Will Planning

What is the Tax Implications in Virginia Estate Planning?

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While planning estate trust and will, it’s essential to understand the tax implications it may attract. Maryland and D.C. are two states that impose an estate tax. However, in Virginia, there is no tax on the estate. However, in Virginia, the estate’s value determines how much federal tax will be implicated on the property. Thus, it’s always advised to consult a qualified tax lawyer Virginia Beach when preparing an estate plan.

As of 2017, an estate worth over $5,490,000 is subjected to a 40% of the federal estate tax. Similarly, if your estate worth is less than $5,490,000, no federal tax will be imposed on you. It’s not mandatory to file an estate tax return. Estates worth exceeding $5,490,000 are counted as taxable estate, and the owners are taxed according to the federal tax law.

Estate tax return

In many states of the U.S., estate owners must pay estate tax upon transferring the ownership of their property after their death. If your estate’s value is more than $5,490,000, you will have to file an estate tax return. Since Virginia doesn’t have an estate tax, one must file a federal estate tax return if their estate value reaches a specific limit.

All assets, including probate and non-probate assets, should be mentioned while filing the tax return. Some common examples of these assets are cars, property, jewelry, bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, etc. Assets that a person owns at their death are also included while filing the estate tax return.

It’s worth noting that all the assets are valued from the date of a person’s death. For determining the value of the real estate and properties owned by the deceased person, a professional appraisal may be required. The timeline assigned for filing the federal estate tax return is nine months from the date of death.

Required documents for estate tax return

While filing a federal estate return, one must submit the death certificate of the estate owner. Along with this, a copy of the last will and testament, trust, and inventories of assets are also needed.

What are some other tax returns?

The personal representative of the decedent plays a crucial role in the matters of estate planning. They are tasked with the responsibility of filling the income tax return of the deceased person. Filing a personal income tax return is different from filing an estate tax return. However, in a certain situation, one may not be required to file an estate tax return.

If a person dies at the start of a year, it’s the personal representative’s responsibility to file the income tax return of the current year. In case a person dies in the mid-year, the personal representative should file the income tax return by the following year.

How to mitigate the impact of Fairfax estate taxes

In Virginia, there is no separate estate tax. If you are a resident of Virginia with estate and property in the state, you must be aware of the federal tax system. Consulting a will and estate lawyers Virginia Beach is the best way to comply with federal law.…

Trademark Law

What Is The Purpose Of Trademark Law?

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Trademark law is really an offshoot of “unfair competition” law, which protects businesses against unethical practices of other businesses. Trademark law protects against these unethical practices as they relate to branding tools that identify and distinguish the goods and services provided by businesses from one another in the mind of consumers. Businesses earn this protection because they often spend a lot of time and effort creating an identity around themselves and their commercial offerings.

This identity helps customers recognize their products and services. Basically, trademark law exists to protect this identity in the same way that patent, copyright and trade secrets law exists to protect other types of intellectual property. In fact, it seeks not so much to “protect” your commercial identity as to provide a bundle of rights enforceable in court against trespassers, or infringers, on this identity. Thus, trademark law functions more like a sword than a shield.

Why Should I Be Concerned About Trademark Law?

As an entrepreneur, you are probably eager to find ways to set yourself apart from your competition, whether existing or imagined. A distinctive name, a catchy slogan, a memorable logo…these all help to create a positive image associated with your business and you hope that they will ultimately result in more sales. But what if you invest time and money into creating an identity which conflicts with the legal and intellectual property rights held by others?

What if your efforts do not conflict with current marks, but also do not offer you much protection against future copycats, who will inevitably spring up when your business is successful? So, now you have two reasons to be concerned about trademark law, really. The upshot is that the changing landscape of business, especially the proliferation of the Internet, has dramatically increased the relevance of trademark law in recent years. By allowing businesses to expand cheaply and easily beyond local markets, the Internet has opened up a Pandora’s Box of potential trademark conflicts. Almost any business is now capable of selling directly to consumers nationally and internationally, and the scope of their concerns about trademark protection must expand accordingly.

OK…I’m Worried. What Should I Do About It?

First of all, you shouldn’t worry it’s not good for you! I have outlined a general approach to securing trademark protection that will work for many entrepreneurs who plan on selling a product or service nationally. Here is where I remind you these are guidelines and NOT legal advice:

 Step One: How Do I Create A Good Trademark?

Keep in mind that once customers associate a trademark with a particular product, service or provider, would-be competitors frequently try to copy some or all aspects of the mark in the pursuit of profit. These copycats risk paying a stiff legal price for trading off the success of others, so a prudent strategy for you, the entrepreneur, maybe to purposely avoid any similarities to either your competitors or famous marks in the pursuit of a corporate identity. In other words, pick something that stands on its own.

Step Two: Trademark Search, How and Why?

A trademark search is a systematic hunt for existing marks that legally conflict with your proposed mark. A competent search identifies both direct conflicts and analytical conflicts. An analytical search scans for non-obvious conflicts like homonyms, synonyms, anagrams, phonetic equivalents, alternative spellings and other similarities. Entrepreneurs often possess a do-it-yourself ethos, but trying to do a good trademark search yourself is folly because of the steep learning curve involved.

 Step Three: Trademark Registration, How and Why?

Since you will have to pay the fee regardless of whether the mark is accepted or rejected, you want to be assured of a reasonable chance of success when you file an application. Before you go about registering a trademark with the USPTO, you should understand a critical principle of US trademark law.

Namely, federal trademark law is governed by the principle of first use, rather than first registration. That is, you get certain legal rights simply by using a mark in commerce, and these rights trump later registration of the same mark by another party.…