What is a trust?
Trusts are created in order to help people manage their assets. The grantor of the trust will create the trust and makes the rules that will govern the trust. When the trust is formed, the grantor will appoint a trustee to manage the trust and its assets.
There are many different trust types of trusts: Irrevocable Trusts and Revocable Trusts, Life Insurance Trusts, Living Trusts and Testamentary Trusts. For example:
a living trust allows you to manage your property while you are alive and to direct who will manage it if you become incapable of doing so. In essence, you choose your own “guardian” in advance and avoid having the court do it for you.
For 30 years, Rick Levin has advised clients regarding establishing trusts and he has served as administrator and executor of his client’s estates. Mr. Levin can explain which trusts that are available to fit your estate planning needs and assist you in making sure your assets are distributed to achieve their maximum benefit and your peace of mind.
Why should I have a will?
A will, also known as a Last Will and Testament, is a legal document that allows you to direct how to divide your estate assets after death. Preparing a will, allows you to choose the way you want your assets distributed and to choose who you want to handle your estate matters. One way to save time and money for your heirs or the beneficiaries of your estate is to name an Independent Executor. An Independent Executor does not need the court’s permission to pay debts or to sell, borrow, exchange, or lease the succession property. This makes the probate process easier and less costly.
If a person dies without a will, his or her assets will be distributed to their closest relatives under Louisiana’s intestate succession laws. Generally assets are distributed according to two factors: 1) whether the decedent’s owned separate or community property; and 2) the degree of relationship of each family member to the decedent. Intestate succession laws do not leave room for shifting or altering distributions based on individual circumstances.
Writing a will doesn't need to be expensive or complicated. The key is to let an experienced attorney help you in making decisions that will affect the distribution of your estate. After you meet with attorney, Rick Levin and execute your will, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that your assets will be distributed to whomever you choose in the amount and manner in which you choose.
What is the difference between a testamentary trust and a living trust?
The world of estate planning can be complex. Although there are many types of trusts, two of the most common types of trusts used in estate planning are testamentary trusts and inter vivos trusts:
A testamentary trust refers to a trust that is established after your death from instructions set forth in your will. Because your will only has legal effect upon your death, a testamentary trust will not exist until then. There may be assets outside of the trust that will be distributed according to the will and assets within the trust will be distributed according to the grantor’s instructions. An example is a testamentary trust set up for a child. The assets of the trust would be managed by a trustee until the child is of age.
An inter vivos trust, also known as a revocable living trust, is created and funded by your assets while you are living. To fund your trust you would transfer assets such as real estate, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, CDs, and other assets into the name of the trust. The benefit of creating a revocable trust instead of a will is that the revocable trust plan may allow your estate to avoid a court-administered probate process upon your death.
Each client has a different idea of how to preserve, categorize and eventually distribute assets. Rick Levin, a qualified estate planning attorney for 30 years can help you determine your estate goals and work with you to devise a personalized strategy that helps to protect your loved ones, wealth and legacy.
What are the different types of business entities to start your own company?
If you are thinking about starting your own business, you probably have a lot of questions. At Levin Law Offices, we are here to help. For 30 years, we have helped entrepreneurs by drafting and filing the required legal documents in order to form a legal business entity.
From initial start-up companies to established businesses, at Levin Law Offices we will help your business grow and ensure that your company remains in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
We can help you choose which of the following business entities, best fits your needs:
This business entity is easy to form and operate and does not require a filing documents with the Secretary of State. You, the owner of the company will be its sole proprietor and will be required to report all the profit or loss of your business on your personal tax return. Under this entity, you may be personally liable for lawsuits filed against your business.
Partnerships are also easy to form and operate and do not require filing documents with the Secretary of State. Each partner in the company will be required to report his or her share of profit and loss on your personal tax return. Partners remain personally liable for lawsuits filed against the business.
Limited Liability Companies
When looking at business types, a popular choice with many business owners is the formation of a limited liability company (LLC). Creating an LLC is a good way to protect your personal assets from your company's liabilities in the event of a judgment against your business. For this reason, forming an LLC is a better fit for many owners than a sole proprietorship or a general partnership. An LLC also has certain tax advantages because the business itself is not responsible for taxes on its profits. Instead, the LLC's owners, also referred to as “members," report their share of business profit and loss on their personal tax returns, similar to tax reporting for a general partnership.
Corporations that meet certain requirements can elect an “S” corporation status with the IRS. This federal tax status enables companies to "pass through" their taxable income or losses to owners/investors in the business, according to their ownership stake in the business. By electing and “S” corporation status, a corporation can eliminate the disadvantage of "double taxation" of corporate income and shareholder dividends associated with “C” corporation tax status. “S” corporations, like other types of corporate entities, also keep owners' personal assets safe from company debt and judgments against the business.
By forming a “C” Corporation, business owners create a separate legal structure that helps shield their personal assets from judgments against the company. “C” Corporations have a specific structure that includes shareholders, directors, and officers.
The “C” Corporation has many advantages, including: limited liability for directors, officers, shareholders, and employees, perpetual existence (which means even if the owner leaves the company, the company will continue), unlimited growth potential through the sale of stock, no limit on the number of shareholders and certain tax advantages, including tax-deductible business expenses.
There are some disadvantages to the “C” Corporation structure, for example, “C” Corporation's profits are taxed when earned and taxed again when distributed as shareholders' dividends, commonly referred to as “double taxation”. Also, the shareholders in a “C” Corporation are not allowed to deduct any corporate losses.
Rick Levin has advised his clients regarding which business entity is the right fit for your company. He will explain the pros and cons of each business entity and what type of business or operating agreements can protect your interests. At Levin Law Offices we can help you make the right decisions regarding your business. Call us today to set up an appointment.