Hoffman & Associates Announces its Newest Associate

CassandraAtlanta, GA, Oct 15, 2015 – Hoffman & Associates is proud to announce its newest associate, Cassandra Ceron.  Cassandra joined the firm in May 2015 and specializes in the areas of wills, trusts, estate administration and probate, and guardianship/conservatorship of incapacitated adults. Cassandra’s past experience in family and domestic  law enables her to assist blended families in navigating their estate plan. Cassandra graduated cum laude, and with pro bono distinction, from Georgia State University College of Law and has an undergraduate business degree, cum laude, from Kennesaw State University.

Cassandra is a member of both the Estate Planning & Probate and Family Law Sections of the Atlanta Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Division and the Family Law Section of the  Georgia Bar Association. Cassandra lives in Marietta with her husband and two young children.

About Hoffman & Associates

Hoffman & Associates specializes in estate planning for wealthy families, business and tax law for closely-held businesses, and tax compliance.  Expertise in these areas comes from a dedicated staff of both attorneys and CPAs delivering personalized service and sound legal guidance.  Established in 1991, Hoffman & Associates prides itself in having a standalone tax practice and attorneys licensed in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Planning for Farming and Agriculture

Farming & Agriculture

 

 

 

WealthCounsel Quarterly Q2 2015_ Planning for Farming and Agriculture

Hoffman & Associates Announces its Newest Partner, Kim Hoipkemier

hoffmankimcolorHoffman & Associates is proud to announce that Kim Hoipkemier has become a partner of the firm effective January 1, 2015.  Kim joined H&A in 2011 bringing with her extensive experience in estate planning and representation of high end clients.  She currently specializes in the areas of wills, trusts, estate administration and probate.

“Kim has become engaged in our practice in a relatively short period of time and helps define our compelling brand to clients, vendors and other professionals”, commented Mike Hoffman, founding and managing partner.  “Kim has built a solid foundation in estate planning and her contributions make us a better firm.”

Mrs. Hoipkemier is a magna cum laude undergrad from the University of Georgia and a cum laude graduate from the University of Georgia School of  Law.  She is a member of the Fiduciary Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia and a member of the Wills Clinic through the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division.

About Hoffman & Associates

Hoffman & Associates is a boutique law firm established in 1991 specializing in estate planning and probate and tax and business law. Expertise in these areas comes from a dedicated staff of both attorneys and CPAs delivering personalized service and sound financial guidance.   Hoffman & Associates prides itself in having a standalone tax practice and attorneys licensed in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.

VP of Administration Celebrates 20 Years of Service with Hoffman & Associates

Hoffman & Associates celebrated Trish Kennedy’s 20 year anniversary on Monday December 1, 2014 with a staff luncheon.  Trish started working for H&A back in 1994 managing the day-to-day operations of the firm. She has been instrumental in the firm’s success and growth through her unparalleled work ethic and commitment, her can-do attitude, her organization, and strong communication skills.  According to Mike Hoffman, Managing Partner “Trish is the glue that holds everyone together.” Congratulations to Trish from the entire staff at H&A!

 

Trish KennedyAbout Hoffman & Associates:

Hoffman & Associates is a boutique law firm specializing in Estate Planning, Tax Planning and Business Law. Expertise in these areas comes from a dedicated staff of both attorneys and CPAs delivering personalized legal service and sound financial guidance.   Hoffman & Associates prides itself in having a standalone tax practice and attorneys licensed in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.

For information regarding estate planning, tax planning or any business law  concern, please visit the Hoffman & Associates website at www.hoffmanestatelaw.com, call us at 404-255-7400 or send us an email.

Hoffman & Associates, Proud Sponsor of the Footprints for the Future 5K

footprints for the future 5kTeam Hoffman & Associates Running for Education in Sandy Springs

Hoffman & Associates (H&A) was a proud sponsor and supporter of the recent Footprints for the Future 5K held on Saturday November 8, 2014. Runners took to the streets in Sandy Springs hoping to make a difference in the lives of students in the 11 public schools in their district.

This inaugural race, organized by the Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF), helped raise awareness and funds to support their mission of inspiring and supporting all Sandy Springs public school students to graduate and pursue productive lives beyond high school.  According to Joe Nagel, Partner at H&A and co-chair of the event, “I believe in education and in the great work that SSEF is doing in our community.” Joe, whose mother was an educator in Atlanta for many years,  is proud to be involved and making a difference in the lives of so many students.

Several staff members of H&A also participated in the race including Trish Kennedy, Mary Daugherty, Kim Hoipkemier, and Carolina Gomez.

About Sandy Springs Education Force:
In an effort to support Sandy Springs public schools and students, SSEF actively engages the resources of civic leaders, community stakeholders, and businesses to deliver supplemental programs and services in eleven public schools.  For more information about SSEF, please visit their website at www.sandyspringseducationforce.org

About Hoffman & Associates:
Hoffman & Associates, a boutique law firm established in 1991, specializes in high-end estate planning, tax planning and business law. Expertise in these areas comes from a dedicated staff of both attorneys and CPAs delivering personalized service and sound financial guidance.   Hoffman & Associates prides itself in having a standalone tax practice and attorneys licensed in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. For more information about H&A please visit our website at www.hoffmanestatelaw.com

Hoffman & Associates Promotes Estate Planning Awareness Week, October 20-26, 2014

Hoffman & Associates announced today that they are joining their colleagues at WealthCounsel in a public relations campaign to showcase National Estate Planning Awareness Week, October 20-26, 2014.

According to a 2014 industry trends survey of estate planners conducted by WealthCounsel, one of the most common reasons clients engage in estate planning is to spare their family members and heirs the chaos and conflict that often occurs after their death.  Another common reason that consumers engage in planning is to protect their children from mismanaging their inheritance, or to shield their children’s inheritance from creditors.

Estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management.  More than 120 million Americans do not have proper estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death.  This costs many families wasted dollars and unnecessary hardship that can be minimized with proper planning.

In 2008, the founders of The Financial Awareness Foundation worked with Congress to pass a resolution proclaiming the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  The resolution noted that “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.”

“You will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with an estate plan that is flexible, that you can modify as your lifestyle changes or as external factors dictate,” said Mike Hoffman, managing partner at H&A.  According to Kim Hoipkemier of H&A “As a member of WealthCounselÒ, our firm has access to a state-of-the-art document drafting system, a network of experienced colleagues throughout the country with whom we can collaborate, and superior educational resources to help us stay on the leading edge of knowledge.”

In addition to WealthCounselÒ, Mike Hoffman is a member of the Georgia, American and Ohio Bar Associations, the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, and founder and member of the Estate Planning and Financial section of the Georgia Society of CPAs.  Kim Hoipkemier is a member of the American and Georgia Bar Associations.

For more information regarding this or any other estate planning concern, please visit the Hoffman & Associates website at www.hoffmanestatelaw.com, call us at 404-255-7400 or send us an email.

In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this article is not to be considered a “covered opinion” or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for IRS audit, tax dispute, or any other purpose. The information contained herein is provided “as is” for general guidance on matters of interest only. Hoffman & Associates, Attorneys-at-Law, LLC is not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional advice and services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a competent professional advisor.

H&A Helps Clients “Step-Up”!

Brusco PhotoClients of Hoffman & Associates truly “step-up” as part of the firm’s ongoing Codicil Project.  This initiative is helping clients save a substantial amount of money in taxes by offering them the opportunity to amend their Wills and achieve a second “step- up” in basis on assets in the estate of the surviving spouse.  “Due to the changes in tax law brought about by the “Tax Relief Act of 2012″, many of our clients are now focused on income tax planning rather than on estate tax planning” states Rhiannon Brusco, Associate at H&A.  “By securing a “step-up” in basis, clients can save their beneficiaries significant money in capital gains taxes because assets are passed at their current fair market value and not at their value when initially acquired by the decedent.”  What does this mean in lay terms? Well, it means that the second home or rental property that mom and dad bought back in 1975 for $50,000 and left to their children in their Will, is now valued at $250,000.  Rather than paying taxes on the $200,000 appreciated value, the “codicil project” assures the children can sell the home using the stepped-up basis of $250,000 and only owe capital gains tax on gain over that higher basis. For more information about Hoffman & Associates, please visit our website at www.hoffmanestatelaw.com or call us at 404-255-7400.

 

Hoffman & Associates Helps Students from West End Academy in Atlanta

Hoffman LL

Hoffman & Associates recently participated in a leadership luncheon with several high school students from West End Academy in Atlanta.  West End Academy serves eleventh and twelfth graders from Atlanta Public High Schools with a non-traditional program addressing the needs of at risk students. This program, designed to expose graduating students to real world success, helps to further West End Academy’s goal of helping students experience success and become productive citizens in a global world.

The Hoffman & Associates team shared their vision, mission, and belief statements over lunch with the graduates and according to Tom Cramer, Founder & Co-Chairman of The Brain Trust, “although they all have had a difficult past, these students are now on the right track and highly motivated for future success.”  Dr. Evelyn Mobley, Principal at West End Academy, also commented on what this luncheon meant to the students and to their educational experience, “It was value-added to their academic and self-esteem, the exposure added to the process of their personal transformation.” Hoffman & Associates strongly believes in supporting the community, helping students become productive citizens and combating the high school dropout crisis.

Hoffman & Associates, a boutique law firm located in Sandy Springs, is focused on estate planning, probate, business law, corporate law, tax planning, and tax controversy. Expertise in these areas comes from a dedicated staff of both attorneys and CPAs delivering specialized personal attention, exemplary legal service and sound financial guidance.   Hoffman & Associates prides itself in having a standalone tax practice and attorneys licensed in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The Brain Trust, based in Atlanta, GA, is an fifteen year old organization of CEOs, company presidents, general managers and business owners who come together, during a monthly CEO Conference to provide insight and solutions to shared business hurdles through half day meetings.

For more information regarding this or any other estate planning concern, please visit the Hoffman & Associates website at www.hoffmanestatelaw.com, call us at 404-255-7400 or send us an email.

In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this article is not to be considered a “covered opinion” or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for IRS audit, tax dispute, or any other purpose. The information contained herein is provided “as is” for general guidance on matters of interest only. Hoffman & Associates, Attorneys-at-Law, LLC is not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional advice and services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a competent professional advisor.

Wills – Don’t Be “Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish”

Brusco PhotoWe are all self-sufficient and believe we have the answers to everything.  Why hire a lawyer to draft your Will when you can just do it online and save some money?

Oh, the caution from the courts!  A recent decision (just a month ago) from the Florida Supreme Court, Aldrich v. Basile, No. SC11-2147 (Fla., March 27, 2014), tells us all do not do it alone!

In Aldrich, Ms. Ann Aldrich prepared her Will using the “E-Z Legal Form”.  She left a list of belongings to her sister, then to her brother if her sister predeceased her.  Ms. Aldrich’s sister did, in fact, predecease her and left Ms. Aldrich an inheritance of cash and land.  The “uh-oh” moment came because Ms. Aldrich never revised her Will to bequeath this inheritance of cash and land to anyone, even though she had meticulously spelled out what her sister and, subsequently, her brother were to receive.  In addition, there was no clause in the “E-Z” Will to dispose of the “… after-acquired property or any other property not mentioned in the [W]ill…”.  Guess what happened to the inheritance without a “residuary clause” in the Will?  Only after expensive litigation could Ms. Aldrich’s inheritance from her sister and any other unspecified assets pass via Florida’s intestacy statute (the law that says who gets what when you die without a Will).  The Florida Supreme Court wrote:  “Ms. Aldrich expressed no intent as to any property that she may have acquired after the execution of her Will, as the document did not include a residuary clause, nor did it include any general bequests that could encompass the inherited property.”  Aldrich at *10.  As a result, nieces whom she had not included in her “E-Z” Will received all of the “residue” of her estate.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara J. Pariente stated it well in her concurrence:

“… [T]his case does remind me of the old adage ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish.’  Obviously, the cost of drafting a will through the use of a pre-printed form is likely substantially lower than the cost of hiring a knowledgeable lawyer.  However, as illustrated by this case, the ultimate cost of utilizing such a form to draft one’s will has the potential to far surpass the cost of hiring a lawyer at the outset….

I therefore take this opportunity to highlight a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of utilizing pre-printed forms and drafting a [W]ill without legal assistance.”  Aldrich at *18.

Do not do the same.  Hire a lawyer so your family is not stuck in a tornado of litigation once you pass.

For more information regarding this or any other estate planning concern, please visit the Hoffman & Associates website at www.hoffmanestatelaw.com, call us at 404-255-7400 or send us an email.

In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this article is not to be considered a “covered opinion” or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for IRS audit, tax dispute, or any other purpose. The information contained herein is provided “as is” for general guidance on matters of interest only. Hoffman & Associates, Attorneys-at-Law, LLC is not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional advice and services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a competent professional advisor.

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY

State governments in the U.S. have between $35 and $400 billion dollars of unclaimed assets sitting in state funds awaiting retrieval.  A non-profit organization called the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (“NAUPA”) has members from every state in the U.S. helping oversee unclaimed property. The databases that house the unclaimed property records are maintained by each individual state, not by NAUPA.  Most state databases are free to search.

Unclaimed property is defined as “accounts in financial institutions and companies, that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or longer” (The time period is set by each state).  There is currently no statute of limitations on unclaimed property.

 There are many different reasons why property is turned over to the state and becomes unclaimed.  A few of the most common are:

  • you move without notifying every business contact (i.e. utility company);
  • you forget about accounts you may still have open;
  • you may have checks that were lost in the mail or put in a drawer and forgotten about;
  • you leave a job and don’t collect your final paycheck
  • a loved one passes away and there is no process for contacting heirs.

 

If you believe you may have unclaimed property, you can visit NAUPA’s site www.unclaimed.org or the national database www.missingmoney.com, which will link you to the individual state’s unclaimed property database.  If you search Georgia, you can go directly to the Georgia Department of Revenue’s site www.etax.dor.ga.gov. Type in your name – the name you had when you lived in that state.  If you find your name you can initiate a claim on the website.  You should allow at least 120 days for the initial inquiry to be processed.  If the state believes the property could be yours, it will send you another form and request documentation to establish ownership/identity as the rightful owner.

Legitimate proof of your right to unclaimed property includes proof of address and proof of name at the time the property was originally left unclaimed.  If you are claiming property from someone who is deceased, you will need to provide documentation that shows your relationship and right to claim.

A huge unclaimed account exists in New York.  Last year, a Holocaust survivor died at age 97 with no Will and no heirs to his estate.  He died leaving an estate worth an estimated $40 million.  If no heirs are found, his estate will go to the state of New York.  This is yet one more reason why everyone needs a Will and should advise their loved ones as to the location of important papers.

If you would like more information or need assistance in searching and possibly claiming your property, please contact us at 404-255-7400 or send us an email.

In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this article is not to be considered a “covered opinion” or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for IRS audit, tax dispute, or any other purpose. The information contained herein is provided “as is” for general guidance on matters of interest only. Hoffman & Associates, Attorneys-at-Law, LLC is not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional advice and services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a competent professional advisor.

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