As you plan your upcoming wedding (congratulations, by the way!) you probably aren’t thinking about, well, taxes.
But you should be! There are some key tax write-offs for weddings that you may be missing out on, and we want you to take advantage of every tax issue you can.
The best part? You get to actually feel good about what you are doing. All of these write-offs include donating what you have to organizations that help others, so you are helping yourself and helping others.
Donate Your Wedding Dress
There are philanthropies dedicated to collecting and distributing gently used gowns to those who can’t afford them on their own!
Consider Making Memories, a foundation dedicated to helping women with breast cancer.
You can also donate it to a local second-hand shop, just make sure that it is technically a nonprofit before doing so. Just ask them if they are a 503-c and they will know what you mean.
Photography, Decorations & Flowers
Definitely make sure to keep all of your receipts for the wedding photography, flowers, and decorations! You can donate your tealights, centerpieces, etc, to a local Salvation Army or Goodwill and write it off as a donation up to the fair market value of each item! You will definitely need a receipt from the organization you choose to donate to!
Consider donating your flowers to a women’s shelter or a similar nonprofit; that way their beauty can be appreciated before they wilt and you get a write-off.
Host Your Wedding in a Non-Profit Venue
If you host your ceremony or reception in a house of worship, a historic building, a garden, museum, state or national park, your site fees can be written off as deductible donations.
Say you are hosting your ceremony at a church. If their services aren’t set up so that you can use it as a tax write-off, see if you can make a large donation instead of paying your ceremony fee. Never hurts to ask!
Donate Your Extra Food
Chances are that your guests won’t actually eat all of the food that you have. Luckily, you can always donate it to a nearby homeless shelter.
Here is a list of homeless shelters near us in Northern Virginia to get you started.
This one takes a little bit of extra work. You are going to need to keep and record all of your receipts and contracts with your caterers so that you can actually calculate the value of the food you donated.
We recommend you coordinate with both your caterer and the organization you are donating to beforehand. It’s always better to figure out the details earlier rather than later!
Having acquired the requisite knowledge and skills for being a legal secretary is one of the major steps in becoming an in-demand secretarial professional. However, you do you set yourself as part of the ideal candidate for such a position in the legal field? You will have to go above and beyond mastering the necessary skills to grasp the significance of having the following seven essential work traits of a legal secretary.
1. Be Reliable
As a legal secretary, you hold the position of a lawyer’s right-hand person. Such a role demands utmost reliability that is not focused on showing up to work early. You may have to endure days where you have to spend long hours in the office. In some instances, your employer may have an early date with the courts and will have an easy morning if the needs files for the case are in order and will not rummaging through the documents.
Therefore, you should make some changes to your personal life, where necessary to that your work does not turn into a stressful profession. It will help ensure that you become someone that the attorney can rely on, especially during the most demanding of moments. Some of the things you can do to become more reliable include having the number of your favorite take-out joint on speed dial and making plans for child care if you have kids,
2. Be a Self-Starter
Have that drive to do things, take the initiative even when you are least required for such. Avoid sitting around waiting for instructions and assignments from your employers. Stay on top of things; know what you need to do, how and when. Anticipating your boss’ needs will greatly bolster your image as an in-demand secretarial professional. Step out of your comfort zones and learn new things and acquire new skills that will help you execute your duties and ensure the practice runs smoothly.
3. Be Efficient
In every law firm, efficiency is the key to making good money. It is the same thing (work trait) that is expected in any legal secretary. You should work efficiently, and this will translate to time and cost savings that are bound to go unnoticed by your employer. Such a trait makes you an indispensable asset for the attorney and the legal team.
4. Be Discrete
Matters related to your job are sensitive and thus the need to exercise utmost discretion when handling confidential client files and information. Knowingly or unknowingly disclosing confidential data is one of the quickest ways of ending your career. Always leave work at the office when you are stepping out of the door, just as you do with your personal life when you are leaving your home. Do not rehash your day with your friends or family; that is one of the ways you can easily slip and mention something that should remain confidential.
5. Be Pleasant
Do your best to stay positive. Avoid being too demanding and grumpy. Strive to be courteous with everyone, your workmates and the clients. Keep in mind that those who come seeking legal assistance often are dealing with serious issues and will greatly appreciate talking with someone that makes them fill calm and is reassuring.
Therefore, always try to maintain a smile and not be rude. If the pressures of work seem to weight you down, take a moment to take a breather. If the client needs some alone time, offer them a glass of water or coffee as you step out. Be patient and handle things with diplomacy and tact as you try to forge solutions or smooth over any disparities. Such a character in the execution of your duties will make you an invaluable member of the practice.
5. Be Patient
The nature of the work of an attorney seem many of them under pressure to deliver and thus they more often than not very busy and highly dependent on their assistants or secretaries. As such, they may have some work habits and attitudes that may need you to distinguish exercise patience and understanding. You may have an employer who is a chronic procrastinator or one that is woefully disorganized or even who is a bit strict with work ethics. Your ability to understand and handle every personality is one of the challenges of your line of work that fashions you to become a successful legal secretary.
7. Be Compassionate
Of all the traits that can be mentioned, compassion may be the most significant. Every person that working into the law firm seeking assistance entrusts the practice with matters that they deem vital to their lives. It is the strong feelings they have about such issues that push them to enlist the services of legal professionals. If you are compassionate, you will be able to handle everything with this understanding, and this will make the clients see you in good light, and your employer will value your services and expertise.
To become a professional in the legal field, you have to do more than just pick tips from watching Law & Order or Suits; you need to put in the time and work. Understand that the legal field is broad and thus has different lawyers. Consequently, you should familiarize yourself with all the legal terms and requirements.
You also should gain the following essential skills.
1. Communication Skills
How you communicate will influence how far your career in law will go. As an attorney, you should articulate your points with ease, making them clear and concise whether in oral or written form. How you talk should be in a persuasive yet reassuring language. Also, be attentive; listen to your clients so that you understand their issues so that you can give answers based on the details they deem vital and opt to disclose to you. Furthermore, you should be confident as you communicate because such confidence will also be necessary when you are speaking in courts, explaining complicated information to the client or negotiating settlements.
2. Keep Learning
The world is continuously evolving, and lawyers need to change with the times. They should be up to date with current affairs, be able to process data with ease using the latest techniques. Such a requirement is only possible through continued learning, which is something that any legal advocate should enjoy. It helps them stay abreast with the current laws and legal requirements or new legislation. And as a lawyer, you should have excellent research and analytical skills. As such, your desire to read and learn new things is well placed, but you should have the skills need to extract information pertinent to your client’s case from even the unlikeliest of sources.null
3. Attention to Detail
No details, big or small should go past you when handling a case; otherwise, you may overlook something that is a significant piece in winning a case. Such a skill is vital especially if you have handling matters related to refining the details in a contract for a client. If you are not attentive, you can easily miss a vital phrase, word, or clause that could make or break the case.
4. Organization Skills
Your profession requires you to be very organized since you will be handling a lot of different documents and data, information that you would not want to lose or have it mixed up. Some of the people that come to you may have extensive amounts of information; thus, the need to have a robust filing system that makes it easy for you to draw up the documents you need quickly.
You will have to learn how to prioritize your time so that you can handle your workload and meet your deadlines. Such a demand will push you to learn how to multitask besides having to do things based on a strong work ethic. You will need to plan effectively and allocate enough time for the various things you need to handle.
6. Customer Service Skills
You must have a friendly and welcoming personality; this is key to the delivery of exceptional customer service. Understand that you will deal with people from all walks of life and must strive to form trust and strong relationships with your clients irrespective of their diversities in opinion, needs, and reasons for seeking your legal expertise and assistance.