Whether there’s a billion-dollar business in the family or assets of a far more modest nature, we know that careful, flexible planning is the key to achieving equity, avoiding family fights, and even satisfying the taxman.
Planning for what happens to you and your assets while you’re alive and able to make decisions is critically important not only to you, but also to your family and perhaps others as well. Trusts, estates, tax planning: while these may sound like they’re all about money and other assets – what there is, where it is, and where it should go – it’s as much about your family and your hopes for the future. The direct and ripple effects of your decisions can be complicated to understand. That’s why we’re here to help.
It’s as much about trust as it is about trusts
Yes, one of the things our lawyers do is help establish trusts to ensure assets are managed and distributed properly. But there’s a different kind of trust, the kind that allows clients to grow with us through generations and across extended families. Some of Carrington Coleman’s clients in this practice have been with us for 20 or 30 years. The reason is simple: we know of only one way to provide great services when families are involved, and that’s to see you as family. We want to and need to know who you are, what the relationships in your family are like, and what your long-term goals and priorities are.
Touching all the bases
Carrington Coleman occupies a unique place in this practice. We’re not a boutique, limited to a few services and referring clients out when matters get a little complicated or outside the box. And we’re not a big firm with big firm rates, inefficiencies, and cookie-cutter approaches. What we do have is the family feel that a boutique might provide but with the extensive resources just down the hall to handle any issue, no matter how challenging. That means if you have complex real estate holdings, closely held and multistate businesses of any size, complicated tax responsibilities, special needs family members – whatever it might be – we’ve got you covered.
You’re looking at the future. We are, too.
Rest assured that we have got our eyes on anything that might affect your planning, from how you save to your succession plans, from changes in the law to changes in your thinking. Here are just a few of the many things we’re watching right now.
- The estate and gift tax. It’s not news that the estate tax has been a political football for as long as anyone can remember. Those debates will continue, and nobody knows what changes may come. The key is to be flexible and not overreact based on what’s debated in Congress or promised on the campaign trail on any given day.
- The SECURE Act. The SECURE Act of 2019 made some of the most important changes to retirement legislation in more than a decade, with a variety of implications for IRA and 401(k) accounts. There are at least four key areas that will affect retirement planning, and Carrington Coleman’s lawyers are here to help you understand each and implement changes if needed.
- The COVID effect. As a result of the pandemic, courts have discovered that holding hearings and other proceedings virtually – especially in uncontested and relatively simple matters – offers tremendous benefits. We expect this trend to continue. Judges have endorsed it because remote proceedings are efficient, convenient, and reduce costs for everyone. Family members who may be scattered far and wide no longer have to travel.
The Missing Heirs
Client Issue: A Collin County, Texas, probate matter: A man died with no spouse, no children, and no will – but with substantial assets. The search for heirs was on. His mother’s side of the family lived in Austin, but nobody knew the father’s side.
Approach: We employed a detailed genealogical search, which finally took us to ancestry records in Salt Lake City, where we found 64 heirs on the father’s side of the family.
Outcome: The man’s estate was carefully and properly divided among the mother’s and father’s sides of the family.