“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, the start of the year is pretty important, in my opinion. And the LAST thing you need is to be stressed over finances.

Yet that’s, unfortunately, how many families start their year, this year.

So, is there anything we can do to help? Yes, we live to help you with your taxes, but what truly animates me and my staff is the fact that assisting real families (like yours) can make a difference — not just in your “bottom line”, but in the peace with which you operate. That’s, really, why we do what we do.

So, do let us know if there’s anything at all we can help you with. 414-325-2040.

We’re getting very close to the point where we begin to see many folks walk through our doors with their tax information in hand. Last week, I posted a mostly-complete list of what you will need to get your taxes done.

And before I get to my main message — a couple more quick tax notes:

1) People are discussing the delay in e-filing for those who have more than just standard deductions. I should hasten to add that the delay in *filing* does NOT mean that we can’t *prepare* your taxes now!

So, get on in here as soon as you’re able by emailing back or giving us a call.

2) “Tax time” is the perfect time for you to get other, long-delayed tasks accomplished. One of these is the dreaded estate plan. This is something which every family should have in place, and so I’ve got some further thoughts on that for you in this week’s Note…

Why You Need An Estate Plan NOW

Most of us spend a considerable amount of time and energy in our lives working for our families and accumulating wealth.

But unless you’re careful, all of it will be going to waste.

That’s why a well-crafted estate plan is so critical. It ensures that your hard-earned wealth (including intangible, non-financial assets) can pass intact to those you intend to be your beneficiaries, instead of being siphoned off to government processes and bureaucrats, or even being lost. We all dislike handing over our resources to those who don’t have our best interests in mind.

A well-made estate plan guarantees that this will NEVER happen to your family.

“But, what happens if I don’t create an estate plan? Doesn’t the judicial system have easy steps in place for families?”

Yep, and it’s called “probate” (Latin for “prove the will”), and  it’s an ugly process.

You see, “probate” guarantees government interference in how you transfer your estate (however large or small). Documents must be filed and approval must be received from a court to pay your bills, pay your spouse an allowance, and account for your property. Oh, and even worse–it all takes place in the public’s view.

If you fail to plan your estate, not only do you lose the opportunity to protect your family from an impersonal, complex governmental process (that is a burden at best) but it’s slapped across the public domain for all to see.

Then, of course… there’s taxes. You think the government is incentivized to keep those low on your behalf? There’s a variety of solutions for each family’s particular situation, but the plain fact is that working without a plan is U-G-L-Y no matter how you slice it.

When it comes right down to it, planning is a gift for your family (the people you love most) because if you don’t take care of things while you are living and able, they’ll have a mess to clean up when you are gone.

Even more, if you have children, you want to establish the proper (legal) procedure for ensuring they’re taken care of properly.

So if these issues are important to you (and I believe they are), make your tax preparation appointment with us count twice, and we can set you up with how to get this process started right.

To your family’s financial and emotional peace.