Natural Burial – Is it Right for You?

As we learn more about the environmental impact of metal caskets and traditional forms of burial, many people are opting for “green” or “natural” burials. These are burials where no chemicals are used at any stage of the burial. This means no embalming fluid is placed in your body, no vault, and no metal casket. Some natural burial services place a body into the ground wrapped in a shroud or placed inside a non-treated and biodegradable coffin. Are Traditional Burials Harming the Environment? The growing popularity of natural burials has been associated with the growing body of evidence highlighting the potential environmental...

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Profits Interest – Info You Need to Know

You’ve probably heard of “stock options” that enable an individual to buy into a company at a future time. However, if you work for a limited liability company (LLC), you also have the option of utilizing a unique form of equity compensation known as “profits interest” which represents an actual current ownership interest in the LLC. Tax Free Equity Compensation A profits interest, when structured to be in compliance with relevant IRS “safe harbors,” is effectively tax free for the recipient, according to a great article published by Hutchison PLLC. This is because a profits interest basically represents an ownership interest in the...

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Administering a Small Estate in Virginia – Important Info You Need to Know

Virginia has a set of unique rules that allows you to avoid probate if an estate is comprised of “small” assets (defined as assets totaling under $50,000). According to VA Code § 64.2-601, when the total estate does not exceed $50,000, a successor in interest, usually an heir-at-law or a beneficiary of the Will, can collect and distribute the assets without having to go through the full probate process. If there is a Last Will and Testament, it must be admitted to probate, but there is no requirement that an executor or personal representative be appointed, according to the Virginia Academy of Elder...

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Info You Need to Know About Moving Your Business Domicile To A Different State

If you decide it makes sense to relocate your company from the state of formation to a different state, there are a series of steps that must be taken in order to change the company’s domicile. This process is known as domestication. You are able to change the domicile from any state, but can only domesticate to a state that recognizes domestication. Benefits of Domestication The benefits of domestication include keeping the same tax ID (EIN), the same company structure, and with some states also the original date of formation. The disadvantage is cost and relative complexity of the process, compared to...

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Which Small Businesses Get the 20 Percent Deduction?

When tax reform legislation was signed into law, a 20 percent deduction for owners of a variety of pass-through businesses, including limited liability companies, partnerships, so-called S corporations and sole proprietorships was created. The deduction effectively lowers a small business owner's top rate to 29.6 percent from 37 percent. However, when the legislation passed, there was ambiguity as to which "small businesses" would qualify for the preferential tax treatment. Well, the Treasury Department recently issued guidance that helps bring some clarity to this issue. Those Who Qualify for the 20 Percent Deduction The deduction can be claimed by business owners whose taxable income...

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The Importance of a Health Care Directive

As we age, there is a risk that our mental faculties will decline substantially or we'll suffer a sudden, unexpected health issue that leaves us incapacitated and unable to make important healthcare decisions. I've confronted this harsh reality with members of my own family. My father developed Alzheimer's and got to the point where he needed someone to step in and making important decisions on his behalf. Another tragic example is the mental decline of comedian Tim Conway, famous for his role on "The Carol Burnett Show." Conway was diagnosed with dementia and is "almost entirely unresponsive," according to MSN News....

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The Power of Being an Organ Donor

When it comes to planning your estate, an important issue that needs to be addressed is what you want done with your body when you pass away. Do you want to be embalmed and buried? Do you want to be cremated? Relatedly, you need to answer this important question – do you want to donate your organs? You are not required to donate your organs and, at the end of the day, it is your decision. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the potential impact you can have on other people’s lives if you decide to become an organ donor. For...

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Effective Management of Your Online Assets Critically Important for Your Digital Estate Plan

Ask yourself - what will happen to your Twitter account when you pass on? What about your Facebook account and Pinterest Board?  What about your photos shared on a variety of social media platforms?  These are important questions that need to be answered when planning your estate because your digital assets need to be part of that plan. Think about this - between 2012 and 2014, humans generated more data than in all of human history and the pace of that growth is only accelerating. Law Needs to Catch Up with Groundbreaking Technology There is an established set of laws for managing hard copy documents...

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How Your Estate Plan Can Be a Reflection of Your Values

There is a common misconception about the purpose of estate planning. Many people mistakenly believe that an estate plan is intended to simply transfer Asset A to Person X; a dry, legal document focused solely on stocks, bonds, property, etc. This is not accurate. An estate plan is a symbol of love and concern for the people you care about the most. It is a representation of your desire to protect your family and loved ones. An estate plan, in many ways, can be a reflection of your values. A prime example of this principle is the estate of celebrity Anthony Bourdain....

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Leaving the Ex In Control – An Estate Plan Nightmare

When someone passes away, there is an assumption many people make that the family and friends of a decedent will be left in charge of their deceased loved one's estate so they can divide any possessions appropriately. Unfortunately, this assumption is not accurate. There are rules and regulations in each state concerning the distribution of assets maintained in an estate and who is ultimately empowered to make those decisions. If you do not have an estate plan, or you have an outdated estate plan, you are heightening the risk that someone you are not very close to, or may even...

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