New Law Firm Website

Check out Johnson Law KC LLC’s new website as part of our ongoing commitment to serving you and your family’s estate planning needs, now and in the future. Check us out on your smart phone, iPad, laptop, or computer. Call us (913-707-9220), email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com), or visit our new website for a complimentary 1/2 hour consultation.

(c) 2012, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Probate and attorneys’ fees

Here’s a cautionary story from the Daily Mail about a wealthy Connecticut man who died, leaving an estate of $162 million, in 1986, which was consumed by attorney’s fees during the lengthy probate process. The Connecticut story was an extreme case and no doubt left the family displeased with their attorneys. Probate cases are usually completed within a few months to year or so, depending on the complexity of the assets involved and how cooperative the heirs are. But probate horror stories like this one are what cause many people to avoid probate with a trust, joint tenancy property, transfer on death or pay on death, and other probate-avoidance techniques.

If you’re involved in a probate estate or need a good estate plan to avoid probate, call (913-707-9220) or email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) our office, Johnson Law KC LLC, for a convenient complimentary consultation.

(c) 2012, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

The New Economy: Time for an Estate Planning Checkup

The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog has this post detailing a new report from the Federal Reserve that familys’ net worth fell nearly 40% between 2007 and 2010, as the financial crisis engulfed the economy and left a stubborn recession in its wake. The new economic realities we find ourselves in nationally and globally call for a review of your estate plan. Whether you’ve got an older estate plan that’s been in place for years or are a young professional or new entrepreneur who’s never done estate planning before, we can help guide you through the process. Call (913-707-9220) or email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) our office, Johnson Law KC LLC, for a convenient appointment and complimentary consultation.

(c) 2012, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Holistic Estate Planning and Leaving a Legacy of Your Family’s Values

Here’s an article on a relatively new concept called holistic estate planning that combines traditional estate and tax planning considerations with mediation, family conferences, and facilitating the sharing of values and communicating across generational boundaries. The estate planning attorneys in our office strongly recommend holistic estate planning and believe that it’s a great way to bring families closer, pass on a strong and positive legacy of values and family traditions to future generations, and ensure all family members can play a vital role in the family’s ongoing legacy, business or real estate interests, and impact on the local community.

A practical application of holistic estate planning is found in this article in this weekend’s LA Times. Two siblings – one conservative and one liberal – are using some of their inheritance to promote their political ideas in California. The brother and sister are the children of Charlie Munger, the Harvard trained lawyer and investment partner of Warren Buffett, the legendary investor behind Berkshire Hathaway. The article illustrates an overarching goal of estate planning: having sufficient financial and other freedom to pursue your passion.

If we can help you and your family with estate planning or serve you in the holistic estate planning process, give our firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, a call (913-707-9220) or email us (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient appointment.

(c) 2012, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Interesting investing trend

According to this CNBC article, many very affluent investors are shifting their investment portfolios around as they search for (1) safety and (2) yield. Safety or asset preservation and yield or accumulation are two often conflicting goals for investors. The article does point out that following the investing habits of very affluent investors (those with over $30 million to invest) is not necessarily a good idea for ordinary investors. But as Robert Frank notes, wealthy investors “set the tone for the broader market,” so if they are dumping publicly traded U.S. stocks in favor of private companies, real estate, and commodities (as the study suggests many are), it may send signals rippling through the broader stock markets for some time.

For both asset protection (from creditors, taxes, divorcing spouses, and spendthrift children) and tax benefits, we’re recommending Inheritor’s Trusts or Beneficiary Defective Inheritor’s Trusts (BDITs) to many of our affluent clients, clients who anticipate  receiving an inheritance from their relatives of  over $400,000, and entrepreneurial clients who like to start, grow, and sell small businesses. An Inheritor’s Trust works well in any of these situations and is an exciting new tool to help facilitate your estate and financial planning needs. Call (913-707-9220) or email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) our law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, to learn more about how you can benefit from an Inheritor’s Trust and for a convenient and free half-hour consultation.

(c) 2012, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

A One Year Extension to the Estate Tax Law?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in an interview yesterday that he wants the current estate tax law extended for one year. President Obama is opposed to extending the so-called Bush tax cuts. If Congress and the President do not take action, the estate tax will come back at its pre-2011 tax cut level in 2013 – up to 50% tax on any estate over $1 million. Such a move would not only cause confusion and uncertainty for estate planning professionals and their clients, it would also have economic consequences, including plunging America back into a recession, according to the Congressional Budget Office. As we get closer to 2013 and this fall’s election, expect lots of discussion from Washington, D.C. regarding taxes.

In the meantime, married couples can give up to $10.24 million in gifts to family members and friends this year and leave a combined $10.24 million estate without paying federal estate or gift taxes. If our firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you with your estate planning needs, please email (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) or call (913-707-9220) us for a convenient appointment and free half hour consultation.

(c) 2012, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.