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Whats the Trump Effect on Estate Taxes

Probably nothing, unless you plan to die soon! I happened to be with a client with whom I have worked since 1991, on the day President Trump was elected. That led us to examine the political climate over the past 26 years. We reminded ourselves that the 1980’s had been a Republican era (but Democrats had controlled at least one house of Congress). However, in 1992, President Clinton lead a Democratic sweep of the Congress. In 2000, President George W. Bush lead a Republican sweep followed by 2008, with President Obama sweeping the Democrats back into office, followed by the latest sweep by the Republicans under President Trump. Our country has been on a political roller coaster ride for the last three decades!

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Are You Suffering the Christmas/Hanukkah Syndrome?

“But I love all my kids equally and I want to treat them fairly!” exclaimed Ted, the exasperated business owner who was trying to figure out his estate plan. This sentiment is voiced over and over by my dealer clients leading to many discussions on ‘why equal is not fair’! It’s easy to relate to this concern as most of us have experienced what I call ‘the Christmas/Hanukkah Syndrome’. “Let’s see, I have 3 gifts for John, but only 2 for Hannah, but the 2 for Hannah cost more than the 3 for John – how do I make this work?”

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IRS 2704 Proposed Regulations - Significant Impact on Family Business Succession Planning

The Internal Revenue Service has proposed regulation changes that impact tax consequences of stock gifts or sales to family members in a family business environment. As a result, the valuation discounts that have been a cornerstone to family business succession planning may no longer be available for certain transfers. These changes could go into effect as soon as the next 120 days

Due to the extreme change the IRS proposed legislation will have on the family business planning environment, we asked our general counsel, ShuffieldLowman, to provide an Advisory Notice detailing the impact IRS 2704 would have on planning and potential outcomes.

As always, if you should have any questions, please call us at 407-578-4455 or contact your succession planner.


Proposed Regulations Eliminate Discounts 

Bill Lowman, Shuffield Lowman Attorneys and Advisors

The Internal Revenue Service closely scrutinizes transfers between family members of stock, units, and partnership interests (“Stock”) in any corporation, limited liability company, or partnership that is family-owned (a “Family Business”). The Service has announced proposed regulations that eliminates the use of valuation discounts that would otherwise decrease the estate and gift tax value of such Stock when transferred by sale or gift to family members. If any of your clients are considering a gift or sale of Stock in a Family Business, they may want to consider taking action right away to implement the planning.

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Estate Taxation – Why Should I Be Concerned? By Denise Ware

The inflation-adjusted 2016 estate and gift tax exemption limits are set at $5.45 million per individual or $10.9 million per couple. This means that if you are a single business owner, you can leave up to $5.45 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax. Likewise, if you are married you can leave up to $10.9 million to heirs with no federal or estate gift tax penalty.

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Protect your Future by Planning in the Present

Most people believe that succession planning is synonymous with estate planning; wills, trusts, estate tax, life insurance, franchisor/manufacturer approval or gifts to family members. No doubt estate planning is an important component of succession planning. However, for anyone who has struggled with family squabbles, successor development, retaining and recruiting top talent, and unreasonable strategic partners I can assure you there is more to succession planning than estate planning. The best estate plan on the planet is no assurance of the continuation of business success.

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Planning for the Predictable, Probable, and Possible

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was widely ridiculed for his “what we do not know” response during a 2002 Department of Defense news briefing.

In part, Rumsfeld said about threat assessments, ‘As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.'

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Spell It Out So There Is No Doubt, By Denise Ware

As a successful business owner with young children, homes in several states and a net worth in the millions, you need to periodically review your estate planning documents. Most likely you have taken your attorney’s advice and adopted a Pour-over Will and Revocable Trust. You have made important decisions regarding the disposition of assets upon your death.

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A New Frontier: Life After A Sale

Many of you have dedicated a significant part of your working life pursuing the American dream through business ownership. Some of you will pursue succession through family members or key executives and others believe a sale is the best exit strategy option. Selling your business is a viable succession option enabling you to harvest the fruits of your labor and investment as well as to take some chips off of the table. A few years ago, a successful client who is a franchisee in the Midwest chose to sell his business. I had the privilege of working with this couple to help them evaluate their succession alternatives. After considering several options, they ultimately concluded the best decision for them and their family was to sell the business.

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Family Business Decisions - How Emotions Can Triumph Over Reason

Whoa! I was definitely not prepared for the meeting I just had with my client. Going into the meeting, I thought I was well prepared.

However, I came to realize that emotions have a way of clouding what appears to be very straightforward decisions. The meeting was to facilitate the client transferring substantial assets to his youngest son. The transfer was for estate tax planning purposes and to bring the youngest son up to parity with his older brothers based on earlier transfers the father had made to them. Prior to the meeting, we also had multiple discussions about how the transfer would have had no impact whatsoever on the client’s control of the asset or on his income. It was supposed to be a slam dunk, no brainer meeting. However, it turned into a classic case of emotional hijacking.    

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Wills and Trusts - How to Keep Your Family and Business Matters Private During Probate

As a succession planner, I am in constant dialogue with my clients’ attorneys about appropriate estate planning structures. Depending upon the state of residency, the training, and the perspective of the attorney, the dialogue can be interesting, especially when it comes to a few of my preferred structures, simple Pour Over Wills and Revocable Trusts. As we discuss these options, I commonly hear, “We can accomplish the same objectives with a Testamentary Trust Will.”, which is a Will containing a trust that is funded after the completion of probate. However, my classic response is, "Our clients who own a family business, and to varying degrees are subject to greater publicity and scrutiny, would prefer to remain private, and depending upon the state, avoid the hassles of probate, which cannot be guaranteed with a Testamentary Trust."

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US Debt Downgraded: What do I do now? By Dan Thill

On Friday, August 5, the United States’ debt was downgraded from the highest rating of AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s (S&P). The downgrade was announced after the market closed on Friday. Stocks had already been under pressure and as a result of the downgrade and investors being overwhelmed by the numerous opinions of talking heads over the weekend, the following Monday experienced investors exiting the market en masse. Subsequently, equity markets came under heavy pressure and unease mounted about the strength of our economy.

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