Lawyers with Purpose Announces Exciting Transition to Knackly for Document Automation

February 2024 — Lawyers with Purpose (“LWP”), a leading membership organization for estate planning and elder law attorneys, is thrilled to announce a strategic move toward enhancing its document template solution. After a thorough evaluation, the organization has decided to transition from HotDocs based templates, to Knackly, offering a true cloud-based drafting solution for its members.

The decision to make this transition comes after substantial market research into document automation platforms, that would be up to the task of housing the proprietary templates. While LWP, and its predecessor, Medicaid Practice Systems, have been using HotDocs for their templates for over 20 years, it was time to make a change.

Knackly was created in 2018 by co-founders Lowell Stewart and Kim Mayberry. With over 20 years of experience in the document automation industry, including time with HotDocs, Stewart and Mayberry set out to create a better solution. Knackly touts its modern object-oriented programming to allow for faster, more adaptable automation than is possible in the HotDocs system.

Lawyers with Purpose recognizes the importance of a standalone cloud-based drafting solution, without the reliance on any specific Client Relationship Management (“CRM”) tool. The transition to Knackly ensures greater accessibility, anticipated lower costs, and greater flexibility for its member attorneys. The ability to make changes and updates to the templates on a more frequent basis is one highly anticipated feature.

Further, using Knackly will allow the LWP team to push updates to attorney systems smoothly and efficiently. This streamlined process ensures that members receive the latest features and improvements effortlessly. Enhanced efficiency in document creation, as well as an updated look and feel for the interview process, promises an intuitive experience for attorneys and their staff using the platform.

Lawyers with Purpose CEO, Christen Belcher, expressed eagerness for the collaboration. “The move to Knackly signifies a commitment to providing our members with cutting-edge tools that enhance their practice efficiency.”

Lawyers with Purpose is working diligently with Knackly to transition all estate planning and Medicaid templates expeditiously. Members will receive updates on the status of the project, as the LWP team builds out its transition period for members.


Lawyers with Purpose is a dynamic membership organization dedicated to empowering attorneys with innovative tools and resources to enhance their practice and better serve their clients and communities. For media inquiries, please contact Lisa Roser, Head of Marketing Services, at

IRS Announces Potential Gift Tax Consequences

February 2024 — In the dynamic landscape of estate planning, staying informed about the latest IRS announcements is paramount. Recently, the IRS released Memorandum Number 202352018, shedding light on the potential gift tax consequences of modifying a Grantor Trust to include income tax reimbursement language.

In this scenario, Grantor sought to modify an irrevocable Grantor trust, with the consent of all beneficiaries, pursuant to state law. The Grantor wanted to add language allowing the Trustee the discretionary power to reimburse the Grantor for income taxes paid as a result of the inclusion of the Trust’s income in the Grantor’s taxable income.

The IRS concluded that this modification constituted a taxable gift by the trust beneficiaries, since they essentially gave up their right to a portion of their respective shares. The IRS further clarified that including such clauses in Grantor trusts from the outset does not trigger a taxable event.

At Lawyers with Purpose, we understand the intricacies of estate planning and the importance of navigating potential tax implications with clients. Our revolutionary Irrevocable Pure Grantor (iPug®) Trust already includes language enabling discretionary payments to taxing authorities for income taxes paid by the Grantor.

This IRS memorandum serves as a reminder to exercise caution when drafting modifications and restatements of irrevocable trusts. Our organization is dedicated to providing valuable insights and resources to help you navigate these complexities successfully.


Lawyers with Purpose is a leading membership organization committed to supporting estate planning and elder law attorneys in running successful and innovative law practices. For more information about Lawyers with Purpose membership, contact our Head of Professional Development, Briana Moriarty at

IT security for law firms.

IT Security for Law Firms

Security Awareness Training for Law Firms:

In today’s business with the ever increasing and evolving cybersecurity threat landscape, cybercriminals are becoming more and more creative. The greatest threat vector to any organization is through their employees. Acts don’t have to be malicious to cause great harm to an organization. An oversite, mistake, or careless act can lead to a successful breach causing organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom payments, lost revenue, recovery costs, and reputational impact.

IT security for law firms.

Specific to law firms, attorneys handle sensitive and confidential client information every day. This information can range from personal client data to highly confidential documents. Due to the evolving technical landscape and the changing way in which business is conducted, this data is often transmitted and stored electronically. Due to the types of information handled, and the way in which it is stored, it is crucial that attorneys and their associates are well versed in cybersecurity best practices to ensure information is safe and protected. This is why it is becoming increasingly more important that all attorneys and their associates are educated on how to identify a threat and avoid the seemingly harmless action that may lead to a breach; this is where an effective security awareness training and testing program comes into play.

What is Security Awareness Training?

Security awareness training is the process of educating employees about the potential threats and vulnerabilities that exist within the current technical landscape. This training is meant to equip employees with the knowledge necessary to identify and respond to possible cyber threats in order to prevent them from occurring.

Security awareness training can cover a wide range of topics. This includes password management, email security, best practices for public Wi-Fi use, and how to reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim of cybercrime. Security awareness training programs should be updated regularly and reflect current cyberthreats and vulnerabilities. An effective program will include periodic testing to ensure employees comprehend and apply the principles they’ve been taught.

The Importance to Law Firms

One of the primary threats facing attorneys and law firms today is cyber-attacks targeted at their employees. These attacks can come in many forms, including phishing scams, social engineering, malware, or ransomware attacks. The information transmitted and stored as part of attorneys day to day business makes law firms rich targets for hackers and cybercriminals. A successful cyber-attack can result in stolen client data, damaged reputation, regulatory penalties, and significant financial losses.

Additionally, due to certain legal and ethical obligations requiring lawyers to protect client data, and regulatory requirements including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), law firms may be required to implement and maintain security awareness training programs in order to comply with industry regulations, depending on what data is stored and transmitted by each law firm.

Finally, as lawyers are required to obtain continuing education credits related to technology and security, in many states, security awareness training can assist in satisfying these requirements.

How Vivitec Helps Address Solves These Issues

Security awareness training is an essential component of any cybersecurity strategy for attorneys and their firms. By providing this training to employees, and establishing a security awareness training program, attorneys and their associates can further understand the potential threats and vulnerabilities, comply with industry regulations and standards, and create a culture of cybersecurity within the organization.

Vivitec offers customized solutions to implement an effective security awareness training program in your firm. Our training services offer regular training sessions, facilitated by globally acclaimed cybersecurity speakers. The training sessions reflect current threats and vulnerabilities and allow lawyers and law firms to stay up to date on the current cybersecurity threat landscape. Vivitec also provides phishing exercises that allow practical training and exercises, helping clients gain real world practice in identifying phishing attempts.

Vivitec will work with your firm to balance your business needs with cost and risk tolerance to tailor, implement, and maintain a security awareness training program for your firm that helps to satisfy legal, ethical, and regulatory guidelines, all while establishing a culture of cybersecurity within your firm and helping to achieve certain continuous education requirements.

Post provided by Vivitec.

Lawyer’s Practical Considerations to Safeguard Information

In light of the legal and ethical obligations that lawyers face to protect their clients’ data, defining the exact scope of what those protective measures are can often be challenging. In some cases, statutes and regulations define that standard in terms of positive results to be achieved, such as ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems and information. In other cases, that standard is defined in terms of the harms to be avoided – for example, to protect systems and information against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, etc. In some cases, the standard is not defined.

Regardless of the approach, meeting this standard and achieving these objectives involves implementing appropriate physical, technical, and administrative security measures. So, where do law firms begin? Although no definitive cybersecurity regulations or standards have yet to be established, the American Bar Association has begun to develop standards for “reasonable” security.

That standard rejects requirements for specific security measurements (such as firewalls, passwords, etc.) and instead adopts a fact-specific approach to business-specific security obligations. These requirements include a “process” to assess risks, identify and implement appropriate security measures responsive to those risks, verify effective implementation of the measures, and ensure that they are continually updated as the industry continues to develop.

Below are the top ten considerations that the American Bar Association recommends law offices, regardless of size, adopt and implement in order to improve their security posture:

Practical Considerations: A Top Ten List

  1. Identify the data you have
    Identifying the data you have (including yours, your clients’, data obtained during due diligence or discovery) and understand where it is stored, how it can be accessed, and how it is used
  2. Evaluate the risks to the data you have
    A risk assessment is the process of identifying vulnerabilities and threats to the information assets used by the business or firm and assessing the potential impact and harm that would result if the threat materializes. This forms the basis for determining what countermeasures (i.e., security controls) should be implemented to reduce risk to an acceptable level.
  3. Develop a written information security program
    Based on the results of the risk assessment, businesses should design and implement a security program consisting of reasonable physical, technical, and administrative security measures to manage and control the risks identified during the risk assessment. The security program should be designed to provide reasonable safeguards to control the identified risks.
  4. Oversee third party service provider agreements
    If you use third parties (e.g., providers of cloud services or outsourcing services) to store or process the data, take appropriate steps to make sure that they adequately protect the security of the data you entrust to them.
  5. Review and adjust the security program
    On a regular basis, reevaluate the risks you face and the adequacy of your security program, and adjust the program as necessary.
  6. Ensure you are in compliance with regulatory frameworks
    Determine which data (yours, your clients’, data obtained during due diligence or discovery) is subject to which laws and regulations (including special sector-specific regulations such as GLB or HIPAA) and be sure you handle it in accordance with any special requirements in those laws and regulations.
  7. Provide Training and Education
    Recognize that other lawyers and staff within the firm can be a weak link and provide appropriate training and awareness-raising reminders for all lawyers and staff.
  8. Develop an incident response plan that covers the data you have
    Plan for taking responsive steps if the business suspects or detects that a security breach has occurred; such steps include ensuring that appropriate persons within the organization are notified of the breach, that prompt action is taken in responding to the breach (e.g., stopping further information compromise and working with law enforcement), and that persons who may be injured by the breach are appropriately notified.
  9. Implement appropriate data security measures
    Keep in mind that laws and regulations governing data security may apply to all of the data in your possession, independent of ethical obligations specifically applicable to lawyers.
  10. Security is a process
    Remember, security is a process and is never complete, so you must always remain vigilant for new threats.

Through the implementation of the above practical considerations, lawyers can be assured that their cybersecurity posture will continue to improve, all while increasing compliance with cybersecurity regulatory guidelines.

Vivitec can assist you with interpreting these guidelines to ensure you’re meeting your ethical obligations to safeguard information while ensuring you’re implementing the practical steps necessary to protect you and your firm from cybersecurity threats.

Post provided by Vivitec.

IRA to MCA: How to Fund a Medicaid Compliant Annuity with a Tax-Qualified Account

While some states consider an IRA to be exempt resource, in most states this type of asset is countable and must be spent down. This may leave clients facing the complicated question of how to best spend down their retirement accounts. If the client chooses to liquidate the retirement account, they may incur sizeable tax consequences. Yet, without eliminating this countable asset, the client’s resources will exceed the limitations to qualify for Medicaid. Utilizing a Medicaid Compliant Annuity can help protect their tax-qualified accounts by preventing immediate taxation of liquidating the account and accelerating their eligibility for Medicaid.

What is a Medicaid Compliant Annuity?

A Medicaid Compliant Annuity (MCA) is a crisis spend-down tool that can help senior clients accelerate their eligibility for Medicaid benefits. The MCA is a Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA) that is structured to adhere to the federal requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. By converting their excess countable assets into an income stream, applicants can effectively eliminate assets for Medicaid purposes resulting in their ability to qualify for benefits sooner.

Funding an MCA with Tax-Qualified Funds

One way to avoid the tax consequences of liquidating an IRA is to transfer the funds held in the IRA to a tax-qualified Medicaid Compliant Annuity. The initial transfer to the MCA does not trigger a taxable event for the account owner if the ownership of the accounts remains the same. Instead, they are only taxed on the total distribution payments from the annuity they receive that year. This will allow the account owner to stretch the taxation of the IRA over multiple tax years rather than be assessed all at once.

When funding an MCA with a tax-qualified account, the account owner can do so using either a 60-Day Rollover or a Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer.

60-Day Rollover:

This transfer option is typically more efficient and allows the account owner to maintain more control over the transfer. To complete a 60-Day Rollover, the account owner would contact the IRA custodian company and request a complete liquidation of the account without any taxes withheld. Usually, the account owner can expect to receive the liquidation check within five to seven business days. Once received, the funds will need to be reinvested into a tax-qualified MCA within 60 days to avoid any immediate tax consequences. According to federal regulations, an account owner is limited to only one 60-Day Rollover per 365 days.

Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer:

In contrast, the Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer option is primarily facilitated by the custodian company. This transfer option may take four to six weeks to complete and takes place directly between the plan administrator of the IRA and the insurance company establishing the MCA. To utilize this option, the account owner would complete additional authorization paperwork for the transfer when submitting the MCA application. The insurance company issuing the MCA would then request the funds directly from the custodian company of the IRA. There is no limit to the number of Trustee-to-Trustee transfers that an account owner can complete in a 365-day period.

Medicaid Planning with Traditional IRAs

Using an MCA to protect your client’s IRA can help them avoid large tax consequences and prevent them from entering a higher income tax bracket. By transferring a traditional IRA to an MCA, the account owner can spread the tax consequences of liquidating the IRA over the entire annuity term. As such, the account owner can benefit from structuring the annuity with a longer term to provide a greater economic benefit.

If you have questions about how your client could benefit from using an MCA to spend down their tax-qualified accounts, schedule a Discovery Call with an advisor today!

Post provided by Krause Financial Services.

Graph showing FBI internet crime report from 2021. It shows complaints and losses over the last five years. 2.76 million total complaints and $18.7 billion total losses.

Lawyers’s Ethical and Common Law Duties to Safeguard Information

Today’s Business Reliance on Electronic Data and the Expanding Threat

Most, if not all data that businesses utilize throughout day-to-day operations is created, processed, and stored in electronic form. Technology has completely transformed the way companies conduct business and has introduced numerous benefits, including cost savings and increased productivity. Despite the many benefits technology introduces, the use of this technology in day-to-day operations also present significant risks, both from a regulatory and an ethical perspective.

The creation, usage, communication, and storage of data in electronic form introduces the risk of unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, loss, or destruction of the information being stored. We all hear stories in the news of corporations of various sizes and industries falling victim to cybercrime. Today, cybercriminals are looking for every opportunity to indiscriminately attack any business that is unprepared. Therefore, its essential that all businesses implement appropriate security measures to protect their data and their customers’ data.

Regardless of industry, every business must weigh the risks of cyber-incident against the cost of preventing a potential attack. We also know that the threat landscape increases dramatically every year as bad actors design and share more creative ways of attacking systems and the data these systems hold.

Graph showing FBI internet crime report from 2021. It shows complaints and losses over the last five years. 2.76 million total complaints and $18.7 billion total losses.

Protecting your systems and your data are sound business practices that impact your effectiveness, productivity, and reputation. Furthermore, many businesses are subject to statutory or regulatory requirements with which they must comply.

In the United States, a whole suite of new regulations and laws are being introduced. The Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are all working on new rules and regulations related to the way businesses should leverage technology. In addition, in 2021 alone, 36 states enacted new cybersecurity legislation. Globally, there are many initiatives such as China and Russia’s data localization requirements, India’s CERT-In incident reporting requirements, and the EU’s GDPR and its incident reporting.

In the United States, for instance, the White House, Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and many other agencies and local governments are considering, pursuing, or starting to enforce new rules and regulations. Companies need not site idle waiting for these rules to be finalized and then enforced. They should and can act now to understand the intent of these regulations and take action. Most of these laws and regulations share common elements and represent common sense best practices that should be followed to protect your business regardless of external regulations.

All these laws and regulations share a common focus on the reasonableness or appropriateness of security. Information security is not a “one size fits all approach” and varies depending on the sensitivity of the data companies utilize, the amount of data they utilize, and types of data they utilize. Companies should develop a process driven approach, meaning that information security is a process, not a product. Legal compliance with security obligations involves applying a process to achieve certain objectives, rather than implementing a check list of security measures in all cases.

Ethical Obligations to Safeguard Information

When it comes to an lawyer’s ethical obligations to protect clients’ data, ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 477R operates as the seminal guidance on a lawyer’s ethical obligation to maintain the security of client confidential information in today’s digital landscape.

This opinion reviews aspects that should be considered by, and guide lawyers in making a “reasonable efforts” analysis. In many ways, this opinion distills the ethics guidance of the last 20 years and updates it in light of the current technology environment.

Ethical guidance is also reflected in amendments to Rule 1.1 “Competence” and Rule 1.6 “Confidentiality of Information,” in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which were updated to reflect a lawyer’s obligation to protect client confidences when transmitting information over the internet.

Many firms struggle with turning these high-level requirements into actions to address their ethical obligations while balancing the risk with the associated costs of avoiding these threats. Working with a trusted Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), can help your firm stay abreast of the evolving guidance and expanding threat landscape.

Now that we’ve explored the issues facing today’s firms and understand the ABA’s high-level opinion regarding safeguarding information, our next blog post will outline the top 10 practical considerations to safeguard information. Look for part II in this series, “Lawyer’s Practical Considerations to Safeguard Information”.

Post provided by Vivitec.

Dave Zumpano

The Business Side Of Law: Dave Zumpano Of Lawyers With Purpose On 5 Things You Need To Create Or Lead A Successful Law Firm

Dave Zumpano

Dave Zumpano, LWP Founder and CEO, was recently interviewed for Authority Magazine.

“Law school primarily prepares lawyers for the practice of law. But leading or starting a law firm requires so much more than that. It requires the entrepreneurial skills that any CEO would need to run a business; How to manage personnel, how to hire and fire, how to generate leads, how to advertise, how to manage finances, etc. On the business side of law, what does an attorney need to know to create a successful and thriving law practice? To address these questions, we are talking to successful law firm principals who can share stories and insights from their experience about the ‘5 Things You Need To Create Or Lead A Successful Law Firm’.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing David J. Zumpano.

David J. Zumpano is the owner and founder of The Estate Planning Law Center which currently serves as a ‘model law firm’ to hundreds of law firms across the country. Dave’s practice remains focused on estate planning, asset protection, and elder law. In addition to his law firm, Dave is Founder of Lawyers With Purpose, LLC and Co-founder of Guidr.

Save the date: Practice with Purpose - May 2-4, 2022 and TAPER - May 4-6, 2022

The Top 5 Reasons You and Your Staff Should Attend PWP Charlotte, May 2-4, 2022

Save the date: Practice with Purpose - May 2-4, 2022 and TAPER - May 4-6, 2022

We cover a lot of ground at Practice with Purpose events—so you and your team can hit the ground running when you get back to the office. If you haven’t been to PWP for a while or you have new attorneys or team members that have never experienced PWP, here are five reasons to attend our upcoming event in April.

Sharpen Your Medicaid Skills
Perhaps you think you’ve mastered Medicaid, but are you sure? Here’s the opportunity to perfect your skills.

Live Trust Drafting
You’ll experience the complete trust design process live, and so will your paralegals if you have them attend. When you finish PWP you’ll be able to delegate this duty to your team with confidence.

Communicate More Efficiently and Effectively with Your Team
Are you and your team speaking the same language? You will be after PWP.

Educate New Members of Your Team
PWP is the best possible way to educate new members of your team about the software, systems, and overall approach necessary to build an efficient, profitable firm.

Get “Warmed Up” for TAPER
By refreshing your memory and introducing new staff to our tools and strategies, you’ll be ready to get the most from TAPER.

Still not sure you want to attend? You’ll find 30 more reasons to do so on the agenda below.


Monday, May 2
8:00AM-12:00 PM, 1:00PM-6:00PM
Presenters: Timothy P. Crisafulli, Esq. and Skipton S. Reynolds, Esq.

  • Medicaid Crisis & Pre-Planning
  • Medicaid Planning Principles: Learn the Rules, Exceptions, Strategies, and Secrets
  • Medicaid Qualification Worksheet™
  • Spend-Down Methods & Calculations
  • Value Proposition Conversation & Asset Risk Analysis™
  • Funding Strategies, including the Funding Roadmap™
  • Case Studies to Determine Medicaid Eligibility
  • Hands-on Experience in a Classroom Setting

Tuesday, May 3
8:00AM-12-00PM, 1:00PM-6:00PM
Presenters: Timothy P. Crisafulli, Esq. and Skipton S. Reynolds, Esq.

  • Business Rationale “What’s In It For Me?”
  • The LWP Business Model
  • The LWP Relationship Management System™
  • Identify Allied Professionals in Your Market
  • The LWP Client Enrollment System™
  • LWP Workshop Training
  • Case Studies and Activities
  • Communicate Your Value in the Marketplace
  • Communication Skills to Increase Your Value to Clients and Allied Professionals
  • Social Styles Analysis
  • LWP’s Cloud-based Workflows

Wednesday, May 4
8:00AM-12:00PM, 1:00PM-6:00PM
Presenters: Timothy P. Crisafulli, Esq. and Skipton S. Reynolds, Esq.

  • Trust Fundamentals
  • Four Levels of Estate Planning: Traditional, Asset Protection, Benefits Eligibility, and Estate Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning Documents
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • iPug™ Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Non-grantor Trusts
  • Effective Design Strategy and LWP Plan Options
  • Understanding the Trust Design Template
  • Hands-on Trust Drafting in the LWPCCS Software
  • LWP’s Cloud-based Workflows

As you can see, this event is packed with the information, tools, strategies, and hands-on learning you and your team need to build the firm you’ve always wanted—all for just $1,497 per seat.

Don’t delay, registration cut off is March 31. For additional questions or to register, contact Amanda Ross at (877) 299-0326 or

We look forward to seeing you again and meeting new members of your team.

My Personal Estate Plan Advisor screenshot

Estate Plan Advisor

What Is It

The Estate Plan Advisor is Guidr’s newest lead-generation tool. It is a series of questions asked to the client to determine what is important to them. This is similar to LWP’s Estate Plan Audit, often conducted at the Vision Meeting. Based on their answers to these questions, Guidr will recommend either the Essentials (a Will, Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney), a Revocable Trust Plan, or an Asset Protection Plan.

Guidr is not yet able to draft Trusts, so the Estate Plan Advisor will encourage the user to complete the Essentials online through Guidr, but then refer them to your firm to meet and complete a Trust in the traditional manner.

The Benefits

  • Generates leads who recognize the value of trust planning, and have already expressed interest in trust planning based on what’s important to them.
  • Guidr will provide the Essentials documents, saving your firm valuable drafting and signing time
  • Guidr will also collect financial information, similar to what you typically receive on the LWP Personal & Financial Information Form, giving your firm a head start in the first meeting with the client

How It Works

  • Client will be presented with options:
    • The Essentials plan for bundled savings, or any of the three documents individually
    • The personal estate plan advisor
    • The Asset Protection Analysis
  • If they choose personal estate plan advisor, it will ask them a series of questions about themselves, their spouses (when applicable), their children (when applicable), and what is important to them.
  • Based on those answers, the EPA will recommend either the Essentials, a Revocable Trust, or an Asset Protection Trust
  • The EPA will also recommend certain add-ons based on those answers as well
    • The client will be able to add or remove add-ons as well
  • If the client selects the Essentials Plan, everything will move through the normal process
  • If the client selects the revocable or asset protection plan, they will move through the Essentials interview AND they will get asked a series of financial questions
    • The financial questions will basically fill in a PIF for the attorney to use at their meeting
  • Client will finish the interview, and complete their Essentials documents; the law firm will be notified that someone has opted for a trust plan
  • The law firm will reach out to the client to schedule a Vision meeting
  • The law firm will meet with the client in the traditional manner, sign a separate engagement agreement, and quote their trust fees accordingly

Ready to Use Guidr in Your Practice?

Let's Connect

(###) ###-####
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.