Balancing Your Legal Scorecard - Part 1

Written by Richard Hall

Balancing Your Legal Scorecard

A Performance Management Tool For The Legal Department


Every organization recognizesrepparttar importance of measuring performance. It providesrepparttar 119230 means of monitoringrepparttar 119231 achievement ofrepparttar 119232 organization’s strategy. As such, it is a vital means of motivation.

That, at least isrepparttar 119233 theory!

However, in reality, many organizations have yet to implement a performance measurement system that adequately fitsrepparttar 119234 bill, especially inrepparttar 119235 legal department. They, instead, focus their attention on “afterrepparttar 119236 horse is out ofrepparttar 119237 barn”, like outcomes and financial performance. Thus, these organizations payrepparttar 119238 price:

•Most legal matter indicators and financial indicators are backward looking – it has been likened to “steeringrepparttar 119239 ship by watchingrepparttar 119240 wake” •Legal department performance and financial performance tends to be measured overrepparttar 119241 short term and induces short term ‘fixes’ •Legal department measures and financial measures alone cannot communicaterepparttar 119242 organization’s strategy and priorities to its managers and staff

Although,repparttar 119243 following approach may be applied to many departments withinrepparttar 119244 organization, this article focuses our attention onrepparttar 119245 corporate legal department. As we have found that it is disparagingly referred to by senior management as a “necessary evil”.

With that said, corporate legal departments are now being required to do more than win cases and manage costs. They have a dual mandate, which includes adding value torepparttar 119246 corporation while providing successful, cost effective legal work to their corporate client. Adding value includes qualitative as well as quantitative measures.

As such, what corporate legal managers increasingly need is a performance measurement capability that supports a long term, forward-thinking strategic view. They need a performance measurement framework that provides a view across a range of measures that encompass all ofrepparttar 119247 key issues forrepparttar 119248 continued financial success of their organization. A framework that itself helps improve performance by changing what people do, one that:

What’s New With Your Living Trust?

Written by Jeffrey Broobin

Some time ago, Congress made certain changes torepparttar estate taxes. As a result ofrepparttar 119229 changes, effective January, 2004,repparttar 119230 tax free amount increased to $1,500,000. (Back in 1997 it was $600,000.) This allows a married couple to leave a minimum of $3,000,000 tax free.

Your Living Trust does not need to be changed to incorporate these changes.

However, there are other developments which might be appropriate to consider.

1) You might want to consider a Dynasty Living Trust. The advantage of usingrepparttar 119231 generation skipping tax exemption is greater duringrepparttar 119232 grantor’s lifetime. Once property is transferred to a dynasty Living Trust, all appreciation and accumulated income generated byrepparttar 119233 property untilrepparttar 119234 grantor’s death will be exempt from estate tax as long as it remains inrepparttar 119235 Living Trust. Basically, this is a grown-up Minor's Living Trust.

2) Another more recent development is worth considering. Since after one spouse dies,repparttar 119236 Survivor has full control ofrepparttar 119237 Surviving Spouse's Living Trust, includingrepparttar 119238 right to changerepparttar 119239 beneficiary (throughrepparttar 119240 General Power of Appointment), it is important to insure thatrepparttar 119241 children fromrepparttar 119242 first marriage inherit their deserved portion.

This is what could happen. You die. Your Living Trust divides into two or three shares. Your wife, who has control ofrepparttar 119243 Living Trust, spends your half ofrepparttar 119244 estate, remarries, and leaves her half torepparttar 119245 new spouse (not your intention). You may discuss this now with your spouse and decide thatrepparttar 119246 assets you have acquired during your lifetime together belong to both of you. While you still want your spouse to be happy and maybe even remarry, you want your joint assets to be inherited by your children, notrepparttar 119247 new spouse.

It is possible withrepparttar 119248 standard A - B - C Living Trust held by most married couples, which allowsrepparttar 119249 Survivor's half (the A Living Trust) to be changed, to incorporate an instruction thatrepparttar 119250 A Living Trust (the Survivor’s half) will be locked. With this feature,repparttar 119251 surviving spouse may spend everything, but whatever is not spent must be left to your family rather thanrepparttar 119252 new spouse.

3) Because time has passed since your Living Trust was first written, formerly young children are not so young anymore, andrepparttar 119253 successors you selected to make your decisions may no longer be appropriate because they are too old. Please review these designations listed in your Living Trust and Powers of Attorney (financial and Health Care). Furthermore,repparttar 119254 inheritance age threshold designated for minor children atrepparttar 119255 time you made your Living Trust may no longer be appropriate. Atrepparttar 119256 time, you were guessing about what these minors would be like, say, when they became 25 years old. Maybe you now think it is necessary to adjust that age restriction.

4) Be certain thatrepparttar 119257 people you appointed still have their copies of your Health Care Power of Attorney. They should have a copy handy because in an emergency they may need to make medical decisions quickly.

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