To all the dads out there, happy Father’s Day! We all have our own unique relationships and therefore unique lists with an endless number of things we can and should thank our dads for. But the one thing we all have in common is there are not enough words and never the perfect gifts that fully encompass how thankful we are for all they’ve given us. A dapper tie, classic “#1 dad” t-shirt, a new tool for the toolbox, the hippest craft beers, these are all great. These gifts are kind, but they pale in comparison to all the tangible and intangible things your *pops* has given you over the years.
That’s why I propose this year you give your father a gift that’s unconventional, yet incredibly valuable…an estate plan! Why is this one of the greatest gifts for a loved one?
- An estate plan leads to peace of mind. Your dad can feel good knowing if the unexpected happens, then the legal “stuff” surrounding your life is accounted for.
- Estate planning means that you (the testator) get to make the decisions about who you want to have what stuff and when.
- Estate planning isn’t just about death. Documents like financial and health care powers of attorney play an important role if (gosh forbid!) your father were to be incapacitated by an accident or illness. Everyone wants the ability to choose the people they want to make important decisions regarding their money and health instead of a court-appointed guardian or conservator.
- Estate planning saves your family (including dads for sure!) time and money in attorney’s fees and court costs in the probate process.
- By encouraging your father to execute an estate plan, you are recognizing that you want his wishes to be heard on important matters like disposition of final remains and a living will. (It makes up for all the times you didn’t follow directions as a kid!)
- Estate plans can also be seen as a representation of your everlasting love for your father, because estate plans never expire! They need to be reviewed regularly and updated when goals or big life-changing events happen, but a valid estate plan will last as long as your mom wants it to. What other Father’s Day gifts can you say that about?
- Help your father leave an enduring legacy. Estate planning means your dad can plan for his estate to benefit the causes and organizations he cares for through charitable bequests.
How do you gift someone an estate plan you ask? Well, you certainly can’t buy one at a store, but this is your chance to get creative.
- Gift the gift of information.Even sharing the benefits and educating your dad on the main components of an estate plan is an amazing present.
- Connect him with an estate planning attorney.Sometimes the hardest part of estate planning is simply getting started. When you work with an estate planning attorney (in lieu of something with a high potential for negative unintended consequences like a DIY will off the internet), they help guide and consult you through the process on top of writing the actual documents.
- Give a storage container.This is a gift you could actually put a bow on! There are many different ways you can choose to store your estate plan, so take stock of what your father has in terms of secure storage. Is there a locked file cabinet readily available or does he need a water-proof, fire-proof place to keep his original estate plan? The storage container could be a sort of representative for the estate plan that is to come.
- Help dad gather information to fill out an Estate Plan Questionnaire. An Estate Plan Questionnaire helps you and your attorney collect all the important details related to your estate in one place.
- Gift your assistance. Let your father know that when he’s ready to discuss his planning decisions that you’ll be there to listen, and if necessary, bring your siblings (if any) and all other family members to the table so that everyone is on the same page.
Already got your dad a gift? That’s wonderful! I’m sure he would love it in addition to an estate plan!
I’ve written a lot about IRS Form 990 on this blog, but all nonprofits organized in Iowa or authorized to business in the state also need to file a Biennial Report with the office of the Iowa Secretary of State. The report is required under Iowa Code §504.1613.
The report is pretty basic and is essentially entity information updates of which the Iowa Secretary of State’s office records. Report requirements vary by state, so I’ve laid out all the basics below!
When is my nonprofit’s Biennial Report due?
Biennial Reports should be submitted between January 1 and April 1 in odd-numbered years (like this one, 2019!). An organization’s first Biennial Report is due on the first odd-numbered year following the calendar year of formation. So, if your nonprofit was formed (meaning you submitted articles of incorporation) in October 2019, the first Biennial Report would be due by April 1, 2021.
Does someone have to sign it? Does it need to be notarized?
Yes; someone with authority in the organization should sign it (such as the president of the board of directors), however, original signatures are not required. Notarization is also not required.
What information is included in the biennial report?
The statute requires the following information be reported. (Note that a nonprofit is still a “corporate” entity, even though we don’t typically refer to nonprofit organizations like corporations.):
- Name of the corporation
- State or country under whose law the nonprofit incorporated
- Address of the corporation’s registered office
- Name of the corporation’s registered agent at that office in Iowa
- Consent of any new registered agent, if applicable
- Address of the corporation’s principal office
- Names and addresses of the president, secretary, treasurer, and one member of the board of directors
- Whether or not the corporation has members
The information on the Biennial Report should be related to the two-year period immediately preceding the calendar year in which the report is filed.
Is there a form?
Yes, there is a form you can file online or by mail. You will need both the corporation number and a temporary code to begin the filing process. Each corporation’s registered agent will receive a Biennial Report notice in early January.
Does it cost money?
Unlike the costs for LLCs or for-profit corporations, for nonprofit corporations, the filing fee is $0.
While you’re thinking about reporting, once you have the Biennial Report submitted turn your attention to Form 990. Do you know which version you can submit? Do you need to adopt any beneficial policies and procedures to boost your filing (and amplify good governance and successful operations in your organization)?
Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about any forms and reporting. It can seem like a pain at first, but the more prepared you are and the more knowledge you have, the faster you can get back to work, forwarding your mission.
There are several provisions that just about all employee handbooks should include. Let’s simply cover the top five. There are certainly numerous other important provisions to include in an employee handbook, but these five are critical and provide important protections for employers (both nonprofit and for-profit).
The employee handbook should make it clear it is NOT a contract. The employee handbook needs a “disclaimer.”
Under Iowa law it’s critically important to point out that the employee handbook is just that–a handbook–and not an employment contract. And, the employee handbook should not make any promises about continued employment. Consider using language similar to this:
I understand and agree that nothing in the Employee Handbook creates, or is intended to create, a promise or representation of continued employment and that employment at [Nonprofit/Company] is employment at will, which may be terminated at the will of either [Nonprofit/Company] or myself. Furthermore, I acknowledge that this handbook is neither a contract of employment nor a legal document.
The employee handbook should make clear it trumps other, older policies and provisions. The employee handbook needs a “superseding” provision.
The employee handbook should make clear that it includes the most up-to-date guidance on company policies. Wording like this may be helpful:
This handbook and the policies and procedures contained herein supersede any and all prior practices, oral, or written representations, or statements regarding the terms and conditions of my employment with [Nonprofit/Company]. By distributing this handbook, [Nonprofit/Company] expressly revokes any and all previous policies and procedures that are inconsistent with those contained herein.
The employee handbook should make clear it is subject to change. It needs “wiggle room” language.
The policies in the handbook may well be subject to change. Of course, new issues arise, and you may need to make revisions. Consider using something like the following:
I understand that, except for employment-at-will status, any and all policies and practices may be changed at any time by [Nonprofit/Company], and [Nonprofit/Company] reserves the right to change my hours, wages, and working conditions at any time. All such changes will be communicated through official notices, and I understand that revised information may supersede, modify, or eliminate existing policies.
The employee handbook should make clear that employees are “at will.”
The employee handbook must be unambiguous about employees’ at will status:
Your employment is not for any specific time and may be terminated at will with or without cause and without prior notice by [Nonprofit/Company].
The employee handbook should contain an acknowledgment page.
It is important the employee handbook includes an acknowledgment page that the employee signs and returns. The acknowledgment page should state that the employee understands it is his or her responsibility to read and follow the policies. The acknowledgment page should also be able to be separated from the handbook so that it can be signed by the employee and saved in the employee’s personnel file. Wording like this might be helpful:
I have received the handbook, and I understand that it is my responsibility to read and comply with the policies contained in this handbook and any revisions made to it.
Employee’s Name (Print)
TO BE PLACED IN EMPLOYEE’S PERSONNEL FILE
Does your employee handbook contain these five provisions? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call at 515-371-6077 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.