Estate, Tax & Wealth Planning
Recognizing that taxes, asset protection and estate planning go hand in hand, BMD offers a team of attorneys experienced in personal finance, business planning and tax compliance and preparation. BMD prides itself on being on the cutting edge of innovative strategies to ensure that our client's finances, businesses and other assets remain theirs. Our overarching goal is to protect our clients now, and in the future.
Estate Planning and Asset Protection Planning
By offering creative strategies and solutions, we make our clients aware of how to best protect their assets, at both the business and the personal level. Whether it is through business planning techniques such as family limited partnerships and limited-liability companies or through the use of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Revocable Trusts or Irrevocable Trusts, BMD's attorneys understand the complexity of ensuring maximum protection available to our clients under the law.
Whether our client's estate planning needs are relatively simple or extremely complex, we create a plan that is customized to each client's goals. Ultimately, protecting wealth, avoiding probate, and planning for the unknown, offers peace of mind that an individual's affairs are in order. With guidance from our experienced personal financial and business planning counselors, we can help you get there.
When necessary, our estate, wealth-protection, and tax attorneys work closely with our litigators in prosecuting or defending our clients’ positions in court.
Upcoming Estate Planning Seminar/Workshop
Learn how to protect your assets while providing for your loved ones. Receive notice about our upcoming free estate planning seminars.
- Estate Planning
The purpose of estate planning is to preserve and distribute your assets during your lifetime and/or following your death. A successful estate plan includes the accomplishment of your personal and family goals, the management of your financial and legal affairs, and minimizing taxes, if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern.
An estate is composed of all of your assets, including real property, business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal possessions, and even your personal effects. Generally, an "estate plan" describes the methods by which your estate is passed on to your heirs upon your death.
It is common for problems to arise with these methods when there is not an estate plan in place. The most common documents used in estate planning include Wills and Revocable Trusts. A well-drafted estate plan ensures that your estate passes to whom you want, when you want, and is conducted in the manner that you specify. Moreover, your family will be relieved of or have minimal involvement with the public process and cost of probate.
- Business Planning
If you are a business owner, estate planning and business succession planning follow parallel tracks. In order to best prepare you company for success upon your death or even your incapacity, you need to establish a written succession plan that works together with your estate plan. For example, you may wish to transfer your business to future generations or sell it upon your passing. Our firm assists with Business Succession Planning and Small Business Planning to protect the legacy you have worked so hard to create.
- Asset Protection Planning and Elder Law
Elder law encompasses a wide range of legal issues that affect individuals 65 and older. Common legal topics for this age group include long-term care planning, financial planning, and elder abuse. Specifically, nursing home costs have become the biggest post-retirement risk for many Americans. Oftentimes, requiring elders to spend most or all of their lifetime savings.
One avenue for long-term care planning includes establishing (and properly funding) an Irrevocable Asset Protection Trust. This type of trust can provide protection against nursing home costs after Medicaid’s “Look-back Period” and immediate protection against lawsuits. If five years pass before long-term care is needed, Medicaid may be available without requiring a spenddown of assets. This planning is often referred to as 5 years and a Day Planning. With these trusts, you can ensure that the assets that you have worked so hard to acquire are passed on to your family. Although this is the ideal situation, it is often not the case.
Thankfully, there is a solution to avoid a complete spenddown of assets in the face of long-term care costs if Five Year and Day Planning is not viable. This planning is often referred to as Crisis Planning and is a tool that can be used to help protect a portion of a person’s assets, while simultaneously obtaining Medicaid eligibility. If you or a loved one is entering a facility, we encourage you to set up a meeting to determine whether Crisis Planning is possible for you.
- Business Tax Planning
BMD's experienced tax attorneys provide tax advice and compliance to people and entities ranging from high-wealth individuals and start-up businesses to major regional or national corporations and nonprofit entities. Our representation includes federal and state tax audits and controversies, and compliance matters and issues. We handle proceedings and negotiations before and with the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Labor. The BMD Tax team counsels business clients on mergers and acquisitions from both a corporate and tax perspective.
Under ERISA, there are significant tax implications to the structure and implementation of employee benefits and executive compensation. As such, BMD has extensive experience:
- Designing, amending and restating pension, profit sharing, 401(k) and other qualified retirement plans
- Establishing non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements and resolving issues arising from 409A of the Internal Revenue Code and non-deferred compensation arrangements
- Conducting controlled group analysis
- Personal Income Tax Planning
Personal Income Tax Planning involves the analysis of your current financial status to determine how you (and your loved ones after your death) pay the lowest taxes possible. Currently, under Federal Law, an Estate can transfer 12.92 million dollars in assets before an Estate Tax is withheld. This value is expected to significantly decrease on January 1, 2026. Depending on your financial situation, Personal Income-Tax Planning may be able to help prevent a substantial reduction in the inheritance you pass along to your loved ones.
- IRA and Retirement Planning
During the estate planning process, an attorney must consider the tax reduction strategies that are applicable to your individual situation as while also interpreting complicated income tax rules and IRS regulations to ensure your protection. Fortunately, our estate planning team dedicates time daily to studying the questions and issues that IRA investors encounter when planning their estates.
A common concern among our clients is how the SECURE Act changed the way inherited IRAs are treated. Prior to the passage of this, non-spousal beneficiaries of IRA accounts were permitted to withdraw funds from an inherited IRA over the course of their own lifetime. This allowed beneficiaries to “stretch” taxable distributions and related tax payments. Now, the SECURE Act demands that the majority of non-spousal beneficiaries withdraw all funds from an inherited IRA within 10 years following the death of the account holder. Receiving an inheritance of this level could place your heirs in a higher tax bracket, ultimately reducing the inheritance they receive. IRA and Retirement Planning can prevent the tax burden created by inheriting a substantial IRA.
Administration, Probate, and Other Planning Needs
- Planning for Charitable Giving
Charitable giving is a gift of cash or property made to a nonprofit organization, for which the donor receives nothing of value in return. In the U.S., donations can be deducted from the federal tax returns of individuals and companies making charitable gifts.
- Pet Planning
With a Pet Trust, you can allocate funds for your pet’s future care, and also indicate precisely the type of care you wish for your pet to receive. Pet Trusts are fully enforceable by the courts in all 50 states, making it possible to ensure your pet’s well-being following your passing.
- Trust Administration and Probate
Our firm is committed to alleviating the stress following a death in the family by providing quality Trust Administrations and Probate services tailored to each family’s unique needs and objectives.
- Incapacity Planning
As a matter of law, incapacity planning takes into account how you are cared for in the event you are physically or mentally incapacitated. This term encompasses a number of planning techniques including Property Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Advance Health Care Directives and Guardianships.
It is common for guardianships to be enacted in situations where an individual is unable to make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his or her person or property. The court-appointed guardian will make all personal and medical decisions on your behalf. Our law firm helps clients plan for the future in case they become disabled, thus avoiding the necessity of a public guardianship.
- Special Needs Planning
If you have a family member with a disability, it is crucial to plan for your future, along with theirs. The distribution of your assets after your death can have a profound impact on the quality of life for that person. A Special Needs Trust ensures that a guardian will be able to provide for a disabled person upon passing without putting their eligibility for government aid at risk.