30 years ago, one of our founders was introduced to the owner of a local business by a bonding agent. The owner was worried about maintaining his assets in the company, and after speaking with one of our founders, was sure that Lanigan Ryan could guide him through the estate planning process.
Estate planning (a way of passing assets from one generation to another) has two main pieces: 1) to move assets to mitigate unnecessary taxation, and 2) to protect assets from suffering any loss. At the time, their assets were in excess of the taxable estate limits and therefore everything above that limit was subject to be taxed, resulting in substantial tax implications.
By partnering up with a local attorney, Lanigan Ryan and the owner determined that the best way to lessen such loss due to taxes was to create trusts for his two children, splitting the assets among them over the next 3 years.
Over time both children got married, and subsequently both marriages ended in divorce. Thankfully due to the estate plan in place, the assets held within trusts were protected and stayed within the family.
For many years, Lanigan Ryan completed the yearly reviews of financial statements for this company, but a few years ago, the owner’s wife, the original trustee for both children’s trusts, passed away. This left a Lanigan Ryan partner as the successor trustee for over 70% of the stock. As a result, our firm was no longer considered independent for the purposes of the company’s review. However, Lanigan Ryan continues to work with the company on tax-related work and assists the accountant who completes the reviews.
Overall, the estate plan successfully developed a strategy to minimize taxation while protecting the owner’s assets.