25July
2019
Consider a Qualified Personal Residence Trust for Your Vacation Home

Do you own a beach house, ski chalet, resort condo or other vacation getaway? Perhaps it’s the place where cherished family reunions take place with your children and grandchildren. Many people with second homes want them to stay in the family but also want to limit estate and gift taxes upon their transfer. One way to achieve this might be to create a qualified personal residence trust (QPRT). With a QPRT, you basically transfer ownership of your personal residence or vacation home to a trust while you retain the right to use the property during the trust term. After that,…

25July
2019
Go It Alone with a 401(k) Plan

If your business is essentially a one-person operation, there’s an option to help you save more money for retirement: The Solo 401(k) plan. Ordinarily, traditional defined contribution retirement plans allow annual contributions that are limited to either 25% of salary if you’re employed by your own S or C corporation or 20% Tax Year Under Age 50 Over Age 50 2019 limit on elective deferral contributions $19,000 $25,000 2019 limit on combined elective deferral and employer contributions $56,000 $62,000 of self-employment income if you operate as a sole proprietor or single member LLC. Also, traditional profit sharing plans, Keogh or…

25July
2019
Estate Planning for Personal Property: Why You Should Sweat the Small Stuff

When planning their estates, most people focus on major assets, such as business interests, real estate, investments and retirement plans. But it’s also important to “sweat the small stuff” — tangible personal property. Examples include automobiles, jewelry, clothing, antiques, furniture, artwork, photographs, music collections, personal papers, collectibles (such as stamps, coins or baseball cards) and mementos. Ironically, these personal items — which often have modest monetary value but significant sentimental value — may be more difficult to deal with, and more likely to result in disputes, than big-ticket items. Distributing $4 million in stock or other liquid assets among your…

11July
2019
Appraising Your Company’s Appraisers

Let’s face it — employee performance appraisals are a chore, can seem confrontational and take time that managers would rather spend on more pressing demands. Sometimes managers rush through them and the results can be sloppy and useless, both to the employee and the company. Then again, your managers are only human and may find it difficult to separate personal feelings from professional opinions. If you’re worried about the accuracy of your staff’s performance appraisals, bring in some extra muscle by finding some secret shoppers. Finding secret shoppers is easy: You can recruit colleagues in your personal network or ask…

11July
2019
Watch the Language in Employee Handbooks

Your company needs an employee handbook or personnel manual to ensure that everyone understands the policies, procedures and rules. But improperly drawn, a handbook or manual can create a binding obligation that can be used against you. What you don’t want is for the documents to be interpreted as an employment contract. Keep that in mind when crafting handbooks so you lower the risk of running into unwanted legal hassles. Here is a list of Dos and Don’ts: Don’t use phrases such as “permanent position” or “the company promises.” There should be no statements that you don’t intend, or may…

11July
2019
Why You Need a Buy-Sell Agreement

If you co-own a business with other family members, it’s generally a good idea to have a well-drafted buy-sell agreement to protect everyone’s interests. Here are some basics about this important document, including the valuation methods used. A Buy-Sell Agreement Can: Transform your closely held business ownership interest into a liquid asset. Save taxes. Prevent unwanted changes in ownership. Warning: Ensure that provisions of your buy-sell agreement don’t conflict with existing provisions of a company’s organizational documents — its articles, bylaws, partnership agreement or Limited Liability Company operating agreement. There are two basic varieties of buy-sell agreements. The first type…