As more Americans become entrepreneurs, they've discovered that wise business planning is essential to their success today and their financial security tomorrow. Our Williamsburg, Virginia, law firm can help you achieve your goals, whether your business is a one-person operation or one striving for a place on the Fortune 500.
Lawsuit and asset protection: In today's litigious world, you've never faced greater threat from predators who will try to use the legal system to deprive you of your life's work. These legal battles can be devastating and even if you prevail, can cost you everything you've taken a lifetime to build. We can help with strategies for safeguarding your assets.
Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies: Both entities are strategies that can help you meet such diverse goals as estate planning and protection from lawsuits. Attorney Helena Mock can help you determine what type of entity is right for your business and family. Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies are also valuable techniques for "freezing" the value of a business or rental property(ies) for purposes of estate taxes.
Buy-sell and other business succession agreements: It is imperative for the successful continuation of your business that you implement a business succession plan to guide the business and surviving owners through the loss of an owner. It is equally important for the deceased or departing owner or his/her family that there be a plan for buying out the departing owner's interest in the business.
Making lifetime gifts to qualifying charitable organizations enables individuals to reduce the size of their taxable estates while gaining the satisfaction of seeing the benefit their gifts provide. Charitable gifts may be structured in numerous ways. For example, an individual may contribute property or assets to a charitable lead trust. In a charitable lead trust, the property or assets are used by the charity for a specified period of time, after which any remaining property or assets return to the contributing individual, or the individual's family. Alternatively, an individual may contribute property and assets to a charitable remainder trust. In a charitable remainder trust, the contributing individual continues to use the property or assets for a specified period of time, after which the charity receives the remaining property or assets. Both situations provide a means by which the contributing individual may receive a current income tax deduction.
An individual may also set up what is known as a testamentary charitable trust by providing for the funding of a charitable trust in his or her will or trust. Upon the individual's death, the charitable trust is created and funded according to the instructions left by the decedent.
In order for any type of charitable gift to qualify for the charitable deduction against estate or income tax, the gift must be structured properly. Attorney Helena Mock can assist you not only in determining which charitable gifting method is right for you, but we will also ensure that the gift is structured properly so as to preserve the tax deductions available under the law.
Retirement Asset Protection Planning
If you name as a beneficiary of a retirement plan asset a person who is not your spouse, the asset passes to your beneficiary with very different rules regarding distribution, taxation and liability protection than it had as your own retirement plan asset. First, the beneficiary does not get to wait until attaining age 70 ½ to begin taking distributions, and there is no penalty for taking withdrawals prior age 59 ½. Additionally, no money can be added to the plan, and the plan cannot be combined with any other retirement plan or IRA of the beneficiary. Most notably, however, is the fact that inherited retirement assets do not carry with them the same liability (creditor) protection. Retirement asset protection planning involves protecting the funds (usually through a qualifying trust) from a beneficiary's creditors, bankruptcy or divorce as well as from a beneficiary's own spendthrift habits or poor money management skills. It can also lock in successor beneficiaries so the funds do not end up going to unintended beneficiaries such as a beneficiary's spouse or spouse's children. Finally, such a plan can be structured to prevent premature withdrawal by a beneficiary by directing when and how a beneficiary receives distributions from the retirement accounts.
Attorney Helena Mock has successfully established numerous local charitable organizations and charitable trusts since 2001. Establishing a new nonprofit organization or trust requires not only the preparation of the organizational documents mandated by Virginia law and the filing of appropriate documents with the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also requires that the organization apply to the Internal Revenue Service if it seeks to be exempt from federal income taxes. In addition, organizations seeking to be exempt from local property taxes must also apply to the appropriate city or county for local tax exemption. Success hinges on having a professional who is experienced and familiar with the processes involved.
Williamsburg Lawyers Who Can Help Your Business Thrive
If you need assistance regarding a business or tax planning matter, please call our office at 757-969-1900 or contact us online.