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It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to properly name your beneficiaries in your life insurance policy!! Ruth and I are working on a case where a grandfather named his 4 minor grandchildren as beneficiaries of his policy. After he died, the parents came to us to set up a trust for their children using the proceeds of the life insurance policy.

However, since the parents were not named as guardians of the children on the policy, the insurance company would not release the funds to them without being appointed as guardians by the local court. So, the parents had to take classes to learn their responsibilities as legal guardians before the mother was appointed. But the court further required that the insurance proceeds get deposited into "blocked accounts", which severely restricts the ability for the guardian to access the funds for the kids without court approval. Further, the funds will be distributed to the children outright when they turn eighteen negating the purpose of future planning.

After 1 1/2 years since the clients came to see us, we're getting close to the end of the process, but this could all have been avoided if "Grandpa" got proper advice in the first place! If you have any questions about naming your beneficiaries, please contact us!

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China International Import Expo

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Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) handed down its much-anticipated decision regarding a state’s ability to collect sales tax from out-of-state merchants on transactions with in-state residents.  In South Dakota v. Wayfair, SCOTUS overturned its previous decision in Quill v. North Dakota, and held that states can require vendors to collect sales…

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Be Careful with your Business by Being Wary of Equal Ownership Splits

While setting up a partnership or multi-member LLC, each partner or member having equal ownership in the entity makes a lot of sense. Even though the partners may be doing different work in different capacities (i.e., one person creates the product, one person does the marketing, one person provides the capital, etc.), it’s still understood…

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In 2015, Congress in its infinite wisdom changed the rules on how audits of partnerships (and multi-member LLCs) were to be conducted beginning on January 1, 2018.  Before the change, a tax matters partner (or member) handled an audit of partnership tax returns, but the tax matters partner couldn’t do a whole lot except for…

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In my estate planning practice, in certain circumstances, I utilize limited liability companies as a means of transferring investment assets, including real estate, to the beneficiaries under the client’s Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust.  Aside from asset protection (protection from creditors and other third party claims), I recommend LLCs to avoid probate…

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Pacific Foods Accused of Being Under Valued $250 Million In Campell Soup Co. Acquisition

Michael Lynch v. Pacific Foods of Oregon, Inc., et. al. involves the issue of valuing a closely-held family business and its ownership interests in the event of death or other trigger event (disability, divorce, etc.). I’m sure most everyone in the Northwest knows of Pacific Foods, the organic food processing company. In this case, one of…

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In my many years of practice, I’ve always advised current and potential clients that Durable Powers of Attorney are very powerful and potentially very dangerous documents.  Durable Powers of Attorney allow a person to designate and authorize someone else to act on their behalf in managing their financial affairs (such as investment accounts) and making…

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What Would Amazon Do? Sales Tax and the Internet

I’m sure you’ve heard that buying stuff on the internet is becoming more and more common; in fact, internet sales accounted for almost 12{cac35268b59b7e75be776053d4742f8c077751d3c6f5d87e36f9e66cb6a20ae6} of all retail sales in the United States in 2016 (  For better or for worse, people are starting to prefer shopping in their pajamas over visiting local businesses (editor’s note:…

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