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Asset Protection ABC’s: They Won’t Protect Themselves.

Lawsuits are filed for all sorts of reasons. Some are justified, some are frivolous and meant to shake down a settlement. Unexpected things also happen, and sometimes they lead to suits. And people who are perceived as having assets are easy targets to blame . . . and sue.

So how do you hedge the bet? Do some common sense things to protect your assets. They won’t protect themselves.

I can wait, right? Waiting for something to happen or for a lawsuit to be filed against you before acting is locking the barn door after the proverbial horse is out. Waiting for a judgment before acting is like locking that barn door after the horse is glue. [Read more…]

Fish, Yodels, and Why You Can’t Always Beat Probate.

Remember “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  But teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  So said Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism.

Not quite as wise: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to yodel and you make him eat alone.”

Groucho Marx once said “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like bananas.” Occasionally you hear this, too.

You’d think that if something was said often enough, it would be true.  Or it would become true.

Well here’s one that isn’t always true, no matter who’s saying it and how often they repeat it: “Do a revocable trust and avoid probate.”

Hah. Because often, you can’t.

[Read more…]

A Few Seconds on Minutes.

Minutes are required by law. Sure, there are no Minutes Marshals who will come arrest you if you don’t do Minutes for your business. But there are consequences, and it’s not worth avoiding your doing Minutes.

Note for the uninitiated: Minutes go into a Minute Book, which is not what you use to teach a child how to tell time. It has no hands clipped together which you move around the picture of the face of a clock.

Rather, a Minute Book is usually a three-ring binder, sometimes with a not-so-catchy phrase  — like “Minute Book” — embossed in gold on its cover.  That gold-leaf stuff is totally irrelevant. [Read more…]

A Gift from the New Tax Act: Kill that Trust.

The new Tax Act makes one thing a lot simpler: you can be left alone when your spouse dies.  You won’t have to ask for something from, and you don’t have to answer to, someone supposedly on your side (i.e., a trustee).

In other words: you don’t need a trust for any estate tax savings if you and your spouse don’t have assets over $22 million.

You may be stuck, though, with no choice in the matter, if your estate documents now have certain trust things in them.  Do words like Credit Shelter Trust, Bypass Trust, A-B Trust, Marital Trust or Family Trust sound familiar? [Read more…]

Questions are welcome.
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