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Home | Putting the Pieces Together: Tax, Asset Protection, Small Business Law, Real Estate, Raising Capital, Self-directed IRA Law, and Estate Planning

As an Attorney at KKOS Lawyers, I work under Mark Kohler and Mat Sorensen, the managing partners of the Firm.  Mark is also a CPA and advises clients in the areas of small business tax planning, asset protection, etc.  He has written books on these subjects (Lawyers are Liars – a great book on asset protection, What Your CPA Isn’t Telling You – excellent for small business tax strategies), and The Tax and Legal Playbook – maybe the best one, an excellent summary of many applicable aspects of tax and legal planning).  He speaks across the country on those subjects and is truly an expert.  Likewise, Mat wrote The Self-Directed IRA Handbook – the seminal book in the self-directed IRA industry.  He speaks across the country and is the expert of experts in that industry.  They both practice in these areas and have helped literally thousands of small business owners and investors in these areas of the law for many years.  They both even host a radio show and put out a weekly newsletter on these same topics.
Working under Mat and Mark, I accordingly advise clients in the areas of tax, small business, asset protection, estate planning, real estate, raising capital and self-directed IRA’s/401(k)’s.  Clients are interested to find out how that works.  Actually, these areas of the law complement each other very well and are intertwined in many ways.   Like most things in life, the law as applied to your situation is not always perfectly compartmentalized into one specific practice area and requires a bit of a holistic approach.  It is not uncommon for a client to approach us for one particular issue and begin to appreciate the more holistic approach.  Here are a few examples, in no particular order:

  1. The Small Business Owner Client. KKOS Lawyers is known as the Entrepreneur’s law firm.  Many small business owners have come to KKOS Lawyers for initial help with entity structuring (s-corp, c-corp, LLC, etc.) in terms of both asset protection and tax liability.  Like any small business owner, they are always looking for legitimate tax deductions (hiring the kids, health care, travel, auto, dining, retirement plan deductions, etc.) and legitimate ways to save on self-employment taxes.  It would be typical that they have one or more business partners, in which case we would help them draft partnership agreements, buy-sell agreements, etc.  On the topic of contracts, we would then help them use contracts appropriately in their business including licensing agreements, vendor contracts, franchise agreements, employment contracts, waivers, etc.  At any point in time, they may acquire another company or be acquired in which we may help structure the deal in the best manner possible in terms of tax and legal liability.   They also may need to raise capital for their business in which case we would advise on the pros and cons of raising capital through financing, additional partners, or investors, possibly through a “Reg D” offering or even crowd funding.  In terms of real estate, for any of our brick and mortar clients, we have helped many of them draft/negotiate their commercial lease.   We have many small business owner clients in the real estate industry generally, including brokers, lenders, property managers, and syndicators. Regardless of their industry, hopefully they have a SEP IRA or 401k for the tax benefits and depending on their industry of expertise, they may decide to make alternative investments into real estate (see #2 and #3 below).  Finally, these clients spend many years building a business and want to make sure they have a sound exit strategy, which might be to sell the business to a third party, to a business partner, or pass the business on to the kids.  This leads to making sure they have an estate plan that encompasses business succession (see #5 and #6 below).   So you can see that with just one client, KKOS Lawyers can help them in terms of tax, asset protection, contracts, raising capital, real estate, self-directed IRA’s/401k’s and estate planning.
  1. The Self-directed IRA/401k Owner Client. Many clients come to KKOS Lawyers primarily for guidance in the area of self-directed IRA law for their alternative investment into real estate, privately held companies, precious metals, etc.  Without proper guidance, this type of investing is fraught with peril including prohibited transactions and UBIT (unrelated business income tax).   They may also ask for assistance with setting up an IRA LLC for their self-directed retirement account investments.  The typical self-directed retirement account investment consists of real estate in some form or fashion.  This leads to a review or draft of a real estate contract whether it is a purchase contract, a lease, or loan documents.  It is also common for our clients to invest their retirement account into a fund/syndication in which case they will ask us to review the private placement memorandum and other “Reg D” documents involved in that investment.  Frequently, the topic of asset protection comes up in terms of these types of retirement accounts (see #5 below).  Additionally, these accounts require a beneficiary designation and we will advise clients on the beneficiary status as it relates to their estate plan in terms of required minimum distributions (RMD’s) and inherited IRA’s and IRA Trusts for example (see #6 below).  Not to mention that many of these self-directed IRA investors are also small business owners (see #1) and may in fact be investing through a self-directed solo 401k, which can be setup by KKOS Lawyers.
  1. The Real Estate Investor Client. We have many clients who are real estate investors.  As such, they invest in long-term holds, short-term flips, and everything in between.  This typically entails a conversation about asset protection and LLC’s as well as tax matters including the pros and cons of being designated a real estate professional for tax purposes.  It also entails various contracts that we will either prepare or review including contractor agreements, joint venture agreements, purchase contracts, wholesale contracts/assignments, promissory notes, security instruments, warranty deeds, and commercial and residential leases.  The manner in which our clients acquire real estate is also very diverse and includes subject to deals and seller financing.  Not to mention that a number of our clients are investing in real estate in a tax deferred way either through a 1031 exchange or through a self-directed retirement account.  It is also typical that our real estate investor clients invest in a fund/syndication and that requires reviewing the private placement memorandum and “Reg D” documents.  Lastly, we discuss making sure all of these real estate assets don’t get stuck in probate court upon their death and might recommend a combination of both a revocable living trust and LLC’s as appropriate to help with that (see #6 below).  As previously mentioned in #1, many of our clients are brokers, property managers, lenders, etc., or have some business they own in real estate and are also investing in real estate in some capacity on the side.
  1. The Real Estate “Dealmaker” Client. We have a number of clients who are fund managers, i.e., syndicators.  The primary issue with these clients is to advise them when securities law is implicated and the various legitimate ways to structure deals without implicating securities law.  In the former situation, we have helped these clients properly form a fund/syndication in order to comply with securities law including private placement memorandum and “Reg D” documents.  This includes knowing the requirements of when advertising is allowed and when only accredited investors are allowed, including self-directed IRA investors.  These fund managers, like any other business owner have business partnership issues and may need protection including non-competes and buy-sell agreements as well as the need for proper entity structuring in terms of both asset protection and saving taxes (per #1 above).  Lastly, like all of our clients, they want to ensure their hard work doesn’t get inadvertently dragged through probate court upon their death, hence proper estate planning including business succession and dealing with estate tax issues (#6 below).
  1. The Asset Protection Client. The client whose most pressing need is asset protection is typically a high net worth individual.  One of the first items we’ll discuss is the differences and similarities between asset protection and privacy, and also the difference between legitimate asset protection and fraudulent transfers/conveyances to avoid creditors.  We’ll discuss their assets and the appropriate level of protection in terms of insurance, trusts, and charging order protection entities.  Asset protection and estate planning often go hand-in-hand because what often times is effective protection from creditors is also effective to minimize estate taxes.  Many of these clients own significant real estate (#3 above) and/or are business owners who also need tax planning and business structuring per #1 above and/or have a self-directed IRA (per #2 above).
  1. The Estate Planning Client. We have setup thousands of estate plans for business owners, real estate investors, and other individuals and families.  Of course the primary objective of estate planning is to pass assets to loved ones efficiently and minimizing tax (legitimately), including estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping transfer tax.  It seems as though almost every estate planning client owns real estate in some form or fashion (per #3 above) and also a retirement account (see #2).  Many of our estate planning clients are also small business owners (see #1).

In sum, these areas of the law are interwoven in a real way as illustrated above by a few “types” of clients.  If you are a small business owner, real estate investor, or otherwise need assistance in the areas of self-directed IRA law, asset protection, tax, small business law, raising capital, real estate, or estate planning, please contact our office.

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