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How You Can Avoid Probate

Posted October 12, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
An estate planning attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of probate and give you an idea of the probate costs and time frames in your jurisdiction. If you decide you want to avoid probate, here are the principal ways to do it: 1.  Create a revocable living trust (RLT) and transfer your assets into it.  If you name yourself as the trustee, you will keep control over the assets. You can amend or revoke the trust at any time. When you die, the assets pass to your beneficiaries outright or in trust as you have specified in the trust document without going through probate. This method gives you the most flexibility but is the most expensive.

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Situations in Which Probate Might Make Sense

Posted October 4, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate
Although avoiding probate is a good plan for many individuals, you may decide that you want your estate to be probated if any of the following are true: 1. The cost and effort of probate avoidance exceed the expected expense of probate.  A revocable living trust is the principal tool for avoiding probate.  A revocable living trust is typically more expensive to have prepared than a simple will.  Even once it is created, the trust must be maintained until death.  The costs associated with a revocable living trust sometimes exceed the expected cost of probate.

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Should You Avoid Probate?

Posted August 11, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
One of the many decisions you will need to make about your estate plan is whether you want to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process for settling an estate after someone has died. It is also known as estate administration. The main purpose of probate is to provide inheritors of a deceased person’s property with clear title to the property. During probate, the decedent’s personal representative (also called the executor) locates the decedent’s assets, pays his or her debts, and distributes the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will or heirs specified by state law. Here are three reasons why you might prefer for your estate to pass outside probate:

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Everyone Needs a Will

Posted August 3, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
Every adult should have a will.  If you die without a will, state intestacy law will likely determine who inherits your property.  These rules are exactly the same for everybody, regardless of his or her circumstances. When you die without a will, you let your state legislators write a will for you.   Chances are their choices won’t match your desires.  Most intestacy laws leave your entire estate to your surviving spouse and/or your children.  If you have no spouse or children, your estate will probably go to your parents or siblings. Here are just a few situations that intestacy laws are not designed to handle:

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How Federal Estate and Gift Taxes Work

Posted May 17, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News

Many people are concerned that a significant portion of their estates will be consumed by federal estate tax. Federal estate and gift taxes are really a single tax on the value of property transferred from one person to another. The gift tax applies to transfers during life and the estate tax to transfers on death. Estate and gift tax rates are high. However, very few gifts and estates are actually taxed because of generous exemptions, exclusions, and deductions. The Estate Tax Lifetime Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Each individual is entitled to transfer a certain dollar value of property without any estate (or gift) tax liability. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 doubled the estate tax exemption to approximately $11 million. The exemption is indexed for inflation and is expected to rise each year. In 2025, the exemption will be cut in half to its 2017 level unless Congress enacts a new law. The amount of the exemption is reduced by any taxable gifts you have made during your life. Because of the exemption, less than .1 percent of estates will be subject to estate tax. That translates into fewer than two thousand estates per year.

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PPP deadline extended to May 31

Posted March 29, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
Thousands of small businesses scrambling to stay afloat as a result of COVID-19 are getting extra time to apply for PPP loans. By a 92-7 margin, on Friday, the Senate passed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 (“Act”), extending until May 31 the deadline for Paycheck Protection Program applications. The PPP was scheduled to sunset Wednesday, a timeline that could have prevented some 190,000 small businesses who have pending PPP applications from securing a loan. Previously, on March 16, the House passed the Act, by a 415-3 vote. This was a rare show of overwhelming bipartisan support! The Act also gives the SBA an additional 30 days beyond May 31 to process those loans. The Act now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.

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PPP Likely Extended to May 31

Posted March 19, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Health Law, News
Small businesses got some good news on Tuesday, when the House of Representatives voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program for two months. On Tuesday, the House passed the PPP Extension Act of 2021, by a 415-3 vote. It would extend the program to May 31, instead of the current date of March 31, and give the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process loans. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved. It's clear that the most vulnerable small businesses will need help beyond March 31, so we must pass this extension as quickly as possible," said Sen. Cardin in a Thursday statement. "This common sense, bipartisan bill will meet the continued demand for PPP loans by giving small businesses two more months to apply and giving SBA an additional month to process the loan applications by June 30."

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New PPP FAQs – Good News for Necessity Requirement

Posted March 12, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
As addressed in previous Legal Beats, in order to qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) second draw loan, the borrower must demonstrate that they had a 25% reduction in gross revenues, comparing a 2020 calendar quarter to a comparable 2019 calendar quarter (i.e., comparing the 2nd quarter of 2020 to the 2nd quarter of 2019, 3rd quarter to 3rd quarter, etc.), in order to qualify for a PPP second draw loan.  As was the case with PPP first draw loans, borrowers must certify in good faith that “current economic uncertainty makes the loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the borrower”.  Originally, during the early days of the PPP program, the “necessity” requirement created much uncertainty, as numerous large businesses, such as Shake Shack and Ruth Chris Steakhouse, applied for and obtained tens of millions dollars of PPP loans, resulting in the SBA reminding borrowers of their good faith certification of necessity. As a result, in a FAQ issued by the SBA last spring, it stated that loans with an original principal balance of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the PPP loan request in good faith. 

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PPP Update - New Rule Good News for Schedule C Filers

Posted March 8, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
The US Small Business Administration (“SBA”) recognizes that many independent contractors and sole proprietors were not able to borrow sufficient funds because their net income, as opposed to their gross income, was nominal, resulting from the incurrence of ongoing operating expenses, regardless of the economic impact the COVID-19 crisis was having on their business. As a result, the SBA issued a new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Interim Final Rule (“Rule”) on March 3, 2021, which will permit independent contractors and sole proprietors who file Schedule C Business form as part of their 1040 Income Tax return to to base their PPP Loan upon their “gross income” (line 7 of Schedule C), for their first draw PPP loan, if no loan has yet been received and/or for their second draw PPP loan, if the first loan has been received and used.  The gross income reported on line 7 will still be capped at the same $100,000 as was net profit, so the maximum loan a Schedule C taxpayer may receive remains at $20,833 ($100,000 x 20.833%). 

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Biden Administration Takes Steps to Promote Equitable Access to SBA Relief

Posted February 22, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
On Monday, February 22, President Biden announced the following changes to SBA's coronavirus relief programs to ensure equity: Specifically, on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 am ET, SBA will establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. This will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires on March 31, 2021. SBA also announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. While these changes are being implemented, SBA will work with community partners to improve the emergency relief “digital front door” and conduct extensive stakeholder outreach. And, SBA will strengthen its relationships with lender partners to advance equity goals, deliver funding efficiently, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. SBA will:

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