The Estate Planning Edge
Plan Early, Plan Well
The Law Office of
Doron M. Tisser
September 2009
In This Issue
Team Tisser Foundation
Did You Know...? Irrevocable Trusts
What's Happening
Estate Planning and the Business Owner
Team Tisser Foundation

Doron winning a race

     Team Tisser Foundation (TTF) is a non-profit corporation founded by Doron M. Tisser and his wife Laurie.  TTF raises money for various charitable purposes and does not focus on any one charity or charitable purpose.  The goal is to raise as much money as possible to "Help Make A Difference" by "Improving Life for Others."  TTF has made donations to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Challenged Athletes Foundation, as well as charities helping people affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunamis.  Since 2000, TTF has donated almost $175,000 to over 25 different charities.  Friends and clients generally donate money to TTF to support Doron's participation in triathlons and marathons.  If you would like more information about TTF, please contact Doron at, or visit

Did You Know?

      An irrevocable trust (e.g., an irrevocable life insurance trust), by definition, cannot be amended or revoked.  But it is possible to have changes made to an irrevocable trust if the trust includes provisions appointing a trust protector who can make changes to the trust.  Without this important provision, changes may not be able to be made to an irrevocable trust as circumstances change.  Read our discussion on this very important issue in our next Newsletter.
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The Law Office of
Doron M. Tisser
5425 Farralone Ave
Suite 100
Woodland Hills, CA

Doron M. Tisser

     Doron M. Tisser has specialized in estate and gift planning, tax planning, trust and probate administration, charitable giving, buy-sell agreements and related areas for over 27 years.  Mr. Tisser is one of less than 100 attorneys in California who has been designated as both a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law, and as a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.  He was chosen by his peers as a 2009 Super Lawyer for Southern California, and enjoys an "a.v." rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is the highest possible rating and is based on ethical considerations and legal skills.  Mr. Tisser has published over 65 articles and chapters in books on various estate and tax planning subjects and is a frequent speaker and lecturer at estate and tax planning seminars.  Mr. Tisser competes in triathlons, including Ironman races, and raises money for charities through Team Tisser Foundation, a non-profit corporation he co-founded with his wife Laurie.
       A business can be a client's single largest asset.  What happens to the business during the client's life, as well as at death, will have a significant impact on the client and the client's family.  Issues relating to the business include estate taxes, the client's death, disability or retirement, continuity of the business, and preventing arguments between family members after the client's death.  This Newsletter raises some of the issues a business owner needs to address.
        We hope you enjoy the Newsletter.  If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to send them to us at
        As always, please call us with your questions and remember, "Plan Early, Plan Well".
Sincerely yours,
What's Happening

  •        Team Tisser Foundation, a non-profit corporation, is now accepting donations to be used to "Improve Life for Others".  Donations are in support of Doron M. Tisser training for and competing in triathlons and running events.  On October 10, 2009, Doron will be competing in his first race in 1 years when he participates in the Magic Mountain Man Triathlon, a half Ironman distance event (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run) as part of his effort to raise money for Team Tisser Foundation ("TTF").   The organizers have said the bike course "could be the hardest, most technical and ultimately, the most rewarding bike course in the US" with approximately 5,400 feet of climbing in the first 42 miles of the bike portion of the race.

  •        If you would like to receive information on Team Tisser Foundation or Doron's training, or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Doron at

  •         On September 22, 2009, Doron M. Tisser will be part of a panel discussion titled "After the Great Recession, How the Economic Meltdown Affects a Business Owner's Financial Future".

  •          Before the end of 2009, we expect a change in the estate tax laws.  Current law provides there will be no estate taxes in 2010; we anticipate Congress will not allow that to occur and, instead, will continue to impose estate taxes.  We expect that there will also be other significant changes in the estate tax laws. Our Newsletter will summarize those changes as they occur.

Estate Planning and the Business Owner
       It is important that clients consider how estate planning relates to their businesses, including the effects of disability, death, and retirement.  There are many questions that need to be addressed as to family businesses; the answers, from an estate planning point of view, depend on the business owner's particular family situation.  Below are some of the questions the business owner should think about; no two clients will address the issues in the same way.
Estate Taxes
        If a business owner dies and the business is, in general, left to someone other than a surviving spouse, the value of the business will be included in determining the estate taxes owed at the owner's death.  The estate taxes can be as much as 45% of the company's net value.  This can be one of the most important estate planning issues if the family wants to continue the business and not be forced to sell it in order to raise money to pay the estate taxes. 
Businesses with Co-Owners
        If the business has two or more co-owners and one dies, becomes disabled, or wants to retire, what happens?  Is there a buy-sell agreement in place between the owners that says one party must buy out the other party?  How will the buying party come up with the money to make the payments?  Is the agreement funded with insurance?  Has the agreement recently been reviewed to make sure that it is up-to-date, especially with respect to how to determine the value of the business for a buy-out? 
Businesses with a Single Owner
        If the business only has one owner and the business owner dies or wants to retire, is there a succession plan in place to allow the business to continue and be profitable?  This is important for the family in order to be able to continue to receive monies from the company, as well as being important if the family wants to sell the business. 
Sale of Business
        If the business owner decides to sell the business, will it be sold to an outside party, to one or more employees or will it be transferred to one or more of the business owner's children who are working in the business?  If it is to be sold to employees or children, how will they pay for the business?
Disability and Business Liabilities
       If the business owner becomes disabled, is there a succession plan in place?  If not, will the business fall apart and the family no longer able to receive income from the business?  Will the company be saleable if the business owner is no longer able to work (especially if he or she has all the "connections")? 
        If there is a line of credit or other debt in the business, it is likely that it is secured by the assets in the business and is personally guaranteed by the business owner's personal assets.  How does this affect the business and the surviving family members?  Will it require the family to sell personal assets to pay off the business debt? 
Children in the Business

        Oftentimes, one or more of the business owner's children is involved in the business.  How does this impact the family and the business?  If one child works in the business and another child is not involved in the business, should the business go entirely to the child in the business?  Are there enough other assets to be distributed to the other child to equalize the estate?  If the family owns real estate used in the business, should the real estate be distributed with the business, or be divided between both children?  If divided between both children, the child who is not in the business will be involved in negotiations relating to the amount of rent paid by the business, as well as the sales price if the company and the real estate are to be sold in the future; this can this cause friction between the children.
        If two children are involved in the business, have their future roles in the business been defined, so that when the business owner is no longer in the business, there will be no disagreements between the children as to how to run the business?
       These issues can be even more complicated if a son-in-law or daughter-in-law is involved in the business.

       The area of estate planning and family businesses is very complex and must be looked at in detail to determine how the business impacts the client's estate planning.  Remember, the business is often the most valuable asset in the estate and what happens to it will have a significant impact on the family's financial future.
        On September 22, 2009, Doron M. Tisser, Esq., will be part of a panel that will address these and other issues relating to the business owner and his or her estate planning.
        If you or a friend are business owners who are concerned about the future of your business, as well as you and your family's financial future, and would like to attend, please contact Kesha Hearn or Laura Stein, in our office, to reserve a place.  The panel discussion will be in Tarzana, California on September 22nd between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.  We hope to see you there. 

This communication published by the Law Office of Doron M. Tisser is intended as general information and may not be relied upon as legal advice, which can only be given by a lawyer based upon all the relevant facts and circumstances of a particular situation.

Copyright Doron M. Tisser, Esq. 2009.  All Rights Reserved.