Editors Note: This story first appeared in the 2021 Winter Print Edition of Smart Women Smart Money Magazine.
By Heather Pluard
By the time people are in a courtroom, it’s generally too late. Something bad has already happened. And yet, avoiding certain legal disasters could be as simple as proper planning. Nationally renowned attorney Alex Kincaid founded Alex Kincaid Law, a full-service boutique law firm, to protect people, their assets, and their peace of mind. As a former prosecuting attorney and the first female District Attorney in her Oregon county, Alex knows the courtroom is the last place people want to be.
“There is so much you can do to prevent problems and fighting about legal issues,” Alex says. “Unfortunately, most people don’t take action soon enough. We all like to think we are invincible or have plenty of time to sort things out. But the truth is, 60% of us will end up relying on someone else to make decisions about our health, finances, or business. Will the courts pick that person for you, or would you prefer to put it in writing ahead of time?”
Alex has more than 20 years of experience as a successful trial attorney and strategic planner. She’s been named to the Top 100 Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and won the Top 10 Attorney Award from the National Criminal Defense Attorneys. She’s also an author, a public speaker, and a legal analyst for radio and television shows, including appearances on Fox News and Fox Business News. Alex enjoys showing others how proper planning can deter frivolous lawsuits and keep people out of the court system.
“I love sitting down with clients and creating a plan to protect everyone and everything that’s important to them,” Alex says. “It gives meaning to my life! As a former prosecutor, I’ve tried so many cases where I felt like I was getting the bad guy. Now I’m making a difference in people’s lives ahead of time. Instead of cleaning up messes, I’m preventing them.”
Seniors are especially vulnerable to theft, fraud, and being taken advantage of as they age, but bad things can happen to anyone. Intentions don’t even have to be nefarious for trouble to pop up. “What happens if you get into an accident and can’t manage your money?” Alex asks. “Or your business partner gets divorced, and her spouse wants half of the company? How do you want to divide your property? Who should make medical decisions for you? I’ve seen spouses fight with children from previous marriages because both parties think they’re making the right choices, but neither has any direction. Planning can make all the difference.”
Known for preparing bullet-proof contracts and planning documents, Alex has great tips for getting started. “Make a list of everything in your name, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, vehicles, and paper stocks,” she says. “At a minimum, make sure your trusted person has access to that list. You can find legal forms on the Internet to help with estate planning, but they typically don’t provide enough protection. I recommend using an attorney to help you plan for unforeseen circumstances.”
The stakes are doubled for business owners. “You never want to put your personal savings or residence at risk because of something that happens in your business,” Alex says. “The basic premise behind asset protection is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you invest in real estate or rental property, you can put each one into its own LLC, so the most that’s ever at risk from a lawsuit is that particular property. An S-Corporation offers the same legal protections as an LLC, but it may have more tax advantages. Regardless of which option you choose, ask yourself how much power you are willing to share. If you’re bringing in partners, who calls the shots? It’s better to set the rules right up front.”
Business documents can address what will happen if an owner or shareholder dies, gets divorced, becomes incapacitated, or simply retires. A Buy-Sell agreement can define everything from how the business will be valued to how a partner will be bought out. “It prevents a lot of arguments when the unexpected happens,” Alex says. “Life insurance can even be used to buy the interest of an owner who has died. Everything can be defined.”
Sometimes, self-protection involves more than paperwork. As the daughter of a Deputy Sheriff and United States Veteran, Alex is a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment. “My dad taught me to shoot when I was five-years-old, and he taught me respect for firearms,” she says. “I am all for responsible gun ownership. That means knowing how to use it, how to keep it safe, and when you can legally pull the trigger. The laws are different in every state.”
Licensed in Oregon and Idaho, Alex serves as legal counsel to the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and is a contributing author for RECOIL and Concealment magazines, the American Shooting Journal, and Ammoland. She also wrote Infringed, the ultimate legal reference manual for American gun owners.
“Discuss a home protection plan with your family, set rules, and talk about what to do if something happens,” Alex says. “Too many people buy guns but don’t want to use them as anything other than a threat. Unless you’ve trained and are comfortable with your gun, the odds are a burglar will take it and kill you. If you do end up shooting an intruder, you’d better be able to tell 911 why you felt like your life was in imminent danger. Then your next call should be to your lawyer. I recommend buying insurance through a company like CCW SAFE, which offers 24-hour coverage and will give you an entire team of lawyers when you call.”
To relax, Alex loves spending time with her husband, Eric, on their 88-acre ranch in Idaho. “We have 55 animals under our care,” she smiles. “We believe in sustainable farming, and Kincaid Ranch produces natural, quality-products. We also founded Hidden Hollow Horse Sanctuary. It provides unwanted horses lifetime sanctuary while giving veterans a chance to train in horsemanship in a beautiful, peaceful setting. It’s about as far away from a courtroom as you can get!”
To learn more about Hidden Hollow Horse Sanctuary and Kincaid Ranch, please visit https://www.hhhorserescue.org and https://www.kincaid-ranch.com.