Conference Call: Top 10 Ways to Solidify an Estate Plan Post-Execution

Execute and shelve is not an effective approach to estate planning. McManus & Associates, a top-rated estate planning law firm celebrating 25 years of success, today revealed the “Top 10 Ways to Solidify an Estate Plan Post-Execution,” a recent installment in its Educational Focus Series. During a conference call with clients, the firm’s Founding Principal and AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus shared tips on how to build a solid and complete Estate Plan to protect and nurture your family today and for generations to come.

“To make your estate plan solid, there are numerous issues to consider and actions to be taken that extend far beyond drafting documents,” commented McManus. “Building a foundation through strategic planning and establishing the framework for one’s legacy are important steps, but until all the core elements of the structure are in place, there’s more work to do.

“Today, in the Trump Era, with all the uncertainty about where the estate tax and income tax regimes converge and diverge, it is critical to ensure that core protection work is completed as we batten down the hatches, protecting for the storm of changes most certainly on the horizon. To ignore fully completing this core work as we await changes to more complex tax issues is not the most conservative approach. In fact, some have said that to neglect core planning is tantamount to being reckless with one’s loved ones.

McManus added, “As family dynamics and the legal environment evolve, it’s particularly important after the core work is completed to revisit and revise that portion of one’s estate plan, as needed.”

LISTEN HERE for details: “Top 10 Ways to Solidify an Estate Plan Post-Execution”

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Fox Business: McManus shares advice on how to ensure a trust meets personal, financial needs

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Top-rated Attorney John O. McManus recently spoke with Bankrate Reporter Judy Martel about how to ensure a trust is set up to meet your personal and financial needs. Published today and syndicated by Fox Business, Martel’s piece, “An Irrevocable Trust That Evolves with You,” covers the keys to choosing a trust that “meets your specific needs while building in the maximum amount of flexibility allowed so that, as your needs change and evolve, you retain some power over the trust.”

In the article, Martel shares counsel from McManus:

One of the first important considerations when setting up a trust is its location, says John McManus, founder of McManus & Associates in New Providence, N.J. Some states offer better creditor protection, allow for a trust to exist for a longer period of years before becoming taxable or do not impose state income tax on trust assets. A few states, he says — notably Alaska, Delaware, South Dakota and Nevada — provide additional power to the trust creator while still protecting assets from creditors and maintaining the trust’s tax-beneficial status. Although trusts can be set up in those states regardless of where you live, it is typically more expensive.

She also draws on knowledge shared by McManus, the founding principal of McManus & Associates, to help readers understand the structure of a trust:

At the top of the triangle is the trustee, the person who has legal title to the assets in the trust and the one responsible for managing the trust, making discretionary decisions and carrying out the terms of the trust agreement. The creator can be the trustee, but generally that’s not a good idea in most states because, depending on how the trust is written, the state laws and how much discretionary power the creator has, the trust can lose its tax-beneficial status or be subject to creditors, McManus says.

Beneficiaries, the second point of the triangle, are those who will receive the beneficial interest in the trust. They can be amended, added or dropped if the creator of the trust retains the right of appointment, McManus says. “Let’s say I have two layers of beneficiaries in my trust — first to my wife and sister and then to my children and my sister’s children,” McManus says. “After I create the trust, I want to cut out one of the beneficiaries, or one of them needs more money. I have the right to choose who will receive money and how much,” he says. Even better, he adds, “I don’t have to decide that right away. That allows people to put a lot of assets in that trust when they otherwise might not because who knows how my sister’s children will turn out or how my children will turn out?”

What standards help ensure that the beneficiary’s needs are met within reason and as defined by the trust agreement?

The amount of distribution is also up to the creator of the trust. It can be controlled by the use of ascertainable standards, which restrict the trustee to distributions for the benefit of health, education, maintenance and support, says McManus…They also protect the trust from being taxed if a child beneficiary is also named as trustee, McManus says.

To learn more about how to draft an irrevocable trust properly to save in estate taxes and give you “the comfort of knowing you’ve ensured a financial future for your beneficiaries,” read the whole story here.

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“Top 10 Lessons I Learned from Mom” – McManus guest article for Fox News

 

In celebration of Mother’s Day, Fox News published an op-ed written by McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus. The piece, “A compass for the road of life: Top 10 lessons I learned from Mom,” shares reminiscences and lessons he learned from his mother. Give it a read below:

A compass for the road of life: Top 10 lessons I learned from Mom

By John O. McManus

Published May 10, 2013 | FoxNews.com

Mom. Just saying the word conjures a kaleidoscope of feelings, thoughts and memories. This woman did far more than change your diapers – she put years of time and effort to prepare you for a life marked by happiness, success and, when necessary, consolation. These ladies are weaving the fabric of society, and on May 12th, our nation comes together to celebrate the most important job that exists — being a mother.

My mother taught me more life lessons than I can count — and sometimes even put into words. But there are a core set of invaluable takeaways as her child that I strive to pass along to my own children and the hundreds of households I’ve worked with over the past two decades as an estate planning lawyer and family wealth counselor. Here are “The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned from Mom”:

1.      You only have one chance to make a good first impression – be friendly and dress up. Mom was Miss NYC in her youth, and also a performer, particularly a professional singer.  Mom taught us that everyday was a new audition, every relationship an uninitiated audience ready to be entertained.

2.      Compliment people all the time – it makes them feel good and you, too. When we were kids, and even today, Mom always makes a point to compliment others. Whether the waiter at dinner, our teacher, or the person at the front desk of the hotel, they always smiled, but I know that Mom’s joy grew in greater proportion to the compliment given.

3.      As a parent, focus on each child – in the end, you are only as happy as your least happy child. We all needed Mom more than our other siblings at various points in our lives. Until we all were happy mom was not happy, which meant more food for the hungriest, more care for the most ill.

4.      Live a life forging ahead. “There will be time for rest later” Mom would say as we drove from school to basketball then to church. Mom taught us to push through fatigue — in the end endurance is the key to success.

5.      Talk about your family history – a lot. Don’t be afraid to tell the same story twice. No one else is writing books about your family’s tales and triumphs. Mom strove to leave an indelible impression on her children. She showed us why our roots are unique and gave us pride in our family name. Today Mom brags to her grandchildren how great their parents are. In this way, Mom reinforces reasons to admire Mom and Dad, strengthening respect for the family legacy.

6.      Family starts with taking care of each other. My dad is so appreciative of my Mom’s support, care and encouragement that enabled him to have a fulfilling career with the same company for 60 years. My Mom also looked after her mother until she was 95 — whenever we moved, Nana moved too…we were never more than five minutes away. My grandmother was lucky to have my mother and vice-versa; they were best friends.

7.      Regret often stems from failing to take a risk. Pursue your passions, step outside of your comfort zone — many of your limits are self-imposed, and you can transcend them to reach your goals. Mom would say, “If you take a risk and win, it was worthwhile. If you take a risk and lose, you’ve learned a lesson.” The only true failure comes from lack of trying.

8.      Work hard, very hard – but not too hard. Mom grew up with her father’s assiduous work ethic; he built a national business from a single truck. Mom taught us that diligent work was essential, but never before family. While she never begrudged my dad for working late or missing dinner during the week, Mom held weekends, family vacation and children’s special events as absolute necessities.

9.      Sing out loud! Mom had a singing career through her 20s. Whether in the car, or at church singing always brings her much happiness. Mom would say, when it comes to doing what gives you joy, don’t hum…sing out loud! Don’t just sing alone, but among others. Let them see your passion, but also recognize the unique passions of others singing their own song.

10.  Keep the faith. My mother has been a churchgoer her whole life. Whenever the struggles hit, Mom always counted on her faith and the power of prayer. Going to church on Sundays gives her the greatest joy. Speaking with the churchgoers afterwards is equally rich to Mom. Refer back to your belief basics and think positively to create the life that you want.

Moms across the map have lovingly devoted themselves to imparting lessons that provide a compass on the road of life. The legacy of family values you hold close today started generations ago. On Sunday, as you take the time to stop and say thanks to the woman you call “Mom,” recognize not only what she’s taught you, but also that she’s prepared you to add to the legacy.

John O. McManus is a top AV-rated trust and estate planning attorney and founding principal of Tri-State Area-based McManus & Associates.

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