How to Make Your First Million by Age 40… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


Another soggy weekend come and gone. Personally, I really like all of this cold and wet weather and am looking forward to getting up to the mountains before too long.  I’ll bet with the amount of snow we’ve had, it is absolutely gorgeous.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and our frequent family trips up the hill to hit the slopes.  Snow, snow, snow.  There was never any talk of “no snow”, but then again, I was a kid and who paid attention to that kind of thing?

Nevertheless, my heart goes out to the many, many people facing the potential of flooding and for those already under water.  It’s truly a case of when it rains it pours and I hope a break in the weather is on the horizon.

Today’s article is about making your fortune by the time you’re 40.  I’m constantly encouraging the young people I know, and who are working, to get started on their retirement planning by opening an account, and tell them if they contribute to it regularly, even if it’s $5 a month to start, they could be a millionaire!  And for those that want to be in business for themselves, following the tips below will get them on another road to the millionaire’s club.

Until next time,



How to Make Your First  Million by Age 40

Being in your 20s or 30s doesn’t mean financial success is decades away. In fact, earning big money is often even more possible when in your “growing up” years because most people are a lot more willing (and able) to take risks before they get bogged down with the “realities” of life.

While the old adage of “a penny saved is a penny earned” is applicable when you are talking about slowly growing a nest egg, incremental saving is usually an impractical route to millionaire status.

Many self-made millionaires in their 30s maintain that working smart and working hard can bring you from just making ends meet to a 7-figure income in as little as a decade. Focusing on these steps at any age can set you on the path to riches quickly.

Expand Your Earnings
Think big. Working a typical 9-5 schedule likely won’t make you a millionaire. Find ways to boost your income. Get creative and consider ways to make money on the side, start to create passive income streams, and start a business.

Many self-made millionaires have several streams of earned income, “passive” income and investment income. Multiple income streams can get you on the fast track to 7-figure status.

Invest Your Money
Saving is important, but it won’t launch you into millionaire status by your 40s. Elon Musk, famed tech billionaire, invested all his proceeds from his sale of Zip2 (which was the basis for PayPal). Instead of spending the money or putting it in savings, Musk, then just in his late-20s, invested every penny back into his next business ventures and even had to borrow money to pay his rent.

Musk’s strategy of investing rather than spending is tried and tested. Grant Cardone, another self-made millionaire, recalls he was still driving a Toyota Camry when he made his first million because he was putting everything he made back into his businesses.

Adopt a Money Making Mindset
Building financial wealth isn’t all hands-on work. Adopting the right mindset is just as powerful. Consider why you want to build wealth and let that desire guide your goal setting. Along the same lines, don’t set limits. Building financial wealth quickly requires big thinking, big goals and big actions.

Mingle With Like Minds
Networking with like minds is a powerful catalyst for success. Creative, intelligent and motivated individuals like you will best serve and inspire your interests. And, even more important than networking, get coaching, guidance and support from mentors and coaches who have been where you want to go. Otherwise, your subconscious limited thinking could get the best of you and keep you from achieving your dreams OR keep you from seeing the mindset pitfalls that could be holding you back.

Build Your Self Worth Before You Build Your Net Worth
Ultimately, making a lot of money won’t make you into the person you truly want to be. Money simply amplifies who you are, so if you aren’t already who you want to be, focus there first. Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost in the money focus and forget that money comes and goes, but who you are and how you are in the world is what’s truly most important.

Make Smart Decisions
Once you do begin earning a lot of money, it’s easy to become obsessed with keeping it and afraid of losing it, especially if you haven’t been raised by parents with great financial habits.

This is why we believe that every family should have the benefit of a Personal Family Lawyer® on their family wealth advisory team.  And, ideally, that relationship builds before you are earning big income so that you can build the relationship overtime, creating trust and then we can guide you as you face each critical juncture and life stage along the way.

Whether you intend to make millions, or you have more modest financial goals, your family wealth includes so much more than just your money. It also makes up your intellectual, spiritual and human capital. It’s our job to help you understand the full picture of your family wealth and allocate it properly throughout your lifetime and beyond.

Posted in Building Wealth, Entrepreuner, Financial, Investing, Retirement, Success | Comments Off on How to Make Your First Million by Age 40… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Does Your Parent Need Help With Finances? Start Here… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets.


My spirits are soaring with the warm weather.  I am thrilled that we finally have blue skys even if just for a few days. The wet weather and overcast was a bummer. Driving to Stockton today I saw the derailed train cars just south of Dillard road. That really brings home just how much water has come down in the past weeks.  The Oroville Dam situation is also quite alarming, so again, thankful for the break in the rain.

That transition from your parents helping you to you now helping your parents is a paradigm shift. Noticing those subtle changes as your parent ages and offering to help can relieve the burden your parent may feel in asking for help. Having the necessary documents enabling you to take over and assist your parents is crucial to an easy transition.  We can help with incapacity planning to ensure its easy for everyone.

Until next time,



Does Your Parent Need Help With Finances? Start Here

Caring for an aging parent is a common challenge for Baby Boomers, and now even Gen-X’ers and Millennials. And, stepping in to help manage your parents’ finances, without eroding their sense of independence and privacy, can be tricky.
Many aging parents are reluctant to ask their children for help with their finances. It means a loss of control, a trading of places from them taking care of you to you taking care of them, and can signify a loss of power that feels too frightening for your parents.

Nevertheless, you may be wondering what you can do when your parents start needing help.

A pile of unpaid bills, threatening calls from creditors or repeated instances of credit card fraud or financial scams are good indicators that your parent needs help managing his or her finances.

Financial caregiving is easiest when you already have a plan in place. You may be in a good position to make educated decisions about their finances, but without the proper information and legal authority, your options are limited.

If your parent needs help, the first step is to make sure you know what they have, where it is, and how you can access it, if necessary.

Next, you want to make sure you know what bills are due, when and that their bills are being paid on time.

Unless you have the legal authority to manage your parents’ finances, you will need their help in getting access to their account and setting up auto-bill pay for them.

When you are ready, the first place to start is with a heart to heart conversation about whether your parent is ready for help and what that help could look like.

Then, if your parent is ready for help, you can ask him or her (or them) to legally designate you as either the Trustee of their trust or financial power of attorney holder, if they do not have a trust. And, be sure you are also designed as medical power of attorney, so you can make important care-giving decisions for your parent(s) if he, she or they cannot.

If your parent needs or wants help with finances, he or she may also need help with health care or the management of their estate. You can address these issues by working with a Personal Family Lawyer® who will help you develop an estate plan that considers your parent’s best interests. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we work with your family to ensure you have the authority required to help your parent with his or her finances.

This is also an opportune time for you to consider your own long-term financial planning. If you are ready to take a step toward financial peace of mind, begin by scheduling a Family Wealth Planning Session. Before the session, we’ll send you an Estate Planning Worksheet that will get you thinking about what you own, what you want to leave behind and how you want your finances to be managed if you need help. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we’ll help you establish a plan for your finances to ensure you have a plan in place when you need it down the road.

Posted in Elderly, Estate Planning, Financial, Healthcare Directives, Trusts | Comments Off on Does Your Parent Need Help With Finances? Start Here… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets.

Entrepreneurial Anguish: The Cost of Doing Business… The Christine Chronicles


Its been a crazy Friday. The train derailed in Elk Grove, right into the water, and roads are closed everywhere near us. We needed the water but sometimes enough is too much.

On this subject, running a business can be challenging at times, more so than many entrepreneurs anticipate. The mental stamina required can be overwhelming so if you are thinking of opening a business, have a look at today’s article for a bit on what may lay ahead.

Until next week!



Entrepreneurial Anguish: The Cost of Doing Business

Building a business empire, enterprise, or even just a start-up has its price. The image of the confident and charismatic CEO often falls short of reality. Before, during and after public visibility often comes personal self-doubt, anxiety and mental anguish. Many business owners don’t readily divulge the distress they feel because they don’t perceive it as a positive for the business. But it is this very mentality — that whatever you do has to be good for the business — that drives too many business owners over the edge.

This very battle was poignantly described in Jessica Bruder’s 2013 article in INC. Magazine,  “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship” Bruder goes in depth into the phenomenon of depression and suicide in the business world, a telling portrait of the stressors and burdens commonly faced. From sleepless nights to crippling anxiety, many business owners have the added pressure of supporting their families as well as the livelihood of their employees.

As a business grows, so do the responsibilities of the owner, and it is this very problem which leads so many entrepreneurs to question their worth. Bruder notes that there are steps entrepreneurs can take, however, to combat depression and anxiety in the business world, such as taking expert advice, asking for help, limiting personal investment and allowing yourself to make mistakes.

The life of an entrepreneur is complex; you face ups and downs on a daily basis. You are responsible not only for yourself but for the health and vitality of your business. A tall order for many. Following expert advice and learning about others’ struggles is a great way to stave off anxiety and depression. It is also important to do what you can to protect yourself and limit your liabilities. A good place to start is speaking with a lawyer about what you can do to protect your interests as an entrepreneur.

The internal struggles of entrepreneurs are not as publicized as their external successes or failures. The complexity of the business world is one that is best appreciated from the inside. And the rewards of owning and operating a business can be considerable.

Developing a relationship with us as your trusted Creative Business Lawyer® will help assuage some of the anxieties of being an entrepreneur. We can help navigate major changes in your business and make the best decisions regarding its future success. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your best interests are looked out for can mean the difference between struggle and success in your business endeavors. And, having a trusted advisor who understands you and your business to be an objective voice is often a critical and often overlooked keystone to creating a business that meets the needs of your life.

Posted in Business Article, Entrepreuner, Startup, Success | Comments Off on Entrepreneurial Anguish: The Cost of Doing Business… The Christine Chronicles

Three Health Care Documents You Need to Include in Your Estate Plan… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


This weekend I spent time walking my dogs, Odie and Finn, also working toward my walking training.  I walked about 4 miles on Saturday and Sunday, which raises my spirits with all the darkness and rain. We watched the Superbowl with friends yesterday and wow, what an unexpected end.  Such a great win, with grit and courage, revealing that anything can happen if you want it bad enough.

Taking care of business is what the Patriots did in the Superbowl.  Taking care of business in our estate planning always includes heathcare planning/incapacity planning.  Sometimes, for those with definite feelings on end of life decisions, putting a POLST in place makes very good sense.

Until next time,



Three Health Care Documents You Need to Include in Your Estate Plan

Decisions about your health care are some of the most important you will ever make.

Don’t put off making plans until you are unable to assert your wishes. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.

Health care documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. Here are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected:

Health Care Directive
This document allows you to name a health care agent. This will be the individual who you grant the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. A health care agent may also be called a health care surrogate or a personal representative.

In your directive, you can include specific instructions on the health care measures you desire if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. These are life and death decisions; make sure your agent is someone you trust.  Work closely with an estate-planning lawyer to ensure your directive provides clear guidelines for your agent to follow.

HIPAA Authorization
Your health care agent or personal representative will need access to your medical records in order to make educated decisions about your care. To do this, your agent will need a HIPAA authorization. This will ensure he or she has access to your medical records from HIPAA-covered health care providers.

POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is an approach to improving end-of-life care in the United States, encouraging doctors to speak with patients and create specific medical orders to be honored by health care workers during a medical crisis. The POLST document is a standardized, portable, brightly colored single page medical order that documents a conversation between a doctor and a patient with a serious illness or frailty towards the end of life. A POLST form allows emergency medical services to provide treatment a patients wants before possibly transporting a patient to an emergency facility.

These documents, if carefully crafted, will help you express and enforce your healthcare wishes, even if you cannot speak for yourself. If you want to ensure your preferences for your ongoing and end of life care are respected, contact us to discuss your options today. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can guide you to create and complete these very important health care documents so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your family will make the right choices for you, when you cannot.

Posted in Death, Estate Planning, Healthcare Directives, Quality of Life | Comments Off on Three Health Care Documents You Need to Include in Your Estate Plan… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

How to Incorporate Family Values in Your Estate Planning… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


This weekend, I embarked on my walking training for 2017.  Cameron and I laid low for most of the weekend, which I needed because I am already out of walking shape!! I walked 4 1/2 miles on Sunday and was exhausted for hours.  Hopefully my stamina returns quickly as I plan on lots of walking again this year while raising money to find a cure for breast cancer!

Being in the last of the boomer generation, the idea of passing on more than just money in my estate planning  resonates with me. Passing your values is equally important as passing your wealth, which is why we incorporate our family legacy conversation into the planning process. This is an opportunity for you to share with your loved ones your philanthropic, religious, educational and family values.  Our clients think it’s pretty cool, and we do too.

Until next time,



How to Incorporate Family Values in Your Estate Planning

Baby boomers know money isn’t the only important aspect of estate planning.

A 2012 study released by the Allianz Life Insurance, Co. showed baby boomers wanted to leave their family more than just financial assets. Researchers found baby boomers identified family values as some of the most important things to pass down to heirs.

In 2012’s economic climate, it’s no wonder family values imparted through stories, life lessons, and family possessions were at the top of the list. In an economic downturn, financial inheritances are more tenuous, unlike the abiding worth of family values. Thus, family values, tax-free of course, made the top of the list in importance.

But what is interesting is a similar study released by Allianz in 2005 which showed family values were also among the most important legacies boomers wanted to leave behind, even though the economy was more robust.

What these studies demonstrate is the enduring importance of family values, morals and meaningful possessions as part of a carefully crafted estate plan, regardless of the economic climate.

Do you have family values you wish to pass on? Of course you do. And yet you likely haven’t taken action to ensure the legacy you are leaving is the one you really want to leave behind.

Including family values in your estate plan can be easy, when it’s built into the process, though that is not the norm with most estate planning lawyers or with the DIY legal document services. Consider including written memoirs, video or audio recordings of family stories in your estate plan. These are the valuables most likely to be lost after your death. While your finances will be managed according to estate law, intangible values and lessons have no protection and are most often lost when you die.

Could you imagine how valuable it would be to hear your family history directly in the words of your grandparents, great-grandparents or even earlier generations right now?

If you want to pass down a truly holistic legacy, one that manages and preserves both your finances and your family values, start by coming in to meet with us for a Family Wealth Planning Session. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we will guide you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that protects and preserves your family’s heritage. 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 to you and what you want to leave behind.

Posted in Estate Planning | Comments Off on How to Incorporate Family Values in Your Estate Planning… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Power of Attorney – What is it and Is it Enough?.. Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


Another Monday here yet again. This weekend, one of our very tall Eucalyptus trees toppled.  The ground was just too wet and winds too high.  The wind this weekend was pretty strong where we are and I feel lucky to have lost only one tree.  At some point, we will have to get the power saw and reduce this behemoth to a manageable size, or pay someone else to do it.  The joys of being a homeowner.

Estate planning is not just about after death planning, but planning to make sure things go smoothly during your lifetime.  Incapacity planning, both legal and medical, is very important to avoid conservatorship and most court intervention allowing others to manage your legal and medical affairs if you cannot.  These documents may never be needed but will save your family thousands in conservator fees and potential court costs should you be unable to make decisions for yourself.  An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Until next time,



Power of Attorney – What is it and Is it Enough?

Power of attorney (POA) is a document that grants a specific person, called an agent, the authority to make important decisions on behalf of another person, called the principal.

There are many different kinds of power of attorney. The scope of the authority the principal grants to the agent can be very broad or quite specific. The power of attorney document specifies exactly what that authority looks like. For example, it is customary to give someone the power to make decisions about your:
•         Finances
•         Health care
•         Personal property
•         Real estate
•         Business
•         Personal and family matters
•         Lawsuits
•         Insurances and annuities
•         Taxes
•         Government benefits

The agent can be granted authority to make only financial decisions or just health care decisions. Every situation is different and calls for a customized document reflecting the wishes of the principal.

When it comes to powers of attorney, there are several options for granting decision-making authority in your life. A power of attorney cannot address all situations and is not recommended as a substitute for a Will, or a Trust.

If you are looking to give comprehensive authority to another in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself, and in the event of your death, consider executing a separate advanced health care directive for medical decisions and creating a Living Trust to hold title to your assets to meet those needs.

Financial institutions are often hesitant to accept a power of attorney and may require your family to go to Court to get access to your assets in the event you are incapacitated. And, a power of attorney will not keep your family out of Court in the event of your death.

The laws governing power of attorney vary from state to state and situation to situation. Speak with us as your Personal Family Lawyer® if you have questions about granting decision making authority to someone else. A trusting relationship with a Personal Family Lawyer®  can guide you in your estate planning, making sure all your legally documents are sound and protect your interests effectively.

Posted in Beneficiaries, Conservatorship, Death, Estate Planning, Healthcare Directives, Trusts, Wills | Comments Off on Power of Attorney – What is it and Is it Enough?.. Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Millennials and the Family Business: When New Values Meet Old… The Christine Chronicles


We the people have a new president. I hope that our new President favorably represents the American people and brings further prosperity and peace to our country, and the world.   The world has dramatically changed in the years since I began voting.  A Tweeting POTUS is well, to be expected in this day and age.  The younger generations relate and in the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “the times are a changin”.   We can all look forward to what can only be an entertaining 4 years, because President Trump will not disappoint.

Millennials march to their own drummer, at least that’s what the stats tell us. Transitioning your business to your “millennial” children or grandchildren can be a painful clash of values, not uncommon between generations. Embracing the challenge is a good first step toward wealth transfer within the family, but as important is beginning the planning process well in advance for a smooth transition of the family business.

Until next time,



Millennials and the Family Business: When New Values Meet Old

Millennials are taking their places at office desks around the nation. This burgeoning generation is just starting out, which means changes for family businesses with millennial family members who stand to inherit the family business. Of course, this scenario raises certain concerns for baby-boomer business owners as they look to the next generation of workers.

According to Patricia M. Soldano and Lauren Benenati in their article Millennials and the Family Office, “This intergenerational wealth transfer will pose significant challenges to the family office, as this generation has beliefs and views independent of their parents.” A valid point in an age of online transactions, social media, and a changing stock market. Baby-boomer business owners face potential discord as a forward thinking, tech-savvy, and somewhat self-centered generation of workers step into their family offices. The challenges only increase when it comes to intergenerational wealth transfer because it calls into question how millennials will be involved in managing that wealth while the baby-boomers are still alive.

Today, business management is steadily shifting away from the brick and mortar of the older generation and toward the web-based, social media dependent, mobile-friendly dealings of the new. How can these two generations reconcile their differences for the benefit of the family business and the preservation of family wealth? Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question. Baby-boomers  can start planning now, for the years ahead, when they may no longer have an active, participatory role in the management of the family business.

Do you have a family business with a growing workforce? As your millennial family members introduce new ideas and values about financial management to your business, consider how that will affect intergenerational wealth transfer. Consult with us as your Creative Business Lawyer® if you have questions about how to protect and preserve your wealth while at the same time ensuring your family business can thrive in the hands of even your youngest employees. We can help you make sure your business will be managed according to your wishes both now and in the future when millennials are ready to take the operational reigns.

Posted in Business Article, Business Entities, Entrepreuner | Comments Off on Millennials and the Family Business: When New Values Meet Old… The Christine Chronicles

Alert: If This Language Is In Your Trust, Your Spouse Could Get the Shaft When You Die … Check Your Plan Today!.. Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


Well, if you can believe it, the next time I write, we’ll have a new president in the White House!  Like pretty much everyone else, I’m guessing, I’m anxious to see what will happen when Candidate Trump becomes President Trump.  It’s certainly been a wild ride thus far and I suspect we’re in for a few more loop-de-loops before too long.  It’s hard to know what to expect but one thing is likely–continued anger and divisiveness coming from all sides.

We all know democracy can be, and is, a messy business.  It’s the nature of the beast.  Martin Luther King Jr. knew this yet still chose to enter the fray and stand up for what he believed to be right.  As we all know, Dr. King’s non-violent method of protest and demonstration was key to ensuring the focus remained on the message rather than on the players.  We celebrate his legacy today, 4 days before the inauguration, and I hope that as we do, we remember it is possible to stand up for what you believe in, maintain focus on the message and take the high road while doing so.

If you have a trust, especially if you’ve been married more than once, you’ll want to take a look at today’s article, which discusses what a split of assets following the death of the first spouse might mean for the surviving spouse.  It may not be what you thought, so read on…

Until next time,



Alert: If This Language Is In Your Trust, Your Spouse Could Get the Shaft When You Die … Check Your Plan Today!

If you created an estate plan that includes a living trust, you must review it to determine if it contains language that could create unnecessary cost, effort and stress for your surviving spouse.

Back in the day, when the estate tax exemption was $675,000 to $1,000,000, most living trusts were drafted to provide for a mandatory split of trust assets upon the death of the first spouse.

This was done to ensure that the full estate tax exemption was used and unnecessary estate taxes were avoided.

A split of the trust assets is still appropriate in certain circumstances, but not for the same reasons, and currently, it would not be handled in the same way.

For example, if you are in a second marriage, with children from a prior marriage, you are likely to want a split of trust assets at the first death. This ensures that the surviving spouse can use the assets of the first spouse to die during his or her life, but that the remaining assets after the death of the surviving spouse return to the children of the deceased spouse and are not diverted to a new spouse or children from a new marriage.

However, if you are in a first marriage situation, all children are from the current marriage and no additional children are likely, splitting the assets at the death of the first spouse adds significant cost and unnecessary complexity.

So, what can you do to make sure your trust still meets your needs? Have it reviewed!

First and foremost, read through your trust document to see if it includes this language:
“A pecuniary amount equal to the maximum marital deduction allowable for determining the federal estate tax payable because of the death of the Deceased Spouse reduced by the final federal estate tax values of all property interests that qualify to satisfy the marital deduction and that pass or have passed to or in trust for the Surviving Spouse, other than property interests that pass by virtue of this provision.

If, after allowing for the unified credit which has not been claimed by the Deceased Spouse for transfers made during the life of the Deceased Spouse, the amount described above is more than is necessary to eliminate any federal estate tax with respect to the estate of the Deceased Spouse, then the above described amount will be reduced by the amount needed to increase the taxable estate of the Deceased Spouse to the largest amount which will result in no federal estate tax being imposed on the estate of the Deceased Spouse.

This amount shall vest immediately on the death of the Deceased Spouse and shall be satisfied by the Trustee in cash, or in kind, or partly in each, with assets of the Deceased Spouse contributed or added to the trust and eligible for the marital deduction. The assets allocated in kind shall be considered to satisfy this amount on the basis of their values at the date or dates of the allocation to the Survivor’s Trust.”

If it includes any language like this, call us. We can ensure your trust meets the needs of your family. Otherwise, you may have a plan in place that leaves your family worse off after you die or in the event that you become incapacitated.

Estate planning isn’t a set it and forget it practice. It’s a living process that supports you in making financial, legal and personal decisions that are right for you, throughout your lifetime. Quality of life is improved when you  face your death with honesty, knowing you will leave the world a better place.

Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts | Comments Off on Alert: If This Language Is In Your Trust, Your Spouse Could Get the Shaft When You Die … Check Your Plan Today!.. Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

How to Approach Buying an Existing Business… The Christine Chronicles

Happy Friday:

Well, it was bound to happen. Everyone I know is sick and I finally caught the bug. Honestly, it seems that I got off lightly, with just a scratchy throat and slight cough. Fingers crossed that I will continue improving. No doubt traveling reduced our immunity and the being fraught with concern over flooding likely put me over the edge.  We did not flood but it was not far away.  Scary.

The trick to successfully purchasing another going concern is not a trick at all. Do your homework. Research the industry as well as the very business you intend to purchase. Make sure that you also understand the legal ins and outs of both the purchase and running the business. There is much to understand so take your time and err on the side of caution.

Until next time,



How to Approach Buying an Existing Business

Buying an existing business is a great way to hit the ground running in the world of entrepreneurship. Because an existing business already has a legal structure, employees, a customer base, and is making a profit, you get to skip over one of the most challenging aspects of owning a business – starting it.

But you still need to do your research to ensure you are making a good investment. And the way you approach the business buying process is important. You will need to take a holistic approach to buying a business to ensure your investment is right for you and meets your needs.

Your first step should be to do extensive research on the company. A formal business valuation is a good place to start. It is also a good idea to get more than one. But don’t stop there. Make sure you do periphery research on the reputation and customer base of the business. Make sure to do comprehensive online research and talk to others in the industry.

Also, do extensive research on the industry itself if you are not already familiar with it. Find out how advancing technology will affect the business. Even in non-technical fields, new technology can have dramatic repercussion on the performance of a business.

Once you are confident about where the business stands in the industry and what its potential for success is, do your due diligence and address the important legal issues. Are all licenses and permits current? Is everything up to code? Is it zoned properly? Will you need to do any restructuring or make any major entity changes?

A big part of the process is discovering if the business has obligations and liabilities and whether it will make sense for you to cover them. Does the business have any pending lawsuits? Are there any liens or judgments? This is also where you should find experienced legal counsel to help you. The right lawyer can evaluate the legal liabilities of the business and help you decide whether it is the kind of investment that makes sense for you.

Finally, review the revenue model, financials, marketing plans and talk to past clients, and vendors to make sure that the financials truly make sense.

Starting from the outside perspective and working your way in should give you a well rounded look into the overall value of a business, and doing your research before buying an existing business will help ensure your investment is a wise one. With so much at stake, it is imperative to consult with a Creative Business Lawyer® before you acquire a business. We are experienced in helping potential entrepreneurs identify good business investment opportunities.

Posted in Asset Protection, Business Article, Entrepreuner, Startup, Success | Comments Off on How to Approach Buying an Existing Business… The Christine Chronicles

How These Common Assets Can Affect Your Financial Aid Eligibility… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


Well, batten down the hatches is an understatement.   Today I traveled south of Elk Grove, and all I can say is, “wow”.

The volume of water flowing from the Cosumnes River is astounding. Some friends posted facebook pictures of their backyard about to be overtaken by what is now a creek, just about cresting the levy.  I imagine a pool full of muddy brown water is minor, compared to what some folks will experience this week.  Keeping fingers crossed that we stay high and d

Returning home to this weather was a shock. In the Netherlands and the UK, it was beautiful, and rained only one day during our trip.  We were fortunate enough to be in Amsterdam for the holiday light festival on the canals.   It was stunning.


But even if you don’t experience flooding, you may be left “high and dry” when it comes to college aid if you have not adequately planned. Financial aid, especially grants and scholarships coming from other sources than your pocket, are the ideal college funding source. However, where you invest may determine your child’s eligibility, or lack thereof, for any financial aid, or disqualify your child from the types of aid that require no repayment.  Have a look at our list of investments and their effect on aid eligibility.

Until next time,



How These Common Assets Can Affect Your Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid is a valuable resource for students and their families. And sending a child off to college is one of life’s biggest (and often most expensive!) events. Unfortunately, certain assets may adversely affect student financial aid eligibility.  That’s why careful financial planning is particularly important for families with college-age children.

Federal financial aid eligibility is calculated using many variables including parental income and assets and the your child’s income and assets, as some of the most significant. Income and assets attributed to the child (rather than you as the parent) will increase the EFC, or Expected Family Contribution.

The EFC is a measure of the family’s ability to pay for college. But strategic financial planning can help you save funds for college without increasing your EFC and reducing your child’s financial aid eligibility. Let’s look at the ways some common assets affect financial aid eligibility.

Retirement Accounts
401(k)s, and Roth and traditional IRAs are not used to determine your EFC. However, funds withdrawn from these accounts, even if not used for college expenses, are counted as income and thus can affect your EFC.

Home Equity
Federal financial aid calculations do not include equity in the parent’s primary residence. Individual institutions, however, may include equity when determining aid eligibility.

UGMA/UTMA accounts
These can be considered either the parent’s or the student’s asset, depending on how the account is titled and who is named as beneficiary.

Family Owned Businesses
The value of small family owned businesses is not included in the federal aid calculation if at least 50% is owned and controlled by the family, and it has less than 100 employees.

Life Insurance Policies and Annuities
The cash values of these assets are not included in the federal aid calculation.

Mutual Funds
The value of mutual funds is considered an asset, while distributions and capital gains are considered income. This is an important distinction because the portion of income that can be included in the federal aid calculation is much more than the portion of assets that can be included.

529 Savings Accounts and Coverdell ESAs
These are typically considered parental assets. Withdrawals are not included unless coming from a third-party account, such as that of a grandparent.

As you can see, planning for college requires consideration of many factors, such as which assets affect financial aid and how they do so. You can maximize your student’s financial aid eligibility, however, by developing a financial plan that will allow you to take advantage of asset exclusions when filing the FAFSA.

To do this, consult with us as your Personal Family Lawyer® about your financial resources and financial needs when it comes to college. We can help your family accommodate the costs of higher education by taking advantage of the ways in which you can minimize your EFC while still preserving assets.









Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How These Common Assets Can Affect Your Financial Aid Eligibility… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets