Why You Should Never Buy Your Will From Living Social or Groupon… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Hello:

The weather is awesome, finally cooling down. I hope to get out and walk to begin, in earnest, training for my 60 mile walk in November. I still have time to train but have been remiss in getting in more training this summer.  I was inspired in reading a story about a man in his 80s, from Sacramento, who walked the equivalent of the circumference of the earth. He gained many health benefits, lost weight and became more mobile. He’s a great example and I plan to get in gear and hopefully walk every day. My dogs will be happy and I will be healthier.

If you think you need an estate plan, come see us. We make it easy, and give you the time necessary to create a comprehensive plan, you know…the one that meets your specific needs, not a cookie cutter, generic plan that you get at cut rate. There is a time and place for groupon, but creating a meaningful estate plan that will work for your family falls far out of the realm of the discount shopping.  Do yourself and your family a favor, and plan with an expert who will guide and help you navigate the complexities of the legal and tax consequences of planning.

Until next time,

Christine

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Why You Should Never Buy Your Will From Living Social or Groupon

Of the handful of major life events that require your serious consideration, few are as emotionally charged as how to leave your assets for loved ones at the time of your death. This often complex process is accomplished via testamentary documents such as wills and trusts, which have recently become available for purchase online as standard forms.

The assets you have acquired during your life and the ways that you own them are often far more complex than a standard legal document or online service can anticipate.  When you make that all important decision to create a will or put your assets into a trust, you need an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you so that your wishes for life and death can be carried out without risk of your family getting stuck in court or conflict, when it’s too late.

Your incapacity or death will be an emotional time for your family. During this time, they need guidance, not a set of documents, which may not have even been kept up to date or adequately cover after-acquired assets.

In certain cases such as being married multiple times, having minor children, or owning a small business, legal assistance is especially necessary.

There may also be a variety different tax or asset protection implications for your inheritors. The right lawyer can advise you on the best way to handle the different assets you own such as real estate, investments, a small business, or personal property.

Is a trust right for your situation? Is there a way to transfer an asset before you pass, so that it will be protected from claims, creditors or taxation? Groupon can’t help you with that.

You may save money initially if you have a simple, small estate with few assets by just using a form that you find online. However, if you become incapacitated before death, your family could get stuck with a long drawn out court process, as they attempt to get control of your financial assets. And, if your document is unclear, contestable, or wholly or partially invalid, it’s your family who will be paying the price down the road.
Speak with us about creating an estate plan that protects you and your loved ones.

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Why Startups Need Lawyers, Not Legal Templates … The Christine Chronicles

Serene Lake KayakingHappy Friday:

The summer is winding down and we have nothing planned this weekend. Nice after what seems like a full agenda for months. Daniel will be returning to school soon and we will end our summer together with our annual trip to Serene Lakes. This will be our 6th year at the lake, and likely our last as the kids are now all grown and going in different directions. Bittersweet that this tradition will likely end in two weeks. We are grateful for the very fond memories of our very happy times together at our “boathouse” on Serene Lakes.  Here’s a picture from a past trip.

Moving on to new, exciting adventures in business? Establishing a relationship with a trusted business attorney will ease the inevitable bumps in the road and expected growing pains you experience in a new and hopefully expanding venture. Such a relationship can ease and actually help avoid the pain of costly mistakes.  Investing in this relationship is an investment in a healthy business.

Until next time,

Christine

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Why Startups Need Lawyers, Not Legal Templates

When growth and funding are top priorities, it is wise to not let legal soundness fall to the wayside. Not surprisingly, 1 in 10 startups fails due to overlooked legal issues. Without a lawyer looking out for your best interests, it’s easy to miss common legal mishaps that pose a threat to any startup.

Mistake #1: Many startups rely on legal templates easily downloadable online to “cover their bases” and save money. What seems like a wise choice from an economic perspective can lead to significant liability if you don’t know what you are doing. Tax forms and incorporation documents might be free to download, but most entrepreneurs don’t have the legal know-how to be sure the forms are being utilized properly. Minor errors or oversights in those free legal templates can spell disaster down the road in the form of lawsuits or worse.

Solution: Enlist the expertise of an expert, like a Creative Business Lawyer®, to act as your trusted legal counsel. Adding this expert to your startup team will do so much more than simply handling legal documents such as terms of agreements, employee contracts, owner and vendor contracts. For a brand new startup it might seem overwhelming to invest in the cost of ongoing legal counsel, but the cost is nothing compared to the cost of losing your business altogether due to simple legal mistakes.

Startups need legal protections from the many risks all businesses face. When your focus is on growth and development, be sure to put developing an ongoing relationship with a trusted legal advisor at the top of the priority list. Online templates are no substitute for personalized legal counsel from a trusted business lawyer who will anticipate issues before they become problems and provide tailored guidance as your startup grows.

If you want to protect your business interests, limit your liabilities, and ensure your business is poised for growth, start by sitting down with us, as your Creative Business Lawyer®. We are experienced in helping new and established entrepreneurs achieve success through careful financial and legal planning. As your Creative Business Lawyer®, we can establish a sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax system for your business so you can focus on increasing revenue and enjoy the benefits entrepreneurship.

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Facing Grief After the Death of a Loved One Can Be the Key to a Life of Health and Wholeness – Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Happy Monday:

We had a low key weekend….sorta. I held a garage sale with a friend and fellow Komen 3 day walker to fundraise for our trip in November, and most importantly, to get rid of junk, which I did.  It feels great to let go of the “stuff” we have accumulated over the years, superfluous in our daily lives. Very liberating.

Losing someone close is always devastating. Today, I read about Prince Harry’s revelation that much of his pent up hostility and poor decision making related to his inability to properly grieve the loss of his mother, Princess Diana.  Working with you to create a comprehensive estate plan will, in and of itself, make it easier for those you love the most.  A thorough estate plan removes the burden from your family and allows them the freedom to address loss and move forward.

Until next week

Christine E. Faulkner

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Facing Grief After the Death of a Loved One Can Be the Key to a Life of Health and Wholeness

If you have ever met someone who repeatedly sabotaged their life or seemed to have a hard time moving things forward, despite the best of intentions, it may be that they were dealing with unprocessed grief. Most people have never been taught to deal with grief and as a result are stuck dealing with confusing emotions, relationships that don’t work and lives that can feel like they just don’t work.

This relationship between facing grief and being able to move through it in a healthy way was discussed at length by Prince Harry in a recent podcast with Bryony Gordon of Mad World. In the interview, Prince Harry addressed his personal struggle with dealing with the loss of his mother, grief he spent 20 years denying.

Raised in the spotlight, in a culture where keeping up appearances and holding it together are paramount, Prince Harry struggled through early adulthood and didn’t know why. A few very public drunken escapades and the expectation that feelings were not to be discussed led Harry to a very dark place. Some blamed it on traumatic experiences he’d had while serving in Afghanistan, but deep down Harry knew that wasn’t the cause.

His rage grew and he had no outlet. Thankfully, he started talking – to family members and to a therapist. And things began to shift. He slowly realized that the public grieving he was forced to do as a child did not adequately release his intense emotions. He took up boxing to deal with his anger and started a non-profit organization to help others, passionate about spreading the word that grief should not be suppressed.

Prince Harry discovered that simple and honest conversation about death and grief were the key to healing. In doing so, he processed his feelings and moved on from the death of his mother in a healthy way. Now he enjoys helping others move through grief and other painful emotions by listening to their problems, a technique he says is sometimes all you need to face grief and gain clarity of mind about your feelings.

Clarity in the face of grief is important not only to keep moving forward in your life and process your emotions in a healthy way, but it’s also necessary to be able to make the important decisions often faced when someone dies – and often not considered until it’s too late. The unfortunate result is a tough transition when a loved one dies.

What we can learn from Prince Harry’s experience is that grief should never be ignored. Denial can contribute to self-destructive behavior and an avoidance of dealing with important issues, such as how a loved one’s wishes should be carried out.

To be proactive and reduce the strain on your family when you die, so that they can focus on moving through the grief instead of stuffing the feelings so they can deal with all of the “stuff” you’re leaving behind, create a comprehensive estate plan that makes it easy for the people you love. Doing so will allow your family to focus on processing their grief without having to worry about over-managing your estate.

If you are ready to take that step toward making things as easy as possible for the people you love in the event of your incapacity or death, start by sitting down with us. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can walk you through creating an estate plan that will protect what you value most. We always begin with a  Family Wealth Planning Session so you can get informed, educated and empowered to make the right choices for the people you love. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most, and how your affairs should be handled when you die.

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The Unexpected Costs of Caring for Elderly Parents in Your Home- Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Happy Monday:

I’ve had an eventful week, with a successful petition and probate court last week which was great. I also attended the grand opening of the Riverside Sports Bar in Greenhaven on Saturday night with a really fun band, great food and lots of people. Got to spend some time with friends and family.

Family is the most important relationship. As a result, you may end up caring for your parents in your home which brings a myriad of complex issues. Securing good “in home ” care, even on a part-time basis will help you maintain your own physical and mental well-being. please consider contacting “Right at Home” for such services. They provide services all over the Sacramento area and are highly qualified to assist your family. If this situation is looming on the horizon for you, today we describe just a few considerations when weighing your options.

Until next time,

Christine Faulkner

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The Unexpected Costs of Caring for Elderly Parents in Your Home

 

Multi-generational households are becoming the new (or maybe it’s really old) in vogue way to handle the care of aging parents. And we’re all for it so long as you consider the implications and set your family up for success.

With Mom or Dad moving in, you can anticipate some extra expenses, not just financially, but possibly emotionally as well. But it’s hard to know what to expect, and you might face costs you didn’t see coming. Having an elderly parent move in with you is a major life event that requires financial and emotional preparation. Here are some unexpected costs of caring for elderly parents to get you thinking about what lies ahead, if you decide to move mom or dad into your home.

Remodeling

Many people don’t think about the modifications they might need to make to their home to welcome an elderly parent. If your parent is living with you long-term, you will want to make him or her comfortable, which might entail adding a new addition to your home, creating a private living space out of a shared area, making accommodations for single-level living if your parent cannot navigate the stairs, or adding mobility adaptations such as a walk-in bath or chair lifts.

Lost Work Productivity

Moving your elderly parent in, helping him or her get acquainted with the area, and checking out activities can all eat into your work week. Expect further loss of productivity if you have to take your parent to run errands, to medical appointments, or to therapy sessions. You can look into senior transportation services if you are unable to take time off from work, but remember to budget for the extra expense.

Home Help

In-home care can be a significant expense, but unless you are able to take time away from your busy day, your elderly parent might need it. Long-term care insurance will sometimes cover some or all of the costs, and you might be able to get assistance from certain programs through the VA or other community organizations.

Miscellaneous Household Expenses

The costs of simply having another household member can be unexpectedly high, especially if that member spends most of his or her day at home. You should expect such extra expenses as increased heat and electricity bills, special foods, and personal care products. Remember that elderly parents have special needs, and those needs can be expensive.

Medical Expenses

Even with insurance, your parent might have steep out of pocket costs for co-pays, prescriptions, mobility aids, supplements, vitamins, and other uninsured medical expenses. For certain conditions, these costs can quickly add up.

Long-Term Expenses

As your parent ages, his or her needs will change, too. These changing needs can result in unexpected long-term costs. When your parent’s retirement funds are exhausted or when they face deteriorating health, you might have to consider the staggering costs of long-term care in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Therapy

Moving mom or dad into your home could bring up all of the unresolved emotional issues that have not yet been addressed within your family dynamic. This isn’t something to be afraid of, so long as you have the right support. On the contrary, it can be a great opportunity to heal inter-generational wounds that would otherwise get passed on to you and your children and their children.

Caring for an elderly parent can result in unexpected expenses and unexpected benefits, as well. Now that they have become dependent on you, you might also need to consider making changes to your insurance policies or revising your estate plan. If you are ready to take the step of officially becoming caregiver for mom or dad, meet with us for guidance.

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you prepare for the unexpected costs (and reap all the benefits) of caring for an elderly parent. We begin all planning with a Family Wealth Planning Session to get to know you, what’s important to you, and to support you to make the most informed, educated and empowered decisions possible for yourself and the people you love. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your entire family is taken care of.

 

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Growing Family? Time to Audit Your Insurance Policies – Christine’s Family Wealth Series

Hello-

We spent a relaxing weekend, mostly catching up on sleep as we are still recovering from our trip. On Saturday night, we attended a fun event at Sierra Vista Winery, in the foothills near Somerset. We enjoyed a lovely evening of music, wine tasting and best of all, eating almost everything in sight at the lobster feed. The table was truly a sight to behold with the most colorful cuisine laid out before us. Words can’t do this justice, so I’ve attached a few photos.

The beautiful sunset over the winery

The beautiful sunset over the winery

They dumped the lobster, corn and potatoes right on the table!

They dumped the lobster, corn, shrimp and potatoes right on the table!

Asset protection is a major focus here at Cava & Faulkner. As your family grows, so do your insurance needs. Insurance is just one of several forms of asset protection. We are fortunate to partner with many stellar insurance professionals within our community and are happy to connect you to ensure that you and your family are fully protected.  Give us a call and we are happy to assist you!

Until next time,

Christine E. Faulkner 

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Growing Family?

Time to Audit Your Insurance Policies

As your family size grows, there is lots to prepare for and consider. Welcoming a new family member can be a joyous occasion, and requires some planning. Adding a new family member can affect your finances and create a need for more protections. Reassessing your insurance coverage might not be at the top of your list, but policies should always be audited when changes in your family life occur to ensure your coverage will adequately protect your growing family. Remember this: insurance says I love you to the people you love.

Life Insurance

It’s always a good idea to increase your life insurance coverage whenever you add a new member to your family. Life insurance can provide your loved ones with valuable financial support when you die. Determining the right type and amount of life insurance coverage takes assessing your current financial standing and the future financial needs of your family. As your family grows, future financial needs will as well. Think long-term, take into account inflation and any expected big-ticket investments, such as education over the years, plus the needs of a single parent or named legal guardians to care for your children, if you pass on while they are unable to care for themselves.

And always remember that you can name legal guardians to care for the education and health of your children, while directing your insurance to pay to a trust for the benefit of your children, with a separate trustee named to care for the finances. This Trustee would work together with your named guardians to make decisions in the best interest of your children, until they could receive and control the inheritance themselves.

Homeowner’s Insurance

For some, a bigger family means a bigger home. If you are purchasing a new home or building a new addition to your current home, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your homeowner’s policy. Key factors to look for include whether your existing policy has sufficient coverage to repair or replace your home and whether your policy would replace your belongings if necessary. Also, consider adding riders to your existing policy to cover things like damage from natural disasters, which standard policies typically don’t cover.

Auto Insurance

You might need a larger or safer car to meet the needs of your growing family. A new car can affect your auto insurance rates, so check with your provider before you make a new purchase to see how your rates may change. Also, some auto insurance providers offer policy discounts for married couples, so talk to your agent about the discounts you may qualify for.

Parents want to protect their family from the unexpected. Insurance can help provide this protection, but you need to tailor your policies to meet your family’s needs. Periodically review your insurance policies as your family grows to make sure you have optimal protection for what you value most. And, use us to support you.

If you’re growing your family and want to protect your loved ones, consider sitting down with us. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can walk you through creating a comprehensive Kids Protection Plan®.

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How to Achieve Sustainable Business Growth… The Christine Chronicles

Hello-

It’s been a tough week, with the heat and jet lag. Here’s picture of our dining view of the georgous Alps, from our trip to Europe with the boys.

Lunch. Alps

 

I am ready for the weekend. We are attending a lobster feed tomorrow outside- oh boy!.  Not sure if there is anything I could chose to wear that would be comfortable in what I understand will be a very warm evening!  The good news is that there will be plenty of wine and food as the event will be held at a winery in El Dorado!  Should be fun.

Check out the article about sustaining your business, now that you are up and running.  Expanding your business base is good for long term stability.

Stay cool this weekend!

Christine

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How to Achieve Sustainable Business Growth

You’ve put in the time to get your business off the ground and now you’re up and running. You have a product or service that’s selling well, team support to keep everyone happy and a proven income model.

Congratulations! You’ve overcome the biggest obstacle to business sustainability.

Surviving the startup phase is often the toughest obstacle. If you’ve made it through that, you’re ready to take the next logical step on the road to sustainability: growth.

There are many ways to expand your business, so read on to discover the next step that will be right for you.

Open Another Location. While this method isn’t a sure thing and should be carefully considered, proper planning and research can significantly increase your chance of raising your growth potential.

Consider franchising. Franchising is an excellent way to expand your business without having to put the same amount of time, money, and sweat equity you did when you first started. Franchising isn’t for everyone, though. You need a clean-running internal operating system (think scalability) and clear leadership vision to make franchising successful. Plus, franchises must follow very specific rules around disclosure and sale to franchisees. Contact us for support.

Begin licensing. Licensing can be a low-risk and low-cost way for service or branded product-based businesses to grow. But don’t jump in without consulting with a skilled creative business lawyer. Intellectual property rights are the key here; you have to protect your interests diligently in order to grow—and not compromise—your business. We can help.

Gain allies. Alliances can be mutually beneficial—if you are smart about whom you approach. Find someone in the industry that already has an impressive client base. And don’t be turned off by the prospect of paying commissions. Dramatically growing your clientele doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen a lot quicker if you tap into that of another industry leader. Remember to document all of your agreements with allies, and don’t simply rely on handshake deals that could turn allies into enemies down the road.

Diversify. Diversification can increase your income streams and counteract slow periods in your fiscal year. It can also help you to reach a larger audience and increase your market presence, something that can work to your advantage when attracting major retailer allies.

Infiltrate new markets. Think outside your market. Are there other markets you can reach? Take your service or product where it hasn’t gone before—just make sure you are going into a market where there’s demand.

Welcome the government as your newest customer. Government contracts are hard to win—they take planning, patience, and compliance—but the U.S. government is the largest consumer in the world. And, once you secure a government bid, future submissions won’t be such a process.

Join forces. Merge with or acquire another business, so you can appropriate its client-base and resources.

Expand online. The internet can be your biggest ally in your path to growth. Tap into the unlimited exposure available online where your potential customers number in the millions. With so much potential for success comes potential for failure, too. You need to be targeted and strategic, or you will be lost in a sea of competitors. And, of course comply with all FTC rules and regulations. We can help here too.

Go global. You’ll need to expand online before you tackle this step, but when you do, you realize the immense potential of being a global brand. Two things are key here: make sure your marketing is culturally aware, and find a trusted international distributor. Nail these, and global expansion will be the last frontier for your business.

The key to smart business growth is planning. If you are ready to take the next step toward sustainable business growth, begin by sitting down with us as your Creative Business Lawyer®. We are here to help you face the many challenges of owning and growing a business. We are experienced in helping small business owners grow their business through calculated legal and financial moves. If you’re ready to get smart about growing your business, we can help.

 

 

 

 

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Your Rights as the Parent of a Young Adult – What You Need to Know – Christine’s Family Wealth Series

Hi:

Just returned from a  2 week grad trip with the boys to France, Picture4Switzerland and Italy.     We had a great trip, lots of driving, but a great trip. We visited Antibes in the south of France, and Eze was particularly beautiful. This is a medieval city on a hilltop, built in the 11th century or so. We hiked down (nice but tough on the knees) and then back up (nightmare) the Nietzsche Path, which is about 1.2 miles down from Eze to the Mediterranean. The dip in the azure sea was welcomed.  More about our travels next week but here are a few photos from Eze.

Cameron celebrating his 18th birthday. The whole restaurant serenaded him!

Cameron celebrating his 18th birthday. The whole restaurant serenaded him!

Cameron turned 18 while we were in Lyon France. This was another reminder to me of the importance of completing his incapacity planning. He is now legally an adult, which means as a parent, I no longer have any rights to control his legal or financial affairs, or medical decision making. Even more frustrating to many parents is the inability to even obtain information about their child, and this is especially true in the medical arena.  Should your child chose NOT to allow you to communicate with physicians or medical providers, you have no recourse.  Young adults are not in the best position, based in limited life experience, to make such decisions on their own.  Consider making it your priority to get incapacity planning in place for your adult children, at least until they are married or have a significant other in their lives.

We can get this done for you quickly and conveniently,especially if you have a child leaving the state for college.

Until next time,

Christine E. Faulkner

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Your Rights as the Parent of a Young Adult – What You Need to Know 

As a parent, you are most likely quite accustomed to managing the legal and medical affairs of your children, as circumstances require. If your child requires urgent medical attention while away from you, a simple phone call authorizing care usually can do the trick. But what happens when those “children” turn 18, and are now adults in the eyes of the law, and need of urgent medical attention far from home?

The simple fact is that the day your child turns 18, he or she becomes an adult, and have the legal rights of an adult. What this means for you is that you lose your prior held rights to make medical and financial decisions for your child, unless your child executes legal documents giving you those rights back. Without the proper legal documents in place, accessing medical information, and even being informed about your adult child’s medical condition can be difficult and in some cases, impossible.

When sending kids off to college, it is important to consider the legal implications an accident or medical emergency might have on your ability to stay informed and participate in important decision making for your young adult child. Medical professionals have a responsibility to follow the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which ensures medical privacy protection for all adults. Once your child turns 18, they are (from a legal perspective)no more attached to you than a stranger, making communication about medical issues tricky if your child is incapacitated and not able to grant permission on their own.

In most states, there are three legal documents which can make all the difference when a medical crisis strikes and your young adult child is far from home. When utilized together, they can ensure a parent or trusted adult be kept in the loop about care and treatment when a child over the age of 18 experiences a medical event while they are away at college, traveling, or living far from home. As with most legal documents, the law varies from state to state, so be sure to seek out the counsel of your Personal Family Lawyer® to determine which forms suit your situation best.

HIPAA – Essentially like a permission slip, this authorization allows your adult child to specify who is allowed access to their personal medical information. Specific information can be specifically withheld, such as drug use, sexual activity, and mental health issues can so that additional privacy can be protected if desired.

Medical power of attorney Designates an agent to make medical decisions for the young adult. This could be you, as the parent or another trusted adult. Each state has different laws governing medical power of attorney, thereby requiring different forms. Be sure to check with your Personal Family Lawyer® to be sure you are following the laws of your state, as well as the state in which your child resides.

Durable financial power of attorney -Allows the parent or another trusted adult to take care of personal business in the event the adult child is unable to do so.  This form would allow the parent to take care of such important tasks such as signing tax returns, paying bills, and accessing bank accounts for the incapacitated adult child. A durable power of attorney is indeed powerful and gives broad access to sensitive financial and legal decision making and should only be given to a trusted relative or friend.

The milestones come quickly once children graduate from high school and enter into the big, wide world away from home. As your family navigates these significant rites of passage, be sure to consult us as your Personal Family Lawyer® to determine the steps necessary to ensure excellent communication and peace of mind when a medical emergency arises. Consider including your young adult children in the process. We’re here to help your family establish the legal and medical protections you all need to live the lives you desire.

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Opening a new Location? Follow These Three Steps First- Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Happy Friday:

We held a fun, informative wine tasting event last night at Barsetti Winery in Galt, to educate on estate planning and asset protection. As a business owner, these are important concerns as well, along with  business succession and proper tax planning.  Check us out on Facebook to keep up with our event schedule. I am thinking that our next event should be at a Brewery, which should appeal to all of you guys out there.

Expansion is exciting and scary at the same time. Market research is an important foundation component for successful business growth.  Moving locations can make or break your business so do your homework before committing on this key decision.  This is a multifaceted decision extending well beyond the location, so  if this may be on your horizon, have a look at our recommendations below.

Until next time,

Christine E. Faulkner

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Opening a New Location? Follow These Three Steps First

Opening a new business location is an exciting venture. It also comes with inherent risks. A new site can increase profits and brand exposure, but it also opens up possibilities for failure. Rushing into expansion and opening a new location can do more harm than good if proper preparations are not made. Increase your chances of success by following these simple steps first:

Do Your Research
Deciding where to open a new location for your business should go beyond finding an affordable lease or the new hot retail spot. Just because your business is successful at its current location doesn’t mean it will retain its viability in a new one. Find a location where your product or service is needed but where you won’t face stiff competition. A nearby competitor shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but it should get you thinking about how you can convince potential customers or clients to choose you over them.

Test the Waters
If you can, test out your product or service in the area you are considering for a new location. Think mobile, low-investment ventures such as food trucks or kiosks. These can both increase your brand’s exposure in the new area and give you a chance to test the public’s response to your company. If the public responds positively to your business, it may be time to set up shop. But if you didn’t get the response you’d hoped for, solicit customer feedback to learn more, and carefully consider other locations.

Put the Word Out
Opening a new location doesn’t guarantee immediate success. The key to a successful opening is to create a marketing strategy that will alert potential customers to your new location. Foot traffic is great, but it can only do so much, so don’t rely on it to ensure success. Work with a marketing specialist to maximize your exposure at your new location. It takes time to build a neighborhood reputation, even if you have another successful location. Expect to invest in marketing while your new site is getting established.

A new location for your business can be a profitable venture if you are strategic and prepare well. Following these steps can reduce your risk of costly mistakes and free up your time and creative energy to can hit the ground running toward great success.

If you are ready to open a new business location, start by sitting down with a Creative Business Lawyer®. As your Creative Business Lawyer®, we will guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including when and where to open a new location. We look out for your business’s legal and financial future so you have time and energy to focus on growth and expansion.

 

 

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Commit to Your Estate Plan Before Committing to a Trip Away… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Hello:

Family vacations are standard operating procedure for summertime. The kids are out of school and the weather is warm. Before embarking on your family time, please seriously consider scheduling an appointment at our office to put your planning in place.

We’re planning our own summertime adventure and I often reflect on those days while traveling with Dave, wondering what would happen to my children if something happened us and we had no plan in place. It kept me up at night and if you have no plan, you probably wonder what would happen to your family as well. Give us a call and we will get you on the calendar for this very important appointment.

Until next time,

Christine

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Commit to Your Estate Plan Before Committing to a Trip Away

If you are planning a vacation, you probably have a lot to prepare for before you get away. Between structuring your itinerary, getting plane tickets or train reservations, and booking hotels, creating an estate plan is probably not something you thought to add to your to-do list. But, think again and consider that now is the time to take action on this vital piece of your legal life planning.

If something were to happen to you while away on vacation, whether an illness, injury or even death, your family would be stuck with a huge mess to clean up.

The Barber family of Southern California is an unfortunate example. Mom, dad and three kids went on a roadtrip to Arizona where they were in a terrible accident. Mom and dad died, and their three boys were injured, but alive.

It took the authorities a couple of days to locate any relatives, during which time the boys were in the protective custody of strangers. A fate no parent ever wants for their children in a time of tragedy, fear and grief.

The family member that was located first was a sister of the mom and she promptly took the boys back to her home and didn’t let any other family members see the boys.

It took many hundreds of thousands of dollars and at least 7 lawyers to sort out the family fighting that ensued over both the boys and the assets left behind by the Barber parents.

And it all could have been easily avoided with a small amount of planning in advance.
 
Making the commitment now to create a comprehensive estate plan will ensure your loved ones will not be stuck in court or conflict, if the unexpected happens while you are on vacation.

At least 8 weeks before you leave, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with us. During that Session, we’ll get you more financially organized than you’ve ever been before (ensuring none of your assets are lost if you are injured on your vacation) and guide you to make informed, empowered and educated choices for yourself and the people you love most.

Whatever you do, do not just think a standard set of estate planning documents will serve you or your family. What you and your family need is a plan that properly addresses the care of your children (if you have minors at home), your assets and the parts of your life that go beyond just the money. We can explain more during the Family Wealth Planning Session.

We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love.

 

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What Happens to Your Body When You Die? The Choice Can Be Yours… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

 

Hi:

Well, ever so slowly we’re making progress on clearing our property. This has been, and continues to be, such a weird weather year (for instance it appears that it may rain again today), which makes it difficult to keep the grass and weeds at bay. However, I’d like to say that we are almost done, which means we can spend our weekends having fun as a family rather than performing continuous yard work. Yippee!!

Today we bring an interesting, albeit unusual topic. If you’ve ever lost a loved one or someone close to you, you know that one of the hardest decisions to make is burial vs. cremation vs. donation. You, like many people, may find this subject distasteful and scary. At Cava & Faulkner, we understand this. We incorporate this important decision making into every planning session because were all about empowering our clients to make the very best decisions to make things easy for the people you love the most!

Until next time,

Christine

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What Happens to Your Body When You Die? The Choice Can Be Yours

Many of us are too afraid of death to carefully consider what happens to our bodies after we die. Unfortunately, failing to plan for that event can leave your wishes unattended to and your family grief struck and unsure how to honor your wishes. And the larger truth is that facing your death proactively creates a better life now.

There are many options for disposal of the body when you die, including burial, cremation, and donation to science. These are difficult decisions to consider, especially if you aren’t familiar with the standard body-handling practices used in our society today.

A humorous—and possibility lighthearted—way to learn about these practices is to read Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (New York, Norton, 2003), which explores the how and why of what happens to bodies when people die.

In Stiff, Roach takes us on a journey—albeit an unconventional one—to see what happens to human cadavers. From surgical practice to crash test dummies, donated—or unclaimed—bodies make significant contributions to many fields of research. But let’s say donating your body to science is not what you had in mind. Roach also touches on the other options we have such as traditional grave burials and cremation. And within those choices lie other choices such as the type of casket, where the body will be kept prior to funeral proceedings, and how ashes are distributed.

Stiff provides an entertaining and educational look at death and the practicalities surrounding it, which leads to the important issue of including your wishes in your estate plan. Most people don’t want to leave their loved ones with so many unanswered questions. Creating a comprehensive estate plan ahead of time is a way to ensure your family members are not left with such a burden.

You get to decide what will happen to your body after you die, but to ensure your family can carry out your wishes faithfully, you will want to work with a lawyer to clarify your choices in your estate plan.

You have many options including:

Donate your body to science. You can even specify a particular medical school, university program (called Willed Body Programs) or research organization you want to receive your body. Roach reviews many uses for human cadavers such as crash test dummies, surgical practice for medical students, ballistics testing, transplant experiments, and research on decomposition. You can also specify if you want to designate specific organs to go to science, Roach explains. This is something to consider for those with diseases or disorders that researchers can learn from.

Grave burial. You can specify where you want to be buried, how you want your body transported, what kind of casket you want, and how you want your burial proceedings to take place. You might need a permit if you want your body to cross state lines or travel internationally to arrive at your grave plot. If you haven’t already purchased a grave plot, now is a good time. You might also want to specify what you want printed on your gravestone.

Cremation. You can specify who will handle your cremation and who will receive your ashes. If you want your ashes brought to a particular place, used for a certain purpose (e.g. as fertilizer to grow a plant) or held in a special urn, those wishes should be clearly stated in your estate plan. While cremation can be economical for both the surviving family and the funeral director, Roach explains, many are not comfortable with the thought of their body being converted to ashes and bone fragments, and some religions even frown upon it. Consider your options, and discuss them with your family.

You might also want to include a provision regarding your funerary proceedings in your estate plan. The cost of funerals can be staggering, and the event itself can be a logistical nightmare for the family member struggling to grieve, honor your memory, and make significant decisions. Including specific provisions for your funeral can alleviate some of the burdens your loved ones will face.

When you die, your family will be left with many decisions and many tasks to carry out. It can be a confusing time leaving family members vulnerable financially or emotionally. Including specific instructions in your estate plan can ensure they are not left having to make difficult decisions at a time when they already have so much to deal with. Your family will also need the contact information for any organization(s) that will be involved in this process. Including provisions for details such as your grave plot, casket, funerary proceedings, and accounts you have set up to cover those costs can reduce the financial and emotional strain on your loved ones significantly.

Your estate plan should ensure your loved ones will be taken care of when you die. If you are ready to take the next step toward protecting your wishes and providing for your loved ones both emotionally and financially, start by sitting down with us. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can walk you step by step through creating an estate plan that will protect what you value most.

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