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Gianelli Nielsen News Blog

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Fine Print: A Quick History of Boilerplate


As a business owner, you know that terms of a contract are typically negotiated between you and the other parties to the contract. However, some contract terms are already established, usually by lawyers and are attached to your contracts. The term “boilerplate” may sound like it belongs in an equipment manual, but it is a legal term that refers to standardized, formal contract language that addresses the “what if” situations. In other words, it’s the fine print of a contract. 

A Quick History of Boilerplate 

There’s a good reason why the word “boilerplate” doesn’t sound like it belongs in law, it didn’t originate there.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 2, 2015

Eminent domain: How the California Government Can Buy Private Land for Public Use


A controversial plan to convert hundreds of thousands of acres of California farmland into a high speed rail corridor has certainly been making news headlines.

But despite being confronted with a host of lawsuits, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is still planning to undertake the massive public works project, the fruit of a multi-billion dollar bond measure approved by voters in 2008.

CHSRA's use of eminent domain entails purchasing numerous and often odd shaped parcels from area farming operations to facilitate the construction of the high-speed rail project.

When the high-speed rail project is finally completed in 2029, commuters will zip between San Francisco and Los Angeles at speeds approaching 200 MPH. Purported southern and northern extensions will reach to San Diego and Sacramento.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 2, 2015

Is Crowdfunding Right For You?


Crowdfunding has emerged as an exciting alternative to traditional business financing. In essence, a crowdfunding model solicits a large number of smaller investments from an extremely broad base of investors, allowing entrepreneurs to raise the capital they need to get a project off the ground without exposing any single investor to a deterring level of risk.

While crowdfunding has shown some promise, there is still risk involved and investors need to have realistic expectations. Also, entrepreneurs should be aware that many crowdfunding ventures fail before they reach an operational stage, and understand strategies they can use to increase their chances of success.

Because of its collective nature, crowdfunding shields investors from significant losses and because individual contributors don't generally contribute large amounts of money.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 2, 2015

Charitable Giving: Which Americans Are the Most Generous?


Charitable giving is growing at a healthy pace, a sign that Americans are a little more confident about the economy and their own finances.

Individuals, corporations and foundations donated $316.2 billion to charitable causes in 2012, a 3.5 percent increase over 2011, according to the annualGiving USA study, which is conducted by the Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

A Partial Recovery

As encouraging as those numbers are, charitable giving was still below the level it reached before the 2008 financial crisis -- $344.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 2, 2015

A Primer For Trustees & Prospective Trustees


One of the most important decisions to make in estate planning is the selection of a trustee to administer the trusts upon death or disability

It Takes a Trustee…

A trustee should be experienced, responsible, trustworthy, fair, insightful, intelligent, and resourceful. Now that just may fit a lot of folks.  But for those of us who were selected as trustee because we are the lesser of evils (our siblings being the other evils) this article may be a helpful guide to the task of being a trustee.

For whatever reason, you were chosen to be trustee of your parents’/aunt’s/cousin’s/best friend’s/dentist’s trust.

Now What Do You Do?

  1. Take all of the funds from the trust, buy a large yacht, sail to a small island off La Paz and sip margarita’s in the shade of a mango tree for the rest of your life, or

  2. Celebrate all your good luck by throwing a clothing optional party for all of your friends at trust expense, or

  3. Burn the trust so that one will ever know it even existed, or

  4. Get some professional help (financial, accounting and legal not psychiatric).
    Read more . . .


Monday, November 2, 2015

Portability of the Unused Exclusion Amount of a Deceased Spouse


Portability means that a surviving spouse’s applicable exclusion amount (also known as the surviving spouse’s credit shelter)i is increased by the deceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount (the deceased spouse’s unused credit shelter). Portability has been made permanent by the enactment of H.R. 8 by Congress (known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) on January 1, 2013, and the signing of the bill into law by the President on January 2, 2013. 

MANNER OF MAKING THE ELECTION

The election can only be made by timely filing an estate tax return (Form 706) and making the portability election of the deceased spousal unused exclusion (DSUE) amount.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 2, 2015

The Brinker Case – The Meal Period Obligation


After three years of waiting, the California Supreme Court has finally rendered their decision in the case of Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court. This has been a highly-anticipated decision in that it was to provide much-needed clarification regarding the extent of an employer’s obligations to provide rest and meal periods to their employees.

The widespread confusion on this issue has resulted in a tidal wave of class-action litigation against employers. More often than not, these companies believed they were in compliance, but nonetheless found themselves embroiled in expensive litigation.
Read more . . .


Monday, October 26, 2015

Year End Gifts


If you’re like most people, you want to make sure you and your loved ones pay the least amount of tax possible. Many use year-end gift giving as a way to transfer wealth to younger generations and also reduce the overall potential estate tax that will be due upon their death. Below are some steps you can take to make gifts to your heirs without triggering any gift tax liability. Some of these techniques may also reduce your own income tax liability.

A combination of estate and gift tax exemptions can be used to significantly reduce the overall tax liability of your estate.
Read more . . .


Monday, October 19, 2015

Legal Concerns When Doing Business Online


We live in a digital world and if you are not doing business online you could be missing out on the profits and other benefits of this marketplace.  If you want to expand your business horizons using the internet, you should be aware of the legal implications that may come along with the benefits.  You should make your customers aware of your policies when doing business online and it is also imperative that you tend to intellectual property concerns at the same time.

  1. I.                   Terms and Conditions

An important but frequently overlooked legal aspect of doing business online is the Terms and Conditions of Use agreement.
Read more . . .


Monday, October 12, 2015

Questions You Shouldn't Ask or Answer During an Interview


Job-seekers have to be ready to respond to any interview question asked of them, but not every question has to be answered. 

To ensure that employers do not discriminate against candidates based on age, gender, race, health and family arrangements, there are certain regulations which restrict the type of questions which are permissible during an interview. Below, we explore several topics that may be problematic and should not be asked of potential employees: 

Questionable Questions

Let’s take a look at a few topics that may be problematic. 

  • Age: Does anyone like to be asked their age unless just turning 21? Probably not. While an interviewer may ask whether a candidate is over the age of 18 or 21, he or she may not ask for a specific age.
    Read more . . .


Monday, September 28, 2015

People. The Essential Component of Your Estate Plan’s Success


Properly drafted estate planning documents are integral to the success of your legacy and end-of-life wishes.  Iron-clad estate planning documents, written by a knowledgeable attorney can make the difference between the success and failure of having your wishes carried out.  However, there’s more to estate planning than paperwork.  For your wishes to have the best chance of being honored, it is important to carefully choose the people who will carry them out.


Your estate plan can assign different responsibilities to different people.
Read more . . .


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