Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Avoiding Probate In California

California probate law governs estate matters when a family member or loved one passes away. Probate laws insure that creditors are paid and that assets are properly distributed to the descendants, or "heirs," of the deceased's estate. Probate is a long and expensive process, however probate can be avoided through a carefully designed estate plan.

Methods Of Avoiding Probate

Anyone can avoid probate if plans are made ahead of time. Among the methods of avoiding probate are the following:

* Living trusts. Certain assets, such as a home, savings, and investments, can be transferred into living trusts that do not pass through probate upon death. The trust property is not part of your estate because title to the assets is transferred to the trust. A trustee has legal control over the trust property and is bound by fiduciary duty to exercise that legal control for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the trust. After your death, the trustee can quickly transfer the trust property to the beneficiaries you have selected, without probate. Living trusts are popular and effective because:

1. they are usually administered informally outside of the court
2. they are more flexible in resolving beneficiary disputes without court involvement
3. assets can be distributed faster than probate (usually in about 5 months after death)
4. they are less expensive to administer than probate matters
5. they are effective during periods of incapacity as well as at death
6. they are easily created.

* Joint tenancy. Assets are not probated if they are owned by two or more people, termed "joint tenants" or similar wording. When a joint tenant dies, the other joint tenant(s) take 100 percent ownership of the asset. A joint tenancy takes priority over the provisions of a will or trust.
* Small estates. Under the California Probate Code, estates of less than $100,000 are exempt from probate. In determining this amount, some assets are not considered probate assets, such as living trusts, life insurance, IRAs, 401Ks, and assets held in joint tenancy. The assets in estates valued less than $100,000 are turned over to the executor of the will and distributed according to the will, outside of probate. If there is no will, assets are distributed to the deceased's nearest relatives (under rules of intestate succession).
* Spousal property petition. The spouse of a deceased person can file a spousal property petition with the court to change ownership of the deceased's assets to the surviving spouse. This procedure is a simplified version of probate, which takes considerably less time and expense than regular probate.
* Death benefit assets. Certain assets which have death beneficiary designations avoid probate. These types of assets include life insurance, IRAs, qualified retirement plans and some annuities.

Approved Cash Advance

If you are the beneficiary of a living trust, joint tenancy, or other estate plan that was set up to avoid probate, Approved Cash Advance can provide you with the funds you need now. Although much quicker than probate proceedings, many of these avoidance methods can still take time.




Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5954669

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why Everyone Should Have a Will - Who Will Speak For You When You Can't Speak For Yourself?

"Wills speak at the time of death". This is a very old saying, but still so applicable today! Your will is your voice after you die. Your last will and testament is a legal document in which you can express how you want your property to be distributed after your death, who you want to be in charge of said distribution and who will take care of your kids. In a will, you can also provide for your pets, your great grandmother's silverware, your coin collection, your antiques and anything else you want to end in a certain person's possession.

If you die without a will, you are said to have died intestate. In that case the law of the state in which your property is located will determine the way your property will be distributed after your death, regardless of what your wishes were. If you want to have a word on who is going to get what from the property you leave behind, you must have a will. A simple will is the only way you can control what is going to happen with all your affairs after you die.

If you die intestate and you do not have children, your property will be transferred to your parents. If your parents have predeceased you, then the property will be passed on to your siblings, even if you haven't heard from them in years. Your spouse or domestic partner will only get the small portion of your property that the law reserves for him or her. In the absence of a will, spouses and/or domestic partners, after a life of companionship, can be left with very little. They can even lose their home, if you do die intestate.

Dying without a will, closes the doors to all your friends from inheriting from you, regardless of how dear they may be to you. You will not have the choice of leaving money to your favorite charity, cause or church. The state will decide who will take care of your children. In brief, what you think, what you want, or what your opinions are regarding what happens with all your things after you die will be totally discounted, when you die without a will. You are left out of the decision-making process altogether.

Another advantage of having a will is that in it you can designate an "executor", a personal representative that will take charge of winding up all your financial affairs. This person, obviously someone you trust, will take your will to probate court. The probate court will determine the validity of your last will. It will determine if your will complies with all the law requirements in your state. If the court finds that your will is valid, your will is probated. That is, everything you stated in your will take place accordingly to your instructions. The court will appoint the person you chose to be your personal representative. The rest of the process will be handled by the personal representative under the court's supervision.

Your personal representative will have your estate appraised, pay taxes accordingly, review and pay any valid debts you might have left, collect any amounts owed to you, pay your funeral expenses and distribute the remaining assets to the persons named in your will. With a will, you can truly rest in peace.




Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2981485

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

By The People, Fairfield CA Has A New Website

By The People of Fairfield CA announces a brand new website: http://www.bythepeopleca.com/. We will be expanding it and offering even more information in the coming months.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bankruptcy with Community Debt




If one spouse is considering bankruptcy with large amounts of community debt, the other spouse will be affected. Therefore, your spouse should be notified and given the opportunity to join.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Personal Liability Protection


One of the main benefits of forming a separate business entity for your business is that, other than for general partnerships, the owners generally enjoy personal liability protection. In most instances, the owners of a business entity are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business, unless they have signed a personal guarantee or act illegally, unethically, or irresponsibly.

An owner's liability is normally limited to the amount of money which the owner invested in thebusiness. Usually, only the business entity itself can be held liable for the debts and obligationsof the business.

This personal liability protection is available to owners of C corporations, S corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships. The personal liability protection is not available to owners of a sole proprietorship or a general partnership.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living Trust Definitions


Settlor/Grantor - The person who creates the trust.

Trustee - The person who will manage the trust. The grantor and the trustee are generally the same person.

Successor Trustee - The person(s) with whom the settlor places the responsibility for managing and distributing the assets placed in the living trust after the settlor's death. If you pass away your successor trustee gathers your assets, pays valid debts, claims and taxes, and then distributes your assets as you have directed in your living trust without your assets being subject to probate.

Also, if you become incapacitated, your successor trustee can take over the management of the assets in the trust for your benefit without any further legal proceedings.

Beneficiaries - The person(s) named by the settlor to receive the assets after death. The settlor will designate in the living trust how the estate should be divided and when the beneficiaries would be entitled to receive the distributions. When the settlor dies, the successor trustee is responsible to distribute the assets according to the wishes of the settlor, as set out in the trust.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Living Trust Package


1. DECLARATION OF TRUST or THE TRUST AGREEMENT is the written document that sets forth the terms and conditions of the trust. This document is tailored to meet the unique needs of
your family and circumstances.

It will include provisions such as:
Names of trustees
Names of your family members
Names of beneficiaries and terms of distribution
Name of a custodian for any minor beneficiary
Names of who will serve and in what order as successor trustee

THE POUR OVER WILL transfers any remaining assets or property not previously transferred into the trust. The function of the pour over will is to act as a safety net to catch any property that has been intentionally or inadvertently left out of your trust at the time of your death. This document allows those assets to "pour over" into the trust so they may be distributed according to the terms of the trust. This is also the important document that will state your choices for a guardian if you have minor children.

An ORGANIZATIONAL SECTION for record keeping and to collect information about your personal and financial affairs is included. Forms are provided which can be completed regarding where assets are located, wishes for memorial services, and any other information which you consider to be pertinent. The organization will be instrumental in assisting loved ones settle your estate, as well as beneficial to your power of attorney agents or representatives in the event that you are disabled or incapacitated. It also allows for easy tracking of your assets to benefit you while funding your estate, managing your estate and furthermore, getting and staying organized can speed estate distribution.

A POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCES AND PROPERTY MATTERS allows you to delegate broad authority over your personal financial affairs. A power of attorney for finances and property matters gives you peace of mind to know the person you designate will manage your affairs should you be unable or unavailable as well as during periods of incapacity. You may choose a power of attorney that is effective immediately and continues to be in effect even if you become incapacitated or incompetent; or you can choose a springing power of attorney, which doesn't become effective until you become
incapacitated or incompetent. We The People will not be able assist Minnesota residents in preparing a springing power of attorney.

(Please note: With a springing power of attorney, a physician generally must certify the incapacity of the principal
before the power of attorney "springs" into effect, but the physician may be reluctant to make such a certification
because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.)

THE DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE allows you to appoint a person to make important decisions about your medical care, including your right to withhold certain medical treatments in certain circumstances.

THE LIVING WILL can be part of the durable power of attorney for health care or a separate document in some states. It is an optional document that formally expresses your end of life decisions and your wishes to forgo extraordinary medical treatment if you become terminally ill.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Probate Defined


Probate is the court supervised distribution of your assets if you don't have a living trust and can be a long, expensive process that simply does not have to occur. The expense of this process as compared to the expense of administering a living trust should be calculated to decide whether, in your case, creation of a living trust is a better solution. Death is a difficult time for everyone concerned, and you may want to protect your family from having to go to probate court, if there is a better solution in your case.

The probate process usually involves…

• Filing a deceased person's will with the local probate court
• Taking an inventory/getting appraisals
• Publishing notices
• Paying all legal debts
• Distributing the remaining assets and property to the rightful heirs

Probate may require an "executor" and an "attorney." Sometimes the executor is referred to as the "personal representative." The executor is responsible for making sure the Last Will and Testament is followed. The executor often hires an attorney to handle the necessary paperwork.

Executors and attorneys are allowed to charge "reasonable fees" for their services. Executors who are family members frequently waive their own fees where the estate is small, but they are not obliged to do so. Some additional fees beyond those paid to the attorney and executor include court costs, filing fees, etc. These fees are paid out before any proceeds are distributed to the decedent's family.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deed Legal Description


A critical element of any deed is the legal description. In order to effectively transfer title to real estate, you must adequately describe the real estate that is being transferred. The primary purpose of a legal description is to describe a particular parcel of land in a way that uniquely describesonly the subject parcel of property, without ambiguity. While legal descriptions can be complex, the next few posts will discuss some of the basics to help you prepare your new deed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Funding My Living Trust by We The People, Fairfield

Once your trust has been signed, a very important task remains to be accomplished. In order to achieve your objectives of ensuring that your loved ones receive their inheritance as you planned as well as eliminating the delay and cost of probate, assets must be transferred to the trustee of
the living trust. Your trust will remain "unfunded" until you transfer your assets into it.

People often place their real estate, financial accounts, proceeds for life insurance and annuity contracts, corporations, partnerships, businesses and any other significant assets into the trust. Not all assets need to go into a living trust. Life insurance allows you to directly name a beneficiary to whom the proceeds would be paid upon your death without processing through probate. IRAs and 401Ks cannot be placed in a trust.

Assets many choose not to include are small assets which may be able to pass to heirs without formal probate through the "pour over will." The pour over will takes property left outside of the trust and places it into the trust after you pass away so that the property may be distributed in
accordance with the trust. The value and type of assets which you may leave to be dealt with by a pour over will and still avoid probate vary from state to state.

As is often the case, it is a good idea to check with a Certified Public Accountant, or Attorney if you have questions on your transfer to obtain advice on which assets you should transfer to your living trust.

Examples of commonly transferred assets include, but not are limited to:

• Real estate
• Savings accounts
• Sole proprietorships and other business interests
• Other significant property or assets
• Stocks and bonds held directly in a certificate; ownership interests in private or closely-held corporations


Give Tammy or Rene of By The People, Fairfield a call at 707-428-9871. They can help explain and guide you through the process of over 80 legal documents.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

May I Amend or Revoke My Living Trust From We The People, Fairfield?

If you are single and have a We The People Living Trust you can revoke or amend your living trust at any time during your lifetime. You may do this through We The People or an attorney, but please do not write on your trust document or alter them in any way as this may cause serious problems with the validity of your trust.

If you are married and have a We The People joint trust then you and your spouse must act together to amend the trust while you are both alive. In contrast, either spouse may revoke the trust while both spouses are alive. A revocation would simply cause the property in the trust to revert back to its original owners, that is why a married couple only requires one spouse to revoke, but two to amend. Again, you may do this through We The People or an attorney, but please do not write on your trust documents or alter them in any way as this may cause serious problems with the validity of your trust.

If you are a married couple and have a We The People joint trust, the surviving spouse's right to amend or revoke all or part of the living trust after the first spouse dies varies depending on the type of trust you have. The survivor's trust (which is automatically created after the first death in the joint A, AB and ABC trusts) is revocable and amendable by the surviving spouse. The decedent's trust (which is automatically created after the first death in the joint AB and ABC trusts, and is optional in the joint A trust) is irrevocable and cannot be altered by the surviving spouse.

The QTIP trust (which is created only in joint ABC trusts) is also irrevocable and cannot be altered by the surviving spouse.

Give Rene or Tammy Bojorquez of By The People, Fairfield, at 707-428-9871 and we can guide you through the process of over 80 legal documents.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Can I Create A Joint Trust If My Spouse Is Not a US Citizen?

Special tax rules apply when one of the spouses is not a U.S. citizen. Thus special precautions may be necessary to ensure that the Trust property will qualify for the federal estate tax marital deduction at death of the citizen spouse. Federal tax law currently requires that property given to a noncitizen spouse be in a trust having a U.S. citizen (or U.S. corporation) as a trustee in order for the property to qualify for the federal estate tax marital deduction. Basically, this requirement is so that the I.R.S. can collect, from either the trust or the trustee who is a citizen, the estate taxes due on the trust when your noncitizen spouse dies. We The People Joint A/B and A/B/C Trust forms are not esigned for a couple where at least one of the spouses is a non-US citizen. You will need to consult with an attorney. We The People can assist you with a Joint A Trust when one of the spouses is a non-US citizen if you independently determine that you are not concerned with any estate tax ramifications.

Call Tammy or Rene of By The People, Fairfield at 707-428-9871 with any questions, or if you need more information about all the over 80 documents we can assist you with.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Paternity. What It Is and How It Works.

Any two individuals or businesses can enter into a partnership. Although a partnership does not offer the liability protection to the partners that a corporation can offer to its shareholders, partnerships tend to be less cumbersome, easier to manage from an administrative standpoint and require few, if any, document filings with governmental agencies. To make sure that every partner understands his or her role, responsibility and compensation, it is critical to outline the specific terms of the partnership upfront, focusing on ownership, capitalization and operational issues. Most people tend to choose to enter into an agreement addressing these important business topics in the early stages, so that there is no confusion or ill will amongst the partners later on.

Give Tammy or Rene of By The People, Fairfield a call at 707-428-9871. They will be happy to discuss this issue and tell you of any of their other services that may be of interest to you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Filing A Homestead Form Can Protect Your Principal Residence

Executing a homestead form can protect your principal residence (the house where you live) from being seized and sold in the event that a money judgment is entered against you by a court. A homestead allows you to protect a certain amount of equity in your property. Equity is the amount your house is worth, minus what you owe on the mortgage. The amount of equity allowed varies according to state. A homestead form, after being signed and notarized, should be “recorded” (filed) in the land records office in the county where the property is located. This office goes by different names in different states; it’s usually called the County Recorder’s Office, Land Registry Office or Register of Deeds.

Give Rene or Tammy of By The People, Fairfield a call at 707-428-9871. They will be happy to discuss this and any of their over 80 legal issues with you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Need A Quitclaim Deed? We Can Help!


A Quitclaim Deed is a type of deed where a grantor, a person who owns an interest in a property,transfers all or a portion of his/her interests to someone else. The grantor offers no guarantees about the title to the recipient, who is called the grantee.

A Quitclaim Deed is often used to clear up problems with a title or when someone wants to use a simple method to give up all interests in a property. Here are some examples of when a quitclaim deed is typically used:

• Mary inherited a property and shares ownership with her brothers and sisters. Mary sells her share to her brother and uses a quitclaim deed to transfer all of her rights in the property to him.

• A couple divorces. The former husband uses a quitclaim deed to transfer all of his ownership rights in a property to his former wife.

• During a title search the researcher finds out that, because of an error, a previous owner never relinquished his rights to a property. That puts a “cloud” or “defect” on the title, two terms that indicate the current owner isn't the only person with ownership rights in the property. The mistake is corrected by obtaining the previous owner's signature on a quitclaim deed that transfers all rights in the property to the current owner.

A quitclaim deed transfers only the rights of the person signing the deed. It does not guarantee that other people don't have an interest in the property. If there are other owners, their ownership is not affected by the quitclaim deed.

Give Tammy and Rene a call at 707-428-9871 today. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding quitclaim deeds.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Living Trust Package


1. DECLARATION OF TRUST or THE TRUST AGREEMENT is the written document that sets forth the terms and conditions of the trust. This document is tailored to meet the unique needs of
your family and circumstances.

It will include provisions such as:
Names of trustees
Names of your family members
Names of beneficiaries and terms of distribution
Name of a custodian for any minor beneficiary
Names of who will serve and in what order as successor trustee

THE POUR OVER WILL transfers any remaining assets or property not previously transferred into the trust. The function of the pour over will is to act as a safety net to catch any property that has been intentionally or inadvertently left out of your trust at the time of your death. This document allows those assets to "pour over" into the trust so they may be distributed according to the terms of the trust. This is also the important document that will state your choices for a guardian if you have minor children.

An ORGANIZATIONAL SECTION for record keeping and to collect information about your personal and financial affairs is included. Forms are provided which can be completed regarding where assets are located, wishes for memorial services, and any other information which you consider to be pertinent. The organization will be instrumental in assisting loved ones settle your estate, as well as beneficial to your power of attorney agents or representatives in the event that you are disabled or incapacitated. It also allows for easy tracking of your assets to benefit you while funding your estate, managing your estate and furthermore, getting and staying organized can speed estate distribution.

A POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCES AND PROPERTY MATTERS allows you to delegate broad authority over your personal financial affairs. A power of attorney for finances and property matters gives you peace of mind to know the person you designate will manage your affairs should you be unable or unavailable as well as during periods of incapacity. You may choose a power of attorney that is effective immediately and continues to be in effect even if you become incapacitated or incompetent; or you can choose a springing power of attorney, which doesn't become effective until you become
incapacitated or incompetent. We The People will not be able assist Minnesota residents in preparing a springing power of attorney.

(Please note: With a springing power of attorney, a physician generally must certify the incapacity of the principal
before the power of attorney "springs" into effect, but the physician may be reluctant to make such a certification
because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.)

THE DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE allows you to appoint a person to make important decisions about your medical care, including your right to withhold certain medical treatments in certain circumstances.

THE LIVING WILL can be part of the durable power of attorney for health care or a separate document in some states. It is an optional document that formally expresses your end of life decisions and your wishes to forgo extraordinary medical treatment if you become terminally ill.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What Can A Will Do?


A will can accomplish the following:

1) Leave real and personal property to a spouse, children, grandchildren, other relatives,
friends, favorite charities or anyone else you choose;

2) Provide alternate beneficiaries if someone named in the will predeceases you;

3) Revoke all prior wills;

4) Forgive debts owed to you;

5) Nominate a guardian for minor children;

6) Nominate a custodian for minor beneficiaries;

7) Choose a method for leaving property to minor children;

8) Appoint an executor (or personal representative), the person who will carry out your wishes and administer your estate; and

9) Disinherit a relative who might otherwise be entitled to inheritance under the law.
Why should you make a Will?


A major reason to create a will is that all of your property will be distributed as you wish, rather than according to the laws of your state. Creating a will is your opportunity to make your intentions clear, and to keep important decisions in your hands. Every adult who has property, whether it's a home, a rocking chair or a priceless art collection, should make out a will. And every parent with a child under the age of 18 (or 21 in some states) should name a guardian for that child in his or her will.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document. It allows you to choose who receives your belongings and assets after you die. The recipients of your property are called your beneficiaries. A will can also be used to nominate a guardian to care for and raise your minor children as well as a custodian to manage their property and finances. Creating a will also allows you to choose a person to manage the distribution of your assets. This person is called an executor or personal representative.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Delaware Advantages

Here are some of the reasons why many people choose to form their business in Delaware:

• Names and addresses of initial directors need not be listed in public records.

• The cost to form a Delaware corporation is among the lowest in the nation.

• Delaware maintains a separate court system for business, called the "Court of Chancery." If legal matters arise involving a trial in Delaware, there is an established record of business decisions.

• No minimum capital is required to organize the corporation and there is no need to have a bank account in Delaware.

• Just one person can hold all of the offices of the corporation.

• No Delaware corporate income tax on Delaware corporations that do not operate within the state. However your income will be taxed in the state where you have your office(s), where your employees reside and perhaps where you solicit business.

• Non-resident owners are not subject to Delaware personal income tax.

Whatever your business need, By The People of Fairfield can help.Call us today at (707) 428-9871

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Will My Business Entity Need An Agent For Service Of Process?


Yes, your business will need an agent for service of process in the state in which it is formed and in any other state in which it is authorized to do business. The agent for service of process is the person or entity authorized to receive legal papers on behalf of the business entity, such as when the business entity is "served" with a lawsuit. The agent is also referred to as the registered agent, local agent, resident agent or initial agent.

Generally, the agent may either be an adult individual who resides in the state, or the agent may be another business entity authorized to do business in the state. Many states allow an officer or director of the business to serve as the agent.

Application For Citizenship

Citizenship is the status given to a legal member of the country. It involves rights, duties and privileges. Naturalization is the process by which a citizen of a foreign country becomes a United States citizen. People want to become citizens for a number of reasons. US citizens have the right to vote in elections, help family members immigrate, work in certain state and government jobs, and lastly they cannot be deported.

An application may be filed by a lawful resident of at least 5 years who has made a home in the U.S. for at least the past 5 years (or 18 months out of the past 3 years if married to and living with a U.S. citizen). Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have good moral character and be able to pass tests on English and U.S. History & Government. As part of the process the customer will be provided with an Eligibility Test to ensure they are eligible to apply.

By The People, Fairfield CA does over 80 different legal forms to help you get what you need done effectively and efficiently. Give us a call at 707-428-9871. Let us know how we can help you. If it isn't something that we do, we certainly know places to direct to you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Living Trust Definition

A Living Trust Is:

A property right, held by one party for the benefit of another, that becomes effective during the lifetime of the creator and is, therefore, in existence upon his or her death.

A living trust, also known as an inter vivos trust, is different from a testamentary trust, which is created by will and does not take effect until the death of the settlor.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


That's a legalese definintion, so here it might be better explained:

A living trust is similar to a will in that it lets you control who gets your property when you die. The primary benefit of a living trust is that it can help your beneficiaries avoid the expense and delay of probate of the assets transferred to the living trust before your death.

Probate is the court-directed process of distributing a person’s assets and possessions after death. The probate court governs the distribution of your estate according to the instructions of your will if you left one, or if you did not, according to your state’s laws of intestate succession. At death, most property must pass through probate before it can be inherited. However, property transferred to a living trust prior to death does not. This is why most people prepare a living trust - to avoid probate.

In a nutshell, you create your living trust, you then transfer ownership of your assets to the trust which you manage as the trustee and then those assets pass to your designated beneficiaries upon your death. In addition, If you become incapacitated or no longer want to manage your trust assets, your named successor trustee can take over the management of the assets for your benefit and then distribute them in accordance with your wishes upon your death.


We would be happy to discuss this most important topic with you further. Give us a call at 707-428-9871 and we will try to make it very easy.