Why Are You Checking Email Today?

Business Succession Planning

Why are you checking email today? There could be many reasons. You could be addicted to your phone. You could be working. You might also own your own business, and when you own your own business you’re always on call. Which is why you’re checking your email today.

If you do own your own business, then you must wonder what will happen to that business if you pass away. Or you might be wondering what will happen to your business when you retire. I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions as I watch the show Rectify, on IFC.

Without going through the whole backstory (it’s a very complicated, powerful, amazing show), at some point we learn there is a family (tire) business that the owners go to great lengths to think about selling. The thing I loved about the show is that so many of the issues the owners had to face are exactly the same issue my clients deal with as they contemplate retirement (or an untimely passing).

For example, have you thought about:
– What happens when I retire?
– What will happen to the business if I pass?
– What happens if I get sick, or become disabled?
– If I have partners, what happens to my share of the business if something happens?
– What happens if my child divorces?
– What happens if I get a divorce?

We are about to witness the greatest wealth transfer in human history. There are about $30 trillion in assets that are about to be passed from one generation to the next, as the boomers retire and the next generation steps up. If you are in either category (thinking about retiring, or thinking about taking over a business), then you must assemble a great team of advisors and attorneys who can help you navigate the process. We can certainly help. If you have any questions about your business, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908-236-6457 today.

One last thing – stay tuned for an email later this week about three more events we are hosting with Rountable Wealth Management about the new tax changes under the Trump Administration. The first event in Franklin Lakes was a tremendous success, and we look forward to having you come to one of the events in your area!

Willy Wonka’s Final (Estate Planning) Lesson


Within the last two months, the world lost a comedic legend. Gene Wilder died on August 29, 2016, after battling with Alzheimer’s disease. Although Wilder faced many physical and mental challenges as a result of the disease, Alzheimer’s “never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central gentle life-affirming core personality,” according to Wilder’s nephew. The graceful way with which Wilder handled his disease can teach us a couple of very important retirement and estate planning lessons.

First, when Wilder retired, he not only planned well, but he kept things simple. Wilder is famous for saying that he “loved the show, he just didn’t like the business.” For that reason, Wilder lived in Stamford, Connecticut (as opposed to Los Angeles) in a modest home (by celebrity standards) with his fourth wife Karen.

According to Scott Martin, “Unlike most stars we profile, Gene Wilder died somewhere between filthy rich and flat broke, spending down his cash while remaining comfortable to the end.”

In the same vein, it’s critical that we plan our retirements in advance, not only from a legal perspective (with Wills, powers of attorney, living wills, trusts), but from a financial perspective as well. When Wilder retired at 58, he made sure that he was set, which was why he didn’t need to make any bad movies to supplement his retirement like so many actors before him.

Second, Wilder was legally prepared once he received the Alzheimer’s diagnosis. According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  More than five million Americans are living with it, and one in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.  This year alone it will cost our country more than 236 billion dollars.

The fact is dementia is happening more and more often in our country, and many people try to hide the diagnosis as much as possible. This is the exact opposite of what should be done.

If you or someone you know is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is critical that planning is done immediately (if not done beforehand). Once someone experiences complete dementia, any type of planning is extremely complicated and costly. If you or someone you know is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, make sure you move as fast as possible and get your documents in order.

Gene Wilder was, in many ways, the actor who made me laugh most as a child. I’ll never forget him, and I hope we can learn from his lessons even in death. If you or someone you know has questions related to Alzheimer’s or dementia, please feel free to call us at (908) 236-6457, or email me at alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

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