Protect Your Domain:
A man's home use to be his castle. A man's home might now be his domain. Like many entrepreneurs, you may have accumulated nearly a score of domain names. Your key businesses have domain names. The ideas you were batting around with Joe at the corner bar led you to reserve a couple of domain names, and so on. In many cases these domain names are scattered among a number of different providers with random renewal dates. There's danger in this disarray. The media recently reported how a company lost its domain name since it did not renew it. The provider could not reach the owner because its contact information wasn't current. KISS solution: consolidate all your domain names to one provider. We like www.godaddy.com, and not only for their Dobbi Gillis sounding name. For a modest fee you can have all your domain names expire on the same date. You can pay for those names for 10 years, so the renewal problem won't arise for that long. Calendar that renewal date. If your email or other contact information change, you only have one provider to notify.
Is your Broker Your Friend:
Many wealth managers, brokers and other financial providers encourage customers meet with their estate planning team (or to sign beneficiary designations for non-retirement accounts). Are they motivated by helping you or something else? The average brokerage account stays in place for 4 years. The average trust account stays with the same firm for 14 years. Might this have something to do with the bull market in financial firms hiring estate planners? Could you be getting more independent advice from your own estate planner? When your wealth manager and financial planner want to coordinate and meet with your independent advisers, rather than replacing them with their own, that might be a good sign that they're actually interested in service and performance, not just account retention.
Rolling GRATs: Short term grantor retained annuity trusts are a popular estate tax minimization tool that seeks to remove upside equity market volatility from your estate. Some wealth managers goose up this benefit by segregating different equity classes in different GRATs. However, if you're worried about malpractice, this technique will shift significant unprotected securities back to your estate each year. Possible solution: establish separate LLCs for different equity classes and fund partial interests in each to separate rolling GRATs so the leakage retains some measure of protection.
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