Your Tax, Estate and Business Resource!

If you have these concerns, I care

  • Are you paying high taxes without knowing why? Understand & pay less. 
  • Is your family afraid of what will happen if you die? Plan your estate! 

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As a 2017-2018 Super Lawyer, I can help you overcome these worries with ease and effectiveness. I want to see a smile on your face

Here’s How:

YOUR TAXES: The best time to do something is NOW! You must take action right now to save taxes, and I can help you with them.

YOUR ESTATE: you cannot predict when you will need your estate planning documents. God does not ask your permission before he sends you that invitation. So make sure that you have the best estate plan and that you understand it. For more information, see the Estate Planning and Probate tab or use the Search Box.

CONTRACTS: don’t use form agreements and don’t sign agreements that you don’t understand. I negotiate contracts that last because they are win-win. They benefit all parties. For more information, see the Business tab or use the Search Box.

This website shows you thousands of ways to save thousands of dollars. So read on. 

If you are a successful individual or business/property owner I may be the only tax and legal adviser that you’ll ever need. Here is why:

⊗ As a tax attorney, I am more than an accountant. I am your legal advocate.
⊗ As a former IRS lawyer, I have inside experience.
⊗ Instead of telling you what you can’t do, I show you how to do it.
⊗ As a former corporate counsel, I negotiate win-win contracts.
⊗ As your legal mentor, I teach you how to make smart, informed decisions.
⊗ I provide ease and effectiveness in the most convoluted tax and legal areas.

Hire me & receive:

  1. Professionally prepared tax returns.
  2. Personal tax planning, generated with my Tax Mastery(c) program.
  3. Answers from a LAWYER  based on respected sources like Bloomberg Law.
  4. Legal representation against the Internal Revenue Service. 
  5. Considerate, personal estate plans, wills, and trusts.
  6. Representation before the Shelby County Probate Court,
  7. Entertaining seminars to inform and entertain your group.
  8. My WealthWISe e-letter: regularly updates you on fast moving laws.
  9. Win-win contracts for your business that benefit both parties,
  10. Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge that puts you in control.

Do not rely on statements on this website without consulting your own tax professional and providing him or her with all relevant facts.

Check out my Credentials and Testimonials

Curious? Contact me today and experience my services free with a *FREE 1/2 Hour Consultation*.  Bring me a tax return or legal documents and get a half hour of risk-free advice plus valuable materials covering your question.

Posted in Business Law, Taxes, Estate Planning & Probate, Individual Tax, Real estate, investing, Representation before the IRS, Speaking, What's New? | Leave a comment

Mind Your Business, June 2019

Small Business Are My Favorite Clients!

I welcome Brother Junipers and DataMart, Inc. as new clients!

Your One Stop Professional.

As a former in-house counsel, Superlawyer in taxation and Accredited Estate Planner, I may be able to answer questions formerly answered by three or more professionals! In addition to tax and estate questions, I can help you with important contracts like leases, licensing agreements, business succession agreements and more. What happens if an owner dies or is terminated?

As your business grows, do you feel that you are paying more than your fair share of taxes? Is your accountant too busy or not specialized enough to answer your questions? As an entrepreneur, don’t you want to understand your taxes better? I am happy to work with your accountant so you get the best deal.

Remember that tax attorneys like me are generally regarded as “the ultimate tax experts.” I can tell you more and save you money. For example, did you know that charitable contributions can be taken as business deductions in some cases and as such, they can save you more taxes? Why? Because business expenses can lower your self-employment tax. How? You must prove that they help your business and are reasonable in amount. As a lawyer let me discuss a recent Tax Court case.

It is even better is to take deductions eliminated by Tax Reform as business deductions, like Miscellaneous deductions.

Beat the $10,000 real estate and sales tax limit: I had a client this year whose real estate and sales taxes exceed the $10,000 limit. However we were able to claim a home office in her business, so we deducted a portion of real estate taxes as a home office deduction, as well as mortgage interest, insurance, and utilities. An added bonus is that these deductions reduced her self-employment tax.

Beat the HELOC rules. Home equity credit line interest is normally not deductible. However, it is deductible if you use it to (i) improve your home, buy business assets or buy rental assets.

Power up Your Charitable expenditures. Under recent Tax Court cases, Charitable expenditures that are reasonably expected to help your business may be deductible as business expenses. If you are promoting your business with charitable events, let’s discuss.

Employee (Miscellaneous Deductions) were eliminated by Tax Reform, but often these types of deductions also help your self-employed business or rental business, so you can move these deductions to Schedule C or E and do even better. Examples include cell phones, internet costs and more.

Lower the cost of sales. Under Tax Reform, employees are no longer able to deduct their cost of selling, like automobile use, cell phones and more. On the other hand, employers who reimburse these expenses can deduct them. By making some adjustments in pay and reimbursements you can reduce your cost of sales for both parties.

Call me for a free ½ hour consultation and put the tax savings in your pocket.

Posted in Business Law, Taxes | Tagged

Real Estate Rentals, June 2019

With Tax Reform and all the other changes in the tax law, it is about time to do a general review of the tax rules for rental property owners. This article will get into the basics and the next WealthWISe will go into more complex issues.

Real estate rental properties can be a satisfying way to build retirement income and a fine tax shelter. However, there are tax traps. For example, deductions can be delayed by “passive loss rules.” Another surprise: When you sell a property, you can pay taxes on “phantom gain” even though you receive little cash. So get good advice.

Operating Costs

The IRS Schedule E is where you report income and deductions for a rental property. You can deduct all “ordinary and necessary expenses.” Get a copy of Schedule E from IRS.gov and keep track of the deductions listed on it. I try to give my clients checklists to identify these deductions. For more information, read more.

Typical deductions are listed on the Schedule E and include: ♦ advertising, ♦ local auto travel, ♦ cleaning and maintenance, ♦ commissions, ♦ premises and mortgage insurance ♦ mortgage interest, ♦ legal and professional fees, ♦ management fees, ♦repairs, ♦ supplies, ♦ real estate taxes, ♦ insurance, ♦legal and professional fees, ♦ management fees, ♦ amortization of points and loan closing costs. There are many other deductions. I try to give my clients checklists.

I can tell you how to maximize these deductions and guide you to many other deductions depending on the particular property, such as association fees, security monitoring, and transportation costs. I use checklists of rental deductions, to make sure that nothing is missed. Be sure to track mileage to visit the properties for business purposes. Be alert for any deductions that help your rental business: including mortgage insurance premiums, refunds, the home office where you manage the properties, business gifts and use of phones and computers to run the business. You can prepay a few months of these in a pinch.

Other deductions include ♦Airbnb fees, ♦ state and local government occupancy taxes, ♦ pest control, ♦ cable television, ♦ depreciation of the building and contents, ♦ business education and travel to get it,
My advice: be aware of the cost of running your management office, including a ♦ home office, ♦ furniture, and equipment, ♦ postage ♦ internet service, bank charges ♦ and so on. Year-end planning may include prepaying a few months of these.


My advice: keep track of purchased tangible personal property Under Tax Reform, for the first time, the §179 deduction is available to write off furniture and equipment purchased for a rental property that are not part of the building.
My Advice: Identify all purchases that do not become a part of the building and keep records.
My advice: Beware of large repair deductions. These are a favorite target of IRS Auditors because large repairs often constitute capital expenditures.
CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND BASIS
Capital expenditures are costs of assets with a useful life of more than one year, such as the building, a new roof or air conditioning unit.
The basis of your rental property includes certain closing costs, plus the cost of improvements. The “adjusted basis” of the property is basis reduced by prior depreciation deductions. Basis is used for calculating the depreciation deduction and gain or loss on the sale of an asset.
THE DEPRECIATION DEDUCTION
The depreciation deduction is pro rata deduction of the basis of an asset over its useful life. Added to your operating costs, depreciation allows you to deduct more than you spend each year. For example, the IRS specifies a 27.5 year useful life for residential rental property, so you can deduct 3.636% per year. Nonresidential property has a 39 year life – 2.564% per year. Land is not depreciated.
Some “components” of your rental property, such as appliances or carpets, may qualify for a much quicker write off than a building my advice: keep track of tangible personal property purchased for your rental. Under Tax Reform, for the first time, the §179 deduction is available to write off furniture and equipment purchased for a rental property that are not part of the building. The §179 deduction is limited to the profit from the property, but such assets may nonetheless be depreciated separately over 7 years.
My Advice: Identify all purchases that do not become a part of the building and keep records.
GAIN OR LOSS
If you sell a property, you will have taxable gain if its selling price exceeds its adjusted basis. If you hold a property for 12 months or more, the gain on the sale is long-term capital gain (LTCG), which qualifies for a much lower tax rate. High income taxpayers may pay an additional 3.8% tax on such gain.
“Phantom gain.” occurs where a property’s adjusted basis has been decreased by depreciation or where you refinanced and took out cash.

Posted in Real estate, investing

Individual Tax Reform Headaches June ’19

Unexpected Refunds Or Taxes Due?

Many of my clients ended up with unexpected refunds or taxes due for 2018. Consequently, they made poor decisions during 2018 based on having or not having those funds. It is clear that the withholding rules are not working well. You don’t have to put up with this.

See me right not for a free half-hour consultation so that you know where you stand.

Standard deduction. Many taxpayers will be able to use their standard deduction for 2018 ($12,000 for singles and $24,000 for joint filers) instead of having to report itemized deductions (medical, mortgage interest, etc). However with my help you may be able to exceed the standard deduction. Look for some ideas below.

Beat Tax Reform. Tax reform changes limited or eliminated a number of my favorite itemized deductions from Schedule A. Get them back by converting these deductions to business deductions where they lower your self-employment tax.

Charitable deductions were not limited by Tax Reform so I encourage clients to take advantage of them.

Goodwill. Don’t cheat yourself on charitable gifts of household items like clothing, books and so on. i definitely would not trust the IRS values. Many online sources undervalue such gifts because they use thrift shop prices or the gifts of the average American. Most of my clients are not the average American. They pay more for such items so they are worth more. I can help you value such gifts! Get a receipt and keep information like that found in my Charitable Record. No one loses except the IRS!

Donate appreciated assets. donate appreciated traded securities you have held for more than one year and get a charitable deduction equal to the security’s current fair market value. Pay no tax on the long-term capital gain you would incur if you sold the property.

Seniors tax shelter: IRA charitable contribution. Get a charitable deduction and more even if you use the standard deduction. If you are at least 70 1/2 years old you may contribute directly from your IRA to a charity. The value of the contribution is not included in gross income. An added bonus is that the contribution counts as a required minimum distribution.

WANT TO CREATE A LEGACY?

Magic! a Charitable Remainder Unitrust. The CRUT is a tax-exempt trust for the well to do client who has substantial appreciated investments, which would produce a lot of capital gain if sold. If instead, you contribute the investments to a CRUT, it can sell them tax-free and reinvest their full value. It can provide you income for your lifetime and thereafter distribute its assets to a charity of your choice. You get an immediate deduction for the present value of the delayed gift to the charity. A CRUT can make a great retirement vehicle.

The Community Foundation of Memphis for donations of $15,000 or more, can provide smaller versions of CRUT’s, “donor-advised funds” and more which give you some say so as to investments and charities to benefit and more.

Posted in Uncategorized

Who should prepare your taxes? June 2019

Were you afraid to prepare your return this year? Who do you trust to prepare your taxes? Can you trust the IRS? No! The Taxpayer Advocate Service called the IRS toll-free helpline regarding the dependency exemptions and all the answers were wrong!

Why would you trust me, considering that a make a living doing tax returns? Perhaps because you can see my credentials and I get thank you notes from my tax return clients.

What do others advise? See the article, The 5 Types of Tax Preparers: Which One Is Best for You? by The Motley Fool.

Anyway, here are my thoughts.

Seasonal preparers like H R Block. There is variable expertise among seasonal preparers, so you have to judge each one.

How about TurboTax? TurboTax is no guarantee that you will get your return right. Don’t believe Turbotax claims that you don’t have to know about taxes to use it. Among my clients are several lawyers using TurboTax who made expensive mistakes. They paid thousands of dollars in excess taxes incorrectly. I likewise prepared tax returns for an accountant in a Fortune 500 company who could not understand how to use Turbotax to report a rental property.

TurboTax does not protect you from penalties. The Tax Court has upheld 20% penalties against several taxpayers who substantially misreported their taxes using Turbotax. The Tax Court said that using Turbotax “is no defense to accuracy-related penalties under section 6662.” Bulakites v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2017-79 (2017).

What about your trusty CPA?
Like seasonal tax preparers, the tax expertise of CPA’s varies. Of course, CPA’s have to pass the CPA exam. However, only about 25% of the CPA exam is on tax matters. Many CPA’s spend most of their time dealing with financial accounting. I do tax preparation for CPA’s.

Tax Attorneys Tax attorneys like me are generally regarded as the ultimate tax experts but are thought to be too expensive. See the Motley Crew article. Yet my fees are competitive because of my experience in taxes. I don’t accept clients unless I can save then far more than I cost them.

Can you have your cake and eat it too? Can you get a better deal on a tax pro? Sure, particularly if you work with me. Some of my clients prepare their returns with Turbotax. They send me their Turbotax file and background information. I then fine tune the return using Professional software and my Tax Mastery tax planning software. I prepare a written Tax Mastery memo that tells you what steps to take to achieve the lowest legal taxes. This way my client gets the best of both worlds. Some clients have their CPA prepare their return and then I check it for a fee. That is more expensive because I must input the numbers.

Again, if you have a business, I advise you to hire a tax professional. With a free 1/2 hour consultation, I will give you a taste of professional tax planning.

Posted in Uncategorized

5 TOP reasons to give your family a RLT Package jUNE 2019

Why did Forbes Daily Dozen say Aretha Franklin “was a startling example of terrible estate planning” (three handwritten wills). Read more.

Estate planning is not just for the rich. Estate planning is for those who are rich in love for their family. The clients who are most grateful for my RLT Package are the surviving spouses. one client couple had only about $180,000 in assets, owned mostly by the husband. They chose to obtain an RLT for him. After he passed away, she was so pleased with the ease of dealing with his trust that she immediately obtained one for herself.

If you know me, you know that the RLT package is my favorite estate planning approach. My RLT package consists of a revocable living trust (RLT), durable general power of attorney, backup will and advance care plan. A Trust is a legal relationship defined by a trust agreement under which you give your property to yourself Trustee, to manage for one or more Beneficiaries. The RLT begins during your life when you sign a trust agreement and place your property under its control. You are usually your own Trustee and beneficiary, so you manage the trust on your behalf as long as you can.

Here are my TOP FIVE reasons for my Revocable Living Trust Package.

First: The RLT package avoids the Probate process.

Without the RLT in most cases your family must ask the Probate Court for authority to use your will and to manage your estate. Why worry about Probate? Do you know anyone who has been an Executor? I regularly handle Probate Matters and my father was a Probate Judge. My father asked me to draft him an RLT. What does that tell you? The Probate process takes several months and costs several thousands of dollars in legal fees. It includes court appearances, deadlines, penalties, bonds, inventories, accountings, negotiations with creditors, banks, brokers and insurance companies, frozen property sales, and more. The last thing a grieving family needs is to deal with the government for several months.

The RLT package offers excellent health care choices.

Tennessee provides an “Advance Care Plan” that serves the purpose of a Living Will and names persons who can make medical decisions for you if you cannot. The Advance Care Plan also allows you to tell your doctor to what treatments you want or don’t want if you end up with specified serious medical conditions, like artificial feeding or breathing equipment.

The RLT package provides you a superior legal backup the DPOA

The Durable General Power of Attorney (DPOA) authorizes your”attorney in fact” to act on your behalf legally, such as signing contracts. The DPOA works even if you lose mental capacity. The DPOA works hand in hand with the RLT. For example, your attorney in fact can transfer stray property into the RLT. The DPOA is very handy document. If you are travelling or otherwise not available but need legal documents signed, the person you authorize can handle these matters for you.

The RLT package avoids a guardianship

The RLT package avoids the embarrassment and expense of a guardianship if you lose your mind! You are more likely to lose your mind than to die, as the result of illness or accident Without planning, if you do lose your mind, you will need a court appointed guardian, to manage your affairs. This is a costly and embarrassing experience. An RLT package handles incapacity and usually avoids a guardianship. The RLT .owns your property so if you lose capacity your successor trustee takes over. The Durable General Power of Attorney (DPOA)

The RLT package offers superior asset management and protection

The RLT package offers superior management and protects your assets for your family members. An RLT package works for those you love long after your death. For example, minor beneficiaries can own only a small amount of property, so without an RLT the Court will appoint a legal guardian to manage that property and report back to the court every year. You can provide a trust in your will, but a will with a trust will cost about the same as a RLT so why not get the best?

Posted in Uncategorized

Mind your own business Oct. 2018

This and the next WealthWISe will open your eyes and fill your pocketbook!

Tax Reform is generally good news for small businesses but in most cases, you have to know about a deduction and act to qualify for it. One exception is the 20% deduction on the lower of business profits or taxable income. It works as long as you don’t make too much. Oh, and don’t incorporate without discussing it with me.

Let’s talk about some tax savers that are frequently missed or underused:

+ vehicle deductions, + new equipment, + home offices, + hiring the kids, + charitable contributions as business expenses, + tax preparation costs for your business, + home equity credit lines used for business purchases. + Itemized deductions that do more good as business deductions. Most taxpayers shortchange themselves on these deductions. Read on!

The IRS has issued 184 pages in proposed regulations explaining the new 20% deduction for domestic income from pass-throughs, which includes one-man businesses and landlords. If your taxable income does not exceed a threshold of $315,000 (joint filers), or $157,500 (all other taxpayers), there are no further limits to this deduction.

Think twice about incorporating — you may be taxed twice!! Now that corporations qualify for a 21% tax rate, everyone is wondering whether they should incorporate. Most taxpayers are better off not incorporating, because corporate earnings can be taxed twice: first on the corporation’s earnings, then to the shareholder when it takes those profits out!

Now for some underused tax savers that I teach my clients to use:

Business vehicles: Clients often underuse their auto deductions. They keep poor records and then they underestimate their business mileage. They overlook additional deductions, like parking and interest on their car loan. Ask me about extra mileage with a home office. Certain large vehicles (more than 6000-pound gross vehicle rating) produce spectacular deductions, using the §179 deduction and bonus depreciation.

Buy and use the equipment before year end. The §179 deduction is available to write off furniture and equipment placed in service before year-end but it cannot exceed profits from the business.

Bonus depreciation. If the §179 deduction is available you may deduct instead up to 100% of assets placed in service this year if first used by the taxpayer.

My Advice: You can save taxes if you depreciate these costs over several years if your income is increasing.

Entertainment. Generally under tax reform entertainment expenses are not deductible. However, business meals in which business is discussed remain at least 50% deductible and may be 100% deductible if included in the price of a business presentation.

My advice: Be alert for expenditures paid with your personal checkbook or credit cards that are actually business deductions, like business gifts, supplies, publications and subscriptions. Purchases at Walmart may be mixed business and personal. Try to tag these:

My advice: Look for normally personal expenditures that help your business, such as cell phones, cable, furniture, and computers.

My advice: Hire the kids. I am a longtime advocate of legitimately hiring your children. You deduct what you pay them. A minor child can earn up to $12,000 without paying taxes and is exempt from FICA and FUTA taxes. If they are older, put them on the payroll. Another advantage, hiring your child can allow you to fund Roth IRA contributions for the child.

The next issue will get into Schedule A Itemized Deductions gambits — when itemized deductions become business deductions.

Posted in Uncategorized

Individual Tax Savers, Oct.’18

Are you throwing away tax savings?
I bet you are. There is a saying about taxes: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Most clients miss tax benefits, so I pay for myself. How?
I spend thousands of dollars on daily updates on taxes, so take advantage of it here. With my custom designed TAX MASTERY©  software, I apply over 350 factors to find ways that you can save taxes. I show you how to save, how much you can save, how to prove your tax savings and how to put them in your pocket before tax season by adjusting withholding or estimated tax payments. I can even forecast your 218 taxes.
My advice: pay for the holidays with tax savings! Come in for a free 1/2 hour consultation or pay a little more for a written plan. The earlier you act the more you can save. This article is packed with examples.
For example, the new “standard deductions” are $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for joint returns. However, I can often show you how to beat the standard deductions with actual itemized deductions. My TM report shows you how to beat the standard deduction with medical expenses, sales taxes, mortgage interest, investment interest, and charitable deductions. If you want to know more, read on.

Medical deductions. Medical deductions are deductible only to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, but higher health insurance premiums may do the trick. Don’t forget Medicare premiums. Some home improvements qualify.

State and local taxes. These are now limited to $10,000 per year but you can combine, sales, real estate, and income taxes. Most of my clients spend a lot more on sales tax than the IRS table amount. Do you? Many clients can save $1,000 or more by calculating their actual sales tax and maintaining records to prove it. Don’t forget the sales tax on a new vehicle. One client proved over $10,000 in sales tax by getting receipts for materials used to build an addition to their house. Don’t forget real estate taxes on second homes. f you have a business or rental property.

My advice: Come on in and let me help you calculate your actual sales tax and show you how to prove it. 

My advice. You can deduct real estate taxes paid this year once they are due.

My advice: If your taxes exceed $10,000, ask me if you can deduct any of the excess under your Business or Rental.

Mortgage interest. I have one client who saves more than a thousand dollars per year by deducting home mortgage interest on his sailing yacht since it has living quarters.

HELOC: Normally not deductible under the new law, interest on a HELOC can be deducted in some cases if used for a home addition, for a rental property or for a business.

My Advice: Mortgage insurance premiums. Did you know that you can deduct mortgage insurance premiums on the purchase of your principal residence?

My advice:  “Points” on the refinancing of your home that were not deductible when paid can be deducted when you pay off that loan.

My advice: One client was surprised to find that the margin interest in his year-end investment statement could be deducted to the extent of investment income.

The next WealthWISe will talk about my favorite deductions, charitable contributions. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Real Estate Transfers at Death Oct. 2018

REAL ESTATE TRICKS AND TRAPS:

I bet you can’t guess how many ways there are to transfer real estate at death. You can do it with or without a will, with a defective will, with a tenancy by the entirety, with joint ownership with survivorship, with a muniment of title, holographic will and finally my favorite, a revocable living trust.Which way is best for you?

1. With a will. With a will, the property goes to whoever you specify in the will. Of course, the will must be approved by the Probate Court, which means the Executor is subject to the Probate Process. The Executor must follow the Probate Court’s rules and procedures. This takes time and money. Clients are never happy with the Probate Process.

2. With a will, without full Probate. Muniment of title. If an estate contains nothing but real estate, I can file the decedent’s will with the Probate Court but not open a Probate estate. The will is called a “Muniment of title,” and it acts like a deed to pass the home to the beneficiary named in the will. This saves most of the cost of probate. A recent client was very pleasantly surprised to find out how easy this was.

3. Without a will. In Tennessee, if you die with no will, things get worse for your family. State law controls and the Probate Court supervises the transfer of your property, so your family is subject to Probate requirements. In this case, the Court appoints an “Administrator” to manage the estate instead of an Executor. Your real property is inherited by your heirs according to state law. For example, if you are married with one child, the property goes equally to your surviving spouse and child. If the child is a minor, the Court will appoint a guardian. This situation is much easier with a good lawyer, which is where I come in.

4. Without a will, using Affidavits of heirship. If the decedent has only a few heirs, this is not too bad. I establish that the heirs own the decedent’s real estate by preparing sworn “affidavits of heirship.” Signed and sworn by a friend of the decedent this document proves that the heirs are the sole heirs and therefore own the property. I file these with the Shelby County Register. The heirs can then transfer the property. You don’t need a deed.

5. Tenancy by the entirety. Property that you buy with your spouse is held as “tenants by the entirety.” If either of you die the survivor owns the property. That is fine when the first spouse dies, but what happens after the surviving spouse dies?

6. Joint with right of survivorship. This is similar to the tenancy by the entirety but the property is not owned by spouses. Bank and brokerage accounts can also be set up this way.

7. Holographic Will. A holographic will is one in which all of the material provisions are in the person’s handwriting and with his signature. It is valid under Tennessee law, so it is the same as With a Will, but I advise against it. If you have ever had a misunderstanding as the result of a poorly drafted text or email, you can just imagine how difficult it could be to interpret a ten-year-old will in handwriting when no one knows what the writer’s intentions were. My father made one of the largest fees ever, hundreds of thousands, in a lawsuit trying to interpret a holographic will.

8. Defective will. Unless your will states that it revokes prior wills it will be read together with the previous will. Very Confusing! We could end up in litigation here.

9. Revocable Living Trusts (“RLT”). I advise deeding property into your RLT in most situations.   Then Probate is not required when you die because you are not the owner. This likewise avoids Probate on property in other states. Furthermore, all the other advantages of RLT’s are available so you can make sure your family is taken care of.

This article gives you just a taste of what happens to your assets at death. Do your family a favor and plan your estate. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Individual Tax Planning, Sept 2018

Are you throwing away tax savings?
I bet you are. There is a saying about taxes: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Most taxpayers miss thousands of dollars in tax benefits and I find them, so I pay for myself.
I spend thousands of dollars on daily updates on taxes, so take advantage of my knowledge. With my custom designed TAX MASTERY© (TM) software, I apply over 350 factors and give you a written report on how to save taxes and how much you will save.
For example, the new “standard deduction” is $12,000 for single and $24,000 for joint returns. My TM report shows you how to beat the standard deduction with actual deductions for medical expenses, sales taxes, mortgage interest, investment interest, and charitable deductions. If you want to know more, read on.

Medical expenses for 2018-2019 must exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. May include a portion of doctor prescribed home improvements

State and local taxes. These are now limited to $10,000 per year but you can combine sales, real estate, and income taxes. Most of my clients spend a lot more on sales tax than the IRS table amount. Do you? Many clients can save $1,000 or more by calculating their actual sales tax and maintaining records to prove it.  One client proved over $10,000 in sales tax by getting receipts for materials used to build an addition to their house. Don’t forget the sales tax on boats and cars.

My advice: Come on in and let me help you calculate your actual sales tax and show you how to prove it.

My advice: If your taxes exceed $10,000, see my Business and Rental articles in this WealthWISe.
My advice: If you have a business home office deducting its portion of the real estate taxes may save self-employment tax.

Mortgage interest You may deduct interest on 2018 mortgage debt borrowed after 12/15/17 to buy a home up to $750,000. The $1,000,000 limit applies to former debt. I have one client who saves more than a thousand dollars per year by deducting home mortgage interest on his sailing yacht as a second home since it has living quarters.

My Advice: Mortgage insurance premiums you can deduct these on the purchase of your principle residence.

Heloc interest new or old is not deductible unless used to purchase your home, a rental property or a business property.

My advice: Make interest on a HELOC  deductible by using it for a home addition, a rental property or a business.

Net investment interest.  One client was surprised to find that investment interest, such as margin interest, is deductible up to investment income (reduced by investment expenses). You may elect to count capital gains and qualified dividends.

The next WealthWISe will get into Charitable and Miscellaneous deductions.

Miscellaneous deductions repealed. In 2018 you can no longer deduct employee deductions, tax preparation fees or investment expenses. I can help you determine if they qualify as business expenses.

Posted in Uncategorized

REVOLUTIONARY ESTATE PLANNING

Why come to me for estate planning as opposed to someone else? The answer is simple. Let’s ignore the fact that I am one of a few Accredited Estate Planners in Memphis. Let’s focus on your experience. Normally estate planning is difficult and expensive. Not mine. My estate planning system is so easy and effective that it is revolutionary. Why?

EASY & EFFECTIVE:

EASY FOR THE CLIENT?  Yes. My system is easier. During my years of experience, I have created my own unique RLT Information Package (“RIP”).  I give the client the RIP. The RIP contains two documents: (i) A short, understandable handout from my most popular seminar: “Revocable Living Trust – Where There’s a Will There’s a Waste,” and (ii) my Questionnaire. The Questionnaire asks the right questions — progressive short questions that lead the client through his or her estate planning decisions.

EFFECTIVE? – Effectiveness comes with experience: My grandfather was a Tennessee Circuit Court judge for 37 years. My father practiced estate and probate law for more than 50 years, graded the Tennessee Bar Exam for ten years, and was a Shelby County Probate Court Judge. I have more than 35 years of experience. I learned from them and from my clients.  Enjoy the benefits of my experience! I have solutions for your problems. The RIP saves time and money. I can generally produce your estate plan with a couple of meetings in less than a week.

EFFECTIVE PLANNING: After the client has completed the RIP, he/she is ready for a quick planning meeting with me in which we fine tune the estate plan. That meeting usually takes about an hour. The RIP usually cuts an hour or more from this meeting, saving the client money.

EFFECTIVE DOCUMENTS: After the planning meeting, I review extensive custom estate planning documents on my PC that I and my father developed over the years, documents that I have tested personally with my clients. My I seldom use online documents I own libraries of professional will and trust clauses to deal with unusual situations. Since I am so familiar with these documents, I can produce accurate documents quickly and inexpensively.

EFFECTIVE COMPLETION: Within a week or less I meet with the client, and we review and fine tune estate planning documents and execute the documents. I provide the client a closing letter and discuss steps to make the estate plan effective. The client pays for the estate plan and leaves my office with a great sense of accomplishment.

The client has spent only a few hours and we produced an estate plan that will do the job.

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