Richard A. Lindsey, CPA

Lindsey & Waldo, LLC – Certified Public Accountants

  • Jul 26

    The next hurricane will come. I don’t profess to know when, but based solely on past experience, it is not a question of if, but when. There are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard yourself against natural disasters.

    Keep a set of backup records in a safe place away from the original set.

    Keeping a set of backup records – including, for example, bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, etc. — is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the internet. Even if the original records are provided only on paper, they can be scanned into an electronic format. With documents in electronic format, you can upload them to a backup storage device, or even the cloud. Businesses should have a regular schedule to backup their accounting records and that backup CANNOT be on the same hard drive as your records. A system should include rotating removable hard drives, iCloud or offsite backup.

    Included with the paper copy of your Zevac & Lindsey prepared tax return is a CD which contains, not only a PDF version of the return, but all the documentation we used as well. You could use this CD to transfer the information to another backup device or you could place the CD in a separate, safe environment.

    Another step to take in disaster preparedness is to photograph or video the contents of your home, especially items of higher value. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, available at IRS.gov, which can help you compile a room-by-room list of belongings.

    A photographic record can also help you prove the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Just be sure to store the photos in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box or with a friend or family member outside the area.

    Your emergency plans should be reviewed and updated annually. Personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs. When new team members come on board, or functions change, plans should be updated accordingly.

  • Jul 25
  • Jul 25
  • Jul 17
  • Jul 12

    “Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly.”– Mark Twain

    Wow! Did you see Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon? June 2012, it was Niagara Falls, this year, it’s the Grand Canyon. Pretty incredible!

    I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty that this man has done something beforehand: estate planning!

    Estate planning involves much more than avoiding the estate tax.

    Despite the recent changes to estate tax law, there are some common myths still held by the majority of Americans. In fact, it’s still estimated that 60% of Americans don’t even have a basic will. Now that’s a big problem!

    It’s a big problem because Myth #1 is everything goes to your spouse, should you leave this world.

    Myth #2: After I create my will or living trust, there’s nothing left to think about. A trust doesn’t help a thing if it doesn’t have any assets. And they don’t just magically move there. The assets have to be re-titled.

    On top of that, you need to periodically revisit your will or trust to make sure it is updated and reflects major life events such as a divorce or birth of a child.

    Myth #3: If I have a will, my estate automatically avoids probate. Not so, my understanding is that all wills are subject to probate. Not that probate in Alabama is all that costly or time consuming. But, if it’s probate you want to avoid, it’s a living trust you need to be looking at. With a living trust, the property in the trust transfers to your beneficiaries outside of probate.

    Not everyone needs all the documents available, but it’s something you can’t paint over with a broad brush. It’s important to talk with an expert on these matters.