Goodson Manley Law & Legacies PLLC is the legacy firm of John F. Goodson who recently passed away. Our goal is to honor John and to continue his unique brand and the devotion he gave to his clients families and businesses. The firm has innovated a new practice area called Wealth Preservation Law which is modeled around the multi-family office format with an old fashioned culture based on client service, attention to detail, and creativity. We have a team of professionals who have been working together for many years. Colleen was employed as the Senior Legacy Advisor at Shelterwood/Pitcairn Family Office comprised of some of the founding American families. Colleen also recently graduated from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with an Executive MBA. Greta Brandt has joined our legal team as an attorney certified to practice law in Arizona and California. Matthew Villegas continues as a law clerk, Michele Gilley is our senior legal assistant, and Yessenia Varela and Erica Varela represent Goodson Manley Law & Legacies PLLC, as our office manager and executive staff assistant respectively.
The firm focuses not only on general business law and estate planning but also specializes in succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning/branding. Our firm is dedicated to collaboration and integration, so coordinating with the clients’ professional team is part of the Wealth Preservation planning, strategy, and maintenance.
At this time, our firm is in the research and development of a totally new Wealth Preservation Revocable Trust which we believe will replace the current model and are also designing legal vehicles and solutions in the area of the human capital for our families and businesses (the real assets--- the family and the family values) with tools such as the Legacy Trust and some other proprietary documents, which are currently in the incubation phase.
Our commitment is to serve our clients like they were part of our extended legal family! We do not see our clients as commodities but as precious and valued families and businesses who deserve the highest and most customized standard of care! We extend an open invitation to schedule coffee at our offices to have the opportunity to get to know each other, to introduce our clients to the Goodson Manley Law & Legacies team and to discuss the status of our clients’ estate and legacy plans.
1. Changes That May Affect Your Estate. There are many developments in the estate planning industry that provide possibilities for simplification and which may have tax implications. These issues must be addressed to ensure your legal documents are up to date and tailored precisely to your objectives and to the changes in the law. With the adoption of the Uniform Trust Code (UTC) we are able to streamline and simplify the protector provisions, may add language to counter some of the disclosure requirements addressed in the UTC, may simplify the protector provisions, eliminate boiler plate what if provisions which do not apply, may add language to the special power of appointment to allow the portability election to avoid capital gains and are able to add flexibility and other options to your documents.
Many of our clients also want to incorporate the special needs provisions into their trusts in the event a beneficiary has become compromised to an extent that he or she may qualify for Federal or State aid, such as Medicaid and Social Security benefits. The special needs provision allows the beneficiary to receive such benefits, while at the same time allowing the beneficiary to enjoy the use of property that is held in the trust for his or her benefit.
Further, with the increasing lifetime exception the clients who now have the automatic funding of the "B" and "Q" sub-trusts may want to either provide for the full funding of the survivors trust (The “A” Trust) or adjust their dispositive provisions even more. In addition, there is an option to convert the old "A"--"B" trusts into revocable trusts utilizing the portability exemptions where there may be some tax savings in capital gains taxes. Needless to say each client's Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts must be analyzed in the context of the modifications in the current estate planning law and statutes.
Where there is a board of trustees or co-trustees we recommend naming a managing trustee. Further, on the death of the first grantor clients are opting not to have a co-trustee with the survivor if there are no issues related to the surviving spouse's ability to manage and administer the trust on the death of the first grantor spouse.
In addition we have developed substantive customized language for the separate property trusts and sub-trusts to protect separate property even more from being comingled with the community property estate. With these trusts there may also be some asset protection potential too.
2. "The Devil Is In The Details". Attending to the details of your Estate and Wealth Preservation plan is absolutely critical! Many estate planning professionals are commoditizing the estate planning industry especially since there is less of a need to address estate taxes with the increasing lifetime exception. Having a dialog about your concerns and family goals before you execute your documents is so important! The tendency now is to give clients clip board questions and on-line documents with almost no customization. Many times the clients do not even get the chance to review drafts prior to signing!
Since following up with the loose ends does not garner a high dollar return in legal fees the trend now is to send the clients off with a "it is your responsibility to fund it" letter only and without addressing any of the liability insurance and other areas that may affect the ultimate success of the client's plan.
Almost every client who has not been in for some time or clients coming from other attorneys have not addressed the treatment of their life insurance policies in an irrevocable trust, the maintenance of their corporate and partnership notebooks, the risks of owning "dangerous assets" in protected legal entities, the implication of the capital gains possibilities, and having incidents of ownership and control problems which could result in estate taxes and loss to creditors or other third parties.
3. Do You Really Have Asset Protection? The firm has a proprietary Asset/Confidentiality Plan that has been tested and proven successful in over 10 high profile cases. So many clients believe they have an asset protection plan and have paid big money to create one. If the "asset protection plan" is based on the charging lien defense you then your family will be dealing with creditors possibly for generations to come! Ask your asset protection specialist if this charging lien strategy is the strategy that you have implemented. There is an alternative where our clients attend debtors exams, report to the bankruptcy trustees, fill in forms for the IRS or complete disclosures for law suits with what we have planned are truly their personal assets. We craft carefully what is "on the grid". Our Wealth Preservation Plan is based on and the documents reflect long standing and legitimate estate and tax planning motives that have been coupled with a precise strategy that is proprietary and uses legal tools that have been in the industry for years and years. We utilize what has and is available in an exceptionally creative way!
4. A Family’s Confidentiality Plan. The evolution of our Confidentiality Plan is based on client’s requests. Since we care about our clients like extended family members, when they complain to us they cannot sleep at night from worry, we immediately shift into the “solution mode” that John was famous for. There were so many innovation sessions over the years where we were given challenges and could either tell our clients "sorry it cannot be done" and "there is nothing in the industry to solve this situation" answer or, alternatively, we could figure out a plan which may never have been done before. If our idea is based on proper and exhaustive research, study and quantitative examination of current law and practice then our firm has discovered another concept to further protect our clients and allow them the peace that even money cannot buy.
Our Confidentiality Plan evolved organically because clients were nervous and anxious in a global world of internet communication based on a search engine culture that allows anyone to find anything on-line anytime that their family facts were exposed. A high number of clients absolutely want their family affairs and estate metrics kept private and off the social media network. A defensive plan is vital to the protection of your family's personal information and data. Unfortunately people are now put in a position where they have to monitor and organize carefully their respective disclosure patterns!
John Goodson, my father, and a legal legend, gave us clear instructions before his death to carry on and build on the legacy he left behind. We, with “commando spirit” as John would have said, are committed to fulfill his vision.
John always believed that lifelong learning in all areas of a person's life was fundamental so we look forward to continuing to have the opportunity to share our Wealth Preservation and Education Alerts. Our firm thinks like a master chess player, anticipating every possible move to avoid check mate and to ultimately and heroically capture the King!
We want to extend our sincere gratitude to our clients, trusted advisors, and colleagues for your loyalty and collaboration for years to come!
Colleen Goodson Manley