Blog — Family Business

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

 

I recently read an article by an attorney who expressed his frustration with clients or potential clients asking him, “What will x or y cost me?” The attorney accurately pointed out that the simple question of what will a legal service cost is not always simple to answer. He compared that question to someone asking a doctor who knows nothing about the person’s medical history or has never examined the person a question like, “Doctor, I’m sick. I don’t know how sick, or what my options are, but how much will you charge to make me better?” 

Any attorney, financial advisor, paralegal, or do-it-yourself computer/online service that offers “one-price-...

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Now that Halloween has come and gone and the end of the year is on the horizon, the time is here to plan your short- and long-term strategies for charitable giving.

Depending on who you listen to, the overall economy is still sluggish; however, many individuals still realized significant stock market gains based on bullish market conditions during the course of 2013. Individuals who have enjoyed success in the market this year have realized gains that will increase their gross income, triggering higher taxes.

At the same time, many charitable organizations have been squeezed and were subject to further setbacks when the federal government shutdown stopped fund-raising...

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In December 2012, Congress made temporary increases on the estate and gift tax credits permanent and adopted further benefits for taxpayers. Those credits resulted in individuals being able to give away during their lifetime, or transfer at death, approximately $5 million in assets to beneficiaries ($10 million for married couples). For most taxpayers, these new limits and other tax provisions like “Portability” (which allows married couples to use the first spouse to die’s $5 million estate tax credit upon the second spouse’s death without the need for a married separate trust) brought “tax-based” or “motivated” estate planning to an end. The new rules have resulted in estate planning...

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One of the most critical issues in any cottage succession plan is “when,” “how” and “to whom” can common owners of the family cottage transfer their ownership interest. Absent specific planning rules to govern these issues, transfers of ownership and decisions of an owner to sell his/her ownership in the family cottage is usually the most significant threat to keeping the cottage in the family.

 Restrictions Usually Require “Intra” Family Transfers

Most often, the primary concern is to prevent any ownership of the family cottage from being transferred either voluntarily or involuntarily to a non-family member. A “Voluntary” transfer simply means sales...

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Many of you have been there. You tell your children, “Please clean up your room” and get the response, “But I just cleaned it!”

This exchange is often the same source of frustration that commonly confronts families who own and use the family cottage. I often hear about “No matter how much I clean the cottage before leaving, my sister/brother will always find the speck of dust that I missed.” Or, my favorite, “I drove eight hours to the family cottage and arrived at midnight, and all I wanted to do was get into bed. When falling between the covers, I encountered dog hair, sand and a dead crayfish my sister’s Springer Spaniel left behind!” 

Everyone has different...

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