5 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR ESTATE THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY
Independence Day is here. What will you do to make the most of your freedom and American estate this year?
While we are warming up the BBQ grills, breaking out the flags, and making sure we’ll have a great view for the fireworks on the 4th of July, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think on what this holiday is really about, and how we can build more independence into our lives, and future estates.
Here are five things we can do this holiday week as we enjoy our freedom and the great place we get to live in…
1. Invest in Property
The great American dream isn’t just about buying and mortgaging a grand luxury home. It’s about the freedom to own our own estates, and invest in real estate. Beyond our residences that includes income producing property which can provide ongoing passive income for retirement, and even for the next generation. It’s a freedom we should definitely be flexing more often.
2. Reduce Taxes
The original battle for independence was a lot about protesting high taxes. Obviously, we are now being hit with a myriad of additional taxes, and 10 to 20 times more in taxes out of our incomes than back in the 1700s. Fortunately, we can find ways to generate income and invest for gain, while deferring or even eliminating some of these taxes. 1031 exchanges and self-directed retirement account investing are great ways to achieve this.
3. Update Your Will
For many, the freedom to earn, invest, and prosper is not just about personal gain. It is also about building an estate which can last for generations. Of course, that is only going to be successful, if there is a solid succession plan in place, with the right legal framework, well in advance. It might be worth taking another look at your will this weekend and seeing where you may need to make some updates.
4. Talk to an Expert about Trusts
Trusts can take on some of the functions of wills, while providing some potential tax benefits as well. They can also go further in helping to prepare for illness and injury, and protecting an estate during these times. If you don’t have one, or haven’t talked to a pro recently to get up to date on the latest options, make that a priority.
5. Make Memories
Some of the greatest wealth we can accumulate and give is not things at all. It’s not even family heirlooms. It is memories. So, have fun with your 4th of July celebrations this year. Make the time to make great memories, and document them too.
7 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN HIRING AN ESTATE ATTORNEY
What should you be looking for when hiring an attorney for your estate?
Securing a great attorney to craft wills and trusts, and to help with your estate planning is very important and necessary. However, who you choose can make a significant difference in how well your intentions and interests are protected and executed on. So, what do you look for?
Law is a lucrative industry, so it’s no wonder all types of people want to be in it. Always first make sure your short-list of lawyers is legally able to provide the services they are promoting. The American Bar Association and New York State Bar Association are two resources for helping with that.
Look for a specialist in what you need help with. There are all types of attorneys. Criminal defense attorneys, injury law attorneys, real estate attorneys, tax lawyers, corporate law firms, and more. There are some which try to cover broad menus of services to get the most clients. Others specialize in certain areas like family law, asset protection, etc. Get an expert.
3. Trusted & Proficient
It’s so easy to throw up a website and get a business phone number or fancy mailing address these days. So, look for referrals and online reviews, or complaints when evaluating your options.
Some law firms are clearly much stronger than others. You want one which will be around to keep helping your family when you need it most. While some lawyers cost more than others, you might be surprised at what just dropping their name, or a letter head with their name on it can do compared to cheap options. Get the best legal assistance you can afford.
You want options. Like accountants on taxes and various corporate entity selections, bankers on mortgages, and even doctors on medical treatment; lawyers can have their favorite strategies and tools too. But, you should be presented all your options.
6. Shared Values
Some clients may only care about securing the most effective legal representation. That’s understandable. However, you’ll find everything flows better if you find an attorney who shares your values as well.
7. Who You Will Actually Deal With
One of the frustrating quirks of today’s legal industry is that you often don’t end up working with the face on the billboard. Too often clients are signed up and shuffled over to a brand new recruit. You want to know exactly who will be helping you and working on your cases.
If you are looking for an attorney in NYC check this page for some of those we recommend.
ESSENTIAL MOVES FOR PROTECTING YOUR ESTATE
Essential Moves for Protecting Your Estate
Building up a business, portfolio, and estate to pass on is only part of the deal. Ask any experienced investor or executive and they’ll tell you that it is far easier to make a million, than to keep a million. What can and should you and your family be doing to preserve your wealth, assets, and gains?
Attorneys often get a bad rap, but you don’t want to be caught without a good one in your corner. Whether it is battling over a real estate deal, getting a partner to perform, of fending off a malicious lawsuit, you want the best defense you can afford. Rather than waiting until there is an issue to go hunt for help, it pays to have a strong law firm on retainer in advance. In America’s highly litigious environment it is not a matter of if you’ll need one, but when. Often just having a well-respected and feared attorney on call can deflect and deter many attempts to come after a share of your finances.
Legal Entities & Paperwork
While it may sound ironic; a piece of paper is often your best protection for your physical assets, real estate investments, and finances. Aside from the will, there are LLCs, trusts, and other entities and legal structures which can provide privacy and a shelter. Get them, use them well, and make sure you make no accounting blunders which could allow predatory law firms to ‘pierce the corporate veil’.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest threats that business owners, real estate investors, NYC landlords and wealthy families is frivolous and opportunistic lawsuits. It’s the American way. Thousands and thousands of suits are filed just to take advantage of others. We can’t change that mindset overnight. We can regularly use out right to vote and change the law. We can change the loop holes, make sure it isn’t too easy to victimize the innocent, and make it less attractive for law firms to hop from one trend to the next and seduce the masses into being so fast to sue. Use your right to vote at every level to protect yourself and your heirs.
Watch Your Taxes
If you aren’t careful taxes will eat it all up. There are estate taxes, capital gains taxes, taxes on investment income, property taxes, self-employment taxes, sales taxes, and more. Voting smart can help here too. So, can good accounting and selecting a great CPA who won’t leave you exposed to audits or the wrong type of attention from the IRS. Don’t forget to leverage legal tax shelters either. This includes vehicles such as self-directed retirement accounts and 1031 exchanges.