Why Completing Your Estate Planning is a Must!

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Growing your business can be one of the most rewarding experiences for you and your family. It can provide a stream of income for years to come. Part of being successful in business is planning for the unexpected, anticipating what can go wrong and have contingency plans. On a personal level, you should be taking the same approach. For example, do you have life insurance (especially if you have loved ones) to support your family if something happens to you? I know in my situation with three girls and my wife I want to make sure they are taken care of if something should happen to me (hopefully a lot later than sooner). Having life insurance was something I had in place right after I was married over 16 years ago.

What I have found over the years is the big areas that create the biggest mess; when a business owner does not get around to completing their estate planning and something unexpected happens to them. This creates a financial mess for the family that is left behind. It is hard enough to handle the sudden loss of a loved one but to add on the financial turmoil can be just devastating for your loved ones. Especially when the IRS gets involved with estate taxes that will be due that may cause unnecessarily to liquid assets at a fire sale point of view to pay the
estate taxes.

Here are my top reasons why your estate planning should be a must to complete in the next 30-60 days and for you to take immediate action after reading this article otherwise it may be 12 months from now and you have not started yet.

1.Take care of your family. Your spouse must be prepared financially and emotionally as best as possible to make sure if something happens to you what the steps are financially..

Certainty and financial security are very high needs, especially guys for your wives. Don’t leave your spouse left holding the financial bag and having to work with other family members and in- laws to figure how what should happen next. Especially, if you run the business, provide the revenue to support your family and your wife runs the household, kids’ schedule and school (which is a much harder job by the way, in my opinion). This is even more of a must if you are in a second marriage and there are your kids and your spouse’s kids.

You may inadvertently have your net worth not go to your kids when you thought it would. Even worse, what happens to your kids if something happens to both of you? What directives do you have in place to take care of your kids? Do you have guardians in place? Here are six mistakes that happen in this key area of naming a guardian 1) they name only one person with no back-up; 2) they name a couple without directing what should happen if something happens to one of the partners of the couple; 3) they consider financial resources of their guardians instead of leaving enough behind through insurance or savings; 4) they don’t name anyone to take care of their financial resources for their children; 5) they name only guardians for the long-term and don’t consider what would happen in the immediate moments or hours after an accident until their long-term guardians could arrive; and 6) they fail to exclude anyone they know they would never want to serve as a guardian. If you die without a Will or having named guardians, the decision as to who will take care of your money and your children is left up to a State Court Judge operating in a broken court system who don’t know you or what’s important to you.

Another challenge is having your estate go to the probate courts because you have no estate plan in place. Here is how this works. In any jurisdiction in the U.S. that recognize a married couple’s property as tenancy by the entireties, if a person dies intestate (owning property without a will), the portion of his/her estate so titled passes to
a surviving spouse without a probate. This part seems to be ok at this point. If the estate is not automatically devised to the surviving spouse in this manner or through a joint tenancy and is not held within a trust, it is necessary to “probate the estate”, whether or not the decedent had a valid will. A court having jurisdiction of the decedent’s estate (a probate court) supervises probate, to administer the disposition of the decedent’s property according to the law of the jurisdiction and the decedent’s intent as manifested in his testamentary instrument.

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The Top 6 Dangers Lurking Behind Your Business

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In today’s uncertain financial climate, is there any way to be sure your assets are fully protected? Many business owners, and those who may be considering a startup venture, are unaware of hidden risks that can erode or even erase everything they’ve worked for with virtually no warning.

Fortunately, there are simple, practical steps you can take. By having the right protections in place at the right time, you can ensure that your assets and your peace of mind are secure. Here are the top 6 areas where your assets may be exposed:

  1. Operating your business as a sole proprietorship. In addition to paying higher tax rates in most cases, sole proprietorships are targeted by the IRS for audits more than any other business structure. IRS statistics show that sole proprietorships are more likely to understate income and overstate expenses. This is where many get flagged for writing off hobbies as business expenses. This risk will increase with health care reform and an incoming wave of new IRS agents.
  1. Owning safe assets in your own name. Even though they may have nothing to do with your actual business affairs, any asset held in your own name, such as stocks or precious metals, could be tied up (or lost) in a personal lawsuit. It’s a common myth that living trusts or “dba” operating companies can protect the assets or investments you hold in your own name from liability.
  1. Owning intellectual property in your own name. As with safe assets, holding IP in your own name is also a risky strategy. All the time, materials and sweat equity you’ve invested in any system, product or body of work could be taken away from you if it’s exposed to litigation.
  1. Domain names. In today’s internet economy, many entrepreneurs rely on domain names for a substantial portion of their income streams. Even something as random as a liability claim from a car accident could cripple your business if they go after your domain names for recovery. Although it may seem like a simple way to save time and money in the beginning, the worst place to hold domain names is in your own name or in the operating name of your business.
  1. The ownership of your current company. Even having a separate entity like an S or C corporation does not guarantee protection for your assets or investments, unless you have the proper structural details in place. Many “one price fits all” online incorporation services fail to ask important questions that could mean the difference between security and exposure. Certain high revenue and profit LLCs may be at risk also.
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Are all Your Assets Protected and Estate Planning Completed? July Special Opportunity…

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Are all Your Assets Protected and Estate Planning Completed? July Special Opportunity…

Here are the Top 6 Areas where Your Assets May be Exposed:

  1. Operating your business as a sole proprietorship. Not only are all your current and future assets exposed you are risking an audit especially with the new health care plan being approved (over 16,000 more IRS agents are being hired for more audits).
  2. The ownership of your current company (especially if you have a S or C corporation). High revenue and profit LLCs may be at risk also).
  3. Domain names. If you have any value in your “virtual real estate” the worst place to hold your domain names is in your name personally or the name of your operating business.
  4. Safe assets being owned in your own name, living trust (does not protect assets or investments from liability) or operating company.
  5. New joint ventures operating through your current operating business.
  6. Your intellectual property owned personally.

Do you see an area where you may be vulnerable?

Here is what your current or future assets
are up against:

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