Thursday, September 3, 2015

Selecting a Legal Structure for Your Business


Starting a business requires prospective entrepreneurs to make hundreds of different decisions before opening their doors to customers. One of the most important decisions is selecting the right legal structure for your enterprise. The manner in which you choose to organize will impact your taxes, personal liability exposure, and fundraising options.

Sole proprietorships are the most common arrangement for people who work alone. This structure is a popular choice because it is the easiest to arrange and does not require any filings with the state. One of the biggest disadvantages of the sole proprietorship, however, is that entity does not exist apart from the owner. Consequently, the owner is personally liable for all financial obligations and damages resulting from lawsuits filed against the company. Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to raise capital. Banks are reluctant to make loans to sole proprietorships, leaving the owners to rely on home equity loans or borrowing from family.

For enterprises with more than one owner, a partnership might be a good arrangement. Each partner contributes capital, labor, or expertise in order to turn a profit. The partners share in the profits, but like a sole proprietorship, they are also personally liable for debts and damages. One way in which partners can reduce personal exposure is by forming a limited partnership. This form consists of general partners who make decisions and assume the risks and limited partners with no control in the operations in exchange for reduced liability. Tax treatment is one of the main reasons this arrangement is selected. Profits and losses are passed through to the individual partners.

Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, are a type of structure that is becoming very popular. This structure creates an entity separate from the owners. As a result, the owners are not liable for debts or judgments against the venture. Unlike a limited partnership, all members are free to participate in the management and enjoy protection from personal liability. LLCs also enjoy pass through taxation. However, the tax rules for these structures are complicated. The amount of paperwork is a huge hurdle, and members must file articles of organization with the Secretary of State or sign an operating agreement.

The right structure for your business depends on a number of different factors unique to your enterprise. For example, a small boutique selling handmade cat collars will obviously have less risk and perhaps less revenue than a company that provides window washing services to high-rise office buildings. Prospective entrepreneurs are advised to contact their attorney or accountant in order to discuss the taxation and liability consequences of the different entities. A number of free or low-cost resources to help you make your decision are available from your local chamber of commerce, Small Business Administration, or volunteers with the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

Selecting the organization for your business is one of the most important decisions you and your partners will make. Research all of the available options and seek advice from experienced professionals before making your selection.

When starting a business, Michigan residents visit the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at http://www.michamber.com/.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Defining Legal Terms - By The People Fairfield CA



Rene goes over what types of questions they can help answer at By The People. A legal document preparation company.

See more at http://www.bythepeopleca.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What Is Estate Planning and Is It Useful?


Estate planning creates a plan for distribution of your assets after you die. Most of us are familiar with a common product of estate planning: the will. Featured in TV shows and in everyday conversations, sometimes, the discussion surrounding this popular topic is not favorable.

We've seen people contesting wills, challenging their family members, feeling cheated by the administrators of wills and by the law and we've seen them arguing through lawyers about what wills mean how they should be executed. Other forms of estate planning exist to reduce the amount of conflict surrounding decisions.

Health care decisions can be included in estate planning; a health care proxy exists so that a chosen person can act out the desires of an incapacitated person still under medical care.

When it comes to the distribution of their wealth and medical decisions, multiple measures exist to enable the dead and the severely injured a means of executing their own desires. However, even in the case where no formal plans are made, heirs do receive some forethought in terms of the law.

The law of intestacy communicates that even if no measures are taken to distribute assets by a deceased party, those assets will still go to the deceased person's heirs. The law of intestacy has the most staying power in situations where it is least likely to be challenged by those wanting more. For insurance, according to Attorney Sean W. Scott of Virtual Law Office, this law works with a small number of assets and a with a small number of heirs.

In each of these cases, one can imagine there would be less conflict involved. With less to fight over, less fights can ensue. The same is likely true with less beneficiaries; as heirs likely know one another well when smaller in number, less family tension can arise. Less instances of certain heirs feeling more worthy than others to certain possessions may exist. The likelihood that an individual or set of siblings would usurp others' belongings may be reduced. And general confusion arising from miscommunication and a lack of cemented durable relationships may possibly decrease with a smaller set of heirs. None of these suggestions are set in stone, yet corresponding data would be a more than interesting dinner topic.

Scott emphasizes the financial advantages of estate planning, sharing that taking certain precautions can save money for heirs receiving portions of estates. As lawyers stay on the job, working to settle issues between family members or between the state and family members, their tabs continue running. Evaluating the multiple options may familiarize you with the best decisions for your situation, reducing stress and increasing savings for your loved ones after you pass.

Estate planning businesses offer the best in financial services to their target markets through use of digital content. Al Tinas, (C. Catchings), provides high-quality content to estate planning experts as well as other business leaders.
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Uncontested Divorce - Definition, Terms and Conditions


An Uncontested Divorce is a legal procedure in which the spouses mutually agree on certain terms and conditions, in order to adjourn their marriage. An uncontested divorce can be executed successfully if the spouses comply to a shared agreement in the matters related to the property partition, financial matters, any kind of support activities related to their children, and other litigious affairs.

A major benefit of consenting with an uncontested divorce is that unlike contested divorce, it doesn't have to deal with emotional and financial issues, is relatively inexpensive and quick, since most of the times the spouses may not find any need of an attorney or a court case for the divorce, if they are in good terms with each other, and plan to go with proper understanding. This is quite helpful essentially when the couple has much less assets to deal with and no children.

There are many "Do it yourself" forms available at concerned regulatory agencies, which can assist you in going ahead with the uncontested divorce activity yourself, without the need of any outside legal authority or attorney.But, in case of the issues for child support or the partition of community property, one must follow up with attorney related to divorce, before they proceed with signing off any legal documents.

Divorce is a quite tedious and sometimes displeasing procedure.Despite having mutual consent on many of the terms, there still exist loads of matters that need to be taken care of, before ending up the marriage. The couple needs to be capable enough to distinguish these issues and resolve them as soon as they can. To decide whether it is appropriate for a couple to go ahead with an uncontested divorce rather than a contested one, there are certain points that can be used as reference:

1) Are both the spouses agreeing to go for a divorce, or one of them still wants to re-establish the relationship?

2) Are all the financial issues, modes of income and other related assets properly understood by both the spouses, so that they can divide and decide on them accordingly?

3) In case, there are children, are all the issues regarding the child care and support,custody, periodic meetings and visits decided yet?

4) Are all the issues getting settled with mutual consent, and are devoid of any hard feelings?

5) Are both the partners in accord with the honesty or authenticity of the other partner's notions,regarding the resolution of these issues?

If either of the above mentioned questions, has an answer as "yes", then it is appropriate to go for an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested divorce can be carried on easily and without much hassles, but they can be derogatory to certain individuals in case the people involved in the divorce, do not know much about their appropriate rights with respect to the alimony amount, partition of pension, earnings from real estate, and other modes of income.

Hence, it is always advisable to consult an attorney or other legal authorities related to divorce, even while going on with the uncontested divorce, where you and your partner mutually agree to all the terms.
Uncontested Divorce.
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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Estate Planning : The Probate Process Explained



The probate process can be a headache when estates are not planned well. Uncover the probate process with an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Don't "Lose" Your Living Will - Storage Places to Avoid


Question: I just came back from my attorney with my estate planning documents.  One of my documents is a "living will," but I have no idea where to put it.  How about putting it where it will be safe, like in my bank's safe deposit box?

Answer: Remember that a living will is only useful if it is found!  You should store your living will (also called an "advance healthcare directive") where it will be found when it is truly needed.

If your family has no idea where your living will is, the document is useless.  If it is never found, it is a legal document without any effect.  It will never serve any function.  The purpose of having a living will in the first place is to grant authority to your agent: Through that document your agent is given the legal authority to make essential healthcare decisions on your behalf.  But if your agent cannot find the document, he or she may never be able to make the decisions that you intend.

Where should you never store your living will?  Here are some places to avoid, the first being exactly where you are thinking of putting it:

Your safe deposit box.  Sorry, but think again!  If your agent does not have access to your bank safe deposit box, obviously he or she may never be able to get the living will in time so that it can be used.

Your home safe.  This is like placing your healthcare directives in the bank's vault.  If only you have the combination to the safe, then your agent will probably never find it.

Giving it to someone unknown to your agent.  This is another way to "lose" your directives -- giving the living will to someone other than your agent, without your agent's knowledge.  Again: If your agent has no idea where the living will is, then how can he or she get it?

Giving the original to someone at odds with your agent.  Some of you may have intra-family turmoil.  Obviously, never give your living will with someone who often fights with or is at odds with your designated agent.  Remember: The purpose of the living will is to ensure that your wishes are carried out.  PERIOD.  Your directives are not to be used in a way to be "fair" to another family member, or for any purpose other than ensuring that your wishes are followed.

Putting it where nobody would ever look.  This is a general category.  Never place your living will in a secret place, or in the middle of a "mess."  It should be kept in a place known to your agent, or otherwise where important papers are kept.

So many people go to the expense of preparing a living will, but give little thought as to where it should be kept.  Even more important, they place their living wills in entirely inappropriate places.  Make sure that your agent knows where you have stored your living will.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not legal advice, and the use of it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this article or any links from this article is expressly disclaimed. This article is not to be acted upon as if it were legal advice, and is subject to change without notice, or may include obsolete or dated information, or information not relevant to your jurisdiction. If you require legal services, you should consult with an attorney.


As a licensed attorney located in the Los Angeles San Gabriel Valley, Larry Stratton is in a position to coach and advise you, and to help you plan for your future. The Law Offices of Larry D. Stratton [http://www.strattonplanning.com] specializes in estate planning, business formation and appellate practice. Larry Stratton also blogs on estate and financial planning issues at Planner's Thoughts.
Larry Stratton is a graduate of Whittier College School of Law, which is a member school of the ABA and the AALS. He has represented numerous clients in the California Court of Appeal, and is admitted to practice in all California courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Tax Court, and also the United States Supreme Court. From 1983 to 1984, he was a member of the Whittier Law Review. Larry Stratton is also a Registered Investment Advisor, and currently speaks on estate and financial planning topics in Southern California.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Estate Planning : Do You Always Have to Probate a Will?



If the deceased has assets with deeds, a will most likely will not avoid probate. Strengthen your understanding of probate court with an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Estate Planning : Family Estate Trust or Revocable Living Trust?



Most people who ask for family estate trusts really want a revocable living trust to reduce estate taxes and manage finances.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Probate and Administrative Process, Know Your Rights


Probate is the system in which the court's system's method of processing the estates of a dead person. It is a legal document that enables the administration of the estate of the deceased. It allows for the resolving of claims and distribution of the deceased's will. Any grievances surrounding a deceased person's estate are filed in the probate court also known as the surrogate court. Once probated, the will becomes a legal instrument that can be enforced by the executor.

Administration process

Administration process of an estate on the other hand is the process by which the deceased person's assets are collected, maintained and distributed. An estate administrator sees to the proper administration of the will.

The Probate process

The probate process begins after the death of a person. An interested person files an application to administer the estate; a fiduciary is then appointed who is to administer the estate and at times may be required to pay a bond to safeguard and to insure the estate. Creditors are notified and legal notices published. There may be filed a petition to appoint a personal representative may need to be filed and letters of administration obtained. All these processes must be done in accordance with the limitation clause.

Property that avoids probate

Property that passes to another person contractually upon the death of a person does not enter probate for example a jointly owned property with rights of survivorship. Property held in a revocable or irrevocable trust that was created when the grantor's was still alive does not also enter probate. In most of these cases the property is distributed privately and without many issues thus no court action is required.

What happens in the probate and administrative process?

After a probate case has been filed in court, an inventory is entered and the deceased's property collected. The debts and taxes are paid first then the remaining property distributed to the beneficiaries. The probate and administrative process may be challenged at any time as a whole or part of it. The issues that arise during such hearings include will contests and paternity issues and these have to be solved before the matter is decided.

The need for the appointment of an administrator arises where the deceased left no will, some assets are not disposed of by the will, in cases where there is a will however, the case goes to probate directly. The estate administrators act like will executors but where the will does not state how to distribute of property, they follow the laid down laws.

Visit the Law Offices Roman Aminov Brooklyn to learn more on Probate Attorney Brooklyn law processes.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

4 Reasons to Form an LLC or Incorporate Your Business


Are you operating your business under a fictitious name, your own name or as a sole proprietorship or general partnership? Are you at risk because your assets are not protected from legal issues? If you are operating your business without the protection an LLC or corporate offers, it's time to make it official.

Here are four very good reasons to incorporate or form an LLC as soon as possible.

1. You are sending a bad message to your customers

When you operate as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, you are sending the message that you are still inexperienced, testing the waters or unsure if you are serious about your business. Maybe you have been told that incorporating or forming an LLC is just another expense and it won't save you anything on taxes. This is not the only thing you should consider, however, as you also want to consider how you are marketing your business and what you are telling your customers.

2. You can protect your assets

If you hold all of your assets in your name and you have not formed a corporation or LLC, you are doing something very risky. What happens if a customer sues you after they get hurt by a product? What if a vendor comes after you for non-payment? All it takes is one lawsuit -- which you will probably not see coming -- to ruin your personal credit and put your belongings and home at risk. Even if you do your best to play by the rules and treat everyone fairly, you cannot be fully covered while operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership.

When your corporation or LLC borrows money, signs a lease, or buys anything on credit, you will not be personally liable.

3. There are important tax benefits

Operating as a sole proprietorship can cost you significantly in self employment taxes, which tax your income at the highest possible tax rate for your situation. The decision to form an LLC or incorporate can turn otherwise non-deductible personal expenses into legitimate business expenses that may be deducted. In many cases, the corporate tax rate is much lower than the individual tax rate. A corporation or limited liability company can often qualify for additional tax deductions and benefits unavailable to individuals. This is because incorporating creates a separate legal entity.

4. It will be easier to raise capital

When you want to raise money for your business, having a corporation will make it easier to find the money you need. You can take on investors by selling shares, or you can borrow from banks and lending institutions. If a third party investors wants to invest in your business, there must be an entity set up to accept the money. Most venture capitalists prefer to work with corporations.

You have put it off long enough. If you want your business to be taken seriously and gain protection for yourself and your family, it's time to consult with a corporation service company or an attorney to go over your options.

Christine writes for USA Corporate Services, Inc., a corporation service company that helps business owners form an LLC and learn how to incorporate a business in any state of the country. Click here to learn more.
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