LegalJourney Blog

Monday, August 11, 2014

Family Business: Preserving Your Legacy for Generations to Come

Your family-owned business is not just one of your most significant assets, it is also your legacy. Both must be protected by implementing a transition plan to arrange for transfer to your children or other loved ones upon your retirement or death.


More than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive the transition to the next generation. Ensuring your family does not fall victim to the same fate requires a unique combination of proper estate and tax planning, business acumen and common-sense communication with those closest to you. Below are some steps you can take today to make sure your family business continues from generation to generation.

  • Meet with an estate planning attorney to develop a comprehensive plan that includes a will and/or living trust. Your estate plan should account for issues related to both the transfer of your assets, including the family business and estate taxes.
  • Communicate with all family members about their wishes concerning the business. Enlist their involvement in establishing a business succession plan to transfer ownership and control to the younger generation. Include in-laws or other non-blood relatives in these discussions. They offer a fresh perspective and may have talents and skills that will help the company.
  • Make sure your succession plan includes:  preserving and enhancing “institutional memory”, who will own the company, advisors who can aid the transition team and ensure continuity, who will oversee day-to-day operations, provisions for heirs who are not directly involved in the business, tax saving strategies, education and training of family members who will take over the company and key employees.
  • Discuss your estate plan and business succession plan with your family members and key employees. Make sure everyone shares the same basic understanding.
  • Plan for liquidity. Establish measures to ensure the business has enough cash flow to pay taxes or buy out a deceased owner’s share of the company. Estate taxes are based on the full value of your estate. If your estate is asset-rich and cash-poor, your heirs may be forced to liquidate assets in order to cover the taxes, thus removing your “family” from the business.
  • Implement a family employment plan to establish policies and procedures regarding when and how family members will be hired, who will supervise them, and how compensation will be determined.
  • Have a buy-sell agreement in place to govern the future sale or transfer of shares of stock held by employees or family members.
  • Add independent professionals to your board of directors.

You’ve worked very hard over your lifetime to build your family-owned enterprise. However, you should resist the temptation to retain total control of your business well into your golden years. There comes a time to retire and focus your priorities on ensuring a smooth transition that preserves your legacy – and your investment – for generations to come.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Protecting the Rights of Parents with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990, recognized the civil rights of a large class of citizens with physical and mental disabilities by making it illegal to discriminate against them in employment, transportation or public services and accommodations. Since its enactment, much progress has been made, enabling people with disabilities to obtain an education, pursue a career, live independent lives and fulfill their dreams. 

Despite this progress, people with disabilities who have children are more likely to have their parental rights terminated or lose custody after a divorce. 

Discrimination in the Courts

These discriminatory actions are often justified on the grounds that the courts are protecting the best interests of the child, but there is little research to support the assumption that someone who is disabled is incapable of being a good parent. In fact, according to advocacy groups there are likely more than 4 million parents with physical disabilities currently raising children. 

Most family courts work diligently to provide services and support to ensure that children maintain contact with their parents whenever possible. This is not always the case when disability is involved. There have been cases where disabled parents have not been allowed to bring their newborns home and the state subsequently filed to have their parental rights revoked, even in the absence of evidence of abuse or maltreatment. The presumption is that the disability endangers the welfare of the child. Currently, two thirds of the states have laws permitting the removal of children based on the disabled status of the parent.

Disadvantage in Custody Cases

Parents with disabilities are also at a disadvantage in custody cases, particularly if the ex-spouse does not have a disability. Competent parents with special disabilities require knowledgeable advocates who can demonstrate that they are able to effectively carry out their parenting duties in their own adaptive ways.

Fighting Discriminatory Practices

Advocates for the legal rights of parents with disabilities are waiting for a landmark trial that halts the discrimination suffered by parents with disabilities and protects their rights to have and raise children. While everyone agrees that children should not be exposed to a hazardous environment, decisions to remove children from homes where a parent is deaf or has a low IQ are often made by individuals who fail to grasp the remarkable capabilities of such parents despite their significant handicaps. More education on disability issues is needed at all levels of the child welfare and family court systems. At the same time, parents with disabilities must have better access to fair legal representation and support services. 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Should I Transfer My Home to My Children?

Most people are aware that probate should be avoided if at all possible. It is an expensive, time-consuming process that exposes your family’s private matters to public scrutiny via the judicial system. It sounds simple enough to just gift your property to your children while you are still alive, so it is not subject to probate upon your death, or to preserve the asset in the event of significant end-of-life medical expenses.

This strategy may offer some potential benefits, but those benefits are far outweighed by the risks. And with other probate-avoidance tools available, such as living trusts, it makes sense to view the risks and benefits of transferring title to your property through a very critical lens.

Potential Advantages:

  • Property titled in the names of your heirs, or with your heirs as joint tenants, is not subject to probate upon your death.
  • If you do not need nursing home care for the first 60 months after the transfer, but later do need such care, the property in question will not be considered for Medicaid eligibility purposes.
  • If you are named on the property’s title at the time of your death, creditors cannot make a claim against the property to satisfy the debt.
  • Your heirs may agree to pay a portion, or all, of the property’s expenses, including taxes, insurance and maintenance.


Potential Disadvantages:

  • It may jeopardize your ability to obtain nursing home care. If you need such care within 60 months of transferring the property, you can be penalized for the gift and may not be eligible for Medicaid for a period of months or years, or will have to find another source to cover the expenses.
  • You lose sole control over your property. Once you are no longer the legal owner, you must get approval from your children in order to sell or refinance the property.
  • If your child files for bankruptcy, or gets divorced, your child’s creditors or former spouse can obtain a legal ownership interest in the property.
  • If you outlive your child, the property may be transferred to your child’s heirs.
  • Potential negative tax consequences: If property is transferred to your child and is later sold, capital gains tax may be due, as your child will not be able to take advantage of the IRS’s primary residence exclusion. You may also lose property tax exemptions. Finally, when the child ultimately sells the property, he or she may pay a higher capital gains tax than if the property was inherited, since inherited property enjoys a stepped-up tax basis as of the date of death.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. Transferring ownership of your property to your children while you are still alive may be appropriate for your situation. However, for most this strategy is not recommended due to the significant risks. If your goal is to avoid probate, maximize tax benefits and provide for the seamless transfer of your property upon your death, a living trust is likely a far better option.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Alzheimer's Horrors

The Tampa Tribune has published an editorial article entitled “Editorial: Confronting Alzheimer's Horrors” (June 26, 2014). Provided below is a summary of the article from TBO.com.

Alzheimer’s Horrors

Gov. Rick Scott and state lawmakers launched an Alzheimer’s research program with $3 million available for research this year, however this represents just a fraction of what is needed to combat a disease that robs individuals of their memory and one that creates enormous hardships and expenses for family members.

Statistics show that one in 40 Floridians suffers from Alzheimer’s, the state currently holds 10% of the U.S total of 5.4 million individuals suffering from this disease. The number of Alzheimer cases in Florida is expected to grow 40% by the year 2025.

The cost in the state of Florida for dementia is estimated to be more than $15 billion. A study last year found that the cost range for dementia was from $157 billion to $215 billion a year, which is more than the costs of cancer or heart disease.

David Morgan, CEO of USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Tampa says “Alzheimer’s research is an investment that will save us from the growing astronomical costs of this disease on Florida’s families and the state’s economy.”

To read the full article go to "Editorial: Confronting Alzheimer's Horrors" from The Tampa Tribune.  


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate

Danielle and Andy Mayoras (Forbes.com) have published an article entitled Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate” (Feb 10, 2014). Provided below is a summary of the article from Forbes.com:

Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate

Recently, Paul Walker's father filed to open the estate, which included Paul Walker's Last Will and Testament.

The probate filing revealed that Paul Walker’s assets totaled about 25 million dollars. The filing also showed that Walker had a revocable living trust in which he named his daughter the sole beneficiary of that trust. Unlike wills that are public documents, Trusts are private documents, thus no one but the designated ones according to the Trust will know what the Trust language states.

Lesson #1: Paul Walker placed His Trust In A Trust.

Depending on your circumstances, having a trust is one of the best Estate Planning tools for a lot of people, having a will is only a portion of the planning. Paul Walker’s will transferred all of his assets into a trust he created. This allows the probate process to be much quicker and simpler.

Lesson #2: Trusts Must Be Funded During Life.

When you fund your trust during your lifetime all the assets you put into your Trust will automatically be private once you pass away, meaning that nothing should be left to pass through the will. The reason we do know that Walker had a will, trust, and 25 million in assets is because he didn't fully fund his trust. 

Lesson #3: No One Should Wait Until They Are Old To Do Estate Planning.

Paul Walker’s will was signed in August of 2001, when he was only 28 years old. Far too many adults in this country wait until “someday” to prepare even a basic will.  No one should ever procrastinate with estate planning!  Walker certainly didn’t plan to die in a car accident.

To continue reading the Five lessons head over to read the full article by clicking the link: "Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate" By Danielle and Andy Mayoras (Forbes.com).  


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Paying for Your Grandchildren’s Education

The bond between a grandparent and grandchild is a very special one based on respect, trust and unconditional love. When preparing one’s estate plan, it’s not at all uncommon to find grandparents who want to leave much or all of their fortune to their grandchildren. With college tuition costs on the rise, many seniors are looking to ways to help their grandchildren with these costs long before they pass away. Fortunately, there are ways to “gift” an education with minimal consequences for your estate and your loved ones.

The options for your financial support of your heirs’ education may vary depending upon the age of the grandchild and how close they are to actually entering college. If your grandchild is still quite young, one of the best methods to save for college may be to make a gift into a 529 college savings plan. This type of plan was approved by the IRS in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. It functions much like an IRA in that the appreciation of the investments grows tax deferred within the 529 account. In fact, it is likely to be "tax free" if the money is eventually used to pay for the college expenses. Another possible bonus is that you may get a tax deduction or tax credit on your state income tax return for making such an investment. You should consult your own tax advisor and your state's rules and restrictions.

If your granddaughter or grandson is already in college, the best way to cover their expenses would be to make a payment directly to the college or university that your grandchild attends. Such a "gift" would not be subject to the annual gift tax exemption limits of $14,000 which would otherwise apply if you gave the money directly to the grandchild. Thus, as long as the gift is for education expenses such as tuition, and if the payment is made directly to the college or university, the annual gift tax limits will not apply.

As with all financial gifts, it’s important to consult with your estate planning attorney who can help you look at the big picture and identify strategies which will best serve your loved ones now and well into the future.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

When will I receive my inheritance?

If you’ve been named a beneficiary in a loved one’s estate plan, you’ve likely wondered how long it will take to receive your share of the inheritance after his or her passing.  Unfortunately, there’s no hard or and fast rule that allows an estate planning attorney to answer this question. The length of time it takes to distribute assets in an estate can vary widely depending upon the particular situation.

Some of the factors that will be involved in determining how long it takes to fully administer an estate include whether the estate must be probated with the court, whether assets are difficult to value, whether the decedent had an ownership interest in real estate located in a state other than the state they resided in, whether your state has a state estate (or inheritance) tax, whether the estate must file a federal estate tax return, whether there are a number of creditors that must be dealt with, and of course, whether there are any disputes about the will or trust and if there may be disagreements among the beneficiaries about how things are being handled by the executor or trustee.

Before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, the executor and trustee must also make certain to identify any creditors because they have an obligation to pay any legally enforceable debts of the decedent with those assets. If there must be a court filed probate action there may be certain waiting periods, or creditor periods, prescribed by state law that may delay things as well and which are out of the control of the executor of the estate.

In some cases, the executor or trustee may make a partial distribution to the beneficiaries during the pending administration but still hold back sufficient assets to cover any income or estate taxes and other administrative fees. That way the beneficiaries can get some benefit but the executor is assured there are assets still in his or her control to pay those final taxes and expenses. Then, once those are fully paid, a final distribution can be made. It is not unusual for the entire process to take 9 months to 18 months (sometime more) to fully complete.

If you’ve been named a beneficiary and are dealing with a trustee or executor who is not properly handling the estate and you have yet to receive your inheritance, you should contact a qualified estate planning attorney for knowledgeable legal counsel.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

National Military Appreciation Month - Week 4 Offer

Week 4: Free Power of Attorney and Declaration of Preneed Guardian1

The first 4 active duty and/or reserved military members who contact the LegalJourney Law Firm using the "Contact the Firm" option on www.legaljourney.com will receive a free Florida Power of Attorney and a free Florida Declaration of Preneed Guardian.

The LegalJourney Law Firm’s Week 4 offer includes: an interview with an attorney, a customized power of attorney, a customized declaration of preneed guardian and notarization2 of your documents.

To find out additional details, please contact the LegalJourney Law Firm PLLC

1This offer is available until close of business May 30, 2013.

2Notarization is only available to residents of the Tampa Bay Area


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

National Military Appreciation Month - Week 3 Offer

Week 3: Free Online Will Based Estate Plan Package1

The LegalJourney Law Firm is providing a free “Online Will Based Estate Plan Package” for the first 2 active duty and/or reserved military members who sign up for a new client account via the online legal services link at www.legaljourney.com. 

To set up a free online account:

1.     Go to www.legaljourney.com;

2.     Select “Click Here For Online Legal Services”;

3.     Select “Register for a New Online Legal Services Account today!"

Create a user account and you will be notified within 24 hours if you will be a recipient of todays offer.

The LegalJourney Law Firm’s Online Will based Estate Plan Package includes: a Will, a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPPA Authorization and Durable Power of Attorney.

To find out additional details, please contact the LegalJourney Law Firm PLLC

1This offer is available until close of business May 23, 2014.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother's Day Offer Day 5

Day 5: Free Online Power of Attorney1

The LegalJourney Law Firm will provide a free “Online Power of Attorney” for the first 4 mother's who sign up for a new online client account via the online legal services link on www.legaljourney.com.

To set up a free online account:

1.     Go to www.legaljourney.com;

2.     Select “Click Here For Online Legal Services”;

3.     Select “Register for a New Online Legal Services Account today!"

Create a user account and you will be notified within 24 hours if you will be a recipient of todays offer.

Every mother who connects with the LegalJourney Law Firm PLLC via the LegalJourney BlogLinkedInTwitterand/or Facebook during the month of May will receive 10% off any online legal service.

Florida Statute Section 709.2101 through 709.2402 (effective date October 1, 2011): Although still effective, everyone with a Power of Attorney (POA) created prior to October 1, 2011 should discuss his or her options with a knowledgeable estate-planning attorney. Issues have arisen in the past with financial institutions not accepting POAs or requiring their specific form to be signed. However, for POAs created under the new Statute, per section 709.2120, F.S., a third person is required to accept or reject a POA within a reasonable time and is not allowed to require an additional or a different POA for authority granted in the present POA. If the third person rejects a POA under the new Statute, they could be held liable for damages and attorney fees.

1This offer is available until close of business May 16, 2014.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mother's Day Offer Day 4

Day 4: Free Online Will Based Estate Plan Package1

The LegalJourney Law Firm is providing a free “Online Will Based Estate Plan Package” for the first 2 mother's who sign up for a new client account via the online legal services link at www.legaljourney.com. 

To set up a free online account:

1.     Go to www.legaljourney.com;

2.     Select “Click Here For Online Legal Services”;

3.     Select “Register for a New Online Legal Services Account today!"

Create a user account and you will be notified within 24 hours if you will be a recipient of todays offer.

The LegalJourney Law Firm’s Online Will based Estate Plan Package includes: a Will, a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPPA Authorization and Durable Power of Attorney.

To find out additional details, please contact the LegalJourney Law Firm PLLC

1This offer is available until close of business May 15, 2014.


Archived Posts

2017
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2014
December
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2013
December
November
October
August
July
May
April
March
February
January
2012
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
March
January
2011


Attorney Karnardo Garnett represents clients with their Estate Planning, Elder Law and Asset Protection needs throughout the Tampa Bay Area, serving all of the bay area, including but not limited to Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gibsonton, Riverview, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County, FL



© 2021 LegalJourney Law Firm PLLC | Disclaimer
2002 W. Cleveland St, Tampa , FL 33606
| Phone: 813.344.5769 | 888.954.5769

Estate Planning | Estate Planning - Spanish | Elder Law/Medicaid Planning | Elder Law/Medicaid Planning - Spanish | Planning for Children | Planning for Children - Spanish | Probate / Estate Administration | Probate / Estate Administration - Spanish | Estate Litigation | Estate Litigation - Spanish | Guardianships | Special Needs Planning | Estate Tax Planning | Asset Protection

Attorney Website Design by
Amicus Creative


© LegalJourney Law Firm | Disclaimer | Attorney Website Design by Zola
2002 W. Cleveland St, Tampa, FL 33606 | Phone: 813.344.5769