Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Detroit Law Blog

Your estate plan should also protect your small business

If you own and operate a successful small business, you know how hard it is to simply maintain daily operations and turn a profit. In the daily grind of running your business, you may not have time to think about the future, but it is worthwhile to do so. It is prudent to not only protect yourself and your family with a solid estate plan, but also your Michigan small business as well.

Protecting your business can be as simple as outlining your future desires for the operation in event of your retirement, incapacitation or death. Business succession planning is important for every owner, no matter the size or type of small business you own.

How do you find assets hidden assets and income?

A lot of high-income, high-asset divorces get stalled around the issue of how much money is really at stake in the divorce -- precisely because those with a lot of wealth usually want to keep it -- and they sometimes become very good at hiding it.

How do you start looking for assets or income your spouse is hiding? In the end, you'll probably need professional help to really track things down, but you can make the task easier by compiling some information:

  • The names of any third parties that might be willing to hide assets for your spouse. Close relatives, like siblings and parents, should always be considered. So should business partners, old friends and suspected romantic partners. Try to get addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers when possible.
  • The names of any businesses you have heard your spouse mention or seen on paperwork around the house or office. They may be false-front entities designed just to hide assets.
  • Look for sudden large "loans" that your spouse repaid, especially if those "loans" were supposedly from family or friends.
  • Get your children's information together -- parents will sometimes hide assets in their children's name in college funds, trusts or 401(k) plans they "forget" to mention in depositions.
  • Your old tax returns may provide a wealth of information, including things like state and local income taxes paid in an area outside of where you live -- that may indicate a shell company or a company you don't know about that's holding hidden assets. They may also show interest and dividend income from bonds or other accounts you didn't know existed.
  • Bank statements and credit card reports can help you find out where money is going.
  • A copy of your spouse's passport -- that may reveal the location of any offshore accounts that he or she is keeping.

Will you lose everything you own in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is often called "total" bankruptcy, is designed to give people in debt a fresh start -- but that fresh start sometimes requires a few sacrifices.

Some people have to give up valuable pieces of property so that the bankruptcy trustee can liquidate (sell) them and use the proceeds to partially repay the debtor's bills.

Newbie mistakes when starting a business

Everybody has to start somewhere, right? Well, starting a new business can be confusing and difficult, especially the first year.

Frankly, if you want your business to survive and thrive, you're on a pretty steep learning curve. Get hiking in the right direction with the following tips:

6 things you don't want to do during your divorce

Divorce is hard -- but you'll make it a lot harder if you don't listen carefully to your attorney and make certain that you avoid falling into a trap of your own making.

Even if your spouse is a heel and you're justifiably angry, don't let yourself get into trouble by doing any of the following things:

A hidden source of estate tax and what to do about it

When you accumulate a significant amount of wealth, part of your estate planning process is to limit your taxable estate. You work to make sure that your family will receive the maximum benefit from your estate as possible after your death.

You may have even created trusts and filled out your beneficiary designation forms. With all of your preparations, however, you may have missed that the IRS adds the proceeds from life insurance policies to your taxable estate. The value of the policy could throw a very expensive monkey wrench into your estate plan. Fortunately, there may be a way to correct the problem.

Will bankruptcy stop your eviction?

When you file for bankruptcy, something called an "automatic stay" goes immediately into effect. Essentially, it's an abrupt halt to the legal actions that creditors can take against you -- which is usually just enough time to buy a little breathing room and give you the chance to gather your resources and make a few decisions.

Is the automatic stay enough to stop an eviction?

Practical tips when planning for divorce

You probably put a lot of planning into your wedding -- so why would you do any less for your divorce?

Unfortunately, too many people get caught up in the emotions surrounding divorce and act without a plan -- which always ends up being a problem. To save yourself a lot of headaches amid the heartache, follow these tips instead:

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Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.
1460 Walton Blvd , Suite 102
Rochester Hills, MI 48309

Toll Free: 877-600-7891
Phone: 248-218-1473
Fax: 248-650-5368
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