Tax & Wealth Advisor Blog

The IRS may very soon have another arrow in its quiver to attack valuation discounts on transfers of equity interests to family members. For those clients who have a plan that utilizes discounted giving, it is critical to have these plans examined by an estate planning expert and perhaps fully executed as soon as possible. […]

People describe an estate plan in a number of ways. Some people use very technical jargon, focusing on the specific tools: wills, trusts, powers. Others describe what the plan does—who gets what property and when. But in my opinion, planners need to help clients understand the “why”; that is, why they should invest in an […]

On Monday, May 18, 2015, in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne, the United States Supreme Court declared Maryland’s income tax scheme unconstitutional. The Supreme Court justices voted 5 to 4 to affirm a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that Maryland’s income tax scheme results in improper double taxation on income earned in […]

The statistics are surprising. Only 3 in 10 American adults have a Will, and a much lower percentage have the right estate plan for their situation. Many reasons have been offered for this phenomenon, including fear of death and fear of attorneys. But when we consider what a good estate plan really is–a strategy to […]

I hate the term procrastination.  Why?  It has a negative connotation.  I think instead, to be fair, when evaluating behavior we should use the term “waiting,”  and then determine what waiting gets you.  If waiting gains the waiter an advantage, it is not procrastination, it is savvy.  On the other hand, if waiting has a […]

Keen observers of human behavior know a couple of things to be true. 1. In the absence of information, people assume the worst 2. People flee uncertainty My clients are smart, successful people that have built enviable businesses. Intuitively, they know these “truths.” But to their detriment, they forget them. Instead, if they actually do […]

There is a great quote from Oliver Wendall Holmes on complexity: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity”. Of course, there is the other great quote about complexity with its author of unknown origin: […]

Most states, including Wisconsin, have a statute that automatically revokes as beneficiary a divorced spouse once the divorce is final.  See, e.g., Wis. Stat. § 854.15.  This means that, unless your will, trust, IRA, 401(k), life insurance, etc., provides otherwise, once a divorce decree is final, an individual’s ex-spouse and the ex-spouse’s relatives receive nothing […]

The fourth sin is when the business owner makes the assumption that because the estate planning documents are complete, the succession plan is complete.  An estate plan is a strategy for a person to take care of the people he or she cares about.  The strategy incorporates two things: getting the right property to the […]

The third sin committed in succession planning is when the business owner fails to treat the business like a business. This sin is a common one for closely-held businesses. Remember that the goal of succession planning is to maximize the value of the business to take care of the people that Mom and Dad care […]