NO! Any competent, appropriately licensed professional can prepare binding legal documents, whether a Lawyer or a Certified Legal Document Preparer (CLDP). Simply being a Lawyer does not guarantee competence in the area of Estate Planning.
NO! The preparer’s level of competence is critical. Estate Planning is highly technical and best practices evolve all the time. Competent estate planners are hard to find and are typically very expensive. In fact, according to Martindale.com, only 5% of attorneys claim to be competent in this area, which implies the other 95% are NOT!
The initial consultation and data-gathering usually takes 1½ to 2 hours. Documents can be prepared and delivered in as little as 24 to 48 hours in urgent circumstances. Under normal circumstances, however, you can expect delivery in 10 to 15 days. LPI demystifies and streamlines the entire process, making it easier, faster and more cost-effective for you.
There are three kinds of taxes: Income, Capital Gain and Estate. First, there’s very little we can do to reduce income taxes. However, Living Trusts are generally ‘income tax neutral’ and will neither reduce nor increase the income tax you owe. Capital gains taxes may be minimized or eliminated in Community Property states, thanks to the ‘step up in cost basis’ afforded to Community Property. Finally, estates larger than $11.58 million per person are generally subject to the Federal Estate Tax. Spouses may combine their individual estate tax exemptions to shelter up to $23.16 million from ‘death taxes’.
There are three main reasons to update your Estate Planning documents: 1) ‘Life Changes’ like marriage, divorce, birth and death; 2) Changes in the Law may impact your documents and your desired outcomes; and 3) “Passage of Time!” The older our documents, the less likely it is that they reflect our wishes. Some banks may refuse to honor Powers of Attorney that are more than 5 years old.
Certain administrative requirements must be met in order for an LLC or a Corporation to protect its owner(s) in the event of a lawsuit or IRS audit. Operating Agreements and Bylaws spell out operational duties and requirements, and Meeting Minutes constitute ‘written permission’ for managers and officers to take proscribed actions. Failure to maintain adequate Company Records can lead to ‘piercing the veil’, thus making owners and shareholders personally responsible.
Company Records should be amended in a variety of circumstances, including: 1) Change of ownership, whether by sale, acquisition, death or some other qualifying event; 2) Meeting Minutes kept at least annually, if not more frequently; and 3) a change in the Law. Arizona recently adopted the Arizona Limited Liability Company Act (“ALLCA”) which requires that ALL Arizona multi-member LLC Operating Agreements be modified to comply with the Act’s new provisions, no later than January 1, 2021.