Skip to main content
Stuart Warren Cordell

Stuart Cordell’s Answers

8 total

  • What is and is not included in estate after death?

    If a surviving parent deeds his property (prior to his death) to his two children for $1 (and, also, keeps his name on deed), does this property become part of the estate after his death?

    Stuart’s Answer

    To determine which assets are included in a probate estate, we look first to the title of the asset. "Probate assets" means they are subject to the jurisdiction of the probate court, and pass under the terms of the decedent's will. Note that some assets may not subject to probate, but are still taxable.

    Assets in the decedent's name alone are included in his or her probate estate. Assets the decedent owned as a co-tenant, but not in survivorship, may be included. Assets owned in joint and survivorship form are generally not included in the probate estate (but are included in the taxable estate). Assets that are held in trust or have a beneficiary designation (life insurance, retirement plans) are generally not included.

    In this case, if your parent transferred title to the property to the children, but reserved a "life estate" or similar interest, the property may not be included in the probate estate. Instead, if done properly, you may need only to file a death certificate in the land records to extinguish his interest. However, the answer will depend on how the transfer was done. I recommend speaking with a qualified lawyer in your area who can review the document and advise you on the proper course of action.

    See question 
  • What is the difference between a non-for-profit and for profit? And can both do fundraiser?

    What is the difference between a non-for-profit and for profit? And can both do fundraiser?

    Stuart’s Answer

    To begin I assume you are speaking of the two different types of corporations authorized by the state statutes - the for profit corporation, and the non-profit corporation.

    For profit corporations are entities formed by individuals (called shareholders). Their purpose is to engage in business. The goal of the for profit corporation is to make money that can be distributed to the shareholders, either in the form of owner distributions, dividends, or as a result of a sale of the business.

    Non-profit corporations are also formed by individuals (often called members), but their purpose is not so much to engage in business (although, within certain limits, they can), but instead to accomplish a purpose. There are many kinds of non-profit corporations. Some are for charitable purposes, and pursue religious, educational, scientific or other goals. Some are trade or business organizations (like a chamber of commerce or a trade association). Some are social clubs. The common theme among non-profits is they are not organized to make money for distribution to their members. Although they can pay salaries to employees, they cannot distribute their net income to their members. They must hold the net income for the purpose of the corporation, whatever that is.

    For profit corporations generally do not hold fund raising events. All non-profits may hold fund raisers, but only a charity, which has received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service recognizing its charitable status, can offer its donors an income tax charitable deduction for donations.

    See question 
  • Grandparent giving money for college tuition .

    My parent want to help pay my sons college tuition by taking money from their 401k. what is the best way to do this with paying the least taxes and penalties. I have heard something about sending money directly to college? And also a gift tax? ...

    Stuart’s Answer

    Glad you asked - and I assume you posted this before they took action.

    First, the person taking the distribution must use the money for qualified education expenses (tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment; room and board if certain criteria are met), at an eligible education institution (generally all accredited public or non-profit post secondary schools). That way, even if that person is younger than age 59.5, the distribution may not be subject to an early distribution tax, depending on certain other forms of tax free assistance the student receives.

    The amount of the distribution that is subject to ordinary income tax depends on the type of account, the amount of the earnings, etc. The plan administrator may be able to calculate that amount for you.

    In terms of gift taxes, there are two applicable exceptions. First, any amounts given to another and used for qualified education expenses are not subject to federal gift tax. In addition, thre is a $13,000 annual exclusion for amounts used for other than qualified exucation expenses.

    Making the payment directly to the college gives the payor the ability to demonstrate how the funds were used. That way, you have an "audit trail." In addition, making the payment directly to the college may just be a wise idea anyway. If the money is given to the student, he or she may use the money for something other than tuition, books and fees.

    See question 
  • My 26 year old daughter was paid $2600. For work.. The employer paid no taxes and gave a 10-99. Does she have to pay soc sec

    She is a doctoral student, has no other income. I along with student loans support her.

    Stuart’s Answer

    I believe the answer to your question is yes. Anyone who earns more than $400 per year from "self-employment" must pay a self-employment tax. The total amount of self-employment tax is 15.3%, which is made up of the FICA (or Social Security) portion (12.4%) and the Medicare portion (2.9%).

    When a person is "employed" as a worker, the employer pays one-half of the FICA and Medicare taxes, and the employee pays the other half. In this case, the "employer" probably considered your daughter as merely "casual labor," and an independent contractor. That is the reason they issued her a 1099, and did not withhold federal or state income tax from the payment. Likewise, they did not withhold a one-half share of the FICA and Medicare contributions (7.65%) from the payment.

    While the amount they paid your daughter is too small to be subject to income tax, it is nevertheless subject to self-employment tax. Consequently, she should complete and file a Form 1040, and attach a Schedule SE, paying the calculated amount of the self-employment tax.

    See question 
  • State of ohio trying to colllect back taxes from 1988 and 1989,what are the statue of limtations?

    what are the statue of limitations over 20 years ago and is it legal for the collection agency to keep sending letters and what are my legal rights?

    Stuart’s Answer

    With the limited facts you supplied, it is difficult to answer your question fully. There are many kinds of taxes the State of Ohio imposes, including income, sales, real estate and others. Assuming you are talking about income taxes, in general, the process starts with the filing of your return. If you didn't file a return, then it is questionable whether the statute of limitations even starts to run.

    Once you file an income tax return, the state has four years to review your return and provide a notice of assessment of additional tax. If they do send you such a notice, and you do not appeal it within 60 days, the assessment becomes final and can be collected. In addition, if you file a federal income tax return and it is audited, you must file an amended Ohio return as well. Again, if you don't file an amended Ohio return, the statute of limitations never starts to run.

    Finally, there may be an overall 10 year statute of limitations on assessments, but the Ohio Supreme Court has recently ruled that the 10 year limitation is suspended until September 28, 2009, so it may not apply.

    I would advise you to contact a qualified tax lawyer in your area to review your paperwork to give you a more complete answer.

    See question 
  • In a livign will is ther one fee or should i have to pay yearly ?

    Went to have a living will drawn up payed the fee and now we have to pay every year

    Stuart’s Answer

    Sounds like you did something more than just sign a Living Will. Generally, Living Will and Health Power of Attorney forms are available for free from many sources - hospitals and other health care or hospice organizations, the state bar association, the state palliative care organization, etc. Many lawyers also prepare the forms as part of an estate planning package of documents. Usually, once a Living Will document is signed, there would be no need for a continuing fee to be paid - the document is valid until it is revoked or the individual dies.

    However, you may have signed up with a service of some sort, that offers to provide you with additional help or services in the future - and charges an annual fee. For example, some services may store an electronic copy of your Living Will document, so it is available over the internet.

    Without knowing more about the situation, I can only suggest that you read the forms you signed, to see why you are being charged. Hope this is helpful.

    See question 
  • My father was in the hospital and he signed a dnr, he had a heartattack and the didn't look at his chart and brought back ?

    only to be left on life support and us children to be left to make the decision to remove him from the machine, that is why he signed for a dnr in the first place, am I correct?

    Stuart’s Answer

    Let me explain the distinction between a DNR order (which can only be entered by a licensed physician), and a Living Will/Power of Attorney for Health Care document (which is probably what your father signed).

    The Living Will states your father's intentions about his health care. It says that if he is in a "terminal condition" or "permanently unconscious state" (both of which must be diagnosed by his physician), then he requests that he not be put on artificial life support, but only be given comfort care (such as pain medication), and that the health care provider not ttry to prolong his life. If your father hadn't been diagnosed as terminal, then the hospital acted appropriately.

    The Health Care Power of Attorney appoints an agent to make health care decisions for your father, if he is unable to do so himself. It authorizes the agent to work with the physician to discuss your father's condition, and if he is diagnosed as terminal, to authorize the removal of life support.

    The Living Will document also contains a provision that permits a physician to enter a DNR order, but only if the physician, in his professional judgment, considers it appropriate.

    So, if your father wasn't already diagnosed as terminal, then the Living Will didn't apply yet. And if the physician hadn't entered the DNR order, then the health care workers acted appropriately. If your father is now diagnosed as terminal or in a permanently unconscious state, then the agent under the Power should discuss the pros and cons of removing life support.

    See question 
  • My friend wants to make me the guardian of her son in the event of her death. Could the father fight me for custody?

    She is not married to this man, and as far as we both know he is not on the birth certificate. If she names me as the legal guardian of her child and she dies will her will stand up in court? There are other extenuating circumstances. The father h...

    Stuart’s Answer

    Ohio law provides generally that the biological parent of a child is the presumed natural guardian of that child. As a result, in the event of the death of one of the biological parents, the other biological parent has a superior right to be the guardian of the minor. As objectionable as this may seem, this presumption has been upheld in cases where the surviving parent has a problematic lifestyle, or even a criminal record. As a result, it is important to know whether the man is truly the father of the child. Only a paternity test can demonstrate whether he is or not.

    Ultimately, the probate court has discretion over who will be named guardian, and has to consider the best interests of the minor. The person nominated in a will is given consideration, but biological relationships can be difficult to overcome.

    See question