A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Who needs an estate plan? Everyone! A comprehensive plan includes not only a will (or a will and trust) but financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and more. A properly drafted estate plan can be helpful in avoiding a court supervised guardianship or conservatorship proceeding (if you later become incapacitated). Having a quality estate plan should not only provide you with peace of mind during your life, but provide your loved ones with support and clarity after your death.
Do you need a trust? Years ago, the size of one’s estate was often the determining factor when deciding whether or not to use a revocable living trust (with a “pour over” will), or a will alone, without a trust. Now that the estate tax credit (“applicable exclusion amount”) has increased so significantly, the question of whether or not to use a revocable trust has become more complex. We will help you consider the benefits and disadvantages of different structures to craft your unique estate plan.
How can our office help you create an estate plan? Our office works with clients to discuss their primary objectives, goals, and concerns, as well as other factors that affect the estate plan. For example:
Do you own unusual assets (such as oil and gas/mineral interests, out of state property, businesses)?
Do family members get along well?
How concerned are you about asset protection for beneficiaries (for example, do you want to protect your child’s inheritance from a divorcing spouse)?
Do you have a blended family?
Is there a beneficiary or potential beneficiary with special needs (which might include disability, young age, or drug/alcohol or gambling addiction)?
Might there be a future estate tax liability for you or for one of your beneficiaries?
We will discuss these questions and more when exploring the different options for an appropriate plan.
When appropriate (due to size and/or complexity), we also welcome collaboration with a client's other advisors, including CPAs, financial advisors, and insurance agents, for example.
Has a loved one recently died? We understand that recent losses are often difficult to process. Our goal is to help you through the legal process that accompanies death in a caring and efficient way.
We provide a broad range of services for clients from simple probate administration to very sophisticated and complex estate administration. Our firm assists with New Mexico probates, as well as ancillary New Mexico probates when appropriate (for decedents who die as residents of another state). We can assist with matters such as transferring property out of a decedent’s name, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (“GST”) planning, post-mortem planning, qualified disclaimers, and other post-mortem estate planning.
Please note, however, we do not handle contested matters and our firm does not litigate contested matters.
Building a Comprehensive Plan
A high quality plan considers and provides for a variety of circumstances and strategies. Our firm is uniquely equipped to provide just that. We can assist with the development of an estate plan that is prepared with your specific needs and objectives in mind. If you're a business owner, engineer, designer, or an entrepreneur, we can also provide turn-key business services that will support you and your endeavors from conception to succession. Our objective is to ensure that your plan is uniquely crafted to reflect your individual goals, concerns, and circumstances and ensure that each piece of the puzzle is completed in a comprehensive and integrated way.
Rights of Publicity
Family Business Planning
What is intellectual property? When you are creating inventions or designs, you are creating intellectual property. Our legal system provides certain rights and protections for owners of intellectual property. Rights and protections for owners of intellectual property are based largely on federal patent, trademark and copyright laws and state trade secret laws.
How can you protect your business, designs, and/or inventions? In general, the following types of federal intellectual property might apply to your situation:
(1) Patents protect inventions of tangible things and processes;
(2) Copyrights protect various forms of written and artistic expression; and
(3) Trademarks protect a name or symbol that identifies the source of goods or
services (e.g., your business name).
If you have an interest in one or more of these types of intellectual property, you may wish to receive protection of your interest(s) under the law. Our firm works with you to understand your business, designs, inventions, and objectives. Once we have an understanding of your particular situation, we will help you navigate the complexities of the federal intellectual property system. This may include providing customized documents, helping you to follow intricate procedural requirements, and communicating each step of the way.
Do you need international protection? International protection may also be available for your intellectual property, and we are happy to collaborate with law firms across the globe to apply for such protection on your behalf.
Are you just starting a business? If you are just starting out or are still in the conception phase, our firm can help with choice of entity decisions (i.e., what legal form the business should take). We work with our clients to carefully consider not only their immediate vision for the business, but also to evaluate their future goals and exit strategies before selecting a form of entity. As part of this process, we also encourage collaboration with our clients' CPAs and other advisors.
Do you already have a business? If your business is already up and running, our firm can assist with creating and also reviewing contracts that will keep you in a strategic position. We regularly prepare and review agreements covering a wide range of industries and specific circumstances. Because we strive to understand your business, relationships, and concerns and objectives, we are better able to prepare robust agreements and provide a comprehensive analysis of proposed contacts.
Are your governing documents up to date? If not, we can also help you review your corporate book, operating agreement, etc. for purposes of compliance with best practices and state and federal rules and regulations.
Are you thinking about a succession plan or exit strategy? When a business is mature and successful, it usually means that you have spent years of your life, large amounts of financial resources, and most importantly, lots of emotional energy into creating and developing your company. Because of this investment, many business-owners often have a difficult time considering selling or retiring their business.
Estate planning and business planning overlap for many business owners. Who will run your business if you become incapacitated, or if you pass away unexpectedly? At your death, will your children be equal owners of your business? (“Fair is not always equal” is a common theme in business succession planning.) How will disputes be resolved? Will your children’s spouses be allowed to participate in the family business?
We understand the importance of your business and how connected your company and your personal identity may be. With this in mind, we are prepared to assist you with succession planning that is not only strategic, but comfortable for you.
When do you need strategic planning? Having a thoughtful and thorough plan is often what separates successful business ventures from costly and painful disappointments. We believe that the earlier you begin to strategize, the greater your likelihood of success, and we are prepared to assist you each step of the way.
How can we help you? Whether you are just planning for the future, starting a company, or have been in business for years, we are able to help you evaluate your current and future strategies in order to make a solid strategic plan. Our firm can assist you with the preparation and review of legal documents for your family, intellectual property, and business and we will strive to integrate each component into a comprehensive plan. Our objective is to not only help you evaluate your current circumstances and practices, but to assist in the creation of strategic goals and attainable plans for reaching those goals.