Tax & Wealth Advisor Blog

As I have stated before, when people find out what I do, the most common “cocktail party” question I get is “do I need a will?” Over time, my answer to that question has evolved. I used to respond by asking a couple of questions: Do you have minor children? Who do you want to […]

My last blog post focused on how to build the plan to get from where you are to where you want to go. The plan, to bridge the gap to our most awesome future, requires us to figure out what we need to stop, start, and continue doing to get from where we are to […]

The last two posts to this blog have focused on how to build a great plan.  First, you need to create a compelling vision; one that describes, in detail, where you are going and why. Then, you need to define where you currently are with empathetic honesty.  The third step, and the focus of this […]

My last blog post talked about the critical role vision plays in building an effective plan.  Today’s post focuses on the other end of the planning spectrum: if vision is where the plan is going, the plan must start with an objective, intelligent analysis of where we are.  This part of the planning process is […]

Building any successful plan, whether a strategic plan, estate plan, or succession plan, requires capturing a specific vision. The question is, “what exactly is vision?” It is not some weird, new age concept that finds its way into the movie Office Space. While the term “goal” is a good analogue, “goal” is not quite right—because […]

For those of you who have read this blog, you know that the first of the seven deadly sins of succession planning is not putting leadership first. You cannot have a successful succession planning without answering a critical, threshold question: “if not you, then who?” Sometimes that answer is simple, oftentimes it is not. Frequently the […]

The United States Tax Court is reminding some taxpayers to run their family like a business. In the Estate of Barbara M. Purdue decision, the court affirmed the use of discounts in an estate tax dispute involving a family partnership, which was critical to minimizing the estate’s tax liability. Most importantly, the court affirmed the […]

Loyal readers of this blog (thank you!) know that my position on succession planning is that success depends primarily on leadership. A business is successful based on the quality of its decisions, which means its success depends on the ability of the decision-makers. In my opinion, too much succession planning time, energy, and client money […]

Part one of this blog post focused on why trusts protect people from themselves and others. But, will our client’s children be as happy being a beneficiary of a trust as they would be if they owned property? The critical questions that need to be answered are what does it mean to own property and […]

As a management tool, trusts accomplish two goals. One, they protect people from their own financial immaturity. For example, about a month ago, I met with a wonderful woman with four children. As we discussed her strategy to take care of the people she cared about, she began to violently weep. You see, before meeting […]