Archive | November, 2012

The Force Will Be With You….Always

Estate Planning Lessons from George Lucas

A guest post from Robert Lamm, Partner at Cummins & White, LLP

As a child,  I was a big fan of Star Wars.  I loved all of the movies (Star Wars, The Empire Strike Back, and Return of the Jedi) and insisted on having all of the toys and action figures.  I even managed to score a Death Star, which, back in the day, was quite unique.  All of my friends were jealous, and life was good.

Then, George Lucas released the “prequels” and the magic was lost. The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith were all a modern-day cinematic Hindenburg.  In the end, I guess plot and casting really does matter.  Awesome special effects will only take you so far.

Having said all that, I have to tip my hat to George Lucas.   Lucas Arts, the owner of the Star Wars brand created by Mr. Lucas years ago in a galaxy far away, is a money making machine and in case you have not heard, Mr. Lucas just sold his entire stake in the company to Disney for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.  It turns out Mr. Lucas is a Jedi Knight in the Art of Estate Planning, and he too saw “Taxmageddon” coming.

First of all, by selling in 2012, he is saving about 10% in capital gains tax.    While that may not seem like much, 10% of a few billion dollars is a lot of money.  Moreover, depending on how he structured the deal, he could be saving his children up to $2 billion in future estate tax and save them from a forced liquidation of the company upon his death.  I suspect that Mr. Lucas will still play an active role in promoting the Star Wars brand, but it will be off of his balance sheet for estate tax purposes.  Not bad, young Jedi.

When asked about the deal, Mr. Lucas said, “I felt like I wanted to put the company somewhere in a larger entity that would protect it….We could go on making Star Wars for the next 100 years.”    Somewhere in the background, I can hear Obi Wan saying, “The force will be with you, always.”
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Mr. Lamm has extensive experience planning and drafting foundational estate planning documents consisting of revocable living trusts, wills, living wills, and powers of attorney for health care and asset management. In addition, he successfully helps multi-generational families transfer their business interests to succeeding generations through the use of more advanced estate planning techniques such as Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, and Dynasty Trusts.
Cummins & White, LLP, is recognized as one of California’s premier business and insurance law firms. The Newport Beach-based firm is engaged in general civil litigation and transactional practices, which include insurance coverage, business, estate planning, real estate, healthcare, and liability defense. The firm was founded in 1951 and has 22 partners and associates.
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BMR’s Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety Tips

We love all our customers as well as our fellow Orange County residents, and that’s why we’ve decided to write this post. It’s a fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, that Thanksgiving Day is the leading day of the whole year for home fires involving cooking equipment.

It’s not a surprise, really. Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah and other December holidays in America, Thanksgiving is all about the food. Not just a little bit, either. It’s about the turkey, the whole turkey and nothing but the full-monty turkey dinner.

So, whatever you’re cooking up this Thursday, please remember these tips that come to you both from all of us at BMR Insurance Agency, but also the NFPA: Continue Reading →

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How to Prevent Your Home from Flooding

Although we're on the West Coast, big storms can hit us too.

It was difficult for us in Southern California to understand the devastation left behind on the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy, especially as we were enjoying record temperatures and true “beach weather”.

But just think back to two Decembers ago, when downtown Laguna Beach was under four feet of water right before the Christmas holiday. Although not as bad as a hurricane by any means, that storm devastated south Orange County, and had people being rescued from their roofs, homes were destroyed and old-growth trees uprooted. Then there were the windstorms last year at this time that were sweeping the Southland, causing millions in damages to homes, businesses and cities. Continue Reading →

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