When Should I Begin My Business Succession Plan?

Business Partners shaking hands in front of papers after business succession

An appropriate succession plan can help ensure the smooth transition of your business to the next generation or new ownership and can also help protect the value of your business. Thus, it’s never too soon to start thinking about how you want to transition your business, but the exact timing will depend on your individual circumstances. The most important factors to consider are your personal and financial goals.

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Starting (and Finishing) Tough Conversations this Holiday Season

family talking during holiday party

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it can also be a time of difficult conversations. This year, don’t shy away from talking about important topics such as family law, estate planning, wills and testaments, and other legal matters that can have a lasting impact on your loved ones. Instead, embrace the opportunity to start (and finish) these conversations now and make sure that you and your family are on the same page when it comes to managing your legal affairs. In this blog post, we will provide you with tips and advice on how to tackle these tough conversations this holiday season.

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What Are Partition Actions in Real Estate?

partition action

A partition action is a process in which common interests in a property, such as co-owners who own co-tenancy interests, are separated and ended. In other words, if you co-own a property with a business partner or family member, this is a way to end that co-ownership. The parties will end up with individual rights of exclusive possession of a portion of the property. The parties can partition a property via a voluntary agreement or through litigation. A voluntary action is based on a contractual agreement that must meet the required elements of law, according to state law and the statute of frauds. When the court partitions a property, it determines the respective interests in the property of each party. Further, it determines whether the property should be physically divided or sold, and proceeds divided.

The law authorizes the court to appoint a referee specifically for the purpose of making that determination. To perform his duties, the referee may contract with “surveyors, engineers, appraisers, attorneys, real estate brokers, auctioneers, and others.” (California Civil Procedure Code § 873.110). This helps to ensure a fair division of the property and prevents arbitrary results.

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What Makes a See-Through Trust?

As if planning for retirement wasn’t sufficiently stressful, there are so many inscrutable types of trusts and many more estate planning instruments that are obscure. The good news is that these tools provide significant value to investors – when used appropriately. It is essential to know the legal and technical details to ensure the full benefits of your instruments are achieved, and tax penalties or other losses are avoided. When trusts are properly written and executed, the founder and beneficiaries’ lives are enriched. Fruits of the labors of the trust’s creators are distributed to the intended individuals or institutions for good reasons.

A trust, as we have discussed in previous blog posts, is an essential estate planning tool for many people. In one post, we discussed the differences between wills and trusts. We also discussed living trusts and how they might bypass a lengthy, costly probate process. They are almost de rigueur in today’s estate planning world. The question to answer now is about a particular type of trust, the See-Through Trust.

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What is Estate Planning in Simple Terms?

The legacy you leave after death can have a lasting impact on the ones you knew and loved. Often, the value that you have added to the planet with your life is extended by what your estate plan does years after you have moved on. Anyone concerned today about the future of their estate is rightly concerned. The financial climate now is quite unusual, and for many people foreboding. Interest rates are high and the stock market is down. Unemployment is not bad, but possibly driving inflation. In other words, there are many sources of concern, but the economy is still holding on.

To make sure that you’re doing what you need to do to achieve your future financial goals, you should have an estate plan in place. An estate planner can help you create one. After a plan is created, it will be executed and monitored to make sure it is working to meet your goals. It involves many decisions, that are best made in advance, with experts. For example, the situations when you want to avoid probate (spoiler alert: almost always!) and how to avoid it are important to identify and manage.

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Can a Trustee Be Held Personally Liable?

image of trustee hands signing a legal document for a trust

The United States is entering a new demographic era and as a result, a new era of estate planning. With the dramatic increase of the population entering their golden years, more and more households are using trusts and other estate planning tools. It is now a commonly used tool both in upper and middle-class families. As a result, more and more of the general population are being asked to serve as trustees. Emphasis on serve, because acting as a trustee really is service. It requires attention to detail and the ability to work with people, and the conflict which that sometimes entails.

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Can You Sue a Trustee for Negligence?

In many situations where family, friends, or even less acquainted people are asked to make key decisions for others, there is often discord and even out-and-out hostilities. It may be because of the intention, communication, outcome, or many other parts of a chain of events. When the stakes are high, the conflicts can be greater and more heated, especially when significant amounts of money or property are involved.

This is exactly the situation when trusts are in place.

A person, usually known as the grantor, sets aside a large pool of resources. Then, rules are written on how to distribute and dispose of those resources. This is the trust document. The person who enforces the parameters of the trust is called the trustee. Their goal is to execute the trust as the grantor wished and organized. Problems often arise if the trust is not clearly written or facts change, making the initial execution nearly impossible. In the worst case, problems occur because a trustee intentionally breaches a duty to the trust.

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Difference Between Probate, Trust, and Estate Lawyers

gavel laying on book in library

We are lucky to live in a great part of the United States, the country that is still the most stable and prosperous in the world. We are fortunate to have a great entrepreneurial spirit: success often comes easy to those who focus and work hard. We applaud that success and have focused on providing professional services to support that hard work and material success by protecting your assets and helping you to see that it is distributed according to your wishes. That will at minimum take the work of estate lawyers, often trust and probate lawyers as well. Life is unpredictable, full of twists and turns, and things happen.

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