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Plan Ahead for Year-End Tax Planning

Year-end tax planning is just around the corner, and here are tips to help you get ahead! If you have questions please give us a call right away.

For Individuals:
  • Realize losses on stock while substantially preserving your investment position. There are several ways this can be done. For example, you can sell the original holding, then buy back the same securities at least 31 days later. It may be advisable for us to meet to discuss year-end trades you should consider making.
For Businesses:
  • Businesses should buy machinery and equipment before year-end and, under the generally applicable "half-year convention," secure a half-year's worth of depreciation deductions in 2015.
  • Unless retroactively changed by legislation, property expensing is greatly reduced in 2015; making qualifying expenditures can still reap thousands of dollars in current deductions that you wouldn't otherwise receive. Beginning in 2015, the expensing limit is $25,000, and the investment-based reduction for the dollar limitation starts to take effect when property placed in service in the tax year exceeds $200,000.

Top 5 Keys to Succession Planning

As Harvest Comes to a Close, Now is the Time to Focus on the Big Picture: Succession Planning
Jeff Bowman, Ag Team Leader
At some point, all family farming operations face the same challenge: "What do we do if something happens to Dad? Who gets what?"
Succession planning is never a favorite topic. It can be rife with emotion and conflict, but it also is a challenge and a reality that all family businesses need to prepare for. 
Is this the year that your family is going to tackle succession? For ag families, the alternative to proper succession planning oftentimes is grim and involves losing most or all of the family farm. Sadly, this is a fact. As families grow, so does the potential for conflict.
Let us help.
Jeff Bowman, Ag Team Leader, says the first step he takes when working with a family on its succession planning is to learn what the long-term goals are for the farm and the next generation. "It's an open conversation where I can learn their thoughts and big-picture goals," he says.
Here are five starter tips to help get the ball rolling*
  1. Don't avoid "The Talk" because it is a touchy or fight-triggering subject.  
  2. Obstacles like greed, family disharmony, control freaks, self-interest, and lack of contribution are tricky topics to air. Speak candidly and nip them in the bud with new solutions. 
  3. Write down both small and major goals that every person can agree on.  
  4. Schedule regular meetings with the entire family during the year and be sure that notes or recordings are taken at every meeting.  
  5. Commit and execute the plan!
Back in October of last year, we invited agriculture succession planning expert Kevin Spafford to join us for a luncheon presentation. He shared the helpful tips he has gleaned after working with hundreds of ag families. Click here to learn more.
Grimbleby Coleman is a trusted ally when it comes to assisting ag families with succession planning. We want each family member to accomplish his or her individual long-term financial goals. There's no time quite like the present when it comes to the matter of succession planning - make plans with your family today. We can help you navigate the conversation.
*These reminders are thanks to Kevin Spafford, Legacy-By-Design.


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 


*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.

Featured Article

Meet the Construction Team
September 23, 2015   The Construction Team has grown and evolved its expertise, one project at a time, since its founding in 2013. The construction niche is especially valuable and has allowed our team to offer this key audience sound accounting, financial advice, and fiscal project management expertise.   We want our construction clients to achieve superior profitability. Given the fast-paced decisions that are made on-site daily, many of our clients rely on our expertise to help them make short-term decisions that will impact their long-term viability.     "We've been fortunate to have a solid base of construction clients for years, but due to the economy's recent resurgence we've seen a spike in demand," says Ian Grimbleby, CPA, Partner, and Construction Team lead. "We saw an opportunity to develop a specialized construction department, and thus far the response has been very strong. We see that we're making a difference in our clients' businesses."   To better serve our construction clients, we've attended major construction conferences such as CFMA ( and AICPA (, learned more about industry issues and construction software, and immersed ourselves in our construction clients' workflow processes.   Meet the Team!   Ian Grimbleby, CPA, Principal and Team Lead Ian has been working with construction clients for over 10 years. He specializes in financial statements (audit, review or compiled) and tax returns, but he is also adept at contract/WIP review, accounting software consulting, and financial literacy education for owners and managers. "I enjoy working with construction clients because their work - structures, buildings, roads - is tangible," he says. "It takes discipline to accomplish the job.  I like bringing a different perspective to the table and helping clients make better business and financial decisions."    Adriane Reams, Construction Team Manager and Co-Leader Adriane has been working with construction clients for more than eight years. She provides software consultations, income tax planning and preparation, financial statement preparation, and job schedule preparation.  "I enjoy the complexity involved in completing job schedules," she says. "There are always quirks that need to be figured out, just like solving a puzzle. I grew up in my dad's machining business, so I have a strong understanding of family-owned organizations."     Javier Padilla, Experienced Associate Javier worked in the real estate industry (commercial lending, residential lending and sales) for more than 15 years. Since joining Grimbleby Coleman two and a half years ago, he has worked specifically with construction companies. His main role is to provide services to construction companies through the preparation of their tax returns and financial statements (compiled, review, or audit)."Working in the construction niche allows me to do the three things that I thoroughly enjoy: work with people, work with numbers, and work in the real estate industry," he says. "I've enjoyed learning the intricacies of how our construction clients get the project from bare dirt to a house or commercial building, as well as having the opportunity to work with clients that specialize in certain phases of construction projects."     Amanda Cabral, Accounting Technician Amanda has been working with construction clients for nine years, including payroll, certified reporting, bookkeeping (accounts receivable and accounts payable), job costing, billing, progressive billing, invoicing, and purchase orders. "I enjoy working with construction companies because every client is so different," she says. "Learning what clients need in order to be successful and to run their businesses efficiently is a continuous learning process for me and I feel like we both take something from each other."     Karen Sanders, Accounting Technician Karen has been working closely with construction clients for six years to help with accounting services and setup with classifications and costing of jobs through payroll and direct labor costs. "It's like working a puzzle," she says. "I gain satisfaction when I'm able to get all the pieces to fit together correctly and the clients are happy. I love working with my clients and assisting with their accounting needs."   To learn more about the construction team, please check out previous newsletter posts: Project Management Recommend Operational Processes  Construction Software  1031 Tax Exchange for Construction  Interested in meeting the team in person? Please give Ian a call at 209-527-4220.

Featured News

Grimbleby Coleman to Support the Boys and Girls Club by Sponsoring "Battle of the Paddles 2015"


We are proud to announce our Team Level sponsorship of Battle of the Paddles 2015, an event in support of Stanislaus County youth, at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Modesto Centre Plaza. Teams will go head-to-head in ping pong for championship bragging rights! Fun seekers can try their hand at darts, play a variety of competitive and non-competitive games and activities, or just enjoy artwork by the club's kids. Better yet, you could participate as a featured table or paddle sponsor! For more information about becoming a sponsor, view or download the PDF.

Featured Staff

Manoj joined Grimbleby Coleman as an Associate after four years in banking and 2 years in the transportation industry. In this role, he assists with tax planning engagements and business returns and greatly enjoys seeing his client relationships morph from professional to friendship. Manoj holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from California State University, Stanislaus. 

A long time Livingston, California resident, Manoj stays very active in his community. He's been involved with Livingston Rotary, was a Livingston Planning Commissioner, and a Livingston Medical Group board member. He also volunteers at the Livingston Guru Sikh Mission. "And I would like to get involved with other organizations in the future." 

In his free time, you might find Manoj traveling, enjoying time with his daughter, or relaxing with friends and family. 

His favorite number is 21. "My dad, brother and I were all born on the 21st." How's that for a coincidence? 

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