A few months ago, we wrote about a significant change in federal overtime law that was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016 (see article here). After the change was announced back in May, several states and pro-business groups sued to stop the law from going into effect. While the court has not made a final ruling as to the legality of the law, the court did enter a preliminary injunction blocking the law from going into effect nationwide. On December 1, employers need not be concerned with implementing the new changes. And, it remains to be seen whether the new law will ever be implemented. The federal government may appeal the court’s ruling, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is very conservative. If this is not resolved before the Trump Administration takes over in January, the rule change may never go into effect. Stay tuned!
The Importance of Life Insurance
I am not an insurance salesperson. However, I often give my estate planning clients one common piece of advice – get life insurance if you can. This is typically easier for my younger clients, but for my older clients, the importance of having life insurance is greater.
Here’s the reason for my advice: First, life insurance passes outside of the probate estate (for a refresher on what is included in your “probate estate,” see this blog post). This means that your loved one will receive a check without an estate being opened or finalized. Often, my probate clients who have lost loved ones have already received their life insurance check before they ever even come into my office to see me to probate a will or settle an estate.
This can result in a tremendous burden being lifted. While your loved one is still obviously grieving the loss, your loved one does not have to be concerned with paying funeral expenses, medical bills, or even a mortgage payment, for example. This is especially true if you do not have joint bank accounts. If an estate has to be opened and settled for your loved one to receive their inheritance, they will not get that money for at least six months (and sometimes even one year). Also, spouses are required by law to pay the funeral expenses and medical expenses of the deceased spouse. These bills can sometimes wipe out savings. Additionally, if you pass away with debt, some savings accounts and other assets are included in your probate estate. Your loved one may not inherit anything if your estate assets are needed to pay your final debts.
Many people opt to forego life insurance in exchange for passing on retirement accounts like 401Ks and IRAs. While this is certainly an option, your loved one may not have near instant access to pay your final expenses. Depending on whether your surviving spouse is your heir or your children (or someone else), there may be restrictions on the use of the funds. Importantly, and the second reason why I recommend life insurance, is that life insurance is passed on tax free while your beneficiary will be responsible for paying taxes on withdraws taken from retirement accounts.
Furthermore, if you are a business owner, and especially if you are in business with a spouse, life insurance can ensure the survival of your business.
Finally, I have started recommending life insurance policies that contain long-term care riders. If there is ever a need for you to enter a long-term care facility, you can use those funds for that. I have a couple of clients who are in moderate-to-nice assisted living facilities who have told me that they would not be able to live there had they not purchased long-term care insurance years ago. People are living longer, and medical care is getting more expensive.
The purpose for purchasing these products is not necessarily to pass on a large inheritance to your loved one. In my opinion, these products alleviate stress and potential burden on your family members (whether that means at death or in the event you can no longer care for yourself). Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to be referred to an insurance professional to find out more information. I am not being paid to promote life insurance, but I feel strongly about these products, and I believe that it is an important part of the estate planning process.
If you are thinking of starting your own business, save this article. If you have ever opened your own business, this will be familiar to you: As soon as the Secretary of State approves your filing, will you will start getting junk mail. Lots of it. Every new business that forms is a matter of public record, and companies soliciting services and products will get the new business’s address from these public records.
Some of this junk mail will appear to be official. Obviously, do not ignore official looking documents, but perform a simple google search (or give us a quick call) if you are unsure about something you receive.
The topic of today’s article is “Required Posters for New Businesses” because there are companies out there that will send new business owners official-looking documents reciting federal and state laws requiring that new owners post certain posters at their business and selling said posters for $80 or more! The posters purposes are to notify employees of their rights under state and federal wage and safety laws. These solicitations also recite the fines businesses can receive (often in bold print!) for not posting these posters at the business office. These potential fines are meant to scare you into purchasing the posters. Some of the statutes and fines recited are not accurate. At the very bottom of the solicitation, in small, non-bold print, is a disclaimer from the company that they are not affiliated with the government.
Two main points here: First, your business may not be required to post ANY posters, and even if it is required, it may not be required to post ALL of the posters sold by the company soliciting your business. For example, newly formed businesses that do not have any employees are not required to post any posters. Family owned businesses where all employees are related are not required to post any posters.
Second, and most important, all of the posters can be printed for FREE on the federal and state Department of Labors’ websites. The federal Department of Labor has a step by step guide here: http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/posters.htm. You start by entering information about your business and employees, and the Department of Labor will tell you what posters you need and how to download them for free! The North Carolina Department of Labor also has all of its required posters available for download for free.
Subscribe to our newsletter.
Kelly Rains Jesson