Protect Your Assets from Lawsuits

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, According to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Jonathan Clements, “If you listed your financial fears, you might include a repeat of 2008’s market meltdown, losing your job and getting your identity stolen. But somewhere on the list, I suspect, would be another major worry: getting sued.”

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vintage mailman

Using Email Instead of Snail Mail to Send Crummey Notices

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, If your life insurance policy is owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), you know what a pain it is to ask your trustee to mail the so-called Crummey letters every year to each trust beneficiary before the premiums can be made. Many of our clients complain about the inconvenience of having to go through this process, but failure to follow the formalities could result in the life insurance proceeds being subject to estate […] Continue reading

California Proposition – 13 Urgent Change in the Tax Law Coming: Act Before January 1, 2015 Or Lose a Priceless Planning Opportunity

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, Imagine with me for a moment that you have the opportunity to purchase a “trophy” property like the historic and beautiful Fairmont Miramar Resort in Santa Monica. Of course, being the savvy business person you are, and given the $200,000,000 price tag, your legal team is involved in the acquisition, and they properly inform you that you may be able to structure the transaction in such a way that reassessment of the property’s value could […] Continue reading

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT RULES: An Inherited IRA Is Not Protected From Bankruptcy Proceedings Under The Retirement Funds Exemption

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, Last week, there was an extremely important case decided by the U.S.Supreme Court in the case of Clark v. Rameker. In Clark, Heidi inherited a traditional IRA from her mother in 2001, when the IRA was worth approximately $450,000. Nine years later, Heidi and her husband filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and identified the inherited IRA, then worth approximately $300,000, as exempt from the bankruptcy estate under the retirement funds exemption of the bankruptcy code. […] Continue reading

#1 Question About Offshore Asset Protection Trusts – Will I Go To Jail?

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, “Am I going to jail?” Andrew’s creditor just asked a court to hold him in contempt for failure to pay a multi-million dollar judgment. Andrew’s eyes were wide with disbelief. “I’ve done everything they asked, but I can’t pay the judgment if the trustee refuses to release funds.” “Don’t worry,” explains Andrew’s lawyer, “this is how the trust is supposed to work.”

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Lawsuit, Interrupted

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, In 2012, Dr. Brenda severed ties with her problematic business partner, Dr. Smith. Two years later, when Dr. Smith was sued for medical malpractice by eleven former patients on extremely damaging charges, Dr. Brenda was named as co-defendant solely by virtue of her former partnership. Because Dr. Smith was bankrupt and had no personal assets, naming Dr. Brenda as co-defendant was a ploy to dig for deeper pockets. Although nine of the patients suing were […] Continue reading

A Word of Caution…

Not So Bad Acts That May Trigger Recourse Liability in Bad-Boy Guaranties Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends, Non-recourse loans have become more popular and desirable as a means for commercial real estate financing in recent years. There is a definite appeal in these types of loans due to the fact they do not require personal guaranties by the key principals of borrowers and their sponsors, limiting the liability for the loan to the real property collateral securing the loan, and […] Continue reading

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

“He has offshore bank accounts.” When you hear this phrase, what is your gut reaction? For those of us who consume the news, read John Grisham novels or watch TV, when we hear “offshore bank accounts,” our guts scream “tax evader!” or worse. We think a bad guy is hiding assets. We think mafia, drug running, embezzlement, assassins, Ponzi schemes, white collar criminals, lengthy trials, and jail time. The media tells us that if someone has an offshore bank account, […] Continue reading

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Larry and Harold, best friends and business partners for the past 20 years, operate their successful company as an S corporation. They started with nothing and built their business from the ground up, working hard to increase profits through the economy’s ups and downs. Their partnership is truly an American Success Story. THE GOOD DEED: Four years ago, Larry’s younger brother announced he was getting married. Larry was ecstatic with his brother’s new wife and asked what he could give […] Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Estate Gets “Whacked”

The cost of being penny wise and pound foolish… Actor James Gandolfini, who made the mobster Tony Soprano a household name, suddenly died in June of a heart attack at the age of 51. News quickly morphed from sadness over his untimely death to shock over his seemingly ill-conceived estate plan, namely, his will, which was so poorly drafted that up to 80% of his assets are rumored to be subject to a 43% estate tax. Here’s irony for you: […] Continue reading