Planning Notes

Via this blog we address fundamental concepts and issues relevant to estate planning law (will, trust, probate, asset protection), business law (LLC), real estate law, & tax law. Published by Douglas K. Cook & Steven W. Cook.

Estate Plan Privacy

April 1, 2015

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of a revocable "living" trust is the privacy that it can provide. If you're not familiar the concept of  a living trust, it is a legal document often used in estate planning, either in conjunction with, or instead of, a will to more efficiently administer of a person's or couple's estate by avoiding a judicial proceeding called probate Read More»

The Achieving A Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act

March 25, 2015

The ABLE Act can allow individuals with qualifying disabilities or their families to set aside funds for education, housing and other needs without affecting eligibility for Medicaid or SSI, similar to a special needs trust, but without needing to form a special needs trust. Read More»

Facebook & Estate Planning

February 13, 2015

Facebook recently announced a limited digital estate planning functionality, called Facebook Legacy Contacts, associated with Facebook accounts. Read More»

Selling a Business: Stock Sale v. Asset Sale

January 5, 2015

When a business is sold, the actual sale often occurs via one of two forms, either as a stock sale or as an asset sale. In general, sellers often prefer stock sales while buyers often prefer asset sales. Read More»

2014 Tax Extender Bill Passed By Congress

December 17, 2014

Some of the provisions that were extended retroactively include higher Section 179 expense limits, tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes, the Work Oppurtunity Tax Credit, and deductions for mortgage interest premiums. Read More»

What Is A Business Plan?

November 20, 2014

Developing a business plan is often very important, even for those businesses that do not intend to raise outside capital. Read More»

Business Structures: The Facts & Figures

November 5, 2014

In general, there are three principal considerations when choosing a business structure: (1) liability, (2) management, and (3) taxation. Unfortunately, the laws that affect some of these considerations – in particular, liability and management – vary significantly from state to state and are not uniform across the country. As a result, the information that follows regarding corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships (LP), limited liability companies (LLC) and sole proprietorships is general. Read More»

4 Ways to Protect Your Intellectual Property

October 8, 2014

In the United States, there are four principal ways in which a person or business can protect intellectual property, however, not all types of protection are available for all property types. Read More»

U.S. Federal Trademark Filings

September 16, 2014

In 2013, more than 300,000 trademarks and service marks were filed across 45 different classes of goods and services with the United States Patent & Trademark ("USPTO"); however, less than 200,000 trademarks were registered by the USPTO office during 2013. Read More»

ALS Association Ice Bucket Challenge Trademark Filing

August 29, 2014

The ALS Association has filed an application to register a federal trademark for "Ice Bucket Challenge", the viral sensation that has swept the nation this summer. Read More»