Planning to Protect Your Assets… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


We had an interesting evening Saturday with friends who had a winetasting party in their home. I love the opportunity to get together with friends, taste some great wines from Sonoma and eat wonderful food. I joined the wine club and I’m very excited because now, I have a reason to go to Sonoma, stay overnight in a beautiful hotel and taste wines for free! Now that were in the fall, one of my favorite ways to spend time is with family and friends, staying close to home.

Taking care of your family is why you create an estate plan in the first place; to make things easy, expeditious and maintain privacy. One major consideration when creating your trust is whether to build in asset protection. Yes, we can do that!!  If you value asset protection, we can easily shield a portion of your assets from creditors. The article today’s outlines ideas on asset protection. Let us know how we can help you.

Until next time,



Planning to Protect Your Assets

Asset protection planning is an important step to take in safeguarding your hard-earned assets from being lost, inadvertently, because you overlooked something important.

The most foundational level of asset protection is to plan for what will happen to your assets in the event of your incapacity or death because you are 100% guaranteed to have one or both of those happen to you.

If you become incapacitated or die without proper planning in place, your assets will get stuck in the court system, and could be delayed in getting to your loved ones, or even lost. If you have not reviewed your planning for death or incapacity in the past couple of years (or ever at all), you will want to call us for a Family Wealth Planning Session as soon as possible.

And, what about planning to protect assets from things that could happen during life, such as potential litigation, taking on too many debts, accidents or other mishaps?

First and foremost, buy insurance! Insurance can do two things an asset protection plan can’t: pay to defend you in the event a lawsuit is brought against you and pay to settle any lawsuits. Bottom line: insurance says I love you. And, if you need it, you’ll be glad you have it.

As part of your Family Wealth Planning Session, we will look at the types and amounts of insurance you have, and determine what else may be needed, or if you are even over-insured.

If you have a business, make sure you’ve fully separated personal and business assets. And that you are using your business entity properly, to ensure that any business activities are kept within your business entity, and that you have us review any personal guarantees before you sign something that could create personal liability for you.

If you need more thorough asset protection, due to an upcoming marriage, or engaging in other risky behavior, please contact us sooner rather than later.

Asset protection cannot happen after something happens. It must be set up ahead of time to be effective, and so it must happen now, if you want to get set up right.

Protecting your assets takes know-how. If you’re ready to develop a smart asset protection plan, consider sitting down with a Personal Family Lawyer®. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you with your asset protection planning needs. Our Family Wealth Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, we’ll send an Estate Planning Worksheet that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your family is taken care of.

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. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to get this $750 session at no charge. Mention this article and if you’re one of the 1st 3 people who call to schedule, and attend, a Family Wealth Planning Session, you’ll receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Use it for Halloween costumes, fall decorations or whatever catches your fancy!  

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Writing Off Start-Up Costs… The Christine Chronicles


I was planning to train in San Francisco this weekend for the Komen 3-Day, but it looks like that will not happen.  However, I will console myself with the fact that we had a great weekend in San Francisco last weekend, with lovely weather for a trip under the Golden Gate for an early birthday celebratory weekend. Here is a picture of our sailing cruise on the bay!

Champagne sailboat

Having just finished our business taxes here, I am reminded of the importance of a good CPA for tax planning for your business. Understanding what expenditures may be deducted from your taxes allows you to plan and allocate for such expenses, including start up expenditures, which is the focus of our article today.

Until next time!



Writing Off Start-Up Costs

One of the biggest benefits of owning your own business is being able to write off certain expenses to lower your annual income tax liability. When done right, writing off business expenses, especially when they are investments in things or experiences you would invest in even if you did not have your business, is a lot like having the government subsidize the things you want to do in the world.

If you are starting a business, the good news is you can typically write off costs for starting, launching, and organizing your business. But you may face certain restrictions, and you need to know how to write off those expenses in a way that will benefit your business. To learn more, let’s take a look at the most common startup expenses businesses may write off for tax purposes.

Starting Expenses
You can write off many research expenses incurred when starting a business. Surveys, feasibility studies, market research, and similar costs are valid startup write-offs.

Launch Expenses
Many costs incurred while executing your business launch—like recruitment and training costs—can be deducted. Conversely, equipment purchases cannot be deducted because they’re subject to rules for deducting depreciation.

Organization Expenses
You can also write off the costs for creating your business entity. These typically include legal fees, accounting fees, and expenses for organizational meetings.

Now that you have a better idea of the type of startup expenses you can write off let’s go over how those expenses should be deducted.

The IRS puts a cap on first-year startup deductions at $5,000 and an additional $5,000 for organizational costs. But, if your startup expenses exceed $50,000, that first-year deduction cap will be reduced by the costs that exceed $50,000. Thus, if your startup expenses equal $54,000, your first-year deduction is reduced to $1,000. You would then lose the deduction entirely once your startup expenses exceed $55,000. In your second year, the rest of your expenses can be amortized and deducted in equal installments over 15 years.

If your business never gets off the ground and running, your startup costs could be considered personal costs and therefore non-deductible. In certain cases, however, these costs could be regarded as capital losses, so always consult with a tax advisor to ensure you are taking advantage of every tax break available to you.

As you can see, there are some big risks when it comes to identifying and allocating your expenses properly to maximize your deductions and minimize your tax liability. The decisions you need to make are important and shouldn’t be executed without first consulting with a trusted advisor, such as a Creative Business lawyer®. If you need tax help for your startup, start by sitting down with us. As your Creative Business Lawyer® we are experienced in helping startups achieve success through careful financial and legal planning. We will guide you to  establish sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems for your business so you can focus on increasing revenue and enjoy the benefits entrepreneurship.

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Think Your Salary Can Bring You Safely to Retirement? Think Again… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


I made it through the first weekend as an empty nester.  I promised myself that instead of standing frozen in my new life without children, I will be productive. Soooooo, I walked 21 miles this past weekend; 13 miles Saturday and yesterday another 8.5. On Sunday, we breezed by many murals from the recent Sacramento Mural Festival, and we designed to take fun, interactive photos.  Here are a couple of the photos we took.

Mural.1 Mural.2

Figuring your actual retirement needs requires focus.  Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and be utterly honest with yourself?  Perhaps you’ve already pondered the possible shortfall between your planned retirement lifestyle and the anticipated principal at your retirement. Realize that you may need varying sources of income. Closely reviewing your plan now means you have a greater chance of reaching your goal, when retirement is around the corner. Part of our work here at Cava & Faulkner involves assisting our clients in creating a holistic financial plan. Along these lines, join me for an informative presentation on Estate and Financial planning on September 28, 2017.  Call to RSVP at 916-685-1225,  and we’ll give you the fun details!  Hope to see you there!

Until next time.



Think Your Salary Can Bring You Safely to Retirement? Think Again.

In the sea of financial planning wisdom, there are too few messages about the importance of mindset. Gone are the days when simply saving money was enough to get you to retirement. With pensions practically a thing of the past, it takes more than just a big piggy bank to afford retirement.

Saving strategies aside, changing your mindset from that of a consumer to thinking like an investor, or even an entrepreneur through a side hustle, can give you the security you’ll need to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Many people believe that investing wisely is the key to taking your retirement planning into the 21st century, but is it really enough? Smart financial advisors recommend multiple income streams to ensure you can retire comfortably. Even with a healthy retirement savings, it is wise to look for ways to diversify your income sources.

Enter the side hustle. Your side hustle (i.e. a second job, side business, or income-generating investment) boosts your income while minimizing risk that you’ll run out of money down the road. Your salary isn’t guaranteed, but with a side hustle (or a few), you won’t put your retirement in jeopardy if you lose your job or change jobs.

If an advisor focuses just on the certain amount you need to save by age 55 to retire, they might not have your best interests in mind. In reality, there is no magic number. No one can predict how much you’ll need or even tell you where you need to keep your money. That’s why it’s so important not to limit your retirement planning to simple money saving techniques.

If you are ready to take the next step toward planning wisely for your retirement on the road to reaching financial independence, start by sitting down with us. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we will walk you step by step through creating a plan that will help you achieve your financial goals. Ask about your Money Map Planning Process or start with a Family Wealth Planning Session, which will give you absolute clarity on what you own, and what will happen to all of it when something happens to you, so you can make informed, empowered decisions for the one’s 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 to you, and about your wishes in case you become incapacitated or when you die.


Posted in Asset Protection, Building Wealth, Entrepreuner, Financial, Investing, Retirement | Comments Off on Think Your Salary Can Bring You Safely to Retirement? Think Again… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

The Foolproof Training Method to Expand Your Business… The Christine Chronicles


Our son Cameron was set to travel to Miami on Tuesday to begin an internship working on his cousin’s political campaign.  We traveled to Tempe first, to hang out with Daniel and Serena for the long Labor Day weekend.  We had a weekend of work (we hiked a mountain in the heat and that was work), and play (we had many great meals and tubed down the Salt River).  While enjoying our time over the holiday, it became increasingly apparent that sending Cameron on to Miami was a bad idea.  I returned to California on Tuesday, leaving my kids (both of them) in Tempe, with Cameron on standby awaiting the outcome of Hurricane Irma and possibly Jose.  We have family in Miami, some choosing to remain in Miami during the storm.

Our hearts and prayers go to those in Texas and the Caribbean, whose homes and lives have been decimated, and to those in Florida and the Southeast United States, who are about to encounter one, and possibly two, of the fiercest storms in the past century.

The Governor of Florida has and continues demonstrating strong leadership in ordering evacuations for public safety. No doubt, depending on the outcome of Irma and then Jose, over the weekend, strong leadership will be needed on a local level, to help organize and rebuild if necessary.  We hope our son(s) can see this in action and take part, if necessary. Leadership is learned, not innate. In your business, leading vs. managing your team will yield greater outcomes and generate happier, more loyal employees. Ultimately, although leading benefits your bottom line, your own  day to day experience will be far happier and more gratifying!

Until next time,



The Foolproof Training Method to Expand Your Business

One of the most critical components to building a company, as opposed to a solo practice, or even a business where you are managing everyone and everything, is to learn to step into your full leadership.

A primary key to that leadership is your ability to train your team so that you can confidently delegate key tasks and responsibilities that will free you up and allow your business to grow.

As a business owner, management is not the highest and best use of your time, energy, and talents. Carefully selecting support staff and then training them using a business model that emphasizes leadership over management is an effective place to begin.

Most business owners train their team members using a project management style of training. Specific tasks are given, followed by specific instructions on how to do those tasks. The next logical step is for the owner to then monitor whether the tasks were done to the proper specifications.

This is not leadership. It’s project management. Using this model, the people you’ve hired will be disempowered, and you will get stuck in the role of babysitter, rather than leader.

Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple put it well when he said, “When you have really good people, you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B-grade work.”

Unless you want to be your company’s project manager, micro-managing details and always feeling stuck in the weeds, there’s an alternative methodology for training your team members that will establish your leadership and get the results you want, right from the start.

Outcome, Resources, Deadlines, and Check-Ins
When you are bringing on a new team member, instead of giving them specific tasks and specific ways to perform those tasks, and then holding them accountable to those tasks, give them outcomes, resources, deadlines, and check-ins.

Here’s how that looks:
First, identify the specific outcome the company needs.  For example, we need to publish a weekly article to our website and then send it out as a newsletter to our clients. Or, we need to send out a newsletter to our clients each month. Or, we need to use this tracking software to ensure that everyone who calls our office gets a response weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

Second, give the team member the specific company resources available to meet this outcome.  In our case, using the weekly article as an example, I would let the team member know where I’ve found or curated articles in the past. Or let the team member know to ask me for the article each week. I would then give the team member a login to our website and the service we use to send out the newsletter. I would also provide a document with standards for posting the weekly article and sending out the newsletter.

Third, give the team member a deadline. Let your new team member know specifically when he or she is expected to have this outcome completely handled without any input from you. Then, let your team member begin, with you working in parallel, also completing the task yourself as a transition period, and set a  deadline date for the team member to take it over completely.

Finally, schedule periodic check-ins between the time that the outcome is given and the deadline date. This allows the team member to communicate challenges and identify any missing information.

This method allows your new team member to get in there and just start figuring it out, and make some mistakes (which is a key part of learning) while also having the support necessary to fill in any gaps in the training or resources.

Still not clear? Imagine you are trying to teach someone to tie their shoes. You could explain it for hours and hours. You could even show them how to do it. But until they get their hands on the laces, play around with them and make mistakes, they won’t ask for help – and they won’t learn to tie their shoes.

Make a shift today from the project management style of training and into the leadership style of training and watch your business expand. As your Creative Business Lawyer®, we can help you to make decisions around your hiring process and ensure you are bringing A-level people to your team, allowing this effective leadership style to be effortless.

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Women Leaders in Business: The Bottom Line… The Christine Chronicles

I am headed to Tempe with Cameron to visit Daniel for a long Labor Day weekend.  We hope to tube the Salt River, in the mountains about an hour east of Phoenix.  This is a “must do” from what I hear, for anyone living in the Phoenix area.  I hope we can do this, but expect a huge crowd this weekend.

Cameron will be leaving Tuesday, heading east, for his gap year adventure in Florida, where he will work on a political campaign for a county commissioner in the Miami area. We expect great opportunities will come his way during this experience. Although understandably trepidatious regarding his newfound liberty, Cameron will no doubt experience tremendous personal growth during this experience.  Commencing Tuesday, I am officially an empty nester!!

Women in business is “good for business” according to a 2015 report released by New York analytics firm MSCI.  Have a look. This is an interesting read and may ultimately benefit your bottom line.

Happy Labor Day,



Women Leaders in Business: The Bottom Line

Do women have it tougher than men in the corporate world? Many signs point to yes, but a 2015 report released by New York analytics firm MSCI suggests companies with strong female leadership show greater returns on equity than those without.

The report found companies with strong female leadership held a 2.7% return on equity advantage over those without a similar leadership profile (10.1% vs. 7.4% respectively). And businesses that lacked gender diversity in board positions faced more governance issues than the average.

While the report doesn’t establish a clear causal link between female leadership and overall corporate performance, traits such as innovation and good decision-making were associated with gender diversity at the corporate board level. And that diversity is much more prevalent in companies with a female CEO. The report suggested the possible causes for such a link include increased social networking, greater cultural diversity, and the breakdown of the typical institutional barrier to women taking leadership roles in the workforce.
The connection between strong female leadership and higher returns on equity could have its basis in cultural diversity (board diversity in particular), greater social networking, and the breakdown of the perceived “glass ceiling” women reach in the workforce. When combined, these traits encourage inclusive thinking, innovation, a higher respect for individuals, and collaborative decision-making. With fewer societal barriers like gender inequality and discrimination, board members and employees have a better chance of working together to achieve success.

If your company is looking for a healthier bottom line, whether you have female leadership or not, consider the value these traits hold for your business and how to implement them. Think of ways to implement structural change to reduce the barriers to healthy decision-making and innovative thinking your company faces. While you’re at it, identify and eliminate other significant barriers to success such as legal liabilities or financial instability.

Female business leaders might still encounter glass ceilings in the workplace, but the fact is, their contribution can lead to higher returns on equity, increasing the value women have in the business world overall. If you want to maximize your returns on equity, begin by sitting down with us. As your Creative Business Lawyer®, we can help you identify opportunities for achieving leadership diversity. We can also help you put valuable legal and financial protections in place to ensure your company is protected, so you can focus on growth, potential, and all the reasons why you love doing business.

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Divorcing? Here’s What You Should Know About How it May Affect Your Trust… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets


Did you watch the eclipse this morning?  We looked at it through welding glass yielding a green crescent, and through “eclipse” glasses, yielding an orange crescent.  Both were interesting, and the eclipse cast a rather eerie shadow on the morning.  It was as if someone literally blotted out the sun or in the alternative, it was evening in the morning.  Apparently the schools did little, if anything, to share this unique event with the student body. That was a missed opportunity and in my humble opinion, a real shame.

Do you have an estate plan, and are now going through a divorce?  Sometimes it can seem like you completed your plan for nothing, when the assets are being divvied up. Check out the article today with a few key pointers on how to handle trust assets so as not to go astray of the law and land yourself in more hot water with your soon to be ex and the family law judge.  If you find yourself in this situation, give us a call and we will guide you through your best options.

Until next time,



Divorcing? Here’s What You Should Know About How it May Affect Your Trust

Trusts vary in their structure, funding, and terms, so it’s hard to know how divorce will impact your trust without review. It’s safe to say, without question, your trust (and really your entire estate plan) should be reviewed during your divorce to prevent unforeseen negative outcomes.

The impact of a divorce on your trust can depend on:

The Trust’s Structure
Trusts frequently name the spouse as a trustee and beneficiary. In divorce, clarify your wishes in regards to these provisions. Even if you want to keep each other in your financial plans going forward, the trust should be amended appropriately after your divorce is complete, so your intention is clear.

Whether It’s Revocable or Irrevocable
If it’s revocable, changing the terms of the trust is easy, but you may have to wait until after your divorce is final to do it due to “orders” that go into effect when you file for divorce that prevent you from moving assets. If your trust is irrevocable, it might be necessary to petition the court to change the trustees, and the trust assets themselves may or may not be part of the divorce judgment.

Your State’s Laws on Community Property
Divorcing parties sometimes attempt to shield assets in trusts to keep them out of the pockets of the soon to be ex. When done surreptitiously, this could significantly complicate the divorce. Even when the assets in a trust are separate property, the income from the trust might still be considered for child support and alimony purposes.

Trusts can be affected by divorce, so you should take steps to protect your trust and your intentions. If you are ready to take that step, meet with us for guidance.

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you navigate your divorce so your assets, including those held in trusts, remain under your direction and control.  Our Family Wealth Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. 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 family is taken care of.

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. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

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Steps You Can Take Now to Create a Succession Plan… The Christine Chronicles

Hello and Happy Friday:

One down and one to go. Daniel headed back to Arizona on Tuesday and started class once again yesterday. Cameron is likely headed off to Florida for a gap year, to work on his cousin’s political campaign as an intern. Soon enough we will be empty-nesters in the real sense. While I know I’ll miss my children intensely, I relish the opportunity for growth and expanding personally and professionally. Here’s a photo of our family vacation last weekend when we were all together

Serene Lakes Kids

Transitioning a family business can be harder than normal because of the interpersonal relations between owners/employees. Creating a plan to transition out of the business can be a step-by-step process, requiring a fair amount of time and consideration. We can help start the process with you.

Until next time,



Steps You Can Take Now to Create a      Succession Plan

Many small businesses are family owned. While family owned businesses enjoy the benefit of familial solidarity, their strength is often threatened when it’s time for leadership to be passed down. Succession plans help ensure the transition from owner to owner is an easy one, but many small and family-owned businesses do not have such a plan in place.

You may think that succession planning doesn’t reap immediate benefits, and as a result overlook it as a critical component of your current business success. However, what we’ve repeatedly found is that succession planning now strengthens your business, supports it to grow now and allows for the longevity and legacy you desire.

And, the best part of succession planning is that it can allow you to chart the vision for your future, as the business owner, so that you can begin to experience the freedom you may have desired when you first started your business.

Employees brought in from outside the company (and the family) might become disappointed with the opportunities—or lack thereof—for growth. A family-owned business that cannot attract talent to take the reins and keep the company viable throughout a leadership transition is risking a lot and can keep your company from the growth you desire.

Small-business owners need to clarify each employee’s role, including its limitations. Being upfront about the room for growth from the beginning can help employees make the most of their positions and allow them also to be clear about what they want out of the role and how they want their talents to be used. Small business owners should be flexible when attracting top talent. If they are not able to provide them room for growth, they should be sure the position is worthwhile in other ways if advancement is not a possibility.

Reluctant Leadership
When a business owner starts from the ground up and sacrifices years of time and money to grow his or her business, it can be hard to let it go. Some business leaders are reluctant to retire because they have a psychological investment in the company. This can create significant barriers to succession planning before it’s too late.

Begin by creating a phased transition plan. A phased transition plan can help you to retain some involvement while incoming leaders learn the ropes. This works to break down the barriers in passing the baton. Easing out of and into new roles creates a more successful transition as the incoming leader takes time to get to know and understand how the current leader sees the future of the company.

If you are ready to create a succession plan, start by sitting down with us. As your Creative Business Lawyer®, we can guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including when and how to hand off leadership roles. We can look out for your business’s future, so you have time and energy to focus on growth and expansion.

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


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,



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.

Posted in Asset Protection, Death, Estate Planning, Financial, Inheritances, Insurance, Trusts, Wills | Comments Off on Why You Should Never Buy Your Will From Living Social or Groupon… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

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,



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


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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