Estate and Business Planning

San Diego Estate and Business Planning

How Did Obergefell Change Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples?

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 My office has received many questions about same-sex estate planning in the past few months and wanted to address some of them. 


Last year the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015), ruled that same-sex couples could get married in every state. At the time of the Obergefell ruling, thirty-seven states, already recognized same-sex marriage. Only thirteen states had bans on same-sex marriage, which are now unconstitutional.


Obergefell relieved many challenges and inconsistencies between the state and federal laws, including, estate and tax planning for same-sex couples. Some of the resolved issues include the following: 


Intestate Share - For example, the surviving spouse may now take their statutory share of the estate, which is the same as the intestate share that the decedent’s spouse would receive under the California Probate Code.

Inheritance Tax and Other Taxes - Spouses now have the ability to transfer money and property to spouse during life and after death without tax consequences.

Estate Tax Portability - Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion raises the amount excluded from estate tax of a married couple’s estate to $10.9 million, as opposed to 5.45 million for an individual.

Tax Credits - There are possible tax credits for children of same-sex spouses.

 
The IRS issued changes in 2013 prior to the Obergefell decision due too the fact that federal agencies had to deal with the inconsistency in state laws and set guidance on how they would determine whether an individual and their spouse were legally married. IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which declares that federal rights and benefits for all tax matters are available to same-sex married couples.

What does all of this mean to you for you and your family?

1. Do I need a Trust or a Will?

Yes. In order to ensure that your assets are distributed to your spouse, children or the persons that are important too you; your intent needs to be stated on a legal document. An estate plan will ensure that your children have guardians and your loved ones do not have to deal with complications due to an emergency or incapacity.

2. What About Incapacity?

A complete estate plan will include incapacity documents, such as, a durable power of attorney finances and an advanced health care directive for medical decisions. Unfortunately, the fact of being a spouse alone will not allow them to deal with financial institutions or hospitals over their spouse’s affairs.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate and business planning, and can help with your estate plan. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

http://www.coastalpacificlaw.com

Posted 37 weeks ago
<p>Thinking About Incorporation </p><p>Are you a small business owner? According to the Brian Buffini book, “Takin’ Care of Business,” small business owners make up a substantial portion of the economy in California and in the United States. “According to the National Chamber of Commerce, almost 90 percent of American employers have fewer than 20 workers. Small business has been and will always be, the cornerstone of the free-market system.” Coastal Pacific Law is passionate about protecting your business and specializes in small business issues.</p><p>If you are a small business owner in California the first step is incorporation. If you are not currently incorporated you are exposing your assets and family to unnecessary liability. </p><p>Coastal Pacific Law attorneys specialize in business advising for small business and Startup owners, and can help draft and revise contracts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a <a href="http://www.coastalpacificlaw.com/contact-us.php">Contact Request Form</a>.<br/></p>

Thinking About Incorporation 

Are you a small business owner? According to the Brian Buffini book, “Takin’ Care of Business,” small business owners make up a substantial portion of the economy in California and in the United States. “According to the National Chamber of Commerce, almost 90 percent of American employers have fewer than 20 workers. Small business has been and will always be, the cornerstone of the free-market system.” Coastal Pacific Law is passionate about protecting your business and specializes in small business issues.

If you are a small business owner in California the first step is incorporation. If you are not currently incorporated you are exposing your assets and family to unnecessary liability. 

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys specialize in business advising for small business and Startup owners, and can help draft and revise contracts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

Posted 38 weeks ago

A Will is An Important Part of Your Business Planning

Brian Buffini states in his book, “Takin’ Care of Business,” that one thing that every individual should have is a written will. Do you have one?

“According to findlaw.ocm, 58 percent of American adults do not have a written will, which means they are relinquishing control over how their assets will be distributed after they die and who will become guardians of their minor children. A will is a basic component of estate planning. Without a will, the laws of the state and the decisions of a probate court may determine how your estate is distributed and who will care for your children if they are minors.”

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate and business planning, and can help with your estate plan. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

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Posted 38 weeks ago

When Do You Need a Copyright?

By Tristan Younghaus, Esq. 

A copyright is a form of protection under Title 17 of the United States Code that is offered to authors of original works. The World Intellectual Property Organization defines a copyright as a “legal term describing rights given to the creators for their literary and artistic work.” According to the United States Copyright Office this encompasses the following categories: “1) literary works; 2) musical works, including any accompanying words; 3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; 4) pantomimes and choreographic works; 5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; 6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; 7) sound recordings; and 8) architectural works.” An original work must fit into one of these categories. For example, if you create a computer program then that could be considered a literary work. If you write a song then that would be considered a musical work. 

While most people know that musical works can be copyrighted many business people may not be utilizing the copyright to protect original works of their company. Copyrights protect computer programs, as mentioned above, databases, websites, newsletters, business proposals, manuals, directories, and promotional and advertising materials. 

You might need a copyright to legally protect your work. For example, if you created a computer program and distributed it for use and you did not register for a copyright. Then you see that someone else is distributing your program as their own creation and you may not have any legal rights. However, if you had taken the preliminary steps to register your copyright you could bring an action in a court of law under Title 17 of the United States Code. 

Also, you might need a copyright to make money on your original work. According to the United States Code if you have a copyright then you can allow others to use your original work under a copyright license, you can sell your copyright or you can allow someone to use your copyright for a period of time for a specified fee. Copyrights may even be used as collateral for secured loans.

Finally, there are many things that cannot be copyrighted, such as, the name of a business. However, you can apply for a trademark or service mark for the name of your business. Please contact Coastal Pacific Law to discuss if something you created is eligible for a copyright. 

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys specialize in business advising for small business and Startup owners, and can help apply for copyrights, trademarks and service marks. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form

The above testimonials do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

Posted 56 weeks ago

Why Starting a Non-Profit is Easier Than Ever Before

By Tristan Younghaus, Esq. 

Have you ever thought about starting a non-profit? 

In 2014 the Internal Revenue Service (”IRS”) drastically changed the process of applying for tax exemption status under Section 501©3 of the United States Code by releasing the IRS Tax Form 1023-EZ. The 1023-EZ Form is a new streamlined process for applying for tax exempt status and you can apply on www.pay.gov. Its predecessor the IRS Tax Form 1023 was 26 pages long, which asked very detailed information about the non-profit but the new 1023-EZ Form is less than 3 pages long. Only certain types of non-profits will qualify to use the 1023-EZ Form and I can help to see if you qualify. 

Besides simplicity there is a reduced filing fee for the 1023-EZ Form of $400 versus the old 1023 Form that costs $850. Additionally, the IRS has shortened the processing time and usually takes 1-2 months versus the old 1023 IRS Form that used to take up to 2 years. There is some controversy surrounding the 1023-EZ regarding concerns of increased amounts of fraud but it looks like it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys specialize in business advising for non-profit business and Startup owners, and can help draft and revise contracts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.   

The above testimonials do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

Posted 57 weeks ago

What is Probate?

I am asked frequently, “[w]hat is probate?” Probate is a court process that happens when someones passes away and they had a will or did not have a will, i.e. intestate. if a person did not have a will and their estate passed by the laws of intestacy then the California Probate Code will dictate how the property can pass. Until this court process is initiated any property in the person’s name cannot be sold, such as real estate, or cannot be accessed, such as bank accounts. If you have had someone close to you pass away and you do not know where to start then give me a call for a complimentary consultation. 

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in probate. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

Posted 58 weeks ago

Some Things to Consider When Incorporating

If you are starting a business or have a business and are considering different types of entities then there are some things that you should consider. Incorporation can shield you from liability and can be beneficial in many cases.

1) Is your type of industry regulated by a state board, such as, doctors and lawyers? This can dictate what type of entity that you can become.

2) Are some entities more beneficial than others for your needs? Yes. Depending on your industry, size and other considerations certain entities will be superior for you.

3) Should you incorporate in California? This is a good question and does not always have the same answer. A lot of times it is a good idea to incorporate in California but there are certain cases when it might be better to incorporate in a different state.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys specialize in business advising for small business and Startup owners, and can help draft and revise contracts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

#corporatelaw #entityformation #smallbusiness #coastalpacificlaw

Posted 59 weeks ago

Which Funding Options are Available to Help Entrepreneurs Start and Grow Their Businesses?

CROWDFUNDING, VENTURE CAPITAL,AND GOVERNMENT GRANTS

by  Tristan Younghaus, Esq. and Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Starting a business can be an exciting, yet costly endeavor. Entrepreneurs need Startup capital to cover the cost of living expenses, salaries, overhead, legal fees, filing fees, marketing/advertising, shipping costs, and even production costs. There are numerous funding options available, from interest free loans to venture capital.

In this two part series, we explore the various options that are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs. In the event business owners and entrepreneurs are unable or unwilling to secure funding in the form of loans from family, friends, bank loans, or Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, they may want to consider exploring other sources of funding, such as crowdfunding, venture capital, and government grants.

1. CROWDFUNDING

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According to website Indiegogo, “Crowdfunding is the process of pooling money from many different people to make an idea happen.” There are two types of crowdfunding: donation-based, and equity-based. While there are different types of crowdfunding platforms available, some websites blend donation and equity-based crowdfunding.

Last year the global online crowdfunding industry raised $5.1 billion for thousands of cash strapped businesses, charities, and Startups. According to Massolution’s 2013 Crowdfunding Industry Report, equity-based crowdfunding raises 40 times more per company than any other type of crowdfunding in the marketplace.

a. Donation-Based Crowdfunding

Donation-based crowdfunding is an online strategy in which business owners and entrepreneurs seek money from a large number of donors in exchange for rewards or pre-sale of products that are to be manufactured. This type of funding is attractive because it does not require that the owners give up any control of their company in the form of ownership shares to outside investors, unlike equity-based crowdfunding. KickstarterIndiegogo and GoFundMeare examples of donation-based crowdfunding.

Kickstarter is industry-specific and offers funding for entertainment, technology and the arts. Kickstarter requires that the person or entity forming the campaign set a stated fundraising goal and provide a deadline for the campaign. The borrower sets levels of pledge amounts and what each investor receives for their pledge. For example, if the donor donates $100, he or she could receive the first version of the manufactured product in exchange for the donation.

For smaller donation amounts, the donor could receive his or her name on the campaign website and social media pages. If the borrower reaches the donation amount requested, all of the donors’ credit cards will be charged and the borrower will fulfill the pledges. However, if the borrower does not reach the requested amount by the funding deadline, the investor’s cards are never charged and the campaigner receives no money.

On sites like Indiegogo, campaigners can receive the total amount of pledges earned, whether or not the fundraising goal is reached. Sites like Indiegogo take a portion of the sales that are raised. For example, on a “Fixed Funding Campaign”, if the fundraising goal is reached, Indiegogo takes 4% of the total amount raised. For a “Flexible Funding Campaign,” Indiegogo takes 9% of the total amount raised when a fundraising goal is not met. This encourages the campaigners to set realistic funding goals, and to campaign aggressively to meet those goals.

b. Equity-Based Crowdfunding

In contrast to the average fundraising effort where founders do not give up a percentage of ownership in exchange for the cash, Equity-based crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to reach investors interested in purchasing equity in their Startup or other privately held small business.

Equity-based crowdfunding is similar to venture capital, because this type of lending is private equity given to the borrower through individuals in exchange for ownership in the Startup company. The main type of equity-based crowd funding relies on Title II of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, which allows borrowers to publicly announce their request for funding over the Internet on websites, such as, CircleUp and AngelList. Borrowers go on these sites and have access to millions of potential investors as long as they are willing to publicly advertise their need for funding and verify the eligibility of the investors, which is required by federal law.

For more specifics, read this article on Equity crowdfunding.

2. Venture Capital

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Venture capital refers to loans given to borrowers from private lenders to early-stage, high-potential Startup companies. This type of lending is attractive to new companies that are unable to secure bank loans and might be too small to raise capital in public markets. Generally, venture capital firms assume a high risk by lending to Startup companies. In exchange, venture capital firms request control over the Startup’s business decisions, in addition to a significant portion of the company’s ownership. Of the nearly 2 million new businesses that are created in the United States every year, only about 600-800 receive venture capital funding.

It is important to thoroughly research venture capital firms to ensure the firm has a good reputation and specializes in the relevant industry, and to do the proper due diligence before closing a deal. Sites like Crowdfunder connect entrepreneurs with investors around the world to help fund their business and fuel economic growth.

3. Government Grants

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A Federal Government grant is taxpayer money that is given away through legislation passed by U.S. Congress and signed by the President. In some circumstances, government grants do not have to be paid back.

Government grants are funded by tax dollars and therefore require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent. The Small Business Administration(SBA) has authority to make grants to non-profit and educational organizations in many of its counseling and training programs, but does not have authority to make grants to small businesses. Announcements for the counseling and training grants appear onhttp://www.grants.gov.

Some business grants are available through state and local programs, nonprofit organizations and other groups. For example, some states provide grants for creating energy efficient technology; expanding child care centers; and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are not necessarily free money, and usually require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan. The amount of the grant money available varies with each business and each grantor.

Of note, the SBA can also help facilitate a loan with a third party lender, guarantee a bond, or help an entrepreneur find venture capital.

Click here to learn about personal loans, bank loans, and SBA loans.

Coastal Pacific Law specializes in business advising for small business and Startup owners, and can help them identify which sources of funding are most appropriate for their business needs.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with our expert attorneys, call (619) 786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

Posted 116 weeks ago
<p>My favorite Christmas present was from @onlyonejenny. It was a Christmas ornament for the orphanage that she helped start in Uganda. I love you Jenny. I know that you have done and will continue to do so many amazing things in Africa. You are such an inspiration. See you soon!</p>

My favorite Christmas present was from @onlyonejenny. It was a Christmas ornament for the orphanage that she helped start in Uganda. I love you Jenny. I know that you have done and will continue to do so many amazing things in Africa. You are such an inspiration. See you soon!

Posted 120 weeks ago

Joan Rivers Estate Worth Over $290 Million


      The Fashion Police co-host was estimated to be worth over $290 million dollars at the time of her death. Joan Rivers was not only a legendary comedian and savvy business woman, in addition, news reports about instructions in her will point to a very detailed and well planned estate. As expected, her daughter Melissa will inherit most of her mother’s fortune. This means that Melissa can focus on dealing with mourning the loss of her mother and not about the complexities of sorting a large estate or probate court. Why is the Joan River’s estate such a great example of estate planning? Keep reading to find out. 

         Even if you do not have $290 million dollars you still need an estate plan to protect your family. Otherwise, you are allowing the government plan your estate. 
Why is Estate Planning Important?
        Incapacity. Estate planning has many advantages. One advantage is providing individuals with the power to plan for their own medical care and end of life decisions if they should become incapacitated.
      Joan River’s died on September 4, 2014, after a routine outpatient throat surgery that did not go well. During the surgery she stopped breathing and was placed on life support. Life support basically means that you are being kept alive by machines. Most of my clients do not want to be kept alive on life support if they were in an irreversible coma; however, unless they have the proper incapacity documents, such as an advance health care directive, the hospital will keep them alive on life support indefinitely.
        Since Rivers had a solid estate plan with an advance health care directive, which stated her wish to not to be on life support, Melissa was able to respect her mother’s wishes by removing her from it. This type of thoughtful planning can make a difficult and stressful time for loved ones easier to manage when unexpected situations occur.  

       Wills and Trusts. Another advantage of estate plans is the transfer of money, property and other belongings at your death according to your intent. This can be accomplished by the use of a will, which is a legal document that states the your intent as to how your estate is going to be distributed.
      However, in California if you only have a will then your estate must go through a court process called Probate at the time of your death. Probate court in California takes anywhere from two years to thirty years. A trust is a legal document that bypasses the Probate court process in California, which offers the most protection for you and your family.  
      If you do not have a will or trust at the time of your death then your estate will pass by California’s laws of 
intestacy. If you think you have not planned your estate you actually have because you are planning for the government to decide what happens to your estate.
Can You Include Pets in an Estate Plan? 
        Rivers, in her Trust, provided for her four pets at the time of her death, which will move from her Upper East Side Manhattan apartment to the home of her personal assistant. The River’s estate is going to take care of and provide for the pets through distributions to the personal assistant. If you are like River’s and have special furry friends that are part of the family you can provide for them after your death. You cannot simply name your pet as a beneficiary of your will or trust because pets cannot own property. However, the use of a pet trust within your trust document allows the trustee to distribute funds to a caretaker of the animals after you are gone.  

         If you need to get started on an estate plan or add a pet trust then contact Coastal Pacific Law to help. Call our office at (619) 786-6563 or fill-out the contact us page for a free consultation regarding your estate plan.
Posted 129 weeks ago