Family Wealth Matters Blog

Blog Authors

Latest from Family Wealth Matters Blog

For many sellers, withstanding the challenges of the due diligence phase depends on keeping their emotions in check and anticipating the buyer’s requests for information.

If you have been through the sale of a business, you have likely experienced the tension, tedium and conflict of “due diligence” – a key phase of the deal during which the buyer truly gets to know the business they are buying.

If the sale of your business will be your first such transaction, brace yourself for a potentially bumpy ride, as the euphoria of a signed letter of intent (

see related article

Continue Reading Stress test: Due diligence in a business sale

In a business sale, the letter of intent is a vital document, and sellers should thoroughly understand its purpose and scope.

In most business sales, the deal begins with a discussion between a buyer and a business owner (or the owner’s M&A broker) and moves from the “talking” stage to the “serious” stage when the buyer presents the seller with a “letter of intent” to purchase the seller’s company.

After it is signed by both parties, the letter of intent provides a launching pad for everything that follows, through the negotiation and “due diligence” phases to the ultimate sale. To
Continue Reading Letters of intent in a business sale: 7 seller FAQs

In many cases, an S corp election can reduce each member’s tax liability.

If you are a business owner and you chose the “limited liability company” form of entity, you were probably motivated by three key characteristics of an LLC:

  • protection from personal liability for the company’s obligations;

  • relatively little formality or reporting to government entities; and

  • avoidance of double taxation.

Other popular features of an LLC are its existence as a separate legal entity, apart from the owner(s); perpetuity of existence; flexibility in management structure; and freedom in transferring financial interests.

For the purposes of this article, let’s get
Continue Reading Should your LLC be taxed as a subchapter S corporation?

A right-of-occupancy provision in your trust can satisfy two competing desires: for your adult kids to inherit your home and for your spouse to live in it.

Does this really happen?

It’s more common than you might assume. While Gordon could have updated his will and re-titled his house so that he and Blanche would own it with rights of survivorship, that might not have been what he wanted. It’s not unusual in second marriages for the spouse who owned the house to keep it in their name only – intentionally or by oversight – and have it pass to
Continue Reading Right to occupy: After your death, would your spouse be able to stay in your home?

Our online self-assessment tool can help you recognize how the passage of time and any number of triggering events can impact your will, trust, and other planning documents.

In a perfect world, you could create an estate plan and be done with it, putting it on the shelf and then waiting for it to do its thing.

But, alas, even in a perfect world, circumstances change – and it is that rascally “change” that makes periodic reviews of your will, trust and other

estate planning

documents such a good idea.

To help you evaluate the condition of your will or
Continue Reading Is it time for an estate plan review? You be the judge

Business planning is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: Maximize the business and personal benefits of your LLC’s operating agreement, and resolve any conflicts with your personal estate plan.

The ease of forming an LLC has been a mixed blessing, as its simplicity and relative informality has allowed for many risky shortcuts – mostly notably with respect to the entity’s operating agreement. Many organizers used a “boilerplate” agreement that was inadequate to the situation, or they skipped the operating agreement altogether (Arizona’s original 1992 LLC law did not require one).

Those shortcuts became a real issue in
Continue Reading No conflicts: Coordinating your LLC operating agreement with your personal estate plan

Our list of often-overlooked questions can help you strengthen your business succession planning and ensure a solid future for your spouse and children.

An 800-word article cannot begin to address all of the scenarios, options and decisions that may apply to your personal and business situation. Instead, we offer a few (OK, more than a few) questions that, thoughtfully considered, might provide a useful start in formulating plans for your business’s ownership and operations in case you should die while still running the show.

Consider questions such as these:

  • Are you married or single?

  • If you are married, is your

Continue Reading Estate planning for business owners: a will or trust is just the start of your ultimate plan

A new federal law will require businesses to report specific information about the business and its owners – and impose costly consequences for failure to comply.

Will my business have to file a report?

It probably will. Entities required to report (


a “reporting company”) include most corporations, LLCs, partnerships, certain types of trusts, and more.

For purposes of the CTA, a reporting company is defined as:

“a corporation, limited liability company or other similar entity that is created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or similar office under the law of a state,
Continue Reading Corporate Transparency Act Update: effective date pushed back to January 1, 2024

In the initial phase of probate, a personal representative’s attention is on preparing an asset inventory, determining which assets are subject to probate, and keeping the decedent’s heirs in the loop.

  • collect the assets of the decedent,

  • pay any outstanding bills or creditors that need to be paid, and

  • distribute the decedent’s assets to whomever is supposed to receive them under the Will (or, if no Will exists, under state law).

This article, which is an excerpt from our

Arizona Personal Representative Handbook

, focuses on the first duty:

gathering the decedent’s assets.

Initially, you (as the PR) must identify
Continue Reading For Personal Representatives, Collecting the Decedent's Assets Is a Critical Duty

Asset protection is by no means the exclusive domain of the rich and famous; its value can apply to a diverse range of situations and wealth levels.

Asset Protection Candidates.

Asset protection strategies can be beneficial to people in a wide variety of circumstances, including the following:

  • business owners i

    n high-risk, high-liability industries (e.g., manufacturing, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, transportation, construction, retail, commercial real estate, insurance, business services, lending, securities, investment, mining, real estate development);

  • owners of businesses that deal directly with the general public;

  • business owners and employers who may incur personal liability for business obligations, such as wage-and-hour

Continue Reading Who Needs Asset Protection? Maybe You

A new federal law requires businesses to report specific information about the business and its owners – and imposes costly consequences for failure to comply.

Does my business have to file a report?

It probably does. Entities required to report (aka a “reporting company”) include most corporations, LLCs, partnerships, certain types of trusts, and more.

For purposes of the CTA, a reporting company is defined as:

“a corporation, limited liability company or other similar entity that is created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or similar office under the law of a state, or formed
Continue Reading Businesses: Beware the Corporate Transparency Act

For decedents who owned property of relatively modest value, Arizona law provides for ownership transfers that do not require probate court oversight.

Small Estate Affidavit


small estate affidavit,

also known as an Affidavit for Transfer of Personal Property, allows an heir to transfer or claim the estate’s assets free of probate, provided that the net value of those assets qualifies for small-estate treatment.

To qualify, the value of the decedent’s total personal property (e.g., cash, bank accounts, securities, business interests, vehicles, and other non-real estate assets), minus any liens or encumbrances on those assets, must be $75,000 or less.
Continue Reading Small Estate Affidavits: Avoiding probate in property disposition


Arizona’s intestate succession

statutes, who is entitled to the Decedent’s property is largely a function of how potential heirs are related to the Decedent and how each category of relationship ranks in the statutory pecking order.

In the absence of a properly draft and executed Will or Trust, dying “intestate” triggers a situation in which claims against the Decedent’s estate must be validated and settled by the courts, in a vacuum formed by ignorance of the Decedent’s wishes.

It is not an exaggeration to state that intestacy creates a potential free-for-all (in fact, we use that very phrase in
Continue Reading Dying without a will (intestate): A look at Arizona's laws of intestacy