Daniel Bernard is The Snowbird Lawyer. What's that mean, you ask? A snowbird is someone who typically has their their primary residence somewhere in the northern part of the US or Canada, and spends the colder winter months in somewhere warmer, such as Florida, the Caribbean, or the Sun Belt.
You don't have to be thinking about becoming a snowbird any time soon to enjoy this episode, learn a few things about what the perfect time in your life for estate planning is right now (whether you need to draft a will, update existing documents because of life events, establish power of attorney, or the many other official, legal plans that you're possibly putting off!)
Daniel *literally* wrote the book on Estate Planning for Snowbirds
Daniel focuses his practice on estate planning, trust and estate administration, estate tax planning, business succession planning, and estate litigation, with an emphasis on estate planning for snowbirds.
For the large majority of snowbirds, their decision to leave the cold winter months for somewhere warmer is a quality-of-life decision. For higher net worth individuals, there are major tax implications for where and why they choose to snowbird.
According to Daniel there are 3 Tiers of Snowbirding:
1. Renting a place or simply spending time somewhere warmer
2. People who actually buy a place in a snowbird-friendly state
3. High Net Worth individuals with estate tax considerations on where they domicile
After listening to this episode, you will walk away with actionable ways to plan your estate and keep your assets, whether you're 18 and just getting started, or 45 and working toward retirement. And if you're actively thinking about snowbirding, this chat is definitely for you!
In this episode, we talk about:
-- What are snowbirds?
-- Why do people maintain two homes?
-- The 3 Tiers of Snowbirding
-- Tax planning considerations
-- When should you begin an estate plan?
-- Snowbirding as a verb
-- Planning your estate and keeping your assets
-- What is a Health Care Proxy?
-- What does Power of Attorney mean?
-- When should you begin estate planning?
-- How often should you update your estate plan?
-- Trusts and probate
-- How Daniel discovered this niche practice area
Get in touch with Daniel:
Estate Planning for Snowbirds website - https://estateplanningforsnowbirds.com/
Daniel Bernard on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielrbernard/
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill of NextHome Titletown and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston, Massachusetts for another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast!
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The Real Estate Law Podcast is hosted by Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill.
This podcast and these show notes are not legal advice, but we hope you find both entertaining and informative.
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When I think about estate planning for snowbirds, I think about it in three tiers. So the first tier is essentially anyone that's going to start snowbirds. What are what are those people need to do? That's really I'm renting a place in Florida. I'm staying at someone else's place, but I'm going to spend some time down there. What should I do? And then the second tier I think about is people that actually buy a place in Florida or another one of these Snowbird friendly states. What should those people do? The third one is our smallest group. And that's our high net worth snowbirds.Announcer:
You found the real estate law podcast, because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom argument. If you're a real estate professional, or looking to build real estate expertise, then welcome to the conversation and Discover more at real estate law. podcast.com.Jason Muth:
Welcome to the real estate law podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today. My name is Jason Muth I'm one of your hosts. We're here with Attorney broker, Rory Gill from next home Titletown real estate and urban village legal in Boston. Happy New Year, Jason. Happy New Year. Yes, this is the first episode that we're recording this year. So you know, we're proud to welcome a guest who has an awful lot to say about estate planning. And I think is a really great resource for people that have found their way to this podcast. And don't even know where to start with, you know, estate planning. This is Daniel Barnard. And he's with Timmy Latham, which is a law firm in New York. Right?Daniel Bernard:
Correct. Thanks for having me on the podcast today,Jason Muth:
guys. Absolutely. So Daniel has a website called estate planning for snowbirds.com. And he has a great free eBook on there, which is quite long, actually. It's, you know, it's almost 200 pages long estate planning for snowbirds that we downloaded in preparation of this episode. There it is proud author. And we'd love to get into some great quick tips about you know how to start about how to start your estate planning if you haven't done so yet. If you're young and listening to this, you're probably saying, you know, why am I listening to an episode about estate planning, but maybe your parents are going through this? Or maybe you're listening to this saying, you know, hey, I probably should get my button gear and do some estate planning because you've started together some assets in your life. So welcome, Daniel, thank you so much for being here. We'd love to find out more about your background. Tell us about yourself. Tell us about Timmy Latham. And tell us about how you found your way into estate planning.Daniel Bernard:
So again, thanks for having me guys. And so I'm a an attorney with my focus is on estate planning, business succession planning everything in that realm. And then one niche that I focus on is estate planning for snowbirds. So we have a lot of people where I am in New York that start spending some time in in Florida, Jerry Seinfeld had a joke that he said, you know, my parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned 60. And that's the law. So that seems to be the way it works. In New York. And I know, Massachusetts is similar in almost any state where it's freezing cold right now. People are looking to to head south somewhere.Jason Muth:
Do you throw that joke into all your your intros when you'reDaniel Bernard:
meeting I throw that? It's in the it's in the book? It's on every podcast I've done. I tell it to I think I've called like 12 More than Jerry Seinfeld has. Yeah. I'm waiting for him to call me very upset that I'm using his material.Jason Muth:
Jerry Seinfeld, if you're listening to this, you know, maybe it's in the public domain. So maybe you're allowed to use it at this point. Who knows?Daniel Bernard:
Well, Jerry, if you're listening to this, I'm sure you have a bunch of houses all over the country and you could really benefit for what we're about to tell everybody.Jason Muth:
Hey, you're also a salesperson apparently that's awesome. Snowbird I don't know if that's a word that's just common for us. I mean, I'm from New York originally. So I know what snowbirds are here in Massachusetts. We have them other places in the country might not so talk a little bit about what what is a snowbirdDaniel Bernard:
so a snowbird is essentially someone who has their their primary residence. Typically somewhere in the northern part of the US or Canada. Canada has a lot of snowbirds, too, and spends the colder winter months in somewhere more, somewhere warmer. So the typical Snowbird that we think about is Florida was really the first state that first snowbirds, one of the first snowbirds actually was Rockefeller was one of the first snowbirds just because he was the first person that had enough money to be able to travel between the states in the summer so it's a newer concept of once we had the ability to travel between between states for the winter months, people started to want to want to head south, generally Early in in retirement, and not suffer through these New York or New England winters. And typically the question is, well, why do people come back? Right? Why don't you guys live in Florida live in in North Carolina? Typically, the things that bring people back are friends, family. And you know, the grandkids essentially, is what? Almost every one of my clients tells me, I'm a snowbird because of my grandkids, otherwise, I would just be in Florida.Jason Muth:
Right. I have aunts and uncles that are snowbirds. They bought a place in Florida a number of years ago, and they still have a place in Westchester County. And they go back and forth, just like you're describing. Rey's parents are quite different. They are they are just, they're not snowbirds, they're just snow.Rory Gill:
Right there, they're retiring north, actually, into New Hampshire. So they appreciate the cold there. And maybe some of these concepts don't apply as much to them. But, you know, part of it obviously, is not just about the weather people, you know, move and establish domicile across different states, because the rules are different, and some of them are more advantageous to you, depending on what stage of life you're in what your circumstances are. So it's a basic concept. I know that your rules and taxes are very different state to state. And that's can seem to be pretty bewildering when there are 50 choices. snowbirds tend to domicile themselves in Florida or similar states. Is that right?Daniel Bernard:
So I'll answer your question in a really long way. I think so. When I think about estate planning for snowbirds, I think about it in three tiers. So the first tier is essentially anyone that's going to start snowbirds, what are what are those people need to do? That's really I'm renting a place in Florida. I'm staying at someone else's place, but I'm going to spend some time down there, what should I do? And then the second tier, I think about his people that actually buy a place in Florida or another one of these Snowbird friendly states. What should those people do? The third one is our smallest group. And that's our high net worth snowbirds. Because the high net worth snowbirds are the ones that really care about the domicile, because typically, domicile is an estate tax consideration. And that that's for our snowbirds that want to be residents of Florida rather than residents of Massachusetts or New York were two states where we have a state level and state tax, because Florida does not have a state level estate tax. So that's why we see Naples, Florida, for example, has a the highest concentration of billionaires in the entire country. Is it Naples, Florida, and I don't think it's because of the industry in Naples, Florida, you know, alreadyRory Gill:
understood. So so some of these choices are, it seems like with the your client base of snowbirds, a lot of these considerations are in decisions are either accidental or incidental to their lifestyle. And maybe for a certain subset of them. These decisions are very intentional, where they go to is that right?Daniel Bernard:
That is correct. I would say the large majority of snowbirds, it's a weather related decision. And then for our higher net worth snowbirds, it can be a financial decision. I had a client recently, where his CFO, basically he's still running his company, he's still active involvement. And his CFO basically realized, you know, we have an S corp here. So everything's flowing through tax to you individually. If you didn't have a state level income tax, you could save a lot of money. So and you start and he had started to Snowbird already. Right. So this was a situation of maybe you should intentionally decide to be a Florida resident, rather than a New York resident. And you could you could potentially save some taxes. So there was a lot of state planning and business planning around that, too. How do we, you know, make that make that transition, the most efficient way possible,Rory Gill:
as we're talking about kind of the concept of taxes and things are different among states? Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, can I just ask the most basic question possible is estate planning and who really should be thinking about it?Daniel Bernard:
So in the beginning, in the intro, I think that was great, because estate planning is funny, right? Because we do we do the estate planning, but it really is to benefit our kids or our heirs. Because a good estate plan is going to save your kids time. It's going to save the money and it's going to save them a ton of headaches. So the time in the timing savings is if you die with everyone has an estate plan. Your estate plan is either something that you've drafted on LegalZoom and between us it's probably really crappy, or it's something you had an attorney handle, and maybe it's good maybe it's it's great. Maybe it's just okay, or you have no estate plan and your estate plan is essentially whatever The Laws of intestacy are in your state, and your state will determine what happens to your assets. So the problem is, if you have nothing, your plan is for everyone to have to figure out who your heirs are for your kids to have to step up, who's going to be the executor who's going to manage this. And when we get into the Snowbird planning, if you own property in Massachusetts, and Florida, your your heirs are doing that process in Massachusetts for that for the property up there. And they're doing it again in Florida, for the property down in Florida. So when we when we talk about estate planning, it's how do we make things very efficient for my kids based on how I've set up my life, so that when I pass away, they can things can move smoothly, efficiently to that next generation? Whoever I want that to be.Rory Gill:
I love that. And when should somebody start thinking about estate planning? should somebody be doing it when they're younger? In their working years, when they retire? Should they wait until the very last minute to draft the estate plan? When should somebody start thinking about this?Daniel Bernard:
I think that's a great question. And I think, you know, we, we we can, there's estate planning, you can start, like I say, planning when you turn 18 years old, essentially, because you're once you're 18, you're emancipated, and your parents, you know, no longer you know, run your run your life. So to back up a step estate planning to continue on the state plan, discussion, state planning isn't just what happens when you pass away, there also could be a period of time where you're incapacitated, and you need someone to make a medical or a financial decision for you. So that would be via a health care proxy, determine someone to make a medical decision for you, or a power of attorney, someone to make a financial decision for you. So technically, estate planning could start when you become a when you turn 18, and you're going away to college, or whatever you're doing. And you need someone to make a medical decision or financial decision, maybe that's your parents, maybe you want those documents for your parents, then I then I like to think about it as, you know, events in my life when I started accumulating assets, where do I want those assets to go when I pass away? And then I think the big level, when people really start to think about it is when they have kids, because now you feel like you're responsible for someone else. What happens if me and my spouse both die, who's going to take care of the kids. So whenever you get into the estate planning process, at that point, it's, you know, the estate plan that I do for someone at 18. That's a power of attorney to their parents, that's a health care proxy to their parents. If someone comes in at 30, they just had a baby, that's a guardian for their for their kids, and maybe setting up a trust for their kid. But that kid is a baby. At that point where that's not going to be your final estate plan, right? We're so at that point, it's like getting your oil changed. We'd say every 3000 miles, not everyone does it. But you want to. So we typically tell people every five years, let's let's look at those. But another way to look at it is life events. So you have a baby, maybe that's the time to come in and make sure this plan still makes sense. You get married, divorced, remarried, maybe that's the time to come in and make sure this still makes sense. Retirement, that's a time to come and make sure does this still make sense? I think grandkids is another time Does it still make sense?Jason Muth:
So without going too much into you know, specific numbers and everything. I have two questions as the non attorney on this on the lay person, I guess, number one, the types of people that come in, you just describe people at all different stages of their lives. But like if you can kind of pick like the the 75 or 80% of the majority of the people. Who are they like who is your not ideal customer, but who is the type of customer that you typically hear from most frequently not the outlier, not the 80 year old that's on the you know, that's, you know, hasn't gotten to this yet, or the ambitious, precocious 14 year old. So I asked one question at a time. So that's my first question.Daniel Bernard:
So that I would say you hit the nail on the head with the outliers. The outliers are the people that are 90 years old, and they've done nothing to this point. And, and the people that are and I've had a couple of those last year, and then the people who are like 25 years old, and they want to do it, I've had a couple of those, but the majority of people are probably, you know, 45 to 60. Typically kids or teenagers at this point. And and you see a lot of people in retirement, they start to typically they come in with a plan from the mid to early 80s. And it talks about kids that are now in their 30s and 40s. And, you know, those are the people that are really updating right now.Jason Muth:
Right Yeah, so you're listening to this podcast, and that fits you. If you are that person and you haven't done this yet, it's probably a good idea for you to contact an estate planning attorney, perhaps Daniels a good one if you're in the states in which he practices and if not go find somebody in your state. The second question I have, and again, don't go into dollars and cents too much in this but like as somebody that doesn't fully always understand how attorneys are paid, how do you work out a fee schedule for your clients? Like if someone were to contact you for the first time saying, I need an estate plan? Here's who I am, I'm a 43 year old, I have a couple kids, you know, here's my assets. Is it hourly? Is it a flat rate? How do attorneys normally address that?Daniel Bernard:
I think most attorneys on the August call, you know, without knowing you guys too much, I'll just call us, you know, the regular, you know, people, we can probably sort out our assets pretty quickly, an attorney is going to have to give you a flat fee for that, or at least give you I don't necessarily get give them an exact flat fee, but I can give you a range of where it could end up. And that's to be fair to you, right? Because you can be the client that calls me 100 times, or you can be the client that calls me one time the first draft is perfect. So we can probably give you a very good accurate range of where things should end up. And then for the higher net worth individuals, it's typically on an hourly basis, because there's just a lot more moving parts with that, again, we can give or we can give a range. And every firm can probably give you a range of where it's gonna come in. But there's there's a lot more moving parts with that.Jason Muth:
Yeah, I think I think that's fair. Also, you know, I mean, people probably have questions saying, well, is is based on a percentage of my assets? Is it based on an hourly rate? Is it based on a flat fee per document? But, you know, regardless, it's, you know, I guess I would say, it's probably not, you know, super cheap Legal Zoom, but it's not going to break the bank. And it's worth doing, like, if you're going to have an estate plan. So again, if people are on the fence because of cost, you know, it's probably worth a discussion with an estate planning attorney, and you probably willing to take a, you know, good season with somebody. Right?Daniel Bernard:
It seems odd, but it's definitely cheaper to do a state planning than it is to do a state administration. So some people just say, Listen, I'm dead, I don't care. But and that's what I think when you brought up earlier in the intro, talk to your parents, because at the end of the day, this is your, it's the kids that are going to benefit from this. So sometimes I do have it where the kids are driving the boss kind of saying, you know, Mommy, I really need to do this, can you just meet with them, and talk to them, and when when I talk to them, explain to them, you know, you're going to save your kids money. If you if you really like these kids, you're gonna assign for the money, you're gonna save them a ton of headaches. Because if we can do a good estate plan, we can we can make things very easy for them. At least legal wise, I always say I can make the legal stuff easy, the emotional stuff that's on you, when once all passes away, but I can at least make the legal stuff easy when someone passes away.Rory Gill:
I mean, I would actually give you a little bit more credit than that having a good estate plan can actually avoid some maybe not all family arguments later on, if the intentions are laid out pretty clearly so Oh, noDaniel Bernard:
100 100% You can definitely we can you can cut out as much conflict as possible. I met the emotional of your sad mom and dad passed away. I said I can't I can't help them with their sad that you passed away but I can help them with their they're not going to be angry with you at least have you passed away and you left them with a big headache of having to administer your your mess of an estate,Rory Gill:
I would ask go into a couple more specific questions just to kind of illustrate to people listening what what are some of the choices that you'd be making, in sitting down to do your estate plan, but also for my own curiosity? Because I do see some tensions in estate planning, for example, you know, how should somebody title, their assets, their real estate assets, their non real estate assets? Should they try to keep it in their name? For example, if you hold something in your name, then you may get a stepped up basis for the asset for the real estate asset when you die, which would avoid capital gains tax for your for your heirs, or should you try to get things out of your name so that they're into a trust and there are less probate and estate tax implications? Perhaps a little complicated if you're you just listening, you're not familiar, but you know, that's a real choice to make for a lot of people is should you keep the asset in your name or should you put it into a trust or something like that? Can you comment on that and how do people work through who should own their assets?Daniel Bernard:
That is an excellent question. And that is the exact crux of the estate planning for snowbirds. is so we can have one or more Estate Planning first numbers, I kinda want to get the best of both worlds, right? So a trust is a great way of avoiding probate because if your asset is in a trust, then that that asset passes via the terms of the trust, it does not pass through the probate process. And to take a step back, some of the listeners might be saying What is probate? Right? So probate is the process where you where your nominated executor has to go to the surrogates court or the probate court in your county, and present your will for probate, and that the surrogate will will appoint them as executor, and then their job as executor is to marshal your probate assets. For the large majority of us, our only probate asset is going to be our house or our real estate, because anything that has a beneficiary designation, is not a probate asset, and is not going to pass via the terms of your will. So IRAs 401, K's will always pass life insurance always passes to who you designated, it goes to, it doesn't matter what your Will says, it goes to those beneficiaries. So for a lot of us, the non probate assets are our house. And your house does not have a beneficiary on it, because it's it's usually your two spouses, or it's just you and they're thriving spouse owns of the house, no, no beneficiary. So when you take that house, rather than having it in your individual name, you have it in the name of a trust, the trust controls the disposition of that property. So rather than having to go to the surrogates court or the probate court, the trustee can can essentially sell that property. The next day, as soon as they assume the role as trustee. After your passing, they can sell the property, they can transfer it to themselves, they can manage your estate much quicker, much more efficiently. And so then the key is we want the best of both worlds, right? We want to avoid probate, avoid all those expenses. But you hit on a very great point about the basis step up. Because a lot of us or a lot of our parents bought their houses in the 70s 80s, even 90s When the base and they paid a lot less for these houses than they're worth right now. And death. If they die owning that house, they get that basis step up to fair market value on date of death. And that can save us as the heirs on a lot of money in capital gains tax. So the the key distinction is if you have a trust, that's a revocable trust, some states call them living trusts, you still will your heirs still get that basis step up at death, because that property is still considered your property for estate tax purposes. So they even though the asset is in a trust, your heirs still get the basis step up, add death. My disclaimer on that is not all trusts provided that some irrevocable trust that we designed for estate tax purposes, remove the value of that property from your taxable estate. So your heirs won't have to pay an estate tax on the for the value of the property, but they would inherit your basis in the property and would not get that basis step up.Rory Gill:
And I mean, I hope the complexities to people listening kind of illustrate how important it is to have the conversation with the professor professional about your estate plan because we do have a lot of these decision points and a lot of these nuances that can really save your heirs money and also a lot of effort and strife processing your estate.Jason Muth:
First of all, the comment that I have is just listening to this discussion. And you know, even though it's the real estate law podcast, we haven't had too many lawyers on besides worry. So you know, now I feel double teamed with two people that are talking legal boy, I'm gonna walk away from this and I need to go update my estate plan. And then a lot has happened in my life. We're pretty open with things but you know, marriage child, and you know, other real estate that we have like, you know, rental properties and whatnot. And I'm you know, woefully underprepared with what I have prepared to account for all those things. So that's the takeaway that I have from this. Did you have a takeaway, Rory that you've gathered your thoughts and now you want toRory Gill:
I have there was just an additional point I wanted to make the complexities I think don't just apply to necessarily high net worth individuals who have a lot of monetary value to protect as part of the estate, but also to lower net worth individuals who are planning for nursing home care, and you know, we call it here, Massachusetts MassHealth with different Medicaid programs for the elderly and nursing homes. And there's a lot of planning that goes involved is involved there to make sure that the family home isn't seized to pay for the health care After after your death. So if you think a lot of these complexities apply just to high net worth individuals, that's really not the case. And sometimes people who are qualifying for state aid in different capacities have more of an incentive to do this and to do it early so that they don't, because those sorts of decisions made at the very last minute won't protect you.Daniel Bernard:
100%, that's a that's a great point. So it's essentially anyone that owns property, if you own your house, you definitely need to consider some sort of estate planning around that house. So there's a very small percentage of people that actually are subject to the federal estate tax, because our exemption right now for federal is $12,060,000 per person. So that's 24 million 120,000 for married couples, most of us aren't going to get there. You guys will get there if you're not there already. But maybe I'll get there, we don't know. ButJason Muth:
already for the right.Daniel Bernard:
So for most of us, you know, it's not really a big issue, even though they sometimes make a big issue out of it. For a lot of us, it's not a big issue. And the the bigger issue is actually the long term care. Unfortunately, I'm not going to get political, it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. But this is just the way that we care for the elderly in this country is typically through artificially impoverishing yourself, or actually diverging yourself by paying for the care and qualifying for some sort of state aid, whether that be Medicaid or some other state aid. And typically these state aid programs will have exempt assets. So your house is an exempt asset. So people think well, that's fine, I qualify, even though I still own this house. The problem with that is when you pass away, the state can then can and will put a lien against your house so that they can recover what they paid for for your care. So Florida has a homestead exemption. So in Florida, people get to keep their house. But not every state has that. So New York definitely doesn't have it. And the way we plan for that is you put your house into an irrevocable, we call it here, your vocal Medicaid type trust. And then we have a walk back period, every state has a look back period, the minimum is five years. And you essentially have to do this planning five years before you're going to go into a nursing home to protect that house. And the key with these the properly drafted Medicaid trust is that even though they're irrevocable, it still counts as an asset in your estate, when you pass away. So you still get the basis step up, even though the house is in a trust, even though the trust is irrevocable, you still get the basis step up. And one other thing I want to say just about all of the trust is I don't want people to feel like, well, I worked my whole life, I got this great house. Now I'm kind of just giving it to my kids before I pass away, and what if they kick me out, or what if they want to sell the house and they told me you can't handle a house this big anymore, we're selling it and we're buying you a condo, that's not going to happen. I tell my clients all the time, I will gleefully sue your kids, if they try to do that, we're going to get them removed, we'll disinherit them, I don't want people to feel like they're losing control over their assets by doing this stuff. In a revocable trust or living trust, you're going to be they're going to be the trustee. So they're going to make all the decisions in an irrevocable trust, we're going to for the Medicaid type trust, we're going to give them a power of appointment over the trust assets. So and we're going to give them a removal power over the trustee. So if Jr says we're kicking you out, we're selling this house, we're going to remove Jr we're gonna put someone in that's gonna do what you want them to do.Jason Muth:
You know, this, there's a lot of pride and trust involved. And you know, my focus group is just my family and my parents and who happened to live in the same house I grew up in, and we were just there recently, what's the only house I know, but, you know, they're still in it. And I think that there's a lot of pride in the fact that they've kept this house for so long, they paid the house off. They were the only owners of this house, they purchased it new back in early 70s. And, and here they are, and you know, they have health care needs now, but you know, it's just easier in their mind to live there. And they trust me, I mean, I'm an only so like, I am the one that's going to take care of all these things afterward. And I'm not going to buy the house and kick him out if they don't want to, you know, we've gently encouraged them to give some thought to you know, you know, alternative, easier living situations, but it's going to be their decision for a variety of reasons. Well, for obvious reasons, but, you know, they're staying where they're staying, you know, because of the support network and familiarity and that kind of thing, and I'm sure that happens a lot, especially in the New York area. I mean, you know, I couldn't imagine a this is such Perfect Storm. I mean, it's not by accident that you're doing the work that you're doing. The New York population is huge. There's a lot of people that are aging, a lot of them are moving to retirement age, and a lot of them are physically moving to places like Florida. So you know, it seems like a really built in audience of customers that you have for many, many, many, many years to come. Well, let's hope. Yeah, why don't we move toward our final wrap up and then you can talk about all right,Rory Gill:
I do have one thing that it'd be, I'd be remiss to walk away from this podcast without bringing up. You've done you do an excellent job branding yourself this Snowbird lawyer and building a lot of genuine expertise marketing, particularly for New York, Florida snowbirds. What advice do you have for you know, other attorneys, real estate agents or other professionals that are looking to find their their niche and develop an expertise that's really focused on a particular client base? And then how do you market to that client base?Daniel Bernard:
So the first thing I'd say is don't pick snowbirds. I think that corners taken, I think it's a, you know, I put a lot of effort into when I was first starting my career as to, you know, what practice area was going to go into. And then when I got into that practice area, I got some good advice, which was, you know, get into a niche area. And I didn't really listen right away. But sometimes you got to hear something two or three times. And I, I did a lot of reading about business generation business development. And although it seems counterintuitive, right, I want I don't have any business right now. I want to focus on everybody. I want to be a one stop shop, why would I fall? Why would I laser focus on this one group and exclude everybody else? It just seems counterintuitive, but I went for that thing. And the truth of the matter is when you when you get into a niche, you become the go to for that that niche of people, because you can say things like I literally wrote the book on estate planning for snowbirds, right? You can, other people are not going to exclude themselves. No one's going to say, Dan only deals with snowbirds. What does he know about regular estate planning? Because the bottom line is, there's the base level, people are always going to come to you because you they know you have that base level of knowledge. It's just that niche, people are definitely going to know you're you're the go to guy, for lack of a better term, or go to expert.Rory Gill:
Alright, thanks, Jason. Sorry, I definitely wanted to point that out and bring up that topic.Daniel Bernard:
If I could just say one thing about the specifically state planning for snowbirds, we talked about the trust, but the trust are extremely important for the snowbirds. Because if you have your if you own your house and your individual name in Florida, and New York, Massachusetts, wherever it is, your heirs have to do a probate in New York and a probate in Florida. If you get at least one of those houses, preferably both of them into into a trust, we can avoid probate, at least in Florida, or hopefully entirely. And that's just going to save your heirs a lot of time, money and headaches.Jason Muth:
Excellent advice from attorney Daniel Bernard. We're going to move into our quick final three questions which we asked all of our guests who appear on the podcast just as a way to tie up the conversation and lighten up a little bit. So the first question is, if you were to be able to get on stage and talk for 30 minutes about any topic with no preparation, it can't be estate planning for snowboarders. What would it be?Daniel Bernard:
It's got to be something NFL football. Drive drove my parents crazy. But like every report, I had to do middle school high school, I somehow wrote something about NFL football. My parents were like they said to write an essay about Emily Dickinson and you somehow turned it into this this essay about the New York Times this makes no sense. Like you're a maniac. And then when I was in college I had I was an economics major, we had to do a final project, final paper, whatever. And I wrote my paper about do NFL players play harder in the final year of a contract. So I said, you're 22 years old, like you're still doing this. And then when I was in law school, I was in a gaming law course. And we had to write a paper about some kind of gambling thing. So I wrote about, you know, does the what the NFL stands on gambling a calculated contradiction, because they actually benefit a lot from people being very interested in gambling on the games that drives up the popularity. And even though their public stance was were against it, were against it. So I wrote that paper. Then my parents said, You're in law school and you're still writing about football go move on with your life. So I think I could talk about football all day long. And that's my my thing.Jason Muth:
That for another conversation is you know, we could probably talk about a lot of football Rory could attest the fact that I watch almost every, you know, televised game and I do make my little bets and I do poorly. And you can go to New YorkRory Gill:
now and do that too. You don't just have to drive to New Hampshire.Daniel Bernard:
So lucky. Lucky for me the paper I wrote I submitted it to the UNLV gaming Law Journal and they published it. So I have this nice thing hanging on my wall in my office. But now that we have FanDuel in New York, I thought they got to take it down. Yeah, well, no, we don't have physical we have everything. We got DraftKings. Yeah, we got we got just sports gambling now.Jason Muth:
For the record. My answer for this question is professional wrestling. Everyone knows a will be professional wrestling. And I also wrote a paper about professional wrestling at college. And it got me an A in the course. So you know, I think there's a precedent for this federal, like, my follow up giants or jets joining either way. It'sDaniel Bernard:
I feel either way. You guys don't like me? I know, John. Well, IJason Muth:
grew up a Giants fan. So okay. It's been painful to watch the past few years. ButDaniel Bernard:
but the Giants have been painful for the last 10 The Jets have been painful for our lifetimes.Jason Muth:
Oh, yeah. It's Joe Namath. Alright, question number two, tell us something that happened early on in your life that impacts the way that you work today.Daniel Bernard:
It's kind of strange, but I graduated from from college in 2008. So if you remember back in 2008, you know, I couldn't get a job as dog catcher, essentially in 2008. So that's what caught me on the path of going to law school. And I think it was just the really the best thing that could have happened to me was the entire world collapsing, because it really focused me when I was in law school on I need to be on in I need to intern every semester. Now I was in college, I just thought, oh, you know, typical millennials, right? We're like, I'm just going to get this degree, someone's gonna give me a great job. That's what my parents have been telling me since kindergarten, I'm gonna it's gonna be it's gonna be fine. When I was when the world's really slapped me in the face, I figured out now I got a I got to make something happen. So I think that really caught me on the path of I aim to get an internship every single semester was at the surrogates court, tax court, working in firms. I did the clinic, I did everything that I could do. That's why I wrote papers, trying to get them published. I just always was trying to do things. And I've carried that into my career with I try to blog, I tried to write things. I wrote a book. I try to I try to come on to podcasts, I try to give seminars or local local seminars. So I think that's really just pushed me to just be more aggressive and get more into events.Jason Muth:
Yeah. Oh, 809. Tough time. I mean, I, I had I was in between jobs a couple times, and Rory had the misfortune of being in law school and graduated into a recession. So, yeah, it's sympathize. But I mean, it's a perfect, what you've done is a perfect example of like, you know, kind of rising out of that economy with, you know, some some grit and focusing on a specific niche, and, and really going all in on it. And you know, here it is, you know, over 10 years later and look at the success. You've written a book on it. And finally, what do you watch your radio listening to these days? Towards theDaniel Bernard:
end of the year, what I typically like to do is I get into the Tony Robbins stuff again, kind of just start the year off, right? So pretty much like right after Thanksgiving, I listen to the personal power 30 Day Program, kind of try to get my mindset on that. And then I do some Jim Rome stuff. So I don't know, like some people think it's hokey. I like the personal development stuff. So it's been a lot of Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins. And I do like podcasts a lot.Jason Muth:
Yeah, I mean, they wouldn't be successful if they didn't have people listening. And I think it's always a good idea to reset, especially for the end of the year, you know, coming into a new a new year like we are right now,Daniel Bernard:
and that I know you guys can sympathize with this. I have two kids. So it's a lot. It's a lot of Disney plus, oh yeah. Every episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, there's actually a vocal reporter here, who was on Instagram and she was singing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse intro song. And I actually messaged her said, you know, you're singing the words wrong. It's actuallyJason Muth:
inside. It's fun inside, right?Daniel Bernard:
Yeah, come inside. It's fun inside and something my beans and I said, No, you got the lyrics wrong. This is what it is. And you know what's great about Disney plus, not to go on and do a sales pitch for Disney plus, but it's all the stuff that I had when I was a kid. Yeah, like gets introduced to my to my daughter and my son's eight months old, so he doesn't really understand what's on the TV.Jason Muth:
But yeah, we love the musicals we love. You know, she watched us was a lot of Moana, Frozen, Encanto that just came out Coco we watched Coco all the time, but you hit the nail on the head. There is some drug in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that she just cannot get off right now. So we're eager to see how this evolves away into the next obsession. Yep. Daniel, tell us really quickly where we could find you and how we can get this amazing ebook.Daniel Bernard:
So if you go to my site, my firm has a website, Suffolk law calm, that's cumulate Adams website. And then I've set up a website pretty much for the for the snowbirds called state planning for snowbirds.com. That's where they can get the download a free copy of the book. And I'm always happy if any of your listeners have any questions. You know, send me an email. De Renard at Suffolk law COMM And I'm always always happy to answer anyone's questions and talk about why the giants are terrible or stay paid for snowbirds. We willJason Muth:
put all that in the show notes. And I hope the Giants turn it around. I mean, then, but we'll have to circle back after this year and see how your your business is doing and how the Giants done with a new head coach.Daniel Bernard:
That's called a Bosco. Yeah, what's helpful? What's up? They both do well.Jason Muth:
So thank you so much for spending some time here. Thank you, Daniel. And we wish you the best for a successful year this year. And we encourage you if you're listening to go check out his website and book, put that in the show notes but is estate planning for snowbirds. So, on behalf of Rory and myself, thank you so much for listening to the real estate law podcast. If you enjoyed this, if you could like this, and subscribe to the podcast and give us some comments. We really appreciate that as well. And that's it. So thank you so much for joining us on this episode, and we will talk to you next time.Announcer:
Bye. This has been the real estate law podcast because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments. were powered by next home Titletown greater Boston's progressive real estate brokerage. More at next home titletown.com and urban village legal Massachusetts real estate Council serving savvy property owners, lenders and investors more at urban village legal.com Today's conversation was not legal advice, but we hope you found it entertaining and informative. Discover more at real estate law podcast.com Thank you for listening