April 17th has come and gone. Hopefully, you are like most Americans and Uncle Sam owes you a refund. This year the average refund was just a shade under $3,000. While it is tempting to spend your refund on that cruise to the Bahamas, your refund can be put to hard work for you. Below are four big legal things that you can do with your refund that will generally cost well below $3,000, provide you the protection that you have been missing and still leave plenty for your summer vacation.
1. Finally Draft a Will!
They say only two things in life are certain, and you just had to deal with one of them. Tax time is also the perfect time to get your estate planning affairs in order. You’ve just had to account for all of your assets, tell the government who is a dependent, and generally take a good hard look at your life and finances. There is no better time to see an estate planning attorney about your last will and testament, advance directive, financial power of attorney, or general estate and retirement planning. These are some of the most important documents you will ever sign, and armed with your tax refund you and an experienced attorney can ensure a long and lasting legacy for yourself and those you care about.
2. Put your rental property into an LLC
You’ve worked hard on your rental property, and Uncle Sam makes sure you include that income just the same as any business income. Why not take the next step and place your rental property into an LLC? There are many benefits to doing so. One benefit is the possibility of limiting your personal liability for accidents or other misfortunes stemming from the rental property. This may be a good idea even if you have only one property or consider your rental properties more of a “hobby” than a business. Another benefit is the fact there may be tax savings from putting your rental property into an LLC. While you will need to consult and attorney or CPA to see what savings may be achieved in your specific case, nevertheless you may stand to save significant amounts on your future taxes.
3. Trademark your business logo
Whether you doodled it yourself or paid a professional to create it for you, your business logo is a big part of your business’ identity. Why not safeguard it by registering the logo for a trademark? Trademarks help to protect intellectual property such as your logo or sign from copycats who would steal your ideas without paying for them. It also helps protect your customers from any confusion that may come from copycat or lookalike logos. As an added bonus, applying for a trademark triggers a five year look-back period that helps increase the value of your logo and your company when the time comes to sell.
4. Update your Business Contracts
Contracts are the lifeblood of your business. They help establish and maintain your clients and contacts, provide income, and allow enforcement of promises. Your tax refund will be put to good use if you have an attorney review and update your business contracts. Sometimes new provisions are in order, sometimes contracts need to be reworded or revised to strengthen their enforceability, and sometimes they just need to be updated. Doing any of these will help save you money in the long term, can help you avoid the cost, hassle, and uncertainty of going to court, and generally help ensure your company is well protected. Your business helped get you your refund, why not reinvest a little and reap the long-term benefits?
Patrick R. Norris, J.D., Norris Legal, L.L.C.
Thank you for reading this article. The information contained in this article is for discussion purposes only. The information contained in this article is not legal advice upon which you should act and simply reading this article does not make you a client of Norris Legal, L.L.C. or any other law firm. Thank you again.