Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Is Limited Liability and Why It Is Important?

The best way to explain limited liability is this - you risk what you put in. In other words, limited liability is a way to make sure that a person who is engaging in business does not risk his or her personal possessions in case the business fails. Any investor, partner, or member of the company that by law has limited liability cannot be made responsible for any unfulfilled company obligations and debts that are more than the amount that the person has invested.

Here is a simple comparison. Jack and Jill are friends. Jack is a handy guy and Jill is a great cook. To earn money from their talents, both start their own business. Jack earns his living by doing renovations. He bought his own equipment and simply advertises his services under his own name. Jack is a sole proprietor.

Jill decided to open a bakeshop. Before going into business, however, Jill has formed a small corporation (an S-Corporation), called Jill's Cakes, Inc. Jill invested her savings into Jill's Cakes, Inc. as a starting capital and then bought her baking equipment and leased her shop on behalf of her corporation. So long as things go well for Jack and Jill there are almost no differences between the two ways of doing business.

As soon as things turn sour though, the differences become apparent. One day, Jack mopped the floor right before leaving the apartment he just painted, but forgot to put up a sign. The owner walked in, slid on the wet floor and broke an ankle. He is suing Jack for medical expenses and lost wages. Jill accidentally dropped a peanut in a wrong batch of batter and caused a severe allergy attack in one of her customer. That customer is suing her for medical bills and pain and suffering.

What is at risk for Jack and Jill? Jack is risking everything he owns - his work equipment, his truck, his house, his personal belongings. So long as there is a judgment against him, Jack must sell anything he owns to pay it. Jill is risking only her business assets - her cooking equipment, her cash reserves, and anything else owned by Jill's Cakes, Inc. But her personal things, such as her car and her apartment, are safe. Her business may become bankrupt, but her life will not be destroyed.

Of course, this story describes a worst case scenario. Many businesses prosper without many troubles. But many also fail, and it is so easy for a business owner to take advantage of limited liability that everyone should do it.

Several types of business entities offer their owners the protection of limited liability. The most popular are corporation and limited liability company (LLC). Each of these entities has its own advantages and drawbacks, but both offer their owners limited liability protection.

A few things are important to remember in the context of limited liability. First, a company must be properly maintained in order to offer full liability protection that it is designed to offer. In short, if a company is only a company in name, but is run as if it is one and the same with the person running it, the courts will consider it a sham, and will not afford the owners limited liability protection.

Second, even in a limited liability business an owner may be responsible for amounts beyond his or her investment. This is the case when an owner has personally co-signed a debt agreement (such as a credit card application). This signature gives the lenders a personal guarantee of repayment of that debt and in the case of default they can go after the owner's personal assets. Other owners of the company (or investors) would not be liable if complete repayment is beyond the resources of the business, but the owner who had done the co-signing would be responsible for that amount.

Further, in some professions it is impossible to reap the benefit of limited liability. Professionals like lawyers, doctors, accountants, chiropractors, engineers, or architects are prevented by law and ethics from limiting their liability. We want these professionals to be personally responsible for their decisions so that they always make the decisions carefully.

The bottom line is, anyone doing business should consider taking advantage of a limited liability entity, if at all possible. Consider it an insurance against your worst case scenario.

Alex Zehnbacht is an entrepreneur with over 8 years of experience in start-ups and business consulting and one of the founders of MyUSACorporation.com, an online business dedicated to help entrepreneurs with all their business filing needs. He has helped thousands of clients to incorporate their businesses, register an LLC, obtain various business licenses, and much more. Alex has a personal blog where he shares his view on variety of topics.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Do You Need a Registered Agent When You Form an LLC or Corporation?

When you're busy planning the formation of an LLC or corporation, its easy to overlook some details, even the important ones. Every corporation or LLC must have an agent who is designated to receive official correspondence and notice in case of lawsuit.

Registered agents are also known as resident agents or statutory agents, and they serve an important role in your company.

In most states, the resident agent must be either an adult living in the state of formation with a street address, or a corporation or LLC with a business office in the state that provides registered agent services. If you form an LLC or incorporate in your home state, any officer or director, or manager or member in the case of an LLC, may act as the resident agent. Having a third party act as the statutory agent comes with some advantages, however, including increased privacy and reducing the risk that you will be surprised at home with court papers for a lawsuit.

Doing Business in Another State

So, what happens after you incorporate in Delaware, for example, and then decide to start doing business in New Jersey? At this point, you will need registered agent service in the new state. The agent's address can also be where the state send annual reports, tax notices and notices for yearly renewals of the business's charter.

You will be required to maintain a resident agent in any state where your company does business, and the agent's office address and name must be included in the articles of incorporation giving public notice.

Finding a Statutory Agent

Most corporate service companies provide registered agent service, which includes forwarding any tax notices or official documents from the Secretary of State and the acceptance of legal service of process to forward to your company. Basic levels of service include a legitimate working office, compliance management, information shielding and document organization as well.

Agents, or statutory agents, serve an important role. After all, you will lose by default if you can't be served or the paperwork isn't passed to you properly, so a reliable registered agent is your first line of defense against opportunistic lawyers. It's usually best to choose someone else as your registered agent, as you don't want to be served in front of employees or customers in a working office, and a good agent will protect your personal information from appearing online.

Christine Layton writes for USA Corporate Services, a business service company specializing in helping business owners incorporate or form an LLC and decide which of the types of companies is best for their business.
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Is the Difference Between a Living Trust and a Life Estate in Real Estate Investing?

Both a living trust and a life trust are legal documents that are designed to facilitate financial planning for a homeowner. They are also both designed to aid in the seamless transfer of a property after the death of a beneficiary of these trusts.

A living trust is a document that is designed to avoid probate and allow the beneficiary(s) to control the destiny of the assets in the trust even after the death of the beneficiary. Essentially, the beneficiary, who is usually also the trustee, can determine the distribution of the assets or their liquidation and the proceeds distributed figuratively from the "grave".

By avoiding probate, the beneficiary can save a lot of money and probate battles between wannabe heirs. These probates can be very lengthy and even take many years to resolve. Between estate taxes and attorneys' fees, many estates lose 30% - 60% of their value before the liquidated assets are disbursed to the proper heirs as determined by the court.

Possibly more important to the beneficiaries of these living trusts, is the assets of the trust are not shown in the public record as with simple probated wills. The trust must pay income taxes and estates taxes and the trust does not save the beneficiaries any money in these areas.

Finally, in the event the trustee (beneficiary) is incapacitated, the trust contains language so a new trustee can be installed without a court order and this new trustee can take appropriate action with regard to the medical condition of a beneficiary. This avoids having to get a court order for a medical procedure which could take so long that the patient could die - or live an unreasonable time.

The life estate is also a legal document that is actually a special deed to a property that titles the property in such a manner that when the owner of the property dies, the additionally named individual on the deed automatically becomes the new owner as soon as the former primary owner's death certificate is filed in the public record. This instrument also bypasses the probate process but does not avoid any Federal estate taxes due.

The difference in the living trusts and the life estate is that the living trust is a document that contains specific instructions for a trustee in the manner and disbursement of many assets owned by the beneficiary of the trust. The property remains in the trust with a different trustee until the terms of the trust instrument are carried out by the trustee.

The life state is simply a special deed that conveys a single property from a primary owner to a second person when the primary owner is deceased and the death certificate is filed in the Clerk of the Court's public records. Both instruments bypass the probate process.

Dave Dinkel has over 40 years experience in Real Estate Investing which has given him a unique perspective into the Real Estate Market. Learn the "No Money, No Credit, No Risk" proven methods of today's successful Real Estate Investors. Visit America's Online Real Estate Investing Association created by Dave Dinkel to get you started as a Real Estate Investor today! Click the link Now http://www.AOREIA.com
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Estate Planning 101 - Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Trusts

Estate planning sounds so overwhelming: Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Trusts, Guardianships, etc., etc., etc.

What does it all mean and what do you really, really need to ensure that your family will be cared for when you pass away?

While the following definitions are by no means intended to be all-encompassing, or cover all of the variations of each document, they are helpful for the estate planning novice in determining what documents are right and necessary for them.

What is a will?

A will is a written legal declaration by which a person makes known how their property will be disposed of upon their death. Property includes not only real property (land, house, condominium, business storefront, etc.), but also personal property such as jewelry, art, sports memorabilia, even pets.

What is a living will?

A living will is a legal document, by which a person makes known his or her wishes regarding life-sustaining or life-prolonging medical procedures, such as resuscitation. A living will can also be called an advance directive, health care directive, advance medical directive, or physician's directive.

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document by which Person A gives Person B the power to make decisions about their legal and/or financial affairs upon Person A's incapacitation. Powers of Attorney expire upon your death.

What is a trust?

Trusts come in all forms and can be straightforward or extremely complex. Simple stated, trusts are a financial arrangement that allows a third party (the trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. How and when the assets pass to the beneficiary can be controlled by establishing a trust.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll have the peace of mind in knowing that your family will be cared for when the inevitable happens.

Even if you have completed estate planning, it's never really 'done.' Life is going to come along and make you re-do it.

Following are a few examples of life circumstances that necessitate your updating your estate planning documents:

  • IF you had a baby
  • IF you got married
  • IF you got divorced
  • IF you adopted a child
  • IF you have a new grandbaby
  • IF a relationship within your family has changed
  • IF tax laws have changed
  • IF your estate value has dramatically increased (or decreased)
  • IF you moved to a new state
  • IF you retired
  • IF you changed your investments
These are just a few reasons that you might need to review your will with an attorney.
The Law Office of Nancy L. Holm, LLC, http://www.holmlawnj.com/ a New Jersey Limited Liability Company, is a full-service, general practice law firm located in Monmouth County, N.J., and serving clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You can trust our integrity and commitment to your best interests when you have a legal problem. We offer a free consultation and reasonable rates, so that legal representation is available to everyone.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Living Will FAQs - Once I Write My Living Will, Can I Make Changes to It?

Living Wills are not a necessity, but a good thing to have, in case at some point in your life you may not be able to make decisions about your own health and finances. A living will can be done on your own, or by an attorney, and lists how to distribute your assets in the event that you cannot handle your own finances, or if you need someone to make important health decisions on your behalf.

However once a living will is created, time can change things, and in some cases, living wills may need to be altered. This can certainly be done. The original living will can either be destroyed or have a letter of cancellation attached to it. If you had done your living will through an attorney, it may be advised that you contact your attorney to help make the necessary alterations to the will.

Otherwise, you are free to alter your living will as you need to. It is important that you check with your state government office to make sure you are doing it correctly, however, so that your original will or your altered will aren't thrown out in court if it ever comes to that point.

A living will can be an important document, should anything unfortunate and unexpected occur. Having one that is up to date with the correct information and requests will make things easier for you and for your family. It's best to look at your will at least once a year and alter it if necessary, just to be safe.


The writer contributes to Big Baseball Bat & Big Barrel Baseball, and reviews many manufacturers.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Reasons to Start an LLC Business

There are various resources that tell you how to start an LLC business. But, there is a big difference between knowing and actually doing the right thing. When you start an LLC business, it is important to have a good grasp of why you are doing it. More than knowing how to start the business, you have to find reason in why you are getting into business in the first place. Here are some of the reasons that could motivate you in starting your own LLC:

- To make money out of something that you enjoy doing

Locals enjoy doing several things, but not everyone could profit from what they do. If gardening in the backyard, for example, is a passion, you might want to think about selling your harvest. You can always turn your hobby into a small business and generate income from something you love doing. As they say, if you enjoy what you are doing, it would not feel like you are working. You can start an LLC business that you can operate from your own home with your relatives and perhaps a small group of friends as your members.

- To get a slice of the pie

Recent years saw a surge in products marketed based on health benefits. The green revolution has begun and this puts at an advantage being an agricultural state. If other companies can sell health-based products, so can you. Identifying a niche that has not been saturated yet will give you a bigger chance of getting a bigger share of the pie so to speak. This goal is enough to sustain your interest even after you start an LLC business.

- To help the community

Did not earn the nickname "The Volunteer State" for nothing. This sense of community can be a source of profits as well. You can hit two birds with one stone when you start an LLC business: you get to help your community and you earn profits in the process. You can think about employing people from your community too as a way of helping ease the unemployment rate in your locality. On a more personal note, you will be helping the people you employ put food on the table and send their kids to school.

- To be your own boss

This sounds cliché but it is true. Most folks would love a life of self-sufficiency and without having to be at the beck and call of someone else out of fear of losing a job. It's also the best way to regain whatever self-confidence you may have lost at the expense of some power-trippers.

- To have a source of income because the day job is not enough

Those who are employed do not necessarily get enough money to support all their family's needs. Some have even taken pay cuts just to stay employed. With a business, they can augment their incomes to bring home more earnings. Putting up a small business like an LLC will give these people another source of income stream that they can use to provide their family's needs.

When you are clear about why you want to start an LLC business, it is easier for you to stay on track towards your business goals. All your action plans will have to revolve around your motivation for doing business.

If you are looking for information on start an LLC business in Tennessee, click on the link. Or you can visit http://www.ezonlinefiling.com/.
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Considerations in Filing for an LLC

Setting up an LLC and other states has become a popular option for many small business owners because of the many benefits it offers. A limited liability company puts together the advantages of a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and a corporation all in one business entity. This means compete control, tax benefits, and limited liability. The interest in LLCs continues to grow as more and more business owners are able to realize its advantages over other business types.

Before starting an LLC, there are some considerations that should be kept in mind. Taking note of these considerations will ensure that the processing of its registration with the appropriate government agencies will go faster and smoother. When the paperwork is completed properly, there will be no questions as to the LLC's legality.

First, the members filing for LLC should decide on the name of the business. This should meet the standards in LLC names set by the state government. To know the availability and aptness of the name, the business name database can be utilized for verification. Also, the name for an LLC can be reserved for four months by filing an application as well.

The next step is submitting the LLC's Articles of Organization. These articles should include all the necessary information about the LLC such as the name and address of LLC, its registered agent, and its duration. Also, how the LLC will be managed and who will manage the LLC should be stated in the Articles of Organization. Under the law, these are all filed with the office of the Secretary of State through mail.

The Operating Agreement should be processed after the filing of the Articles of Organization. Though this is not required by the state's government, it is still highly advisable. This is essential to define each member's responsibilities and liabilities. With Operating Agreement, the members can be protected from being personally liable if ever the business becomes bankrupt. Aside from the statement of responsibilities and liabilities, other information can be included as well. This includes the business nature, concept, and mission statement.

Lastly, business permits and licenses should be acquired. These vary depending on state laws. The business licenses that need to be obtained depend on the nature of the business and its location. Aside from that, the LLC businesses are all required to submit annual reports. This is also submitted to the Secretary of State on the designated date and can be done through mail or online filing. Knowing about all these requirements will help business owners keep track of their filing schedules to ensure that they are always compliant with all the government's documentation and reportorial requirements.

If you are looking for information on LLC in Tennessee, click on the link. Or you can visit http://www.ezonlinefiling.com/.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

What Is a Will? | Financial Terms



Learn about Wills in this Howcast finance video with expert Gregory McGraime.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Power of Attorney - 6 Factors You Should Consider When Nominating the Best Agent

Ever wondered how your modest finances or properties are handled, in case something occurs to you or you will have to go away somewhere? In that case consider the power of attorney. What is power of attorney? This is a legal document that would facilitate you to allow an organization or a person manages your business matters and your finances.

The principal is person who is creating or signing the power of attorney, while the agent or the attorney-in-fact is the person who would be granted with authority. Because the power of attorney will give the agent the control over banking, credit and other financial concerns, it is important to be made with care that's why legal assistance is important.

Power of attorney can be divided into 2 types, the general and the specific. The general power of attorney can handle different personal and business transactions while the specific power of attorney identifies specific transaction when the document would take effect.

Here are some factors you should consider when choosing the best agent for your power of attorney:

• Capability. It is much recommended to think about the capability of agent in managing legal matters and principal's property. You should not entrust your own finances to the agent who has problems in controlling over their own finances.

• Age. In case you are thinking about your child as the attorney-in-fact, you should consider the age. There are differences on every state of laws on creating the power of attorney. However approximately all of the laws accept that no agent must be under 18 or 21 years old.

• Work experience. It's good idea to award authority to agent who is competent and expertise in legal matters or in finances.

• Time. While deciding on the perfect agent to stand for you, at that time it is very vital to think about how much time they can provide in handling legal matters and financial.

• Location. It's advisable to consider agent who is not far from the property and the principal.

• Organization and documentation skills. The principal may perhaps require the attorney-in-fact to trace and correctly document the several transactions made whether it will be for personal, business or government purposes.

Other factor you should pay attention is how to decide the spouse as the attorney-in-fact. Nearly all military personnel will give the power of attorney to their spouses in case they are in battle. Other option is a close relative.

You do not always have to opt for a family member, you can decide on a non-relative attorney-in-fact. If the principal is slightly worried on giving many duties on one agent, then he or she may well find other co-agents. However you could do that only if the power attorney specifies the information or the limitation of the capabilities. Previous to making decision on agent in the power of attorney, the principal ought to talk to the agents first and ask them if they are keen to be agents.

When carrying out the task, no organizations will control the agent. It will just depend on the principal as well as principal's relatives to supervise if the agent is carrying out what is predetermined in the power of attorney.

Learn more guide to understanding the power of attorney [http://www.powerofattorney.getmytips.com]. Get free tips and advices, please visit: www.powerofattorney.getmytips.com [http://www.powerofattorney.getmytips.com]
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to Become Someone's Power of Attorney



Becoming someone's power of attorney allows a person to make financial or legal decisions for another person if that person cannot make their own decisions.