Wednesday, February 10, 2016
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If you suspect that divorce is on the horizon, you may feel overwhelmed. But you CAN prepare for the process.
The Client Page of the Journal of the State Bar of Texas features an excellent article this month. According to this article, there are several practical ways to prepare.
It is advised that you know your financial picture. Find and copy records, get account information, and other financial documents. Even if you can't take and copy them, you may be able to snap pictures with your smartphone. (This is easier said than done for some people- in abusive situations it is common for one spouse to maintain total control over assets. If that is your case, just do the best you can in getting information and remember it may become lot more difficult to get this information later). If you or your spouse has separate assets, you should get information about that property as well. You'll need it later on.
In addition to knowing your financial picture, you should make sure that you behave yourself. Be careful about your socializing and don't drink or do drugs. Take a break from social media.
Take care of yourself. Start new traditions. Respect each other, even when it isn't easy.
In addition to the suggestions posted in this article, I also recommend tending to your emotional needs by making sure that you have support and someone to talk to, Consider getting counseling to keep you "on track" and to keep you from becoming physically ill from stress. It is good to have one or more people who you can talk to who will not judge you but will talk to you honestly about your own behavior. Defensiveness and blame will just get in the way of your progress.
Monday, January 11, 2016
The New Year is a favored time for cleaning out closets and storage areas in home and office.
Consider using this time to help non-profits.
- Goodwill, Salvation Army, Purple Heart and like charities help the world in 3 ways a) keeping things out of landfills b) helping create jobs and c) helping individuals and families obtain necessary items that they could not otherwise afford.
- Don't forget shelters for domestic abuse. These shelters often have their own resale shops which allow eligible individuals to come and pick out needed items, as well as giving packages of clothing and toiletries to those who need them.
- Don't forget animal shelters. Animal shelters and charities need old towels and newspapers as well as food and toys.
De-cluttering your home and office is a win-win situation! Don't forget to get a tax receipt. Some organizations (such as Goodwill) have a site online to help you keep track of your donations for the year!
Monday, January 4, 2016
If you have a corporation or other business entity (Corporation, LLC, LLP and so on), you shouldn't just "file it and forget it"!
Once you have established a business entity, there are certain requirements for keeping it "in good standing" here in the Lone Star State. (Other states, too, so if you are following us from out of state, be certain to check on the requirements in your individual state).
Here is a checklist of some important tasks to keep in mind:
- Don't lose your "good standing". Make sure that you file the proper forms and pay any franchise or other state taxes or fees in a timely manner. (You can check to see if you are in good standing by searching the Texas Secretary of State's SOS Direct.). Your CPA can help you if you need assistance with taxes, penalties or late filings.
- Keep up with your corporate books. I know, that's the task that everyone dreads! However, keeping up your books can be a lifesaver in the event of an audit of any kind, a sale, buy-in, or temporary shake up. The books should contain documents or lists that indicate banking relationships, compliance issues, contracts that are in effect, and major changes that have happened, as well as the dates of corporate meetings and historical indication of when important decisions were made.
- A good time of year to update all of this information is either 1) beginning of the calendar year; 2) tax time; 3) beginning or end of your fiscal year (if different from the calendar year).
- A business attorney can help you bring your corporate books up-to-date if you feel that you have gotten hopelessly behind. The attorney can help in one of two ways: 1) doing the actual updates for you with information that you provide and organize or 2) meeting with you, listening to what has happened with your company and then telling you what you can do yourself to update your books and records, which can save you money.
- Suggestion: review #2, above and ask yourself what are the major events/decisions that have happened in your corporation since the last update (which may be all the way back in time when the entity was filed with the state). Make a list of these events, and who made the decision to go ahead, and the dates. Gather the documents together in one place. Then follow the format that is in your book and decide whether you will update it yourself or if you need help from a lawyer or accountant.
Also, if you have a DBA (assumed name) in one or more counties remember that those need to be renewed every 10 years. Don't let yours lapse so that you become vulnerable to a competitor.