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  • Ciara Rogers Inducted into the 2018 NC Pro Bono Society

    Congratulations to Ciara Rogers of Oliver & Cheek, PLLC, who has just been welcomed into the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society!

    The North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) is proud to announce the induction of 468 attorneys into the 2018 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society. Society members reported providing 50 or more hours of pro bono legal services in 2018 to clients unable to pay without expectation of a fee, an aspirational threshold set by Rule 6.1 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

    “The North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society helps us as a legal profession to shine a light on those attorneys making outstanding contributions to North Carolinians who need, but cannot afford, legal help,” said Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. “By recognizing these important and valuable pro bono services, we celebrate our state’s lawyers committed to ensuring equal access to justice for all.”

    Each member of this year’s cohort of the Honor Society receives a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina in recognition of their valuable contributions to the people of North Carolina. This group of attorneys provided more than 41,000 hours of pro bono legal services in 2018 to North Carolinians living in poverty. All 1,420 attorneys, or more than 5% of active attorneys in North Carolina, who shared information about their pro bono volunteerism together provided nearly 54,000 hours of pro bono legal services in 2018.

    The PBRC, led by Sylvia Novinsky, launched in April 2016 and began collecting responses from attorneys about pro bono involvement through the state’s first voluntary reporting process in January 2017. The PBRC, a program of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, works to increase North Carolina attorney pro bono legal service as a way to meet the legal needs of people of low-income and modest means in our state.

    “Pro bono lawyers are a crucial resource for those North Carolinians who cannot afford legal services,” said PBRC Director Novinsky. “I am inspired by the volunteer spirit of the North Carolina bar highlighted by pro bono reporting. The growing list of attorneys recognized by the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society serves as a symbol to other attorneys that finding time to volunteer is doable.”

    Rule 6.1 encourages a variety of activities in addition to the pro bono legal services recognized by the Honor Society. Other encouraged activities include providing legal services at a substantially reduced fee; engaging in activities that improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession; participating in non-legal community service; and contributing financially to North Carolina legal aid organizations. The reporting process, administered by the PBRC, collected basic information about all of these activities. The Honor Society celebrates the unique volunteerism that only lawyers can give.

  • Planning for Your Aging Parents

    America is getting older. The overall age of the population of the United States has shifted dramatically over the last 60 to 80 years, and experts agree that its impact on the family is clear.

    The overall age of the population of the United States has shifted dramatically over the last 60 to 80 years, and experts agree that its impact on the family is clear.

    The overall age of the population of the United States has shifted dramatically over the last 60 to 80 years, and experts agree that its impact on the family is clear.

    “There is definitely a changing age structure within families today,” says Neal Cutler, PhD. He is the executive director of the Center on Aging for the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodlawn Hills, Calif. “Its cause is simply greater longevity.”

    With more Americans living well beyond their 70s, more adult children are now left in a position where they must take on the role of caregiver for their aging parents.  And though being a caregiver is something that sounds relatively straightforward, it actually involves a host of issues that requires a mix of legal, financial and governmental resources. 

    From a legal perspective, there are certain documents you need to have in place in order to be able to care for your aging parents, and studies have found that nearly half of the adult population in the United States does not have them.  The legal documents you will need to have in order to become involved in the day to day affairs of your parent’s lives include the following:

    FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

    A power of attorney (or POA) is a legal document through which an individual authorizes someone to act on his behalf. The person who gives the authority (your parent) is called the principal, and the person who has the authority to act for the principal (you) is called the agent or the attorney-in-fact. Financial power of attorney grants you the legal authority to act on your parents’ behalf for financial issues such as accessing financial accounts, paying bills, taxes, medical expenses, managing real estate assets and more should they become incapacitated and unable to carry out those tasks themselves.

    Generally, the timing of when the POA becomes effective is dependent upon future the occurrence of a certain event.  The most common future event is the incapacity of the principal which could be due health issues leaving them unable to make necessary and important life decisions. It is a good idea to become familiar with your parents’ affairs before the POA becomes effective.

    HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY

    A healthcare power of attorney allows one or both of your parents to grant you the authority to make medical and end-of-life care decisions on their behalf. It allows them to name a trusted person (you) to oversee that their wishes are carried out, or to use your judgment in directing decisions about their medical care. In addition to granting you power of attorney, they should name a successor, such as your sibling or other close relative or friend, in case you become unable to fulfill the duties. 

    LIVING WILL

    A living will is a type of estate plan that allows your parents to express their medical and end-of-life treatment decisions, in order to provide family members and health care personnel with clear medical care instructions. In general, if a living will meets legal requirements, then the instructions it provides are legally valid and binding. It does not appoint anyone to make decisions for your parents and only applies if they are in a terminal or permanent unconscious condition.

    One of the biggest benefits of the living will is that it helps avoid unwanted treatments and disputes between family members over your parents’ care.  It will allow your parents to name a trusted person (you) to ensure that their end-of-life wishes are carried out should they not be in the position to make that clear for themselves.

    HIPAA CONSENT FORM

    HIPAA — the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act — provided the first nationally recognizable regulations for the use and/or disclosure of an individual’s health information. It is the federal legislation responsible for keeping personal health information private.

    If your parents want you to be privy to information about their healthcare, they must sign a HIPAA document that grants their health care provider permission to share it with you.  At that point, you will have the right to request and obtain your parents’ health information when necessary.

    Of course, none of these forms will be helpful unless someone knows they exist! You should have the originals, and your parents’ regular doctors should be provided with copies to keep in the medical records files. If your parent is planning to enter the hospital, you will probably be asked prior to admission to provide the hospital with copies of these documents. 

    When it comes to making arrangements for your aging parents, most experts would advise you not to wait until it may be too late to engage in proper legal planning. We encourage you to make a point of having these conversations with family members while they are still of sound mind and able to contribute to the conversation and comprehend exactly what documents they are signing and why. These discussions can be difficult, but an experienced elder law attorney can help guide the process and ensure that it goes smoothly. At Oliver and Cheek, we can help you outline exactly what is needed as you and your family plan for the future care of your aging parents.  If you’re ready to start the planning process, or if you have any questions, please contact the law offices of Oliver & Cheek by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

    (sources: www.nbc.com, www.findlaw.com, www.agingcare.com)

    Oliver Cheek New Bern NC can help you with planning for aging parents. Elder law.
  • Need an extension?

    Tax day is less than 15 days away. If you haven’t started getting your paper work in order to file taxes, it may be time to consider an extension. But what is a tax extension and how do you file for one?

    We found an informative article that breaks down what to do if you need more time and how to file for a tax extension. It covers everything from filing your paperwork, and the forms you need to file an extension to getting your book keeping in order to make tracking expenses easier.

    Click Here to view the article.

    The experienced team at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC possesses a wealth of tax law knowledge. Our attorneys can help clients avoid controversies and save money in taxes, interest, and penalties by helping plan transactions and structure operations. Contact our office for assistance if you need personal tax assistance or help fighting a business audit or other controversy.

    For more information, or to receive assistance preparing your personal or business taxes, please contact the respected attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

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  • ‘Tis the Tax Season

    As March is coming to an end April, 15th better known as Tax Day is on the horizon. Most people file their 2018 taxes by April 15th. If you haven’t started getting your tax information together and ready to submit, it is now time to do so! Consulting with a tax attorney will help you organize and be prepared to pay your taxes, as well as devise a plan to think about taxes year round.

    As a small business owner taxes and their intricacies may be the last thing on your mind. Hiring a tax attorney will help bridge the gap between doing business and paying taxes and help you avoid any common tax mistakes.

    The number-one tax mistake new business owners make is not realizing they even have a business. As many businesses started as a hobby, the line between business, and pleasure often becomes blurred. If you made over $400 in self-employed income in a taxable year you may be required to file Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) and Schedule SE along with your regular 1040 income tax form.

    Don’t forget that many of the expenses you accumulate in the course of running your business are tax deductible. It’s relatively easy to handle most tax deductions. If you buy something, such as office supplies or a banner ad on a targeted website, keep the receipt and deduct it at the end of the year.

    But two of the biggest deductions are slightly more complicated than that. The home office deduction, which allows you to deduct expenses related to the portion of your home that you use for business, requires precise calculations. And the automobile expenses deduction takes very dedicated recordkeeping throughout the year.

    Never ignore these two deductions. They can mean big tax savings at the end of the year. If in doubt, contact a reputable tax attorney to help you make sense of it all.

    Don’t forget to remember sales tax! If you sell products and live in one of the 45 states (plus D.C.) that has a sales tax, you are most likely on the hook to charge sales tax to your buyers. Sales tax can be complicated and many sellers either get it wrong or try to ignore it altogether. Both strategies can have dire consequences. If you sell products, get to know sales tax.

    When is doubt it is always better to go to the professionals than trying to figure it out on your own. While hiring a professional can seem like an unbearable business expense, especially when you’re just starting out, a good tax attorney gives you peace of mind you’re doing everything right. He or she often also saves you money by finding deductions or tax credits that could have otherwise been missed. It’s almost always a good idea to get professional help when it comes to your business taxes.

    The experienced team at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC possesses a wealth of tax law knowledge. They can help clients avoid controversies and save money in taxes, interest, and penalties by helping plan transactions and structure operations. When you file on your own you’re also on your own if the IRS wants to take a closer look at your tax return. When you reach out for assistance with your business tax filings you can be confident you have the necessary backing if the IRS comes calling.

    For more information, or to receive assistance preparing your personal or business taxes, please contact the respected attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

    (Sources: Internal Revenue Service, American Institute of CPAs; Square, Inc.; National Federation of Independent Business; and U.S. News & World Report.)

    taxes, filing for taxes, small business taxes, tax attorneys in new bern nc
  • Corporate Structures and Business Planning

    Structuring the way in which your business will be run and organized can be a daunting task. Trying to choose between registering as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, or limited liability company? Let Oliver & Cheek, PLLC guide you in these types of decisions.

    Organizing as a Sole Proprietorship

    A Sole Proprietorship is a business that has a single owner who pays personal income tax on all of the profits earned for the business. Sole Proprietorships are common among small business owners who often don’t have to distinguish a name difference between themselves and their business, and is the simplest form of business to begin. A disadvantage of a Sole Proprietorship is that it is hard to obtain loans and other forms of equity. Typically as a sole proprietorship grows it will reorganize as an LLC or Corporation. For more information on organizing as an LLC or a Corporation see our post here.

    Organizing as a General Partnership

    A General Partnership is an agreement between two or more people to share in all liabilities, profits and other assets in a business. There should also be a legal document that proves the partnership exists, such as a formal partnership agreement. In some cases a General Partnership agreement can be made orally and without a legal document however. Setting up a General Partnership is easier and requires less time and paperwork than setting up a LLC or Corporation which makes them a frequent choice for small businesses.

    Organizing as a Corporation

    Within a Corporation the most common forms of organization are either a S corporation or a C corporation. What these versions have in common is that a corporation is autonomous from the owners. As in it can act on its own in buying or selling property, legal matters such as suing or being sued as well as ownership can change by buying or selling stocks.

    S Corporations are better for those who offer a public service as it offers the same protection and structure of a corporation yet has the same tax benefits as a LLC. The business pays no tax on the corporate level, however individuals and owners pay taxes on profits.

    C Corporations are taxed directly by the government as well as owners pay taxes on profits made. Owners of the C corp still receive limited liability protection that protects personal assets separate from the business. A benefit of organizing as a C corp is that payroll and benefits among other things can be deducted from taxes.

    Organizing as a LLC

    Unlike a corporation, LLC’s don’t offer shares in their business. If an LLC has multiple owners they all share a percentage of the business. They also have the benefit of being flexible in how they are taxed while offering the most levels of protection between business and private assets. The LLC is either taxed through the individual profits that the owner or owners make, or as either a S or C corporation.

    Organizing as a Non-profit

    Creating a non-profit organization makes any donations or revenue accumulated considered tax-exempt by the IRS. However, your organization must use those funds to support religious, scientific, charitable, educational, literary, public safety or cruelty prevention causes, and give back to improve the community in some way. The staff of a non-profit organization typically has some paid members and other unpaid volunteers, and ultimately relies on the community it serves to continue its operation, as well as good management.

    In the end it comes down to what makes the most sense for your business. With any of the models you choose comes a variety of pros and cons. We here at Oliver & Cheek understand how to help you make the right choice and minimize the cons.Contact us today to set up a consultation.

    At Oliver & Cheek business law is one of our specialties and we are here to help you through all of your business needs, organization and beyond. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

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