14November
2019
Estate Tax Planning Tips for Single People

  Estate planning is an important part of your overall wealth management strategy, especially if you’re unmarried. Single parents may worry about who will care for their minor children and whether their surviving kids’ financial needs will be met until adulthood. Likewise, wealthy single people have less flexibility when it comes to shielding transfers from gift and estate taxes. Fortunately, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), estate tax issues are less of a concern. The exemption amounts have been temporarily raised, so you’re less likely to be hit with the federal estate tax. But you may need to…

14November
2019
Handle Payroll Taxes With Kid Gloves

If you operate a business that collects payroll taxes from employees, here’s a warning: Regardless of what your corporate financial situation is, don’t borrow from the withholding tax fund. If that money isn’t there when it’s due, Uncle Sam will crack down hard. All businesses face downturns when cash flow dries up. It may be tempting to look at payroll tax money as an easy fix to a cash crunch. “I’ll send it in later,” you may think. But when it comes to bad ideas, this is one of the worst. How Hard Will an IRS Crackdown Be? The fine…

14November
2019
A Measured Approach To Selecting the Right Trustee(s)

A trust is often only as good as the person selected to manage it. It may a daunting process, but selecting the right trustee and having fail-safes in place are crucial to ensuring the complexities of a trust are handled appropriately. Here are some of the pros and cons of choosing different trustees. Advantages of Relative Trustees Many experts agree that a relative is a logical trustee choice for trusts designed to transfer wealth within the family. When underage children are involved, it’s important to select a trustee that is familiar with the needs and circumstances of the family. You…

31October
2019
Do You Understand Copyright Law?

One of the major challenges facing your business is likely maintaining a website — and at the top of that list is protecting content, along with other published work your company may produced. A Copyright Prevents Others From: Reproducing a work in copies or sound recordings. Creating spin-off or “derivative” material. Distributing copies to the public by sale, rental, lease or transfer of ownership. Performing literary, musical, dramatic and motion picture works. Displaying copyrighted pictures, graphics or sculptured works. As you probably are aware, copying material is a snap on the Internet. The answer to protecting your online material lies…

31October
2019
Pick the Right Trademark

When you create a brand name, the relative strength of the words you choose directly affects how well you will be able to protect the goodwill your brand builds. Choose a unique trademark to protect your company. The more distinctive it is, the easier it will be to exclude similar trademarks from the marketplace. When The Home Depot was getting off the ground in 1979, its founders searched for just the right name. They rejected choices like MB’s Warehouse, Homeplace and Bad Bernie’s Buildall in favor of the name that is now synonymous with home improvement. How did they do…

31October
2019
From Counting Transactions to Cultivating Relationships

With technology at the forefront of modern communication, more and more people are turning to the Internet to stay abreast of the latest news and information. Likewise, many of today’s consumers use the Internet to find the best prices and to conduct research when they’re planning their next purchase. What does this trend mean for your company? The right technology can transition any business from the outmoded idea of counting transactions to the modern strategy of cultivating relationships. If you haven’t yet embraced modern communication as a significant part of your company’s overall marketing strategy, it may be time to…

21October
2019
A Living Trust Primer

A living trust is a popular consideration in many estate strategy conversations, but its appropriateness will depend upon your individual needs and objectives. What is a Living Trust? A living trust is created while you are alive and funded with the assets you choose to transfer into it. The trustee (typically you) has full power to manage these assets.1 A living trust will also designate a beneficiary, or beneficiaries, much like a will, to whom the assets are structured to automatically pass upon your death. If you create a revocable living trust, you may change the terms of the trust,…

21October
2019
Get Ready for Due Diligence Long Before a Sale or Merger

It may seem odd, but as soon as you start up a business, you should begin preparing the documentation needed to sell or merge with another enterprise. It may be years down the road but the records often required in today’s M&A environment can be overwhelming. If your recordkeeping has been shoddy, it can be difficult or impossible to compile the information wanted by a potential buyer or partner. You don’t want to forgo opportunities just because you didn’t have the necessary paperwork in order. So what kind of information will you be asked for in the due diligence process?…

21October
2019
A House Divided

The latest research suggests that divorce rates in the U.S. have been falling in recent decades. Still, many people face the difficult crossroads that comes when their marriage ends. Or For Worse Studies show that fewer people get divorced during times of recession. University of Maryland Getting a divorce is a painful, emotional process. Don’t be in such a hurry to reach a settlement that you make poor decisions that can have life-long consequences. If divorce is a possibility, here are a few financial ideas that may help you prepare. The most important task you can do is getting your…

19September
2019
Leaving a Legacy for Your Heirs

Despite its name, the term “dynasty trust” has nothing to do with aristocracy. It involves preserving wealth for your heirs. Basic premise: With a dynasty trust, you transfer the assets of a business, real estate or other income-producing property to a trust. Gift tax, estate tax and the generation skipping transfer tax may be avoided on transfers if they are handled properly. Typically, a dynasty trust is set up as an “inter vivos” trust during your lifetime, but it can also be triggered by a provision in your will upon your death. Depending on the exact terms, the income accumulates…

19September
2019
Taxation Issues in the Gig Economy

Do you provide car rides through a mobile app, rent out your spare room using an online platform or repair computers for local businesses on demand? If so, you may be considered part of the “gig economy” or the “sharing economy.” Participation in this emerging method of distributing services can be a good way to earn money in your down time, pursue a more flexible lifestyle and provide cash to offset the expenses associated with owning a vehicle or a home. The IRS recently offered some guidance for this rising trend. Here’s a summary of the key points. Employee vs….

19September
2019
Estate Tax Planning Tips for Married Couples

For married people with large estates, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brings welcome relief from federal estate and gift taxes, as well as the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. Here’s what you need to know and how to take advantage of the favorable changes. Estate and Gift Tax Basics The TCJA sets the unified federal estate and gift tax exemption at $11.4 million per person for 2019 (up from $11.18 million for 2018). For married couples, the exemption is effectively doubled to $22.8 million for 2019 (up from $22.36 million for 2018). The exemption amounts will be adjusted annually…

05September
2019
Movin’ On: Keep Employees Well Informed

Moving a business is widely considered one of life’s most stressful events for owners and employees. There’s packing and unpacking while your staff carries on with business as usual while your staff carries on with business as usual — the prospect of losing work or documents if you aren’t extremely careful, and lost time and productivity. That’s why it’s important to prepare carefully and include your staff as much as possible in the process. When a company communicates with its employees about a new location, they are more apt to feel like they are part of the plans — and…

05September
2019
Six Keys to Successful Change in the Workplace

Employees generally hate change. Whether it’s a merger or restructuring, or a simple change in the color of the office, studies show both staff members and managers resist. The reactions may seem irrational but change can suggest an invasion of turf. Some employees feel it lowers their status or eliminates privileges. They might also worry that new procedures or equipment will make it more difficult to do the same tasks or increase their workloads. And above all, staff members fret about job security. Changes in the organization or a new boss may suggest to some that they’ll lose their jobs….

05September
2019
Value Your Business Internally and Externally

While preparing your succession or estate plan, it can be helpful to value your family business both internally and externally. You might wonder what that means — because you think your company has just one value. In fact, it can have multiple values depending on the valuation standard used. The different results can help you determine whether to keep the family business, pass it on to the next generation or sell it to an outsider. Two common standards used in valuing a family business are: 1. Investment value. This gauges internal value, which represents the value to a particular investor based on…

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…

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