Anyone who has accumulated a significant degree of wealth, whether it be in real estate, business interests, financial investments or other more esoteric assets, needs some form of trust planning to ensure that those assets are overseen and protected for themselves and their families. Simple wills and even more complex wills, do not get the job done. A will is only effective after your death. A trust is effective, and therefore provides the desired protection, during your lifetime. Also, a well-designed trust keeps you as the beneficiary (unless you want it to be others, such as your family), sometimes with total control. For certain types of protection, direct control is not permitted, but there are an abundance of ways to maintain a very high degree of intermediated control. The choice is yours.

Business entities

Higher net worth families tend to carry much of that value in business and real estate interests. One of the key factors in ensuring that wealth is preserved is silo-ing assets—making sure the potential liabilities of each (for example, a slip and fall on an investment property, or an employee lawsuit from a business) are segregated and protected against your other assets. The appropriate use of business entities such as Limited Liability Companies is crucial to ensuring that protection. Also, the appropriate governing documents and agreements for operating businesses and partnerships are critical to ensuring that you are protected not only from lawsuits against the business, but problems with partners, such as a divorcing spouse or creditors.

Creditor Protection

Rapper Biggie Smalls coined the phrase, “Mo money, mo problems.” One of those problems is our litigious society, and the increased possibility that you may find yourself subject to one or more lawsuits, depending on your profession and the nature of your asset holdings. Luckily, there are strategies available to ensure that the bulk of your wealth is protected from such threats. Our team works with professionals around the country to establish and administer asset protection structures, typically involving the interplay of multiple trusts and LLCs to maintain and increase your money, and minimize and control your problems.

Avoiding Unnecessary Tax

For high-net-worth families, there is a likelihood that a combination of estate taxes and capital gains taxes may significantly damage a family business or legacy investments. One of our earliest Estate Administration clients here at DuBois Law Group was a very nice, humble man whose grandfather had bought four buildings in New York City’s Upper East Side many decades ago. The management of those buildings is his family business, but his mother did not do appropriate planning, so now he is facing a massive tax bill from both the IRS and New York State’s Tax Department. He had to choose between selling one of the buildings that has been in his family for generations or mortgaging two just to pay that bill. Appropriate planning based on tried-and-true methods could have avoided that entire situation. We specialize in working with families to design and implement those plans to protect the family legacy and very frequently supercharge the family’s philanthropy in the process.