Blog — Family Business

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

As life circumstances change (birth, marriage, divorce, death), it may become necessary to make changes to your estate planning documents. If estate planning documents are not kept up-to-date, they can become useless. The best way to make changes to estate planning documents is to either restate an estate plan in its entirety or make specific changes to documents like a will through a codicil or a trust through an amendment to the trust.

While it may be tempting to just take out a pen and make changes to documents by hand, this is not recommended. Changes will not be effective unless you use the same formalities as you did when drafting the original estate planning documents, such...

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

As you plan this summer’s family vacation or trip, beware of the fact that most publically owned land, parks, attractions and recreation facilities are exempt from typical premises liability laws, providing a basis for injured persons to pursue damage claims against negligent property owners. This concept is commonly known as “governmental immunity.” Now I am not suggesting that you pass on taking in the spectacular sights and experiences at Yellowstone National Park or the Grand Canyon based on the fact that, in the unlikely event that you are injured there, you might not be able to possibly pursue a claim for damages. We really can’t live our lives that way. However, common sense...

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One of the most significant tax advantages to owning a home comes at the back end of ownership, when you decide to sell it for a profit. A homeowner can exclude up to $250,000 of such profit from their federal capital gains tax. For married couples filing a joint tax return, the exclusion jumps to $500,000. This big tax break, however, does come with some basic requirements. It applies to the sale of only a “principal residence,” not a vacation home or investment property. With some limited exceptions for poor health, job changes and unforeseen circumstances, the taxpayer must have owned and used the home as a primary residence for at least two of the five years (the two years need to be...

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

In last week's blog, I introduced the concept of including digital assets in your estate plan. Today's blog is a follow-up providing additional substantive information regarding estate planning issues and planning for digital assets.

Why Think About Digital Assets?

Everyone should be concerned about protecting and planning for their "digital assets," because soon almost all forms of information will be communicated, stored and processed digitally. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software delivered as online services, from movies to healthcare to agricultural to national defense. Marc Andreessen, inventor of the web browser and...

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Most all of us have “digital assets” of one type or another. A digital asset is a computing device (computer, smartphone or tablet); data storage device or medium, or all electronically stored information (data) like user accounts; or domain names and perhaps even intellectual property rights for someone engaged in a digital-type business, such as designing websites, applications or similar digital resources.

These digital assets cannot be forgotten when planning for one’s disability or death. Failure to include digital assets in your estate planning could lead to an expensive and time-consuming process for anyone trying to recover your digital assets or access data stored by you...

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