Hodges Trial Lawyers send local Boys and Girls Club members to Rocket City Classic

Boys and Girls Club Basketball

Our firm was proud to donate tickets to the local Boys and Girls Club so that sixty-five (65) boys and girls can attend tonight’s matchups featuring Alabama vs. Mercer and UAH vs. Shorter. Jeremiah is pictured here with Patrick Wynn, President of the Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Wynn stated that “The boys and girls were very excited to attend the games at the VBCC.” Our firm is honored to have the chance to put smiles on little faces. Roll Tide and Go Chargers!

Five End of the Year Tax Tips

Guest Article by Amanda Romine, Accountant at CDPA, P.C.

The end of the year is fast approaching. This is an important time to look at your finances and to focus on your upcoming taxes. Jeremiah asked me to share a few useful end-of-the-year tax tips. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Accelerate Deductions: If you take advantage of itemized deductions, you may want to accelerate next year’s deductions into the current year for which the tax rates are known. For example, you might make January’s mortgage payment in December in order to have an additional month of interest to deduct, or you might move forward with an elective medical procedure or give additional funds to charity.
  • Donations: When making charitable contributions keep the rules in mind. All deductions must have a receipt. Donations in excess of $250 must also have (1) an acknowledgement letter from the charity detailing the amount of the donation, (2) date of the donation, and (3) that no goods or services were received in return for the contribution.
  •  Tax-Free Transfers: If you are over 70 and 1/2 with an IRA, consider a direct transfer to a charity. These qualified charitable distributions are tax-free transfers that still meet the required minimum distribution. As a result, taxable income is lower.
  •  Worthless Stocks: You may have stock that was purchased years ago in companies that have since gone bankrupt. Go through your records and memory to determine if you have any “worthless” stock, so those losses can be deducted now.
  • ACA: For 2017 all family members must still have qualified health insurance or pay the shared responsibility payment. Many Americans have joined a Healthcare Sharing Ministry which exempts them from paying the penalty; however, there is no tax deduction for the costs associated with a Healthcare Sharing Ministry.

DID YOU KNOW WE OFFER FREE SERVICES FOR EXISTING AND FORMER CLIENTS?

Free Legal Services

Up to Two Page Contract Review – We can review simple contracts for you to make sure you are not signing away rights without good reason.  During this process, we can explain some of the legalese to make sure you understand your agreement and any consequences.

Will/POA Review – As things change in life, wills and Powers of Attorney can become obsolete.  Why not be sure that your paperwork is consistent with your current needs and be sure that your children are protected in case something happens to you.

Insurance Declarations Page Review – Sometimes people have inadequate coverages for their specific needs.  Lack of the right coverage, especially uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, can have devastating consequences.  Sometimes our clients have coverages that they really don’t need, but not ones that are critical.  We can review your declarations page and give you advice at no cost.

Notary Service (In Office) – Need a document notarized?  Call and set up a time that fits your schedule.

Fifteen (15) Phone Consultation on General Legal Issues – This can solve the simple legal questions when you just are not sure what to do.  We are here to help.

Disability: Do I NEED a lawyer?

I’m thinking about applying for Social Security disability, do I need a lawyer or should I do it myself? Will a lawyer take all of my benefits? How much does a lawyer actually do in a disability case?

 

We hear these questions all the time. The short answer is, it depends. Some people prefer to have a lawyer with them from the beginning of their case because they are afraid they might mess something up on their own. This is a legitimate fear. We handle many cases from the filing of the initial application because the online application is lengthy and can be difficult to use to someone unfamiliar with it. This is the safest action and one we always recommend. If you are approved, we generally won’t even generate a fee and just ask that you remember that we helped you and spread the word to others.

 

But if you are comfortable with filing your own application, then often times you can wait until your initial application is denied before hiring a lawyer. After your claim is denied, you really need a lawyer to navigate the appeals process and hearing before an administrative law judge. A competent lawyer can review and order additional records, can ask treating doctors for written opinions on your abilities, prepare a pre-hearing brief for the judge, and attend the hearing with you. So at this stage, a lawyer is essential to helping you win your disability claim. You’ve already been denied once, you need a lawyer to help ensure that doesn’t happen again.

Keeping Your Pets Safe at Christmas

Keeping your pets healthy!

 

Many of our readers have pets, including dogs, that they love and want to keep safe.  Countless others will add a puppy or a kitten during the holiday season.  Christmas and holiday functions are great fun, but they create lots of opportunities for your furry pal to end up at the vet.  Here are some tips to keep your four-legged members of the family safe:

  • Poinsettias are poisonous to dogs and cats
  • Pets should not have any real bones, they can splinter and cause injury
  • Pets cannot easily digest pork (No bacon for Fido!)
  • Feeding pets greasy foods can lead to messy outcomes
  • Ribbons and bows are easy targets for your cat
  • Breads, batters, and candies are not for pets
  • Of course, chocolate is a big no-no as it is toxic for dogs and cats.

Following these simple tips will help keep your furry friends healthy and lead to a Happy New Year.