Welcome to Ishman law Firm
The Ishman Law Firm provides legal advice and counsel in the
identified Areas of Practice.  We pride ourselves at providing our
legal services at comparable levels to much larger law firms, but at a fraction of the cost. 
In today’s economy, everyone must watch closely how they are spending their money.  The Ishman Law Firm believes that its clients deserve exceptional legal services, but at affordable rates.  We are able to do this by minimizing our overhead costs, and whenever possible, working with our clients in providing affordable flat fee arrangements that many larger law firms may not be able to entertain. 

Latest Blog Posts

  • What Is a Living Trust? You have probably heard through your family and colleagues that you should have a Living Trust as part of your Estate Plan. After hearing this, your first question is What is a Living Trust? A Living Trust is an agreement between you (the “maker” of the trust) and the trust’s “trustee” (the one who manages the assets of the trust). During your lifetime, you can be both the “maker” and “trustee” of your Living Trust. The law recognizes your Living Trust as a separate legal entity from you. As the maker of your Living Trust, you can transfer assets (property, bank accounts, beneficiary rights, etc.) into your Living Trust, and provide directions to the trustee on the management of these assets while they are held in your Living Trust. These instructions specify how these assets are to be held and used during your lifetime, as well as how these assets are to be distributed following your death. Living Trusts are revocable, meaning that you have the power to change the terms of the trust, or do away with the trust in its entirety. You also have the power to add or remove assets from your Living Trust, and control and direct all payments from your Living Trust. During your lifetime, you can make all decisions concerning the assets in your Living Trust. Your Living Trust can also provide a way to manage your assets during periods of your disability. Your Living Trust agreement can also be drafted with terms that when they are administered correctly, all of your assets held in your Living Trust can avoid probate at your death and estate taxes. For example, if you transfer all of your assets into your Living Trust, when you die, you no longer have any assets in your personal name that must be distributed through a Will. By doing so, you have avoided Probate with regard to the assets transferred into your Living Trust. We will continue to explore Living Trusts in future articles on this website. If you have any questions about Living Trusts, or any other Estate Planning matter, please contact the Ishman Law Firm, P.C. at mishman@ishmanlaw.com or (919) 468-3266.
    8 years ago
  • What the New Tax Law Means to You (Published originally in January 2013) – At the beginning of January 2013, Congress avoided the so-called fiscal cliff by passing – at the 11th hour – the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Tax Act), signed into law by the President on January 2, 2013. The 2012 Tax Act makes several important revisions to the tax code that will affect estate planning for the foreseeable future. What follows is a brief description of some of these revisions – and their impact: • The federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax provisions were made permanent as of December 31, 2012. This is great news for all Americans; for more than ten years, we have been planning with uncertainty under legislation that contained built-in expiration dates. And while “permanent” in Washington only means that this is the law until Congress decides to change it, at least we now have more certainty with which to plan. • The federal gift and estate tax exemptions will remain at $5 million per person, adjusted annually for inflation. In 2012, the exemption (with the adjustment) was $5,120,000. The amount for 2013 is expected to be $5,250,000. This means that the opportunity to transfer large amounts during lifetime or at death remains. So if you did not take advantage of this in 2011 or 2012, you can still do so – and there are advantages to doing so sooner rather than later. Also, with the amount tied to inflation, you can expect to be able to transfer even more each year in the future. • The generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption also remains at the same level as the gift and estate tax exemption ($5 million, adjusted for inflation). This tax, which is in addition to the federal estate tax, is imposed on amounts that are transferred (by gift or at your death) to grandchildren and others who are more than 37.5 years younger than you; in other words, transfers that “skip” a generation. Having this exemption be “permanent” allows you to take advantage of planning that will greatly benefit future generations. • Married couples can take advantage of these higher exemptions and, with proper planning, transfer up to $10+ million through lifetime gifting and at death. • The tax rate on estates larger than the exempt amounts increased from 35% to 40%. • The “portability” provision was also made permanent. This allows the unused exemption of the first spouse to die to transfer to the surviving spouse, without having to set up a trust specifically for this purpose. However, there are still many benefits to using trusts, especially for those who want to ensure that their estate tax exemption will be fully utilized by the surviving spouse. • Separate from the new tax law, the amount for annual tax-free gifts has increased from $13,000 to $14,000, meaning you can give up to $14,000 per beneficiary, per year free of federal gift, estate and GST tax – in addition to the $5 million gift and estate tax exemption. By making annual tax-free transfers while you are alive, you can transfer significant wealth to your children, grandchildren and other beneficiaries, thereby reducing your taxable estate and removing future appreciation on assets you transfer. And, you can significantly enhance this lifetime giving strategy by transferring interests in a limited liability company or similar entity because these assets have a reduced value for transfer tax purposes, allowing you to transfer more free of tax. For most Americans, the 2012 Tax Act has removed the emphasis on estate tax planning and put it back on the real reasons we need to do estate planning: taking care of ourselves and our families the way we want. This includes • Protecting you, your family, and your assets in the event of incapacity; • Ensuring your assets are distributed the way you want; • Protecting your legacy from irresponsible spending, a child’s creditors, and from being part of a child’s divorce proceedings; • Providing for a loved one with special needs without losing valuable government benefits; and • Helping protect assets from creditors and frivolous lawsuits. For those with larger estates, ample opportunities remain to transfer large amounts tax free to future generations, but it is critical that professional planning begins as soon as possible. With Congress looking for more ways to increase revenue, many reliable estate planning strategies may soon be restricted or eliminated. Thus, it is best to put these strategies into place now so that they are more likely to be grandfathered from future law changes. Further, as is well publicized, the 2012 Tax Act included several income tax rate increases on those earning more than $400,000 ($450,000 for married couples filing jointly). Combined with the two additional income tax rate increases resulting from the healthcare bill, income tax planning is now more important than ever. If you have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see what Congress would do, the wait is over. Now that we have increased certainty with “permanent” laws, there is no excuse to postpone your planning any longer. Schedule an appointment today by calling my office at 919-468-3266, or email us at Mark@IshmanLegal.com. For additional information about estate planning, please visit www.IshmanLegal.com or www.IshmanLaw.com.
    8 years ago
  • Is Your Living Will/Healthcare Directive Keeping Up With Life-Prolonging Technology Advances? Latest surveys show that 25% to 30% of Americans have living wills/healthcare directives (“Healthcare Directives”). Unfortunately, many Healthcare Directives do not accurately capture a dying person’s wishes because of medical advances in life-prolonging technology. Due to this fact, we are urging our friend to keep their Healthcare Directives updated because we know that life-prolonging medical technology will continue to advance throughout our lives. With the good advances in life-prolonging technology advancements, there is a bad. Doctors are now having a difficult time predicting outcomes from traumatic accidents and surgeries. For example, a daughter recently had to make a difficult decision for her father who was in a coma, and hooked up to a ventilator. What made her decision difficult was that her father’s Healthcare Directive expressed his desires for only a few black-and-white situations. The Healthcare Directive stated that her father did not want to be kept alive if he were to be terminally ill, or in an irreversible vegetative state. However, the Healthcare Director did not address her father’s current situation where there was a good chance that he would wake-up from his coma but he would have severe brain damage. What made the daughter’s decision even harder is that her father’s doctor could not provide a probability of brain damage. Like in this situation for the daughter above, the hardest life-death decisions for families will likely center on whether there will be a desirable quality level of life post traumatic surgery so that life, rather than death, would be a more preferable choice. Most living wills/healthcare directors that can be downloaded from the internet, or are provided to individuals from traditional lawyers, do not address these hardest life-death decisions. A Healthcare Directive provided to you from a Personal Family Lawyer® will address these difficult life-death decisions. A Personal Family Lawyer® will provide various life-death scenarios to incorporate into your Healthcare Directive to provide clarity to your love ones on your life-prolonging and death decisions. Such terminology that a Personal Family Lawyer® can incorporate into your Healthcare Directive includes language that clearly directs your loved ones to cease life-prolonging treatments if there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery from a terminal condition or persistent vegetative state. Additionally, a Personal Family Lawyer® can provide to you various styles of Healthcare Directive centered on what is most important to you. For example, your Healthcare Directive can be centered on different levels of your cognitive decline from coma, to mental “confusion,” that require 24-hour supervision, and ask when you would want life support. Another style of a Healthcare Directive can be centered on whether you want doctors to be “positively certain,” “certain to a high degree” or “reasonably certain” that you will never recover from your life-death situation before pulling the plug on technology that is keeping you alive. These life-death situations naturally lead you to the realization of how important your decision to nominate a trusted family member or friend who clearly understands your life-death desires. Your healthcare agent must try to make a decision that you would if you could. Working with a Person Family Lawyer®, you will be guided through these life-death decision landmines and will finish with a Healthcare Directive that clearly sets forth your life-death wishes centered on your quality of life. When you work with the Ishman Law Firm, you will have a Healthcare Directive formulated to address your specific life-death wishes so that your loved ones will know what to do if such a situation occurs in your life time. Without planning with the Ishman Law Firm, you will not know what life-death decision options are available to you. Please come and see us right away because planning can take time. Call (919) 468-3266 or email Mark@IshmanLegal.com. For additional estate planning information, please visit www.NCestateLawyer.com.
    9 years ago
  • Avoiding Inheritance Conflicts When your inevitable day comes, your surviving loved ones will grieve for you. Each of them will deal with the loss of you in their own unique way. There will be days, months and years often filled with emotion and conflicts among and between your surviving loved ones. Unfortunately, this can often lead to family battles over personal belongings and other similar inheritance conflicts. Any planning that can be implemented today to alleviate such pain to your surviving loved ones must be considered by you. Greed and pettiness appear at first blush to be the cause of most inheritance conflicts. However, a closer examination of inheritance conflicts reveals that they are actually signs of the survivors’ deep desire to feel connected and important to you. Studies have found that the battles for dad’s watch or mom’s wedding ring are not just about the material items, but rather what these items symbolize to surviving loved ones, i.e., how important they were to you and how much you loved them. When families fight about inheritance, money and greed are rarely the cause of the conflict. Most of the time, the source of the conflict can be traced back for years, even back to childhood. As an elder in your family, you probably already know what conflicts exist among your loved ones. The last thing that you would ever want to leave for your surviving loved ones is additional fuel for any existing ongoing conflicts. Unless you elect to be proactive, upon your death your loved ones could be entrenched in a long inheritance conflict lasting for years and costing thousands of dollars. However, with careful planning, you can avoid the inheritance conflicts among your loved ones. After all, the reason why you plan for your death is not for you, but for those whom you love the most. This is why you need to seek the advice of a Personal Family Lawyer® on what is fair and customary. We use our legal training and knowledge to document your wishes while being sensitive to the needs of those left behind. You should consider mending fences while your loved ones are still alive, and implement estate planning that leaves a legacy of love — not of conflicts. We can assist you in these goals and protect your loved ones from predators within and without the family who are most likely to manipulate and abuse your surviving loved ones. In short, we can make a difference. With your instruction to us regarding the importance of family, money and personal belongings, we will work with you to formulate an estate plan that addresses your family dynamics and wealth so that inheritance conflict is avoided upon your death. Now is the time to talk with a Personal Family Lawyer® who can guide you and help you formulate a strategy to avoid inheritance conflicts. To help you obtain the insight and planning you need provide for your loved ones, we are waiving our usual ($750) Family Wealth Planning Session fee. Please come and see us right away because planning can take time. Hurry in and see us. Call (919) 468-3266 or email Mark@ishmanlegal.com
    10 years ago
  • Does Your Estate Plan Address Your Digital Assets? Each day new technology is introduced and adopted into our daily lives. For example, it is hard to imagine that the iPhone® was first introduced to us in 2007. Five years later, most of us have either adopted it, or a like android cellular phone, into our daily lives. This should make you wonder what other technology have you adopted into your daily lives: • Facebook®, Twitter®, MySpace® and other like social media websites; • LinkedIn® and other professional media websites; • iTunes® and other digital media online retail accounts; • GMAIL® and like e-mail accounts, • Flickr® and other like photo websites • Online bank accounts; • Online trading accounts; • Online medical accounts; • Online insurance accounts. With all of these digital assets incorporated into your daily life, you should quickly realize that you do embrace technology, and that it is highly certain that you will continue to do so in the future. This should also make you realize that your digital assets should be incorporated into your family trust and estate plan. One of the most important aspects of estate planning is to tell your loved ones where to find your assets. In our digital world, we are accruing a large volume of digital assets that we should address in our estate plan. Otherwise, your digital assets may be permanently deleted or frozen. For example: • Facebook® is the most popular social media website today. Did you know that upon your death, Facebook will not provide your login information to your account to anyone. • eTrade® is one of the most popular online trading websites. Did you know that when you open an eTrade account, you are required to notify eTrade immediately upon your death. Otherwise, eTrade may freeze your account. • Gmail is one of the most popular free email accounts. Did you know that it is Google’s policy to rarely grant access to a deceased person’s Gmail account. • Flickr® is the most popular photo sharing website. Did you know that upon your death, Flickr can immediately delete your account and all of your photos. If you are like most people, you have at least one of the above accounts. After reading this article, you know that you need to discuss your digital assets with a family wealth lawyer who is aware of these digital legacy issues so that your loved ones will not be at a lost upon your death. In today’s digital evolution, your estate plan must now include your user names and passwords to all of your digital assets. Otherwise, as noted above, most companies will not share your user name and passwords to your loved ones after your death. If you do not address your digital assets in your estate plan, then your digital assets may be frozen, and in some circumstances, deleted permanently. If you do not have an estate plan, addressing your digital assets should be one of your many priorities when implementing it. If you already have an estate plan, then it probably does not address your digital assets. Under either scenario, we can assist you in addressing your digital assets into your family wealth plan. We draft custom documents for you and do not use outdated forms like traditional estate planning attorneys. Use this opportunity to ensure that your family can locate and access all of your digital assets, including your online bank, credit-card and investment accounts, important documents, such as your will, websites and blogs you use, online bills, email accounts and business documents. Call our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session, and if you mention this article by name, we will waive our customary $750 fee. Call (919) 468-3266 or email mark@ishmanlegal.com
    10 years ago
  • So You Want An Asset Protection Trust? In today’s volatile economy, you realize that one day you may be prosperous and the next day may be devastating to you. Sudden and substantial debt to creditors is a real concern for many of us including you. Realizing this fact makes you desire to develop a plan for our financial well being. When considering the many options available to you, you may consider an International Asset Protection Trust because this option offers the greatest protection from creditors and litigation. However, after you look into an international asset protection trust, you realize that roughly ten thousand dollar a month is needed in fees just to administer it. Unless you have enough cash in hand earning ten thousand dollars a month in interest, an international asset protection trust is quickly crossed off your list of consideration to protect your wealth from creditors. By this process of elimination, you are quickly left to consider a domestic asset protection trust (“DAPT”). After all, the purpose of DAPTs are to maximize the protection of trust estates from creditor claims. There are twelve states that allow for DAPTs. Eleven of the twelve states have statutory exception for creditors, e.g., such as divorcing spouses and preexisting tort creditors. However, Nevada is the only state that does NOT have statutory exceptions for creditors. Nevada also is the only state that has a two year statute of limitations for reaching the assets transferred to the DAPT. South Dakota and Utah have a three year statute of limitations, and the remaining states have a four year statute of limitations. Provided that you do not seek bankruptcy protection for ten years after forming a DAPT, these 2, 3 and 4 year statute of limitations are recognized by the courts and can protect your assets. However, if you are seeking protection from creditors or potential creditors, then you must also be aware of a recent 2011 bankruptcy case the held the bankruptcy law 10 year statute of limitations will trump the DAPT states’ statute of limitations. See Battley v. Mortensen, Adv. D. Alaska, No. A09-90036-DMD (2011). If you are considering a DAPT, or if you have formed a DAPT, and you have creditor issues where you are considering bankruptcy protection, then you must seek the advice of counsel in order to determine your options in preserving the protection of your DAPT assets from your creditors. Otherwise, a DAPT remains an effective asset protection strategy for you. The next item for you to consider is which state DAPT should you elect. Most DAPT scholars agree that the Nevada DAPT is the top of the Tier 1 DAPTs. As noted above, it has the lowest statute of limitations, i.e., two years, and is the only state that does not have statutory exemptions for creditors. Now consider titling your assets to a limited liability company and have your DAPT own your Nevada LLC. This would allow you to have the best of both the DAPT laws and limited liability laws for the protection of your assets. Once again, Nevada is the top choice for a DAPT owned limited liability companies because Nevada laws prohibit creditors from forcing the sale of DAPT assets to pay your creditors. There are a lot more details to both a DAPT and incorporating the use of a limited liability company, and other trust options, to protect your assets. But you won’t know them unless you talk to a professional who can guide you and help you formulate a strategy to take advantage of a DAPT owned limited liability company. To help you get the insight and planning you need that can help you take advantage of this asset protection promotion, we’re waiving our usual ($750) Family Wealth Planning Session fee. Please come and see us right away because asset protection planning can take time. Hurry in and protect your assets from creditors. Call (919) 468-3266 or email mark@ishmanlegal.com
    10 years ago