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Business Succession Planning – It’s Never Too Early to Start

by Kevin J. Richter, Shareholder

Many times owners of small and midsize businesses face a challenge when it comes to establishing a plan for their business succession.  Should they look for outside purchasers or current employees that would be qualified to operate the business and that would have sufficient ability to pay the purchase price?

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How to Eliminate Probate Litigation with Proper Estate Planning Measures

by Joseph R. Harvath, Associate

Probate litigation can come in many different forms, including issues involving family businesses, will contests, and trust disputes.  With proper estate planning, however, many of these issues can be completely avoided.  This is also true with guardianships.  Without proper planning, probate litigation involving a guardianship can easily be drawn out and become contentious.  Knowing the basics of what a guardianship is, along with proper estate planning, individuals can protect themselves and their loved ones from unnecessary probate litigation.

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Who’s on First: Mortgage Priority in Refinancing Situations

by Natalie Lorenz, Associate

A scenario that often arises when a bank refinances a customer’s mortgage from a different lender is that intervening liens have been placed on the mortgaged property.  For example, a customer purchases property for $200,000 with a loan from Bank A, which obtains a mortgage on the property in the same amount.  Then the customer obtains a second loan for $50,000 from Bank B to pay for her son’s education, and gives Bank B a lien on the same property as collateral.  After a few years, the customer decides to go to Bank C to refinance the loan from Bank A.  Bank A’s loan is paid off, and its mortgage is released, and Bank C then obtains a mortgage on the property instead.  However, Bank B’s lien remains on the property.

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Not All Product Liability Attorneys Are the Same

by Mark S. Schuver, Shareholder

When you buy a product, you expect it to be safe.  You don’t expect the product to cause you or a loved one serious personal injury or, worse, death.  Manufacturers have a legal duty to design and manufacture a product that is safe.  When they breach that duty, you need a lawyer well-versed in product liability law and who has handled serious product liability cases.

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Statute of Limitations: Adequately Disclosing the Value of a Gift on a Gift Tax Return

by Beth Flowers, Associate

When a Gift (and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax) Return (Form 709) is filed and gift(s) are adequately disclosed, the statute of limitations (being 3 years after the return is filed) on the gifts begins to run. There are several requirements that must be met for the return to be considered complete (and the gifts adequately disclosed) so that the statute of limitations begins to run. One item that is required to be included for the gift to be considered adequately disclosed is the value of the gift. To adequately disclose the value of the gifted item, the donor should attach either a qualified appraisal or a detailed description of the method used to determine the fair market value of the gift.

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