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Los Gatos California Legal Blog

How to defend against a tax audit

If you ever receive notification via mail from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that you are going to be audited, you will likely go through a litany of emotions. The first of those will understandable be panic. No one wants to have to prove themselves to the IRS, especially when they know they did nothing wrong. Here are some tips for defending against a tax audit.

One of the first things you need to do is respond to the inquiry sent by the IRS. Do not ignore it. If you are unsure of how to respond, you should talk it over with your accountant and your California tax attorney. They will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Tips for resolving California business disputes

Business disputes are a common part of every industry, no matter the type of company or size. These disputes can occur with just about any person or entity, including other companies. You need to resolve the dispute as soon as possible in order to avoid serious legal trouble, even if you truly weren't at fault for the dispute. There are some simple tips for resolving business disputes in California.

One option for resolving business disputes is to go to mediation with the other party. The other party could be your co-worker, a co-owner, a shareholder, an employee, another company or a customer/client.

Assessing the role of an executor of a will

Being asked to serve as the executor of someone's will can be stressful. It's an important legal position that you should never take lightly. Why? You will be responsible for answering questions, handling the distribution of assets, the reading of the will and so much more. Let's assess the role of an executor of a will.

One of the first jobs you have as an executor is reading the will to the family and friends of the decedent. You need to first obtain the most recent version of the will from the decedent's family law attorney. You then must send the will to the court for probate.

New income tax forms means checking these four items

As we wrote about last week, tax planning is a year-long process. With all of the changes to tax law brought on by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this past spring, everyone should take a look at their current tax deductions and taxable accounts to ensure their financial goals are on track.

Another recent change from the Internal Revenue Service should also prompt a second look this summer. Last week, the IRS unveiled a new 1040 form for individual tax filers and those filing jointly as married spouses.

Important income tax deadlines and other dates

Everyone out there who earns an income knows exactly when tax season is each year. But, do you realize that tax season is not just when the deadline arrives to file your tax return? You should view the entire year as tax season because you can prepare for next year's filing, make estimated income tax payments, deal with the IRS and handle any issues surrounding your return throughout the entire year. Here are some important income tax deadlines and dates.

If you make estimated tax payments, there are four deadlines you have to be mindful of each year. They typically fall around the same date each year. For estimated payments, you must hit the following deadlines:

  • April 17
  • June 15
  • September 17
  • January 15

Addressing your estate plan: Facing reality

Estate planning is a topic that is sometimes considered morbid or threatening, but the reality is that it must be done. With good estate plans in place, you can protect your beneficiaries, heirs and loved ones. You protect your estate and everything you've worked for, even if you're no longer here to appreciate it.

Estate planning usually involves three things, what happens if you fall ill or can't take care of yourself, provisions for end-of-life care and instructions for what happens after your death. It's hard to know exactly what you'll want or where you'll be years from now, but getting a plan started is a good idea.

Dividing your estate: Reducing conflict

Inheritance fights are a significant concern among some parents. As they plan their estates, they worry that their children will end up fighting over what they leave behind. Parents don't want to put their children in that position, so they best thing they can do is to create a solid estate plan.

Money is a common cause of family fights. No one wants to think that a parent gave more to one child over another or gave away the money completely. The reality is that no matter what the children think, a parent's wishes should be honored.

Immediate concerns following a loved one's death: Estate plans

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to have to think about is legal steps to take. The good news is that you can work with your attorney to prepare for that time, so everything is in order and ready to go.

The first thing you'll want to prepare for is to get access to your loved one's legal documents. You want to find financial statements, tax returns and other information about the estate. If you can get this ahead of time, you can have your attorney keep copies on hand, so the documents are ready when needed.

Preparing for the future through power of attorney documents

There may be a day when, for one reason or another, you are unable to make your own decisions when it comes to important things like your finances and personal care. However, there are ways you can control what would happen in such situations. Specifically, you can prepare for this possibility by picking someone to make decisions for you. You can do this by granting this person power of attorney. How do you grant someone this?

Should your business always work with an attorney?

As a business owner, the last thing you should do is sign contracts or agree to arrangements without a legal expert reviewing those documents. You may think it's easier to simply sign off on documents as they arrive, but if you aren't careful, you may not catch the details that could end up hurting your business. For instance, you might agree to hire a contractor and sign off, not realizing that you had no termination clause.

In any case, prevention is always going to be better than looking for a way out of a bad situation. Taking just a few moments to speak with your attorney about contracts or documents before you sign them could put you in a better position. If you don't and end up with a problem, it's likely to cost more to resolve than if you'd prepared for the worst early on.