22August
2019
An Inside Look At Diversification

Ancient Chinese merchants are said to have developed a unique way to reduce their risk. They would divide their shipments among several different vessels. That way, if one ship were to sink or be attacked by pirates, the rest stood a good chance of getting through and the shipment could be saved. Your investment portfolio may benefit from that same logic. Diversification is an investment principle designed to manage risk. However, diversification doesn’t guarantee against a loss. The key to diversification is to identify investments that may perform differently under various market conditions. On one level, a diversified portfolio should…

22August
2019
When a Company Retains Counsel for Employees

When Laidlaw International Inc. found out that a grand jury was investigating the company for allegedly submitting fraudulent invoices to a local government, it arranged for counsel for the three employees that were the primary targets of the investigation. In addition, the bus and transit company engaged a fourth attorney to represent former employees and existing staff members who were not currently the subject of the grand jury investigation. Each of the retainer agreements noted the following: The attorneys’ professional obligation was to the employees, not the company. The lawyers were not required to make disclosures to the company. Payment of fees was…

22August
2019
Is Your Estate Plan Bulletproof? Techniques to Help Avoid Fighting Later

An inherent problem with wills and other estate planning documents such as trusts is that, when the time comes to put them into action, you won’t be around to explain or interpret them. Fortunately, there are strategies you can use during your lifetime to minimize the risk of a fight over your estate after your death. Treat Heirs Fairly If someone succeeds in getting your will or trust thrown out in court, your estate will be distributed as if you had no will or trust — that is, according to the laws of intestate succession. The more closely your will…

12August
2019
Getting Married? Issues to Consider When Purchasing Property Before the Wedding

Let’s say a couple is engaged to be married. However, before the marriage ceremony, the couple decides to purchase a marital home. Possibly, they want to buy a first house, condominium or cooperative apartment. Prior to doing so, there are certain potential concerns to address. The options for purchasing the property vary: One party may want to provide the down payment. The couple may decide to buy the home with title in one name only. They may decide to purchase it together with both names on the title but one person out the mortgage. With these and other scenarios, the couple…

12August
2019
Accounts Receivable Fraud: Lapping Up Profits

The sale has been made, the customer has paid, yet the company receives no revenue. How can this happen? Accounts receivable fraud, commonly referred to as “lapping,” occurs when an employee is entrusted with processing customer payments but then steals the money for his or her personal needs. Once a lapping scheme begins, subsequent checks are used to cover the missing checks. The employee generally must continually monitor accounts so he or she can steal from one customer to pay others. Depending on the volume of checks received, a lapping scheme can be initiated and maintained over a number of…

12August
2019
Remember Business Basics When Paying Relatives

Paying family members wages, salaries and bonuses and dividing profits among them can be tricky.   Fringe benefits, including deferred profit-sharing plans, pension plans, insurance programs and stock purchase plans offer an excellent means to compensate family members and, at the same time, help them build personal assets. Keep in mind that certain fringe benefits are taxable and some perks cannot be provided on a discriminatory basis — just to shareholder-employees of the business — without providing them to all employees. Consult with your tax advisor for more information.     It’s not uncommon for some employees to feel they’re…