Friday, April 30, 2010

You and Your Limited Liability Company

I have stressed the importance of having the correct legal form when you go into business. Today I will address Limited Liability Company (LLC). All LLC owners are protected from personal liability for business debts and claims -- a feature known as "limited liability." This means that if the business owes money or faces a lawsuit, only the assets of the business itself are at risk. Creditors normally can not reach the personal assets, such as a house or car, of the LLC owners. However, since the assets of the LLC are at risk, for some business owners, the use of multiple LLCs would serve to better protect assets.

For example, I had a client that owned multiple rental properties. Several properties were commercial rentals, and the others were single family dwelling rentals. Given the exposure to significant assets and the different business interests, it would not be prudent to place all of the properties under one LLC. Therefore, multiple LLCs were considered as well as other corporate structures. Are your assets adequately protected? Contact our law offices for expert legal advice.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do I Really Need a Will?

This question is often raised to me and I always answer YES! I had 2 situations recently where there was no will and it would have been very helpful to the family.

In one case, the family sued the nursing home for the wrongful death of their loved one. They won!! Now, what? Who is entitled to the award? In order to sue for wrongful death, an estate has to be opened which is referred to as probate. If there is no will, the state's intestate laws determines who will receive the award. This may include individuals who did not even pursue the litigation. Was that the intent of the decedent?

In the other case, the person who died had an interest in real estate in Florida, prime property. There was no will and in this case the interest in the real estate goes to the 4 surviving children, 2 of which have been estranged from the family for years. Title to this land will remain unresolved until the daughters can be located, if even still living. Was that the intent of the decedent?

Let you intent be known. Contact us at and have you will done today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Please Attend My Next Book Signing Event

Please click on the above image to enlarge it

Civil Rights Icon Dies

I pause today to recognize the life and legacy of a civil rights movement icon Dorothy Height, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. Our country has had many challenges to make it the great nation that it is for all of its people. And it is with heartfelt emotion that I take the time to note the passing of one whose life was dedicated to the ideals of equality that we continue to struggle with today.

For many years, she was the president fo the National Council of Negro Women founded by Mary McLeod Bethune.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Lottery Winner

I have spoken on lottery winners and their propensity to spend all their winnings in a very short period of time and end up bankrupt. I have had clients who have encountered huge windfalls in a short period of time. One in particular stands out.

When I met this client, she still had just under 1/2 of her winnings which put her ahead of most lottery winners. Further, she had NO debt. Upon winning the lottery, she paid off her home, car and all other debts. She continued to live in her home and drive the same car therefore incurring no need debt. Since she was close to retirement, she quit her job and lived off her winnings for 2 years. She then begin drawing social security and her pension along with a small annuity payment from her investment.

So, you might say what is the issue and beyond getting her estate planning done (will, powers of attorney, etc) what else is needed? Well she executed an Irrevocable Trust which she would now like to change.

How does one change an Irrevocable Trust? The answer tomorrow as we continue with the story of our lottery winner. Leave your comment here or contact us at

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Little Giving Does Add Up

I have been in discussions recently regarding the viability of an organization when there is insufficient amount of giving to support it and its mission. In fact, this is the question currently posed in 2 organizations that I support. Both of the organizations are charitable organizations and rely on the giving of the community and its members.

With the economic situation as it is and the number of millionaires being few and far between, I have come out on the side of continuing to do what you can with the organizations while things do improve. If your mission is about helping and making a difference in the lives of those most vulnerable in the community, then you can't quit. You may have to downsize, readjust or think more creatively but you do not quit. And if you find you must then let others take your place until you get the energy to keep going. Others can be your strength and help you to carry on.

Enough said, I wonder whether you have found yourself in such a place with charitable organizations and I wonder how you coped or whether you coped. Share your comments here or contact us at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seven Principle of Wealth - Number Seven

SEVENTH, be specific in your intentions/goals and prepare yourself to accomplish your financial goals. I know that intentions have infinite organizing power. You know the saying be careful what you ask for. I say KNOW what you want.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS. Let me share what I do. I have very specific annual financial goals that I track on a monthly and daily basis. Therefore, I know before the end of the year whether I am on track to meet my financial goals. If I need to change my fees or prepare myself to add another area of practice, then I will do that to make the goals. If you have a job and you are not meeting your financials then now is the time to ask for a raise, take on more responsibilities, take a course/class to increase your marketability.

Even if you do not have all the answers, as long as your intentions are clear and you are prepared, opportunity will come the door. Share your comments here or contact us at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seven Principle of Wealth - Number Six

Six, estate planning is very important when you think about generational wealth. Estate planning is not only about providing for your family when you die but it also includes retirement planning. You want to have assets/money available to you when you are no longer working. When you begin the estate planning process, you cover all of your financial arrangements for the present, future and beyond.

Actions Recommended: Again as mentioned in other principles, you want to begin saving at your job and taking full advantage of any matched savings program. Retirement assets should not be placed in risky ventures as you age and even when you are younger your risks should be well calculated.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Seven Principles of Wealth - Number Five

FIVE, you must own not rent. There are so many financial benefits to homeownership.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Take advantage of any first time home ownership incentives and programs. You may consider lease to purchase options that might be available. Take advantage of non-traditional outlets for home ownership, ie. foreclosures, sheriff sales, sale by owner. Though you may have to have more money up front, the savings are tremendous.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seven Principles of Wealth - Number Four

FOURTH, you must protect your assets. Any investment made must be prudent and wise. You do not want to expose the principle (the amount you have been saving, ie. 10% of your income) to loss. It is the money that your savings makes that would have any exposure but even with that money be prudent and wise.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Start saving 10% of your income each pay period and place that amount in a guaranteed investment, (money market, certificate of deposit, bonds, savings account). Once the interest starts to grow, look for an investment opportunity for that interest income. The investment should be prudent and wise but does not have to be guaranteed. This may be your business venture or the business venture of someone you know who is prudent and wise. Your initial investment in another person's venture should be small and have a pay back within a short measureable timeframe. As the business and the person continues to prove themselves, your investment can be larger and for a longer term. Remember, the money invested here is just the investment income off of your guaranteed savings.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seven Principles of Wealth - Number Three

Now that we are saving money, what do we do with the savings? THIRD, you must put your money to work for you. You want to have your money create income for you whether you are working or at leisure.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: What can you do to increase your savings without depleting it? This will require some research and thought on your part. You have to educate yourself on what might be a good "investment". You have to read, research, talk with professional advisors and just as important if not more so, Talk To "Financially" Successful People. If you do not know any (increase your circle of associates), then read about them. I suggest you read and maintain in your library Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. You want the revised and updated for the 21st century version. You will educate yourself on growing your money. Depending upon your interest here are some areas to research for your "investment" purposes: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money markets, real estate, rental properties, start an on-line business, start lending, start writing, and start speaking. Put your money into a venture that you have researched, start small and let it grow.

Here is one that I will do and keep you informed of the progress. I will start an on-line subscription business. I will provide information, knowledge and expertise, including access to me, on (1) taking care of your aging parents, the step by step process and (2) creating your legacy, the step by step process. There will be a minimum subscription fee for on-going access and information including free books, webinars, interactive dialogue with others similarly situated. You heard it first here.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seven Principle of Wealth - Number Two

SECOND, you must establish a budget. This is your very own budget but a budget nonetheless. The budget will include the cost of your essential needs and then include those things you desire within your budget, ie. 90% of your income. Obviously, you will not be able to satisfy ALL of your desires. However, an important desire is being realized each day, the accumulation of wealth.

ACTION RECOMMENDED, start with a budget worksheet. I found a basic "free" one at Print out 2 copies and fill in one copy. Then, take the second copy and fill it out with just your necessary expenses and then add those other expenses one at a time until you are at 90% of your income. The remaining items (which are desires) did not make the budget and must be eliminated for now. Focus your desire on and obtain satisfaction from growing your wealth.

Let us know how you are doing. Leave your comments here or contact us at

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Seven Principles of Wealth - Number One

Over the next seven days I thought I would share ways to increase one's wealth and thus provide a legacy for your heirs. All of the ideas can be implemented by anyone. However, most are rarely followed or followed inconsistently. But when implemented, wealth follows.

FIRST, for every dollar you make, keep ten cents for yourself. You have heard the saying pay yourself first. Take ten percent of your earnings and save it. If you are a business owner, also save 10% of your profits. This is money not to be squandered but as you will learn from the other principles, it is to be put to work for you.

ACTIONS RECOMMENDED, if your company has a savings plan, contribute at least 10% or the maximum you can. If your company matches your savings, you definitely want to contribute the maximum match amount. Simple, yes, but many are not taking advantage of this HUGE benefit.

For the next 6 months, live off of 90% of your earnings by making your own coffee; eating at home and taking your lunch to work; drive less by car pooling and combining trips; and, take a vacation at home, there is more to see than you know. If you can do it for 6 months, you can do it for 1 year and so on.

Let us know how you are doing by leaving your comments here or contacting us at

Friday, April 2, 2010

Probate - Do You Know What it is?

I thought I would take the time to explain probate. I have had a few situations recently where understanding probate was an issue.

First, probate means to prove the will. The will is presented to the register of wills and they determine whether it is valid under the law. If there is a challenge to the will then the probate court hears both sides of the challenge to determine validity.

Second, probate serves as the process to change ownership of property from the deceased to their heirs or beneficiaries. Many times individuals never go through the probate process. As a result, you can have real estate still held in the name of a deceased person. Of course, this causes a lot of problems and confusion later.

Third, one of the main things done during the probate process is to pay any inheritance taxes due. You also must pay all debts of the deceased prior to transferring any assets to the heirs or beneficiaries.

We can handle probate for you. Our speciality is Probate, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Estate Administration. Contact us at