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Meet Grimbleby Coleman Team Member Cynthia Guerrero

      

Cynthia Guerrero, CPA and Manager, has been with Grimbleby Coleman since 2005 and utilizes her skills to help clients meet their present needs and future goals.  

"Knowing that we can bring clients peace of mind, even if in just one aspect of their lives, is what makes our work worthwhile," she says. 

Cynthia is an active member of the Stanislaus Estate Planning Council and is training to become an estate planning expert. Cynthia has served on the Board of Directors for the CalCPA San Joaquin Chapter and has participated in the Relay for Life.

Learn more about Cynthia here. 

You’re Dead… Now What?

Top 10 Estate Planning Myths and Mistakes

April 9, 2015

Recently, Clive Grimbleby, Partner and CPA, and Vince Jamison, attorney at Ross W. Lee, presented "The 10 Myths of Estate Planning" during a breakout season of United Capital Modesto's event titled "This Economy and You," which featured presentations and breakout sessions providing practical advice on real estate, personal finance, health care, preparing for retirement and estate planning. The event took place at the Gallo Center for the Arts on February 25, 2014.  

The Top 10 Myths and Mistakes

  1. An estate plan is not necessary unless I’m old or rich. You’re never too old to start planning, and by no means must you rival Warren Buffett! At all income levels, making arrangements early in life ensures that not only will your financial goals be met, but your family will avoid unnecessary stress and uncertainty in what will unquestionably be a difficult time.
  1. If I have a will, my family will avoid probate following my death. A will tells the world how to distribute your assets post death; however, it won’t save your family the time and expense of probate*. To do that, you must set up a trust. Trusts are legal devices which allow you to put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed, thereby negating the need for court-supervised inventory and division of your estate.
  1. If I have a trust, my family will avoid estate taxes following my death. Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes, and this remains true for estate taxes. Having a trust will not eliminate them, but a properly drafted trust, knowledgeable legal and tax advisors, and creative gifting can help reduce the estate tax burden. Additionally, having a trust will help avoid the additional expense of probate fees.
  1. I can gift property to my children during my lifetime without worrying about taxes. Dead or alive, taxes are always something to bear in mind when gifting. While it is true that you can gift tax free, the exclusion amount caps off at $14,000 per individual for tax year 2014. If you’re trying to whittle down your estate, this can be problematic, but there are creative ways to go about gift distribution that will keep you out of the tax zone. For example, a husband can give his son $14,000 tax free and his wife can do the same, adding up to a grand total of $28,000 for that particular child. For help with your gifting plans and avoiding unnecessary taxes, we recommend talking to your attorney or accountant.
  1. A trust will make everything more complicated for my family. On the contrary, a trust will make everything much easier! Not only will having a trust negate the need for probate, it will also minimize the bickering and disagreements that often arise when splitting an estate. You’ll save your family time, money and possibly preserve their relationship. Trusts offer increased asset protection against creditors and lawsuits, too.
  1. I have to leave assets to my children outright regardless of their maturity level and my concerns. So little Johnny is 20 years old, has totaled 3 vehicles in 4 years, and can’t hold down a job for more than six months, and you have a nagging suspicion that $500,000 will not be well managed in his possession (we can’t imagine why!) A trust might be your, and his, best ally. Through the trust, funds can be disbursed when certain stipulations are met (such as Johnny reaches 30 years of age), and they can be distributed in a lump sum or slowly over the course of many years. This type of plan can also be useful in the case of special needs children whom you want well cared for in your absence.
  1. There’s no need to coordinate my life insurance and investments with my estate plan. Life insurance can be a powerful tool used not only to support surviving spouses and heirs, but to cover the taxes and fees associated with your death. Although insurance proceeds are almost always income tax free, estates over the applicable exclusion amount of $5.34 million may have their death benefits taxed as part of the estate. Means exist to keep your life insurance both income tax and estate tax free; a knowledgeable tax or legal expert can guide you.
  1. I formed a trust but have no idea if it’s funded or not. Chances are if you’re not certain, it’s probably not. To “fund”, all of your possessions must be titled in the name of your trust. An unfunded trust will not be of benefit to your trustee, as they can only control assets in the trust’s name. This means your assets will go through probate following your death and assets could end up in the hands of unintended individuals. Full and continuous funding of your living trust is essential.
  1.  I haven’t reviewed or update my estate plan in years! There’s no hard-and-fast rule about when you should review your estate plan, but due to economic and tax code changes, a quick review should occur annually, and a thorough review should be conducted every five years. An additional review should occur after every major life event (i.e. marriage, divorce, addition of a dependent, family death, retirement, change in relationship with trustee, etc.) Doing so will give you peace of mind and ensure that all of your goals are being met.
  2. I have a CPA that I talk to during tax season, but I don’t feel the need to establish a tax and legal team. Not only should you establish a team to help with your estate planning, you should establish a team capable of communicating and working together to develop a plan best suited to your needs. To get started, contact a member of our Estate Planning Team at (209) 527-4220 or contactus@gccpas.net. 

 

*Probate is a legal process that takes place after death to establish the validity of a will. It includes identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes, and distribution of any remaining property as the will (or, in the absence of a will, state law) directs.

Grimbleby Coleman CPAs Makes Technological Advances for the 2015 Tax Season

New website and online client portal enhance customers’ ease of use 

April 9, 2015

Grimbleby Coleman has invested in technology to embrace clients’ needs for faster, safer and more digitally available information. With a new website, Grimbleby Coleman is now able to digitally provide secure client access and enhanced security with document transfer. The new suite of website offerings is referred to as the “Client Corner” and provides one single place for clients to access electronic resources.  For client convenience, secure online credit card payments are now accepted.

As President, Clive Grimbleby shares, “We hope that our clients will appreciate and utilize the convenience of our new portal service, which will allow for a more secure transfer of information while embracing our environmentally friendly ‘green’ efforts.”

A summary of the new additions include:

  • Ability to deliver tax returns electronically and safely through the Client Portal
  • Ability to securely share files with a Grimbleby Coleman advisor, through either the Client Portal or Share Files feature
  • Access to Bill.com and Intacct accounts
  • Electronic Payroll services account access
  • Disclosure Consent forms to allow Grimbleby Coleman CPAs to release your information to a third party
  • Accepting online secure credit card and e-check payments

“The client portal is great and provides real-time access to the important documents my accountant is sharing, with the easy capability to authorize and sign paperwork from my smart phone or iPad. I no longer worry about losing the key documents from scanning or saving to my computer,” said Mark Butler, Vice President, Joaquin’s Painting Inc.

To learn more about the Client Corner, please visit the website: http://www.grimbleby-coleman.com/clients. To utilize the portal, each user must be a registered client. 

About Grimbleby Coleman:

Since 1973, Grimbleby Coleman CPAs have been committed to serving businesses, families and individuals of the San Joaquin Valley. Headquartered in Modesto, CA. Grimbleby Coleman’s specialty industries include Agriculture, Construction, Employee Benefit Plan Audits, Healthcare, and Estates and Trusts. Services include Tax, Core Accounting, Business Advisory and Assurance. For additional information, please call (209) 527-4220, email contactus@gccpas.netor visit www.gccpas.net.

Succession Planning for Farming Families: Scary, But Necessary

What happens next? That question can haunt farm families when it's time to exchange ownership from one generation to the next. How can farm families and businesses plan for their children's futures and ensure financial security? Who is entitled to what? And by the way, how can you broach these emotional and potentially contentious topics without ruining a holiday dinner?

We recently hosted a farming succession event with succession planner Kevin Spafford, who gave us helpful tips he's discovered while working with hundreds of ag families. We think they'll help you, too.

Five Keys to Succession Planning:

  • Plan, plan, plan! This is a big fish to fry for any farming family. Don't avoid "The Talk" because it is a touchy or fight-triggering subject. Have an honest conversation with all parties involved and discuss who will be taking ownership of the farm in the coming years. Remember:  preparation will steer the farm away from failure. 
          ag orchard sunrise california
  • Obstacles like greed, family disharmony, control freaks, self-interest, and lack of contribution are tricky topics to air. Speak candidly about those downfalls and nip them in the bud with new solutions. Come to terms with the fact that your family and in-laws are dynamic people who make mistakes. No matter what the concern, you must focus on the BIG picture - your children's futures and the future of the farm.
  • Families can find common ground and unity by writing down both small and major goals that every person can agree on. What are your family's values? Write, type or record what your family's values are so they can properly be passed down to the next generation. Make sure every family member is aware of what you stand for and what your goals are.
  • Good communication with relatives is crucial to a farm, so it's important to schedule regular meetings with the entire family during the year. If a family member can't attend because of a scheduling conflict, have them attend the meeting via speakerphone or Skype. Again, make sure that notes are taken at every meeting; it doesn't matter whether they are handwritten, typed, or even recorded. If these meetings become unfriendly, make it a rule that any family member can call a timeout.
  • All the planning in the world isn't going to save a business if people don't commit, so strive to have every person on board with your family's succession plan. Speak freely when issues arise and keep lines of communication open.

Grimbleby Coleman is a trusted ally when it comes to assisting with succession planning. We want every family to accomplish its long-term financial and farm goals. There's no time quite like the present when it comes to the matter of succession planning - make plans with your family today. 

Grimbleby's IC-DISC Expert Updates The Stanislaus Estate Planning Council

 

Jeff Bowman,  
Ag team Lead, Partner, CPA; 
IC-DISC Expert

Partner, CPA and Ag Team lead Jeff Bowman updated The Stanislaus  Estate Planning Council about the benefits and tactical implementation of an IC-DISC for farming clients. Jeff regularly collaborates with Lou Friedman of Gianelli & Associates to execute IC-DISCs on behalf of our clients.  

Colleen Meenk, Partner and CPA; Treasurer, Stanislaus Estate Planning Council

Colleen Meenk, Partner and CPA, presently serves as the Treasurer of The Stanislaus Estate Planning Council and stated that "our members of the estate planning council were very interested to learn how the IC-DISC is set up legally speaking, as well as how it functions and benefits clients from a tax perspective. There is quite a bit of crossover from tax to estate planning, so this is a top-of-mind subject, especially in our ag-focused region." 

The Stanislaus Estate Planning Council was formed to share best practices for professionals involved in estate planning. Founder, Partner and CPA Clive Grimbleby attended the meeting and expressed that "Jeff represented the firm well, while demonstrating his deep expertise in completing IC-DISCs here locally."

Featured Article

Valuations for Businesses and Family: Is it Time to Schedule Yours?
Do you know how much your business is worth?  If you were to put it on the market today, how would you know which price is fair? If you were planning on buying your partner's share of the business, how would you remove doubts and come to a deal that benefits everyone?             If your business is in transition, it might be time to think about deploying an important tool: a business valuation. Knowing the true worth of your business can help you plan properly and make better decisions. Our team provides this service for many of our business clients. Marty Fox, Principal and CPA, leads our valuation analyst team. He holds both Accredited in Business Valuation and Certified Valuation Analyst designations and is one of only a handful of qualified business appraisers in the Modesto-Stockton area.  Marty began performing business valuations more than 15 years ago because he saw the natural connection between profitability consulting and valuations. The purpose of his consulting work is to increase profitability and lower business risks. Most business valuations operate under one core principle: The lower the risk, the higher the value; the larger the cash flow, the more valuable the business.  "Understanding what drives business value made me a much better business advisor," he says. "Ultimately, we want to build our clients' nest eggs."   Grimbleby Coleman typically handles business valuations for one of four reasons:  Reason #1: Estate & Gift These are usually suggested by an attorney to help settle estate and gift tax issues. For example, the IRS requires an appraisal if a person who owns an interest in a business dies or if the owner wants to make a transfer. The main purpose is to establish the amount of any estate or gift taxes due. A valuation can also save you a lot of taxes when transferring partial business interests. Reason #2: Succession Planning If you're a business owner who wishes to transfer part of a business to a family member or other individual, we strongly recommend a valuation to determine a fair market price. Once the price is determined, you and the receiving party can decide how to establish terms that make sense. "When it comes to family succession planning, the valuation serves as a starting point to minimize future conflicts," Marty says. Reason #3: Sale or Purchase of Business If you're looking to buy or sell a business or your interest in a business, our team can represent the buyer, the seller, or both. As consultants, we can provide a strategic review of financial statements, owners' compensation, or rents and other personal expenses that are being run through the business. We pay particular attention to buried perks and use industry benchmarks to analyze financial performance.   Reason #4: Buy-Sell Agreements A valuation is often required when a transfer of ownership is subject to a buy-sell agreement between the partners or shareholders. These agreements commonly cover transfers due to death, disability, or retirement of one of the owners. We often help advise both parties on the sale as an independent third party.  If you have any questions regarding business valuations, our team would be happy to assist.  Please contact Marty at 209-527-4220 or mfox@gccpas.net. 

Featured News

California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) San Joaquin Chapter Golf Tournament to Be Held Aug. 17 at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club
      

Mark your calendars for the CalCPA San Joaquin Chapter Golf Tournament at the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club in Ripon on Monday, Aug. 17. The Grimbleby Coleman team is excited to take part in this fun day, which benefits the CalCPA San Joaquin Chapter Scholarship Fund.

"We're excited about this year's change of venue to Spring Creek and are anticipating a large group for you to connect and network with," says Nathan Miller, CPA, MST and Principal.  

Be sure to register early to get the early bird registration rate. The Grimbleby team hopes to see you there! For more information or to register, click here .

Featured Staff

Clive has, in his words, been with Grimbleby Coleman since dirt and describes his role as president, cheerleader, and bottle washer. That makes sense, since he bought the practice from his father, Roy, in 1982. At the time, he had one employee, Claudia. 

Before his entrance into business ownership, Clive received a BS in accounting from CSU Sacramento and an MBA from Golden Gate University, followed by time with Coopers & Lybrand and John Waddell Accountants. 

When he's not running the practice, Clive keeps himself actively involved in a number of community organizations.  See the list on his resume.  It will make you tired!

Clive Grimbleby, CPA President / Principal read more

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