Rules (or state’s Business and Professions Codes) prohibit this. …