Russ Cook & Associates, PC

Brentwood Estate Planning And Business Blog

What do franchisers provide to franchisees?

Franchising is a popular way for people to operate a business without having to face the same risk and responsibilities of starting one from scratch. However, operating a franchise does come with challenges and obstacles that can jeopardize the business.

To minimize the risk of failure, franchisers typically provide various tools and solutions to franchisees. 

Why you might want to rethink non-traditional care directives

When it comes to making an estate plan, specificity can be critical. If you leave vague explanations or instructions, it can be difficult for your loved ones and others to interpret and fulfill your wishes. This could have devastating consequences on the people who may never feel confident in the decisions they make on your behalf. 

It is also wise to utilize traditional methods of establishing your wishes so that people know where to look for the information they need. This ensures your plans are legally enforceable. One recent case captures the problems of not taking this route.

Does your estate plan need a trust?

Trusts are legal tools that allow the creator to distribute wealth in a manner that generally allows for more control compared to the use of a will. Trusts can help create an estate plan that better ensures the creator's wishes are met.

Some examples of the goals that can be met with a trust include:

How do I know if it's time to review my estate plan?

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is a one-time task. However, in reality, creating an estate plan is only part of the process. You must also review your plans periodically to be sure that they continue to protect your wishes and assets.

With this in mind, you should be aware of some important events that should prompt a review of your estate plan. These events can affect anyone, but it is easy to overlook the impact they have on wills, trusts and other planning elements, so it is crucial to have some awareness.

Pet trusts can help pet owners have peace of mind

No two estates will ever be the same, as there are bound to be major differences between the lives -- and accrued wealth -- of the grantors. But many people own pets, so when it comes to establishing trusts for an estate, an animal companion trust or pet trust can be hugely beneficial for many different people.

A pet trust functions in the same way as a living trust, with the key difference being that the pet trust is meant for your dog, or cat, or other animal. The trust is a legal agreement that makes arrangements for your pet when you pass away. You can allot property and assets to your pet to make sure he or she is taken care of.

Do I need a pour-over will?

Creating a revocable living trust can be a very wise decision for people who want to achieve certain goals with their estate plans. For instance, if you want to avoid probate and prioritize your privacy, and if you want to continue to manage and control the assets in the trust yourself, then creating a revocable living trust can be prudent.

However, there may be property that is not transferred to the trust, which can lead to confusion and disputes once the time comes to administer an estate. In these situations, a pour-over will can provide critical direction.

When might you need to challenge the administration of an estate?

After someone passes away, his or her estate must be settled. This requires distributing personal belongings, contacting heirs, filing paperwork and ensuring his or her wishes are respected, which are all tasks overseen or handled by the estate administrator.

In many cases, this process goes smoothly when the administrator is adequately prepared and loved ones are satisfied with his or her efforts. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen and disputes arise regarding the administration of an estate. Under these circumstances, parties may take legal action to remove the estate administrator.

3 essential elements to include in shareholders’ agreements

Starting a business is as much about planning for success as it is about responding to challenges. This is why savvy business owners are serious about taking steps to ensure they are well-positioned to deal with triumphs and failures, and this can include having effective start-up documents in place.

As an example, we will look at shareholders’ agreements. If you are starting a business, then this document can help you clarify your goals, identify resolutions and navigate disputes in a manner that protects the business. There are several ways to do this within a shareholders’ agreement.

When selecting an executor, think about your beneficiaries

In a recent post, we discussed some of the roles and responsibilities that an estate administrator or executor will typically have. In that post, which can be read here, we noted that one of the primary functions this person will serve is to manage relationships with beneficiaries and ensure the decedent's wishes are fulfilled.

However, this task can be all but impossible if an executor has a negative relationship with beneficiaries. The administration of iconic musician Jerry Garcia's estate is a good example of a bad situation involving an executor at odds with beneficiaries. 

What to consider before including arbitration clause in contracts

Contract disputes can cause major problems for business owners across Tennessee, whether relationships, projects or sensitive information are at stake.

As such, business owners often go to great lengths to prevent disputes and minimize the fallout of one. One option that is gaining traction with owners across the U.S. is to include an arbitration clause in various business contracts. In this post, we will take a closer look at what these clauses do and why you may or may not choose to include one in a contract.

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