|Four Simple Ways to Honor Vets on Nov 12
by G. Ward Beaudry, Esq.
|Iwo Jima Memorial outside Arlington National Cemetery|
In November, our hearts and minds turn to the many sacrifices that our veterans have made and continue to make on behalf of our country. Both Alex and I have served in the Marine Corps, so honoring veterans and fighting for their rights and benefits have always been supremely important for us and our firm.
On November 12, our nation observes Veterans Day. Armistice Day was first established in 1919 to mark the end of World War I. In 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower declared this day to be a celebration of all veterans. "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary," said Eisenhower in his declaration, "all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose." Despite the inclusion of "the entire citizenry" in this proclamation, most Americans leave the observance to vets only. Unfortunately, too many treat this as just another opportunity for a long weekend.
We urge everyone reading this to make this observance an important part of your life as well. Here are four simple ways you can participate:
- Observe! If you live in the Dallas area, you'll find a number of local activities honoring our vets, including:
- The 2012 Dallas National Veterans Day Run/Walk starting at the foot of the Veterans Memorial in Fair Park. Every entry in the race allows veterans to participate at a discount. Every entry in the walk is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Register to participate here.
- The Dallas Veterans Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. on November 12 at City Hall.
- Honor! If you are a veteran, share your stories with friends and families. If you know a vet, take time to thank him or her for service. The History Channel sponsors some great programs to observe the day, including Take a Veteran to School Day and Thank a Veteran At Work. You'll find more information and resources on their website.
- Give! Our veterans suffer from a disproportionate amount of unemployment, disability and homelessness as a direct result of their service to our country. While there are many fine organizations serving veterans, we like these two:
- Ask! Do you have any friends or close relatives who have served in the military? Ask them about their service. And while you are at it, you may want to ask them about their veteran's benefits. Too many of our vets go without the benefits that they deserve and are entitled to, simply because they fear the red tape or time involved. We can help!
Don't Wait--Plan for Charitable Giving Now!
by Alexander G. Blue, Esq.
|Alexander G. Blue|
Now is the perfect time to sit down and do some end-of-year tax planning, before the holiday hoopla arrives. For many people, tax planning centers around charitable giving. Both Romney and Obama recommend reducing the deductibility of charitable donations to trim the deficit. SO--this year it's doubly important to develop a strategy for charitable donations as tax laws may change, regardless of the outcome of the election on November 6.
How do you know an organization deserves your donation? Recently, the IRS launched Exempt Organizations Select Check, a website that allows you to check if an organization qualifies for tax-deductible contributions. Two national organizations provide excellent information and ratings of most charities: Guidestar and Charity Navigator.
While we are on the subject, if you are a frequent donor to a special favorite charity, have you thought about setting up a charitable trust? This type of trust can be a real win/win for you and the recipient organization, as it provides some unique tax advantages over a standard annual donation. The advantages of a trust are not just reserved for the super-wealthy, either. If you own highly appreciated assets such as real estate or stocks, they might be subject to enormous capital gains or estate taxes. Placing them into a charitable trust gives you an immediate tax deduction rather than a tax bill.
The IRS currently allows two basic types of charitable trusts:
Remainder Trust: assets are signed over to a nonprofit organization for a specific period of time. During this period of time, you typically receive interest and profits generated by the trust. Investment-wise, this acts very much like an annuity, except that your favorite charity receives the appreciated value of your assets when the trust expires. You can set the time period for any reasonable length, from a few years or until long after your estimated year of demise.
Lead Trust: this is VERY different from the type of trust described above. Instead of ceding management control of your assets to a charity, YOU retain control. Interest can all go to the charity or can be split between the charity and the beneficiaries named in the trust document. At the end of the trust period, the assets revert back to your heirs, named beneficiaries or other organization as set forth in the trust.
If a charitable trust sounds like an interesting option you would like to explore, please call us at (214) 969-0001. Don't delay, as it takes some time to make the appropriate decisions and draw up the paperwork before year-end closes.
NOTE: this article does not constitute tax advice. Please consult with your CPA or tax advisor on the tax implications of charitable giving for your specific situation.
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
Almost everyone has heard of the Toys for Tots organization, yet few know that it was set up and is run by the Marines. Toys for Tots began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The organization now collects toys in over 388 communities in every state plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Did you know? Walt Disney himself designed our famous logo (above) in 1948.
The Dallas organization is kicking into high gear for the 2012 holiday season. You can donate on-line or find a place to drop a new, unwrapped toy at our DFW Toys for Tots website. Toys are collected from October 1 through December 17 annually. While many businesses serve as local toy drop sites, all Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations have collection spots inside their stores.
Thank you for your time today. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.
G. Ward Beaudry, Esq. Alexander G. Blue, Esq
4200 Thanksgiving Tower
1601 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75201-7203
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Winn, Beaudry & Winn participates in the AARP Legal Services Network. This is a great program for AARP members. Benefits include a free initial 45-minute consultation and a 20% discount off our standard legal fees for such things as estate planning, will preparation, trust documents and more. Find out more here.
Alexander G. Blue attends the Veteran's Pro Bono Clinic at the Dallas VA. Veterans, if you have legal issues and/or questions about benefits, join him from 1-4 p.m.
The birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Semper fi!
Veterans Day. Attend the Dallas parade that begins at 11 a.m. at City Hall. Info here.
Happy Thanksgiving! Our offices are closed but will be open on November 23. For a special Thanksgiving treat, read Abe Lincoln's original Thanksgiving Proclamation.
G. Ward Beaudry is a key presenter at the National Business Institute seminar, "The Probate Process from Start to Finish
." This one-day seminar offers continuing education credit and is ideal for CLEs, financial planners, CPEs, CPAs, legal assistants, and all those involved in the probate process. To find out more or to register, click here
Holiday office closings:
New Year's Day
A smiling Ward Beaudry crosses the finish line at the recent MS150 150-mile bike ride to raise money to fund research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.
Did You Know?
G. Ward Beaudry was recently named to Texas' Top Lawyers in the Estate Planning category. Visit Texas' Top-Rated Lawyers 2012 Edition. Beaudry earned this honor as a result of consistently maintaining the highest possible "AV Preeminent" rating by Martindale Hubbell, the nation's oldest and most prestigious attorney rating service.
Alexander G. Blue was recently named a Texas Monthly "Rising Star" for the third year. This award is given to the top 2.5% of Texas lawyers age 40 and younger. Selections are made based on evaluation of 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.