Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning in California, one-size does not fit all.  To start, the estate plan must take into account the specific values of the clients creating the estate plan and the maturity of those benefiting from it.  This requires understanding each client’s background, their vocation, education, philosophies on saving and spending, their wealth, financial sophistication, and their personal views on work, gifts, inheritances, and taxes. For a plan to truly work the estate planning attorney must also take into account the maturity and life’s experiences of the beneficiaries.  For an outright gift to a disciplined, hard-working, independent child may make sense, the same outright gift to a debt-burdened, motivationally challenged child could spell disaster.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust is a tax exempt trust that can liquidate an asset to create two interests: income interest and remainder interest.  The income interest is paid out to a designated beneficiary (such as the creator of the trust) for a lifetime or at the conclusion of the term, and the remainder interest is passed to a qualified organization of the donor’s choice as specified in the trust document.  Qualified organizations include charities, family foundations, and donor advised funds.

Estate Planning

Establishing a life estate is a relatively simple process in which you transfer your property to your children, while retaining your right to use and live in the property.  Life estates are used to avoid probate, maximize tax benefits and protect real property from potential long-term care expenses you may incur in later years.  Transferring property to a life estate avoids some of the disadvantages of making an outright gift of property to your heirs.   However, it is not right for everyone and comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

General Counsel Legal Services On An On-Demand Basis

Outside general counsel is an innovative approach to legal services for growing a mature business.  Mr. Rupprecht is a senior business lawyer with substantial in house experience who can provide corporate counsel services as needed at a fraction of the cost of either hiring a full-time, executive level general counsel or relying exclusively on law firm counsel.

Countdown To Retirement

Estate planning and retirement planning go hand and hand.  Proper estate planning can avoid the costs associated with probate and deal with matters of incompetency and provide for minor children.  In terms of retirement planning, individuals are living longer and the rule today is to plan for a 30 year retirement.

If you are over 50 years old, you should start planning for your retirement and that starts with your estate planning documents.

Selecting A Real Estate Attorney

Real estate attorneys need deep knowledge about the business of buying, building and operating real estate assets.  That practical knowledge is acquired only through experience and exposure to clients and deals, especially deals that go bad.  It takes years to learn industry practices, many of which vary among different asset sectors.

The Two Partnership Killers

You’ve probably heard a business owner say, “Partnerships don’t work.”  That statement is usually followed by a story of what a former partner did or didn’t do.  I have found that no matter what the story, there are two primary things that lead to the death of partnerships.  Though rarely noticed early on, these two things start small and over time cause stress to grow into tensions and tensions expand into disputes and disputes evolve into outright conflict.  So what are these partnership killers? Unstated expectations and verbal agreements.


Importance Of Due Diligence In The Context Of Purchasing A Business

You have decided to purchase a business.  It takes a lot of courage to arrive at such a major life decision.  More than likely your business lawyer, assuming you have made the wise decision to hire one to help guide you through the process, has possibly advised you to make an asset purchase as opposed to a stock purchase.  Hopefully, the attorney has also explained to you the potential benefits of such a choice.

The Start-Up NDA Cunundrum

Founders often face a conundrum when seeking investment for their start-up:

Should a start-up require prospective investors to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before receiving the pitch?

Many investors refuse to sign an NDA before hearing a pitch or looking at an investment opportunity.  Why?  An investor who signs NDAs with one start-up puts himself in harm’s way for a lawsuit if he invests in another similar start-up.  Of course, the best method for protecting confidential information is not to disclose it; there’s simply no need to show up and spew your secret sauce during a pitch.  Instead, founders should be able to state the “what” of the business without giving away the “how.”  This being said, it doesn’t mean that start-ups should forgo NDAs.  Rather, outside of prospective investor pitches, and outside of the discussion of the start-up idea, all disclosures of confidential information should only be done when necessary and only pursuant to a non-disclosure agreement drafted for the specific purpose of the disclosure.

The Problem With Joint Tenancy

Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership where individuals hold an equal, undivided interest to a piece of property.  When one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant, by operation of law, automatically inherits the deceased joint tenant’s interest regardless of what any document, whether a will or a trust, dictates.