topical-news

Common Mistakes When Naming Beneficiaries

As part of a recent series, I wrote an article about various issues involved with making sure beneficiary designations on such matters as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) accounts, life insurance policies and other similar retirement benefit accounts.

Is Your Business Vulnerable to a Civil Rights Violation Complaint?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits the creation of a hostile work environment based on the prohibited forms of discrimination, such as discrimination based on sex or race. To hold an employer liable for the harassment, the plaintiff must show that the work environment was so pervaded by discrimination that the terms of employment were altered. Isolated or trivial occurrences are not likely to be sufficient.

Are You A Great Leader? How Effective Are You as a Business Owner, Executive, Manager, Employee Or Even a Parent in Leading Those Closest to You?

It is an honor to introduce my friend and colleague Dr. Tim Irwin’s latest book, Impact: Great Leadership Changes Everything.

Dr. Irwin and I have worked together on behalf of common clients and collaborated on many projects together. Tim is one of the smartest people I know and has developed keen insights into the subject of leadership through his 25 years of experience and work with leaders of global companies.

Firing A Family Member Employee - Can You Fire A Family Member Employee and Still Keep the Family Together?

One of the biggest challenges in managing a family-owned business is firing an underperforming family member. Ideally, all of the family members working in the business recognize and agree to the need for firing a family member. I have found in these situations that it is difficult to engage in a process that can be accomplished in a way that relationships are maintained and where everyone can still attend family functions in the future with no underlying ill will or bitterness remaining between family members.

The Winter of 2014 – Slip Sliding Away ... How Accumulations of Ice and Snow Affect Property Owners' Liabilities to Third Parties

Under most states’ premises liability laws, a landowner owes duty to use reasonable care to protect individuals from unreasonable risks of harm posed by dangerous conditions on the owner’s land. This duty is breached when the owner knows or should know of a dangerous condition on the premises of which the third party is unaware and failed to fix the defect, guard against the defect or warn the third party of the defect.

The “Status” of a Third-Party Visitor to the Premises Dictates the Landowner’s Duty

Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Individuals and Businesses

Tax Planning is critical at the end of the year. Here are some ideas to contemplate, along with the tried and true year-end tax savings techniques.

Individual Tax Strategies:

1) Game – The Standard Deduction

Put Your Plan in Order. Part 5: Trust Planning - Should You Appoint an Independent Trustee?

Like most attorneys, I was taught Estate Planning either by direct tutoring from my partners or by the traditions of those attorneys teaching seminars and speaking in related educational-type programs. The answer to the question of who should serve as a successor trustee in a trust for the individuals forming the trust (trust makers) is almost always an afterthought – it defaults to the kids, of course.

Put Your Plan in Order. Part 4: Fund Your Living Trust. Strategies for Individuals with Trusts.

The Importance of “Trust Funding

One of the significant benefits of utilizing a living trust as part of one’s estate plan is to avoid the necessity of a surviving spouse or heirs from having to probate your assets with a probate court after your death. However, this benefit is not achieved by simply drafting and signing a living trust. The title to assets actually has to be transferred from an individual and/or their spouse to the trust during their lifetime in order to achieve the goal of avoiding probate.

Put Your Plan in Order. Part 2: Updated Planning for Clients with Married Separate Trusts

Sometimes I’m asked if I’m concerned that changes to federal estate tax law will result in there being less work for me to do in my practice. I reply that I’m not concerned and that the changes to the federal estate tax law just mean that I’ll be dismantling all the planning during the second half of my career that I spent the first half of my career creating for clients.