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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Monthly Archives: July 2014

    Why Every New Business Needs a Lawyer & How to Find a Great One

    Chances are if you are an entrepreneur, you have a little “issue” when it comes to controlling everything about your company — in other words, you find it hard to trust others when it comes to your “lawyer-consultation (1)baby.”

    But unless you are an experienced business attorney, you probably don’t have the knowledge — and most certainly the time — to understand the legal implications of just about every decision you will be making about your new business, including its structure, the agreements and contracts that will determine how your company will function and be profitable, and even hiring your first employee.

    While entrepreneurs are usually great problem solvers, a good business lawyer is trained to see potential problems before they can adversely impact your business or put your personal wealth at risk.

    A recent article at Entrepreneur.com provides entrepreneurs these tips for choosing the right lawyer for their business:

    1.  Look for a good fit.  Finding someone to meet all your legal requirements may be much easier than finding a good fit personally, but face it — you want to be in business with this person for the long haul, since his or her good advice can continue to keep you out of trouble and save you some serious cash by avoiding litigation.  Find someone you click with on a personal level and who can relate to what you need.  Most importantly, look for a lawyer who will be proactive

    2.  Do not use a friend.  You need someone with total objectivity, and you want to be able to be completely honest with your attorney, so usually choosing someone who is not already a personal friend is your best bet. If you do use a friend who you really trust, don’t do it for a trade. Pay  your lawyer. And make sure whoever you use really understands your business.

    3.  Ask for referrals.  If you know other attorneys or friends who have used business lawyers, ask them for a referral.  The interview those attorneys before making a commitment by phone or email.  Use our hiring guide to ask the right questions.

    4.  Stay away from DIY websites.  The do-it-yourself legal documents you can get online could get you into more trouble and end up costing you much more in litigation than you would have spent on a real, live, breathing attorney in the first place. If you are using a template document, have it reviewed by your lawyer before it’s finalized.

    5.  Consider size.  Law firms come in all sizes, with pros and cons for each.  Larger firms usually offer a fuller complement of resources, including multiple locations and more specialized practice areas., plus higher prices and less personalized services.  Smaller firms and solos are usually more hands-on and can be more economical.  Decide first what you need and choose the firm that can best deliver to those needs.

    Whether you’re starting or already running a business, the best time to hire a lawyer is before you need one.  Having a business attorney that understands the individual needs and unique circumstances of your company is key to helping your business thrive and prosper.  If you are interested in learning more about legal protection strategies for your business and how we work with you as a partner in protecting your company, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.

    The 10 Keys to Planning and Living Your Best Retirement

    stock-footage-retired-couple-readingLong summer days give us all the tiniest snippet of a glimpse into what retirement might be like…i.e., extra time to do what we want. But to have a fulfilling and enriching retirement, you need to do more than just wait to stumble upon your retirement. You need to plan! And we’re not just talking about the financial planning side of things, although that is obviously critical.

    A Forbes Next Avenue column, based on author Dave Bernard’s book, I Want to Retire!, provides 10 keys to planning and living your best retirement:

    Make the best of it. Accepting the realities of aging and making the best of whatever life throws in your path is the best mindset to approach your retirement with – and a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either.

    Take it easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, because you will. Don’t feel guilty if you spend some time just doing nothing; instead, enjoy your good fortune at just being retired.

    Live your legacy. The legacy we all want to leave our families is much more than just money or things. Be – or continue to be – the person you want to be remembered as by your children and grandchildren.

    Take a chance. Approach retirement with a goal of trying something new. In other words, step out of your comfort zone. Keep learning; it’s a key to staying young.

    Be frugal. Try to leave below your means, since it is highly likely you will encounter unexpected expenses at some time during your retirement.

    Just do it. Strive for a good balance between relaxation and activity – too much of either doesn’t usually work out too well.

    Live in the now. None of us knows for certain how much time we have; don’t let planning be the enemy of doing.

    No regrets. Make amends, clear the air, and do what is necessary so that you have no regrets that will haunt your retirement years.

    Pursue a passion. When you were working, you likely dreamed of following your passion in some area. Retirement gives you the opportunity to do that; don’t waste it.

    Family first. Research shows that retirees with a rich family life enjoy their retirement much more, so spend some of that extra time you now have on fostering any neglected relationships and just being there for family and friends.

    If you would like to have a talk about retirement planning, call your Newport Beach Trust and Estate Attorney today at 949.718.0420 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.

    Before You Take Off for Summer Vacation, Take On These 5 To-Dos

    It’s no surprise that Americans spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning their estate.  After all, a vacation is a trip you want to go on, while the eternal “trip” is not.

    However, wouldn’t you travel with more peace of mind if you knew you had taken the necessary steps to protect your family if something unthinkable should happen to you?  That’s why you need to tackle these five important tasks before you go on that much-deserved summer vacation:Couple at Beach

    Guardians for minor children — if you have children under the age of 18, you must name a guardian or guardians to ensure that they will never be left in the hands of strangers or people you wouldn’t want raising them.  You can name short-term guardians in case of emergency, and then plan for long-term guardianship.  We recommend a full Kids Protection Plan® to ensure there is no gap in your kids care, ever and no matter what.

    Beneficiary review — if it’s been awhile since you updated your beneficiary forms for retirement accounts, life insurance or other assets, it’s time for a review — especially if there has been a major change in your life.  Make sure insurance and retirement accounts are never passed on to your minor children, outside of a Trust.

    Estate plan review — if you have experienced a birth, death, marriage, divorce or other life-changing event since you last updated your estate plan, you need to be sure those changes are reflected by updating your plan.

    Advance healthcare directive — if you become incapacitated and can’t make your own health care decisions, have you named someone who you can depend on to carry out your wishes?  If not, you need to execute an advance health care directive that includes a durable power of attorney and a HIPAA release so your medical information can be shared.

    Insurance update — is your life insurance still sufficient to meet the needs of your family?  If not, then you should revise your policy before you go.

    If you haven’t done any of these things, it’s time to take care of business.  Call your Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys at Meier Law Firm to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, where we can identify the best ways for you to protect and provide for your family.

    Choosing Guardianship

    Father-SonChoosing someone to raise your children if something happens to you is hard to even think about. However, naming guardians is a must. 

    Newport Beach Family Trust Attorney Laura Meier tells ParentingOC Magazine that if parents don’t legally name permanent guardians, a judge would have to choose who would raise their children.

    Luckily, there are three easy steps for you to follow for choosing guardians.

    • STEP ONE: Write down all of the potential people (individuals or couples) who could potentially serve as guardians.
    • STEP TWO: Then write down the top three qualities that you would want them to have (i.e. age, religion, lifestyle, etc.).
    • STEP THREE: Compare both sheets of paper. Rank in order the “potential people” you listed from your first choice down to the last choice, based on your top three priorities.

    This won’t be a seamless process, but to avoid prolonging it, here are the six most common mistakes people make when naming guardians.

    • Naming a couple to act as guardians, (when you really don’t want both people,) and you haven’t said what should happen if the couple divorced or one of the partners in the couple died.
    • Only naming one possible guardian.
    • Considered financial resources when deciding who should raise your children.
    • Only having a Will, which means the court will distribute your money—it’s totally public and doesn’t protect your money from divorce or lawsuits.
    • Not excluding anyone who might challenge your guardian decisions.
    • Only naming guardians for the long-term and not making any arrangements for the short-term if you were in an accident. Your children could end up in temporary foster care until your permanent guardians arrive.

    After you have made your decision, the next step is to make your guardianship legal. You have to legally document your wishes. This should be done in your family estate plan that ensures your family’s complete financial, medical, physical and emotional care and protection. Contact your Newport Beach Estate Planning Lawyers today and discover how estate planning can help you protect your children.




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    Meier Law Firm | 2103 Vista Entrada, Newport Beach, CA 92660
    phone: 949.718.0420 e-mail: office@meierfirm.com