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May 4th, 2024 | asset protection, Blog, business, risk mitigation 4th, May at 10:42 PM

How to Prepare Your Business for the New Year

January 10th, 2023 | Blog 10th, January at 1:00 PM

The beginning of the year is a time to reflect and refocus on what you want to achieve over the next twelve months. Ideally, you spent part of December on housekeeping tasks that helped finish the year strong, and at the beginning of January, you prioritize setting yourself up to look ahead confidently.

Reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs) and vendor agreements, filing required annual documents, meeting with business professionals such as your accountant and attorney, setting strategic goals, and completing other tasks on your new-year checklist will allow you to hit the ground running.


You probably keep a close eye on your numbers throughout the year to ensure that you are heading in the right direction. But a review of last year’s final quarter is a good way to assess whether you hit your goals or came up short.

The specific metrics that you should focus on can vary by industry and financial models. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, these are some of the more important small business KPIs :

Solutionz News

November 1st, 2022 | business, Legacy Planning, Trademarks 1st, November at 1:07 PM

Why Single People Need an Estate Plan

July 29th, 2022 | Blog, business, Legacy Planning 29th, July at 6:20 AM

These days, more and more young people are delaying—if not totally foregoing—a life that involves marriage and parenting. The lack of jobs, crushing student debt, multiple recessions, and the pandemic have pushed many young people into a life path that leaves little room for settling down with a partner and getting married—and even less room for having children.

Yet, for other young adults, staying single and childless is simply a matter of choice. Regardless of the reason, as more young adults opt for non-traditional lifestyles, the number of single childless households is likely to steadily increase in the coming years.

While most adults don’t take estate planning as seriously as they should, if you are single with no children, you might think that there’s really no need for you to worry about creating an estate plan. But this is a huge mistake. In fact, it can be even MORE important to have an estate plan if you are single and childless.

If you are single without kids, you face several potential estate planning complications that aren’t an issue for those who are married with children. And this is true whether you’re wealthy or have very limited assets. Indeed, without proper estate planning, you’re not only jeopardizing your wealth and assets, but you’re putting your life at risk, too. And that’s not even mentioning the potential conflict, mess, and expense you’re leaving for your surviving family and friends to deal with when something unexpected happens to you.

If you’re single and childless, consider these three inconvenient truths before you decide to forego estate planning.

  1. Someone Will Have to Handle Your Stuff

Whether you’re rich, poor, or somewhere in between, in the event of your death, everything you own will need to be located, managed, and passed on to someone, which can be a massive undertaking in itself—one that few families are properly prepared for.

In fact, following a loved one’s death, American families spend an average of 500 hours and $12,700 over the course of 13 months (20 month if probate is required) to finalize the person’s affairs and settle their estate, according to the first annual Cost Of Dying report released this March by tech startup Empathy in partnership with Goldman Sachs.

On top of the logistical complications involved with finalizing your affairs, without a clear estate plan, including a will or trust, your assets will go through the court process of probate, where a judge and state law will decide who gets everything you own. In the event no family steps forward, your assets will become property of the state.

Why give the state everything you worked to build? And even if you have little financial wealth, you undoubtedly own a few sentimental items, maybe even including pets, that you’d like to pass to a close friend or favorite charity.

However, it’s rare for someone to die without any family members stepping forward. It’s far more likely that some relative you haven’t spoken with in years will come out of the woodwork to stake a claim. Without a will or trust, state intestacy laws establish which family member has the priority inheritance. If you’re unmarried with no children, this hierarchy typically puts parents first, then siblings, then more distant relatives like nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Depending on your family, this could have a potentially troubling—and even deadly—outcome. For instance, what if your closest living relative is your estranged brother with serious addiction issues? Or what if your assets are passed on to a niece with poor money-management skills, who is likely to squander her inheritance?

And if your estate does contain significant wealth and assets, this could lead to a costly and contentious court battle, with all your relatives hiring expensive lawyers to fight over your estate. In the end, this could tear your family apart, while making their lawyers rich—all because you didn’t think you needed an estate plan.

We will work with you to create an estate plan that ensures that your assets will pass to the proper people, while avoiding both unnecessary court proceedings and family conflict.

  1. Someone Will Have Power Over Your Healthcare

Estate planning isn’t just about passing on your assets when you die. In fact, some of the most critical aspects of estate planning have nothing to do with your money at all but are aimed at protecting you while you’re still very much alive.

Proactive planning allows you to name the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated and unable to make such decisions yourself. This is done using an estate planning tool known as a medical power of attorney or advanced medical directive.

For example, if you’re incapacitated due to a serious accident or illness and unable to give doctors permission to perform a potentially risky medical treatment, it would be left up to a judge to decide who gets to make that decision on your behalf.

If you have a romantic partner but aren’t married and haven’t granted him or her medical power of attorney, the court will likely have a family member, not your partner, make those decisions. Depending on your family, that person may make decisions contrary to what you or your partner would want.

And if you don’t want your estranged brother to inherit your assets, you probably don’t want him to have the power to make life-and-death decisions about your medical care, either. But that’s exactly what could happen if you don’t put a plan in place.

Furthermore, your family members who have priority to make decisions for you could keep your dearest friends away from your bedside in the event of your hospitalization. Or family members who don’t share your values about the type of food you eat, or the types of medical care you receive, could be the one’s making decisions about how you’ll be cared for.

To address these issues, you need to implement an estate planning tool that provides specific guidelines detailing exactly how you want your medical care to be managed during your incapacity, including critical end-of-life decisions.

Bottom line: If you are single with no kids, you need to create an estate plan to name healthcare decisions-makers for yourself and provide instructions on how you want those decisions made should you ever become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.

  1. Someone Will Get Power Over Your Finances

As with healthcare decisions, if you become incapacitated and haven’t legally named someone to handle your finances while you’re unable to do so, the court will pick someone for you. The way to avoid this is by granting someone you trust durable financial power of attorney.

A durable financial power of attorney is an estate planning vehicle that gives the person you choose the immediate authority to manage your financial, legal, and business affairs if you’re incapacitated. This agent will have a broad range of powers to handle things like paying your bills and taxes, running your business, collecting your Social Security benefits, selling your home, as well as managing your banking and investment accounts.

Without a signed durable financial power of attorney, your family and friends will have to go to court to get access to your finances, which not only takes time, but it could lead to the mismanagement—and even the loss—of your assets should the court grant this authority to the wrong person.

Even better, the person you name doesn’t have to be a lawyer or financial professional; it can be anybody you choose, including both family and friends. The most important aspect of your choice is selecting someone who’s extremely trustworthy since they will have nearly complete control over your finances while you remain incapacitated. And besides, with us, your agent will have access to our team as their trusted counsel should they need guidance or help.

Don’t Leave So Much at Risk

Given these potential risks and costs for yourself and those you care about, it would be irresponsible if you are single without kids to ignore or put off these basic estate planning strategies. Identifying the right estate planning tools is easy to do, and it begins with a Legacy Planning Session. During this session we will consider everything you own and everyone you love, and guide you to make informed, educated, and empowered choices for yourself and your loved ones.

In the end, it will likely take just a few hours of your time to make certain that your assets, healthcare, and finances will be managed in the most effective and affordable manner possible in the event of your death or incapacity. Don’t leave your life and assets at risk or leave a mess for the people you love; contact us to get your legacy planning handled today.


How to Protect Your Personal Assets as a Business Owner

July 12th, 2022 | asset protection, Blog, business, risk mitigation, Trusts 12th, July at 5:24 PM

As a small business owner who puts in long hours to build your enterprise, it can sometimes feel like there is no separation between your personal and professional lives. You are probably willing to make this sacrifice to build a company that reflects your values and vision. But without a comprehensive asset protection strategy, everything you worked so hard to build could be lost if you are forced to pay money due to a claim or lawsuit against your business.

The best time to put asset protection strategies into place is before the need for asset protection arises. You can implement some of these strategies at your business’s inception. Other measures need to be consistently followed to maximize personal assets.

Choice of Business Entity

The first step in safeguarding your personal assets from your business liabilities is choosing a business structure that limits personal liability. Corporations, as well as limited liability companies (LLCs) and limited partnerships, provide protection for their owners’ personal assets. When a creditor goes after these types of entities for payment of a debt or lawsuit judgment, typically only business assets may be pursued. This is not true for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. The owners of these business types can be held personally liable if the business owes money.

Maintaining Business Protocols

Choosing the right business entity is an important first step, but if certain protocols are not followed, a business entity could lose its liability protection, exposing the assets of its individual owners to claims made against the business.

In some cases, courts will “pierce the corporate veil,” holding owners liable for claims against a corporation or LLC. Courts may permit piercing of the corporate veil in a variety of circumstances, such as when a business owner treats the company’s assets or funds as if they belong to the owner personally or when corporate formalities are not observed, such as holding regular meetings and recording the minutes.

Similarly, partners in a limited partnership are generally not permitted to play an active role in managing the day-to-day affairs of the business. If they do, a court may treat the partnership as a general partnership, resulting in the loss of its limited liability protection.

Something that all businesses can do to maintain personal asset protection is to keep company affairs separate from their personal affairs. This includes having separate personal and business bank accounts and never commingling the two, titling all business properties in the business’s name, and using the company name on business contracts and correspondence. In short, follow the law to the letter and draw a clear line between your personal and business finances to preserve your liability protection.

Business Insurance

You have insurance to protect you financially from car accidents, property damage, and health problems. Your business also needs insurance as a hedge against unforeseen circumstances. Insurance policies are available to cover almost any conceivable type of loss, from motor vehicle crashes and slip-and-fall accidents to professional malpractice and intellectual property infringements.

You will need to balance the cost of the monthly insurance premiums with the liability limits of the policy. Insurance will not cover every type of risk you might face. Certain actions or omissions on your part could relieve the insurer of its indemnification responsibilities. Talk with an insurance professional to better understand the coverage types and amounts that make sense for your business.

Exemptions and Trusts

You can use statutory exemptions to protect assets from bankruptcy or lawsuit creditors in every state. For example, the homestead exemption partially protects the value of a person’s home. Annuities and life insurance are commonly exempt from certain claims as well.

You can also place your assets in a trust to protect them from creditors. One strategy is to use an irrevocable trust. An irrevocable trust cannot be modified once created and places assets outside of your control. If you no longer legally own or control an asset, a creditor cannot come after it. Irrevocable trusts are also utilized for their tax shelter benefits.

A trust established for the express purpose of asset protection is another possibility. The most protective asset protection trusts are typically found outside the United States (i.e., an offshore trust). In an offshore asset protection trust, there are legal mechanisms that shield assets held in trust from a seizure of assets ordered by a US court. There is a downside, though, because the assets can be exposed to risks in the jurisdiction where the offshore trust is held.

There are domestic asset protection trusts as well, but fewer than half of the states offer them. And because domestic trust assets are located in a US jurisdiction, they may not be completely protected from liens, judgments, and other court orders.

Don’t wait for something negative to happen before putting asset protection measures in place Choosing a business entity that walls off your personal assets, maintaining formalities and separation between your business and personal affairs, purchasing insurance, taking advantage of exemptions, and creating trusts are a few of the asset protection strategies we recommend to our clients. We can help you explore these and other strategies and assist you with implementing an asset protection plan that best fits your personal and professional needs. Contact us to schedule a meeting.

How to Prepare for the Unexpected?

June 29th, 2022 | Blog, Legacy Planning 29th, June at 1:54 PM

Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

I along with so many others were saddened to learn that Chadwick Boseman passed away back in 2020. I was even more sad and shocked to learn that he did not have a will or trust in place. There’s a part of me that assumed, expected even, that a man in his position would have had a plan in place regardless of his health condition. It is apparent he was somewhat forward thinking because he married his long-term girlfriend prior to passing away. In doing this, he made sure she would be taken care of after he passed away. However, he was still human and for whatever reason, when he passed he did not have a will or trust in place. As a result, it has taken 2 years to resolve his estate. In addition to this, the state of California made over $1 million off of his labor and earnings during life. Thankfully the estate is large enough that there is still a substantial amount left for his wife and parents to split. However, their portions will also be reduced by the amount they have or will pay in attorney’s fees.

What does this have to do with Me?

If you’re thinking, boo hoo, so sad for them they still have money; what does this have to do with me? Trust me I get it. However, although the amount of money may be much higher than you or I currently have, it’s still relevant to all of us. As sad as his passing was, Chadwick Boseman’s life and death are still examples to follow. I admire the things I know about him during life and how he carried himself, but also see the lesson in the lack of planning for after he passed. Although we may not have the money or status of Chadwick, we still have the right, privilege and duty to make a plan for life and after death.

Imagine if you or someone in your family dies without a will or trust in place?
Do you have the funds to front the cost of probate?
Can you or the family financially survive two years waiting on the estate to be resolved?
Is there a plan in place to provide or continue providing for elderly family members, minor children, household expenses?

These questions aren’t meant to scare you, but to get you to start thinking. We all have a legacy, whether it’s tangible or intangible. What are we doing to protect it? Chadwick’s legacy is not erased solely because he did not have a will in place, but there was certainly some avoidable stress added to the grieving process due to lack of planning. Despite the amount of time, the process was very amicable unlike many other situations. Of course the process of settling his estate has been played out in public because of who he was. However, there are countless other families dealing and/or struggling with the same thing in private due to a lack of planning or worse; lack of communication. I have dealt with families struggling to figure out what their loved one wanted because no one knew there was an estate plan until years later. Planning is great, but it is pointless if you don’t share the plan with anyone.

As I write this, I am thinking about updates I need to make to my own plan as my life looks different today than it did a year ago.  Just as life is always lifing and changing so must we.  Please take some time to think about how you want to live and how you’d like life for your family and friends to be after you pass away.  Life is full of ups and downs and unexpected curves; do what you can to be prepared.


Schedule a consultation to get started on discussing or creating a plan for yourself, today.

Do I Need A Will?

April 6th, 2022 | Blog, Legacy Planning 6th, April at 4:09 PM

Do I Need A Will

A will can be as simple or complex as you decide to make it. Listen below for some additional insight on the reason and benefits of creating a plan.

Estate Planning or Legacy Planning as I like to call it, is something I think everyone should do. We make plans for the week, for our meals, vacations, and even what shows we will watch with others. Why not make a plan for our lives, finances, or after we are gone? A Will is one way we can make our plans clear and easy for others to understand. Another way to plan is to create a Trust to hold money or other assets you want to pass to your family members and protect from taxes.

What is a Will?

A written legal document that addresses what you want to happen when you die, who will care for your minor children, property, money, miscellaneous belongings, etc. To obtain a Will, you must be at least 18 years old and have the capacity to enter a contract. A valid the Will requires a signature by the person creating the Will, and in most states, two witnesses.

Your Annual Report Is Due

March 31st, 2022 | Blog 31st, March at 4:20 PM

What is An Annual Report?!

All states impose a reporting obligation on some or all their domestic and foreign business entities. They also penalize companies that don’t comply, which is why it is so important to be familiar with this compliance requirement.

What is an annual report?

Statutory business entities — which include business corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) — are generally required to file an annual report each year. The report is essentially an information report the business files with the Secretary of State (or other entity filing office) where they were formed and every foreign state in which they are qualified to do business.

This filing provides the public, investors, the filing office, and other government agencies with the information necessary to locate and communicate with companies formed or doing business in the state. This report is required to be filed, in most cases, every year, however, there are a few states that require the report every two years or call it something different.

Annual report filing requirements

The requirement to file the annual report usually begins the year after formation of the entity or foreign qualification and continues until the company files to dissolve (formally end) or withdraw from the foreign it is registered in. An example of this is an LLC that was formed in March of 2021, would not be required to begin filing its Annual Report until 2022.

Of course, this is the general rule as some states only require the report every other yea, do not have any information reporting requirements, and some require an initial report within a short time of incorporation or foreign qualification.

As with most things, the specific information required in the report varies based on entity type and from state to state so it is important to review your state’s requirements. There are third party services that offer to complete and submit your Annual Report for you, but before hiring one you should ensure they know the requirements for your respective state(s).

Each state has laws on the business entity types which establish the baseline required information to be included in the report. The Secretary of State’s office may be authorized to require additional information they believe will assist with the filing process. However, the report generally must include, at a minimum:

  • The company’s legal name
  • In the case of a foreign company, the fictitious name it qualified under, if any
  • The principal office address in the state if any
  • The principal office address wherever located
  • The registered agent’s name
  • The registered agent’s office address
  • The names and business addresses of directors and officers (for a corporation), managers and members (for an LLC) or partners (for an LP or LLP)

Filing Details for Annual Reports

The states also vary greatly when it comes to filing details. For example:

  • Some states require annual reports to be filed before a fixed calendar date. Other states have a due date based on the anniversary of formation or qualification.
  • Some states prepare forms for each company, preprinted with the most current information on file. Others provide blank forms that must be filled out.
  • In some states the information report may be delivered to the filing office in paper form or electronically. Others will only accept reports that are filed electronically.
  • Most states require a filing fee to accompany the report. The fee may be a flat fee or may be variable. A variable rate may be based on a corporation’s authorized shares, the number of an LLC’s members or an LP or LLP’s partners, or some other basis. Some states charge nonprofit corporations no fee or a reduced fee.

What is the filing deadline for annual reports?

Some states require the report to be submitted on a set date, but some use the company’s formation date as the due date. It is important to know your state’s due date and stay up to date on any changes made from year to year. Some states will send a reminder notice in the mail or via email letting you know the report is due soon. Unfortunately, this is not the case for every state. If your business operates and is registered in multiple states it is your responsibility to keep up with the filing requirements for each state.

What happens if I don’t file a required report?

Failing to file the annual report results in fines being assessed and/or the business being limited or prevented from conducting business in the state. If the report is not filed by the due date a late fee will be charged. As more time passes without the report being filed, the company may fall out of good standing. Extended or excessive non-compliance with the annual report filing can result in an administrative dissolution (closure) of the business. If this happens, owners of the company lose the benefits of operating as an LLC or corporation. Your business does not automatically close or stop, but the protections associated with an LLC or corporation cease to exist and you expose yourself to more risk and liability.

Some Important Things to Know about Filing the Annual Report

  • Missing an annual report deadline can impact current or potential financing. An LLC or corporation that misses the deadline could lose its “good standing” status with the state, which can limit its financing options. Many lenders and funding sources require certificates of good standing. This cannot be produced if the state has determined that the company is not in good standing.
  • Failing to file can lead you to lose a contract bid. A failure to file could result in a loss of good standing—and that could cost a company the bid. Properly filing timely annual reports helps maintain a company’s good standing status in state records and keep it on track for success.
  • Annual report requirements continue even if you stopped doing business in a particular state. Even if a company stops doing business in a state where it previously registered, it still must continue to file there until it properly withdraws from the state. Otherwise, there could be failure-to-file penalties.
  • Filing your state income tax return does not take care of your annual report requirement. State annual reports and state income tax returns are different things. Even if one has already been filed, the other still needs to be filed.
  • You still need to file, even if you’ve never received a notice. Although some states send reminder notices, not all do. Either way, you still must file any required annual reports. The burden is on you to keep up with your deadlines and file on time.
  • Having a business license does not do away with your annual report filing requirements. Obtaining or renewing a business license is not the same thing as filing an annual report. Even if a company has all necessary business licenses, it still needs to file its annual reports.
  • Annual report filing requirements continue even after forming your company. Just like tax returns and business licenses, formation and incorporation filings are different from annual report filings. After forming an LLC or corporation, a “next step” is to file state annual reports.

Common Filing Mistakes

It’s not enough to just submit your annual report on time. You want to make sure it’s completed correctly to avoid your filing being rejected. Some common mistakes include the following:

  • Filing an incomplete report
  • Paying the incorrect fee or using an incorrect payment method
  • Having an unauthorized person sign or signing in the wrong place.


State corporation, LLC, LP, and LLP laws generally require the filing of a report with the state’s filing office. To avoid serious penalties, the individuals responsible for compliance for every company subject to this requirement should take all steps necessary to ensure that these reports are filed in a timely and complete manner.

For more information or assistance with filing your Annual Report Contact Us Today.

Overcoming the Challenges of Legacy Planning

February 16th, 2022 | Blog 16th, February at 12:13 PM

Latavia will be a guest panelist on the Southern Soul Show Thursday, February 17, 2022.You can watch the livestream at 8pm ET or listen to the episode the next day at

Southern Soul Livestream is a Witty, thought-provoking, and uplifting, program that you’ll invite your friends over to watch every week, where you’ll learn about interesting guests and get to share in their fascinating experiences. Tune in each Thursday evening at 8 pm ET to connect with guests from across the generations and to laugh with our eclectic hosts who are as charming as they are talented!

What is a Legacy

December 22nd, 2021 | Blog 22nd, December at 12:13 PM

Webster’s defines legacy as a gift by will especially of money or other personal property. It is also something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past the legacy of the ancient philosophers.  Legacy for most that I know is what we are remembered for.  It could be a family tradition or reputation and respect associated with a name.  Those are important, but for many of us that is often the only thing we are given by our family members. That and a lot of grief and frustration over how to pay for things and how to move forward.  The term estate planning was a foreign concept to me growing up, and for a long time I thought it was only something “they” or rich people did.  I now know that estate planning is simply planning, and your plan can be simple or very complex. If you are alive, you have an estate and something worth planning for.

Planning for life after death is very important, but there are some things that can and should be done while we are still living. When thinking about estate planning, it’s important to also think about what happens if you are injured or are no longer able to take care of yourself.  Life is short and if we learned nothing else from 2020 and this pandemic, we know tomorrow is not promised.  We often put things off saying, I’ll do it tomorrow, or I’ve got time, but we never know when our time will be up.  I love life and don’t like to dwell on the negatives or spiral down the what if hallway. However, I know that taking a quick stroll or peek in is necessary. The two documents that everyone should consider and have regardless of health or wealth status are a living will (advanced medical/health directive) and power of attorney. A health care directive is written instructions for how your health care will be handled when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Different states call it different things, but in the document, you can appoint someone as a healthcare agent and tell them what you want to do.  A common scenario is whether you want to be placed on life support or not, or whether you’d want to be revived or not.  There have been countless scenes in movies and television shows that talk about this, and even some high-profile cases in the news.  Being in emergency situations are difficult and stressful by itself, but if there is a question about what a loved one wants, it takes that stress to the umpteenth level.  Do you really want to deal with that? Do you want your loved ones to have to deal with that?! I don’t think you do. The way around that is to get a healthcare directive.  Most states have statutory or standard form that is recognized throughout the state and by all medical care providers.

It is my goal to make sure that when I die a part of my legacy will be that I helped educate as many as possible about the necessity and benefit of planning.  The same way we set goals for finances, education, and our health is the same approach we need to take for life after we pass. The term “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” has become even more real to me.  If you are reading this, then you have taken a great first step in taking control of the plan your life and your family members.  The goal of this post is to introduce you to estate planning, what it involves, and highlight some of the key aspects.  This list is not exhaustive but will hopefully help in getting the conversation started.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the action of arranging a person’s life before their death. This minimizes the effects of gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax. The size of your estate, or assets, will determine the level of detail needed for your plan.


A written legal document that addresses what you want to happen when you die, who will care for your minor children, property, money, miscellaneous belongings, etc.  To obtain a Will, you must be at least 18 years old and have the capacity to enter a contract. To be valid the Will must be signed, and most states require two witnesses.

Advanced Medical Directive

Advanced Medical Directive written instructions for how your health care will be handled when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

Power of Attorney

(use with caution)

Written consent that can be given to a person so that they have the authority to act on another person’s behalf regarding private affairs, business, or other legal matters.

Things to Consider in Preparation

  • Identify Goals
  • Identify loved Ones
  • Children or those with Special Needs
  • Assets
  • Burial or Cremation
  • Organ/Body Donation
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Insurance Policies

Things a Will Won’t Handle

  • Property you’ve transferred to a living trust
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
  • Securities held in a transfer-on-death account
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts, or
  • Property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.