By Attorney Kelly Jesson
We hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday so far. People frequently make new year’s resolutions to stop bad habits or improve their lifestyle, but what about a new year’s resolution for your business?
Make 2022 the year that you start running your business and stop the business from running you. One key to making this switch is delegating tasks to others, and Jesson & Rains is happy to take a few things off your plate. Last year, we started offering annual plans that include some of the administrative annual tasks with which businesses (i.e. YOU) have to comply, such as filing annual reports and keeping meeting minutes, and offer cost-effective peace of mind with discounted legal services, registered agent services, and quarterly or unlimited calls. There’s never a reason not to consult your lawyer if we make it easy for you.
Not running your business properly can result in a loss of asset protection, which is one of the whole points of formalizing your business. We wrote about this in a past blog HERE, and this LINKS to our annual plan packages. Give us a call if you would like more information! Start 2022 off right!
By Associate Attorney Danielle Nodar
The holiday season always comes with numerous reminders about giving the perfect gift to express love and gratitude to our loved ones. This season of giving also inspires increased donations to charitable organizations. However, many people are not aware that they can use their estate plan as a tool for charitable giving and how these gifts can have benefits that extend beyond the charity, such as minimizing taxes during one’s lifetime or after death.
For lifetime gifts, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 provides several provisions to help individuals who give to Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organizations through the end of 2021. One change impacts the majority of taxpayers: those who elect the standard deduction. Ordinarily, these individuals cannot claim a deduction for contributions to a charitable organization, but the law now allows these individuals, including married individuals filing separate returns, to claim a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made to qualifying charities during 2021. For married couples filing jointly, this amount increases to $600. There are certain cash contributions that may not qualify, including gifts to private foundations or donations carried over from previous years, so it is important to work with your tax preparer to ensure that this gift qualifies.
There are also many methods of including a charity in one’s estate plan. A charity can be a named beneficiary in a will or trust, with the terms of the will or trust designating the asset being distributed and the charitable purpose of the gift. Your named Trustee or Executor will be responsible for making the distribution to the charity. When considering what to give to a charitable organization, it is important to remember that your gift can go beyond cash, but can include assets like a stock portfolio, artwork, a car, or even real estate.
Another way to include charitable giving in your estate plan is by naming a charity as a beneficiary of life insurance policies, annuities, IRAs, or other retirement plans. Depending on the other assets you have at death and their value, these gifts may have tax benefits to your loved ones or estate. For example, naming a charity as the beneficiary of a retirement accounts may be a wise choice for some individuals as retirement accounts are some of the highest taxed assets in any estate. By gifting your retirement account, your estate tax burden is reduced because your estate will receive a federal estate tax charitable deduction on the value that is held in the account. Furthermore, the charity does not have to pay income taxes on this gift.
Finally, when making a charitable gift through an estate plan, there may be benefits to your estate and loved ones. Gifts, during life or at death, to Section 501(c)(3) charities do not count towards the total taxable value of your estate. Thus, naming a charity as a beneficiary will reduce the value of your estate at the time of death, which can lower or eliminate the amount of estate taxes owed by your estate.
During this season of giving, we recommend that you not only think of the legacy you can leave your loved ones, but also the gift that can be made to a charitable cause during your lifetime or after your death. Contact Jesson & Rains for assistance with considering your options for charitable giving in your estate plan.
By Attorney Edward Jesson
With the rise in popularity of “HGTV” and “DIY Network,” and with people looking to make additional income in the real estate market, we have seen a rise in the number of people wanting to “flip” their own homes. However, in North Carolina, there are important considerations when undertaking any construction project, especially when you are “flipping” a home.
Generally, under North Carolina law, a General Contractor is any person or corporation who bids on or contracts to perform construction work where the overall cost of the project is going to be greater than $30,000.00. If you want to perform work for another person, and the cost of that work is over $30,000.00, you’ll typically need a general contractor’s license. Importantly, for work totaling less than $30,000.00, you don’t need a license. This is why handyman services, etc. do not need to necessarily be licensed with the state.
However, there is an exception to the rule requiring a license for any work performed over $30,000.00—after all, YouTube tutorials are a thing! In North Carolina, you can act as your own General Contractor so long as you own the building or land at the time the work is being done and so long as the building is intended solely for occupancy by that person and his family. North Carolina presumes that if the property is sold within 12 months following completion of the work, the person did not intend the building to be solely for their occupancy.
What does this mean for budding HGTV stars? If the “flip” you are doing is going to cost more than $30,000.00 and you intend to sell the home once the home is complete, you need to get a general contractor’s license prior to beginning work or hire a general contractor to oversee the work instead of yourself.
It is important to note that you still need to pull the relevant permits, obtain the necessary inspections, and have work such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC performed by properly licensed individuals, regardless of whether or not you need or have a General Contractor’s license.
Should you have any questions about the process or need additional help, please don’t hesitate to call Jesson & Rains today.
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