Monday, March 31, 2014

By The People Fairfield CA

Rene talks about how By The People in Fairfield can help people with legal matters in an inexpensive way. See more at

Sunday, March 30, 2014

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

LLC Tips - Converting a General Partnership to a Limited Liability Company

You and your business partner have been running your business as general partnership for the past several years. You have been reading about limited liability companies (LLCs) and have decided that your business should really be operated as an LLC. Is it too late? Can you still convert your business from a general partnership to an LLC? Yes, you can!

Why would a business want convert to a limited liability company from a partnership? The reason that a business would want to convert from a general partnership to an LLC is to allow the partners to shield themselves personal liability for obligations of the business. Every partner in a general partnership is liability for all of the debts of the business. A member of an LLC, on the other hand is can generally only lose his contribution to the LLC, nothing more. He is not responsible for the debts of the LLC.

The limitation typically only applies to liabilities arising after the conversion. It is unlikely that a general partner will be released from personal liability to the partnership's creditors for the business's debts existing before the conversion. A member will avoid personal liability for debts incurred by the LLC but will remain personally liable for debts of the general partnership which are transferred to and assumed by the LLC in the conversion.

The procedures for converting a general partnership into an LLC differs from state to state. Originally, most state laws contained no provision allowing one type of business entity to change into an LLC. At that time, if you had a partnership, you had to first dissolve the partnership and distribute its properties and liabilities to all of the partners. At that point, the partners would contribute those assets and liabilities to a newly-formed LLC and become members in the new LLC.

Today, most states have statutory provisions that allow a partnership to be converted into an LLC in one simple step. For example, in Illinois, once the partners approve the conversion, a Statement of Conversion is filed along with Articles of Organization for the new LLC. It is as simple as that.
The conversion is also simple from a tax standpoint. In several private letter rulings the IRS has addressed the conversion of a general partnership into an LLC. The rulings have clarified that neither the partners nor the partnership recognize any gain or loss on the conversion. Also, the partnership continues to exist uninterrupted for tax purposes and, for computing capital gain if he later disposes of his LLC membership interest, the length of time that the partner owned his partnership interest carries over to his LLC interest.

An LLC is by far the most popular choice for new businesses being formed today. If you chose to start your business as a general partnership, the good news is that it is not too late to make the change!

David K. Staub is a business attorney who writes and lectures frequently on various business, legal and tax topics. He is the author of the Limited Liability Company Center, a free resource of information on how to organize an LLC.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIVORCE !!! Easier than you think? - By The People Fairfield CA

Rene goes over how a divorce does not always need to involve a full legal team. He explains the process of how By The People can help file the paperwork necessary for the courts. See more at

Monday, March 24, 2014

Estate Planning : Must an Executor Notify a Beneficiary?

In some states, according to estate law, executors do not have to notify beneficiaries of wills. Find out when an executor must notify a beneficiary from an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

10 LLC Secrets To Protect Your Assets And Financial Future

Most are unaware that a Limited Liability Company may be taxed in four different ways: disregarded, partnership and S or C corporation.

Let me share with you 10 LLC secrets that will not only keep you out of tax trouble but help you better avoid pitfalls down the road.

1. Can an IRA invest in a Limited Liability Company? There are a couple of major issues with this strategy that could create problems with the IRS. First, if you are the manager of the LLC and you are on the LLC checking account that has IRA funds, that means you have "check book control". There are prohibited transactions in where you can not use that money, but more importantly if the signer on the account uses the LLC money for personal use that is a big problem and could create serious IRS issues. The second issue centers around who can be the manager of the Limited Liability Company. Can it be you? Is that self-dealing? That means you are running the same entity that is owned by the IRA and that is an issue with the IRS. It appears that having a separate self directed IRA only to own the real estate may be a better approach. You do want to isolate the safe and risk investments.

2. What are the advantages of a Limited Liability Company over an S corporation? When you capitalize an S corporation, code section 351 allows shareholders to transfer appreciated assets to the corporation taxfree. But, the shareholder who is transferring the asset MUST own 80% of the S corporation.

3. When should an entity convert to an LLC? Many times if you formed a corporation it may be less steps and cheaper to form a new LLC. Many statutes authorize the merger of an LLC with another entity like a partnership or corporation. Some state LLC acts provide that an LLC may NOT merge with another entity unless there is unanimous consent of the members for such merger.

4. What are the consequences if an LLC is "doing business" in a state but is not registered as a foreign LLC? Typically, the entity will need to foreign register where nexus (or a business presence) is located. Even an internet business can make the argument you can be based from anywhere, but if you are working in your home office in California with a Nevada LLC, you have nexus in California. Besides how do you claim a home office deduction when the LLC is not in your state doing business?

5. When do LLC members have limited liability? No member of the Limited Liability Company is personally liable for the LLC's debts and obligations (as opposed to by individual action, such as by personal guarantee or commission of a tort). A member of the LLC has personal liability if a creditor of the LLC has the right to require a member to satisfy a debt of the LLC to the extent that the Limited Liability Company assets are insufficient to satisfy the LLC's debt to the creditor.

6. How will a single member LLC, taxed as a disregarded entity for federal income tax purposes be treated for state tax purposes? Where state laws follow federal laws, a single member LLC would be disregarded for state income tax purposes when disregarded for federal income tax purposes. At least two states have indicated that a single member Limited Liability Company would be taxed as a partnership for state tax purposes, New York and Wisconsin.

7. How much capital must be contributed to an LLC? Except when required by state law, there is no minimum amount that must be contributed to an LLC in exchange for an interest in the LLC.

8. What type of reporting is required if real estate is contributed to an LLC in exchange for a membership interest? According to the Treasury Regulations Section 1.6045-4(b)(1), a transfer of real estate to a partnership must be reported, even though it is tax-free under Code Section 721 (a).

9. When can a Limited Liability Company make distributions to members? LLCs generally can distribute cash or property, whether income or capital, to the members as provided in the Operating Agreement, or otherwise agreed by the members.

10. What is a series Limited Liability Company and what issues does it bring? The series LLC is similar to a corporate controlled group with several operating corporations, but there is only one legal entity. The benefit is that you could put 10 rental properties into one series LLC and provide protection of each property from the other because each is owned by one cell.

Scott Letourneau is the founder and CEO of Nevada Corporate Planners, Inc. Since 1997 NCP has helped thousands of entrepreneurs in all 50 states establish the correct foundation & keep the IRS off their back as they incorporate with confidence and get their business off to a fast start to profits. Go to for free training on what entity and state is best for your business.
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Saturday, March 22, 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
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Friday, March 21, 2014

How to Know Which State to Incorporate Your Business

You might not want to incorporate in a state other than the one where your company is doing business, attorney Mark Kohler says.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Power Of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal instrument used to give someone the authority to act on your behalf. The person who signs the power of attorney is called the principle. The person who is given authority to do something is called the agent or the "attorney in fact." With the power of attorney, you can give someone the power to make certain financial, legal, or other decisions on your behalf.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce?

When you hear "uncontested divorce", also known as no fault divorce in California, you probably think of a couple who amicably and in a friendly manner decide to call it quits. While this is surely the case in some situations, choosing to go the uncontested divorce route may be a financial decision rather than an emotional one. Just like any divorce, there is the chance that an uncontested will see unpleasantness and bitterness to some degree.

So why would you choose this path if you are unhappy with your former partner? Well, for one an uncontested divorce is much cheaper than a contested divorce in most cases. The couple could even file for divorce without the assistance of lawyers, although at the very least speaking with an attorney is often helpful and important in protecting one's rights.

What's more, it allows the couple to end their marriage quickly and with as little animosity as possible, even if the former couple isn't walking away from the marriage with the best of feelings towards one another. You probably will not agree on every single aspect of the divorce, but after a little negotiating, compromising and talking through the issues, couples are often able to reach an agreement without fighting each other in court.

Getting back to the money-saving benefit of an uncontested divorce, the extra cash that may otherwise go to a divorce attorney can be used to rebuild your life. You won't have a partner with whom you can split your expenses, including rent, car payments, utilities, etc., and if you have kids you'll be able to pamper them a little bit as they deal with the divorce.

There are some cases in which a no fault divorce may not be right. If abuse exists in the relationship, negotiating may be difficult for the victim of abuse, as intimidation and possibly fear will put create an uneven playing field. If either you or your spouse decides that you want to walk away with most of your assets, or if you are not on speaking terms with your spouse, an uncontested divorce may not be the best of choices.

In the end, though, many choose an uncontested divorce because of the money, headaches and hassle that it saves them.

Justin recommends to look for more information on a Uncontested Divorce Lawyer or just schedule a consultation with a Temecula Divorce Lawyer visit the offices of Diefer Law Group
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Living Will - Why it is More Important and Its Pros and Cons

A Living will, quite often you must have come across this term. But how many of us know its usage, its importance, advantages and disadvantages? There are many articles written on this topic. One can go and find out information from various sources. This article mostly features the important factors of living will, the basic idea behind its making as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

As the name says "living will", from its name it suggests that it has got something to do with legal document. Yes, a living-will is a document in which an individual writes about his/her medical wishes and desires. This document is converted into a legal document and is used during the time when an individual will no longer be able to take any decision due to incapacity or illness. In other words, this term is explained as advance health care directive, advance directives or advance decision.

An individual who has made such kind of advance directives, appoints a person so that he can take any decisions on their behalf. This kind of will is an oldest form of "leaving instructions for medical treatment". In today's world, concept of making such kind medical wish or desire on a legal document is quite encouraged. This legal document is benefited while giving comprehensive guidance regarding an individual's care.

Writing a living will has to be very specific. Therefore, in some cases it restricts the use of various kinds of burdensome treatment. Individual can also express their wishes on how his food and water will be supplied, either via medical devices or tubes. An individual can also be more specific regarding the service that he expects with respect to pain relief or analgesia, antibiotics, feeding, usage of ventilators or antibiotics.

Disadvantages of advance directives:

• Main disadvantage of an advance decision is; there is no statute in New York governing such kind of living-wills. Advance will is valid as long as it states specific and convincing evidence.
• Drafting out an advance will is not an easy job. It requires specific instructions regarding all possible events in future. It is impossible for one to imagine what an individual would really want in the situations.
• In case an individual fails to make his advance will specific and clear, then there could be refusal of treatment.

Advantages of advance directives:

• The main advantage of living will is that it respects the human rights of a patient.
• Drafting an advance directive creates full discussion on medical treatment and services.
• It helps the medical professionals to decide what the patient wants.
• A patient's family or relatives will be free from taking difficult decisions.

Once you decide to create such kind of legal document, you should not get confused in between an advance directives and a trust. Role of a trust is to handle the property/assets of an individual after his/her death. Trust has got nothing to do with the medical care decisions. In response to increasing improvement in the field of medicine, concept of an advance directive was implemented.

Visit for more Annuity and Life Insurance Tips and Tricks.
Call Robert Eldridge directly at 800-643-7544.
Robert Eldridge holds over a decade of experience as a multiline agent in multiple states and currently serves on the membership council of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Advance Directives And End Of Life Expenses

Few if anyone would disagree with the ethical premise that a society should do everything possible to make sick people well. But this ethos seems to have gotten confused with something entirely different: the practice of keeping dying people alive as long as possible without concern for their discomfort, loss of dignity, and financial ruin. When you look at the statistics surrounding the issue of end-of-life expenditures they are truly incredible. In 2008 Medicare alone paid out $50 billion to physicians and medical centers to cover costs associated with the last two months of the lives of dying individuals. To put this into perspective, this was more than the annual budget that was allotted to the Department of Education at that time.

It is estimated that between 18-20% of people who pass away each year do so in the intensive care units of hospitals, and the cost for each day in ICU can reach as much as $10,000. This is in spite of the fact that most people polled do not want to be kept alive through aggressive and intrusive medical procedures when there is no hope for recovery. 75% of American die in hospitals or nursing homes, and in 2010 the average cost for a year in a private room in a nursing home was around $83,000. More people are living longer these days as we all know, these costs are rising all the time, and we are already faced with a federal budget deficit that exceeds $1 trillion.

How you feel about being kept alive through feeding tubes and life support systems at the end of your life is a personal decision. You can state your wishes concerning the types of medical procedures you approve and disapprove of through the execution of a living will, and you can add a health care proxy to name someone to make decisions for you in the event of your incapacitation. It may be a good idea to come to terms with the line that exists between medical issues and end-of-life issues and decide how you would like to proceed from a fully informed and personally empowered perspective.

Alan L. Augulis is a leading provider of expert estate planning guidance in Warren, NJ. For more information on advance directives and other estate planning services, visit our website.
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to Avoid a Guardianship

Are you aware that you could become mentally disabled at any time during life? If you do become disabled without a proper plan in place, a judge will create a guardianship. A guardianship occurs when a court of law decides you are mentally incapacitated and names a person to make legal decisions for you.

Disadvantages of a Guardianship

If a court of law appoints someone to make court-supervised decisions for you, you will have no say in which person that may be. What if the person chosen is not someone you would wish to control your assets and medical care? Your guardian will most likely be a family member, but wouldn't it be nice if you had a say in the decision and could choose the loved one you feel would do the best job?

Three Legal Documents to Use

The best way to avoid a guardianship is to have a disability plan in place to cover your medical and financial needs. An Advanced Medical Directive or Medical Power of Attorney allow you to name a person that you feel can make sound medical decisions for you.

A Durable Financial Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to plan for your financial needs. You can use this document even when you are not incapacitated. For example, a durable power of attorney may be used by your spouse to sign on your behalf anytime you are unavailable. If you wish to retain full control of your financial decisions, you can use a "springing" power of attorney instead. This type of POA will only allow your chosen financial agent to act if you become mentally disabled.

Another popular disability planning document is a Revocable Living Trust, which is also used for estate planning. With a Trust, you retain full control of your belongings while you are healthy and of sound mind. When you create your Trust agreement, you will name a successor trustee to take over if you become mentally disabled or die. While you are disabled, your successor trustee will manage your assets. When you die he or she will use your Trust to settle your estate. If you choose to use a Trust for disability planning, check with your attorney to ensure that it contains the proper wording to allow for a medical agent to step in if needed.

Augulis Law Firm is a leading provider of expert estate planning guidance in Warren, NJ. For more information on guardianship and other estate planning services, visit our website.
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Aging, Communication, and Preparation

Making plans for retirement is clearly one of the highlights of your life. From the time you get out of college and enter the workforce most of your time is accounted for, and over those years there are invariably going to be many experiences that make their way onto your "to-do" list. The day that you retire is the day that you start to check things off that list, and your life experience in enriched with every mark.

We often talk about the fact that one of the challenges that is inherently part of any type of long-term planning is the fact that you can't predict the future with any degree of certainty. This is true of financial markets, laws, our own health and that of our loved ones. All of these things impact retirement planning, but there is another factor that can be difficult to fully digest.

Your mental capacity may not be the same as your retirement years pass. When you are planning for retirement it is very important to be realistic and keep this in mind. What happens if you need long-term care? What if you never made your medical preferences known via the execution of advance health care directives? You don't want to start considering these matters for the first time when you are in the latter stages of your life.

It may be a good idea to plan for your twilight years simultaneous to making plans for an active retirement both emotionally and financially. Bringing the issues of long-term care and possible incapacitation out in the open with your family long before they are directly relevant is also something to consider. Successful people generally confront reality and stay ahead of the curve. If you follow the same path that brought you success throughout your life you will invariably age just as successfully.

Alan L. Augulis is a leading provider of expert estate planning guidance in Warren, NJ. For more information on retirement plan and other estate planning services, visit our website.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions About Wills, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney


The simplest way to ensure that your funds, property and personal effects will be distributed after your death according to your wishes is to prepare a will. A will is a legal document designating the transfer of your property and assets after you die. Usually, wills can be written by any person over the age of 18 who is mentally capable, commonly stated as "being of sound mind and body."


Although wills are simple to create, about half of all Americans die without one (or Intestate). Without a will to indicate your wishes, the court steps in and distributes your property according to the laws of your state. Wills are not just for the rich; the amount of property you have is irrelevant. A will ensures that what assets you do have will be given to family members or other beneficiaries you designate. If you have no apparent heirs and die without a will, it's even possible the state may claim your estate.

Having a will is especially important if you have young children because it gives you the opportunity to designate a guardian for them in the event of your death. Without a will, the court will appoint a guardian for your children who may be someone you do not even know.


What you generally need to make a will:

1) Your name and place of residence;

2) Names and addresses of spouse, children and other beneficiaries, such as charities or friends;

3) Alternate beneficiaries, in the event a beneficiary dies before you do;

4) Name and address of an Executor/ Executrix to manage your estate;

5) Name and address of an alternative Executor/Executrix, in the event your first choice is unable or unwilling to act;

6) Name and address of a guardian for your minor children;

7) Name and address of an alternative guardian, in the event your first choice is unable or unwilling to act;

8) The age you wish your minor children to have control of their inheritance;

9) Any burial requests you may have (cremation, where you want to be buried, etc.);

10) Your signature;

11) Two Witnesses' signatures; and

12) Notarization.

Two of the most important items included in your will are naming a guardian for minor children and naming an Executor/ Executrix.


In most cases, a surviving parent assumes the role of sole guardian. However, it's important to name a guardian for minor children in your will in case neither you nor your spouse is able and willing to act. The guardian you choose should be over 18 and willing to assume the responsibility. Talk to the person ahead of time about what you are asking. You can name a couple as co-guardians, but that may not be advisable. It's always possible the guardians may choose to go their separate ways at some later date, and, if so, a custody battle could ensue. If you do not name a guardian to care for your children, a judge will appoint one, and it may not be someone you would have chosen.


An Executor/Executrix is the person who oversees the distribution of your assets in accordance with your will. Most people choose their spouse, an adult child, a relative, or a friend to fulfill this duty.

If no Executor/Executrix is named in a will, a Probate Judge will appoint one. Probate refers to the legal procedure for the orderly distribution of property in a person's estate. The Executor/Executrix files the will in probate court, where a Judge decides if the will is valid. If it is found to be valid, assets are distributed according to the will. If the will is found to be invalid, assets are distributed in accordance with state laws.

Responsibilities usually undertaken by an Executor/Executrix include:

--Paying valid creditors;

--Paying taxes;

--Notifying Social Security and other agencies and companies of your death;

--Canceling credit cards, magazine subscriptions, etc.; and

--Distributing assets according to the will.


You'll probably need to update your will several times during the course of your life. For example, a change in marital status, the birth of a child or a move to a new state should all prompt a review of your will. You can update your will by amending it by way of a Codicil or by drawing up a new one. Generally, people choose to issue a new will that supersedes the old document. Be sure to destroy the old will after you sign a new one.


The property included in your will may be subject to taxation. In planning your will, take into account the following:

---Federal estate taxes will generally be due if the net taxable estate is worth more than $1,000,000. This amount is scheduled to gradually increase from $1,000,000 in 2002/2003 to $3,500,000 in 2009 so that it will eventually shield $3,500,000 in gift or estate transfers from tax per taxpayer. Estates in excess of the exempt amount can be taxed at a rate from 37% to 50% (the top percentage is scheduled to gradually decrease to 45% in 2009). Also, note that these estate tax changes are scheduled to be repealed in 2010. If not extended, the tax law will revert to the estate and gift tax provisions in affect in 2001. Consult a tax or financial professional to determine a plan that is right for you and your family.

---State death or inheritance taxes

---Federal income taxes

---State income taxes

You may be able to minimize your estate tax by establishing a trust or giving gifts during your lifetime. You can also cover the cost of estate taxes by purchasing a life insurance policy intended to pay taxes. Talk to your life insurance agent to find out more about how this works.


Once your will is written, store it in a safe place that is accessible to others after your death. I suggest that you keep it in a fire proof box that you can purchase at any office supply store. I do not suggest that you keep your will in a safe deposit box because many states will seal your safe deposit box upon your death. Make sure a close friend or relative knows where to find your will.


A living will is not a part of your will. It is a separate document that lets your family members know what type of care you do or don't want to receive should you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It becomes effective only when you cannot express your wishes yourself. Discuss your wishes as reflected in your living will with family members, and be sure all your doctors have a signed copy.


A power of attorney for health care (health care proxy) is not a part of your will. It is a separate document that authorizes someone you name to act in accordance with your medical intentions. It becomes effective only when you cannot express your wishes yourself. You should make sure that all your doctors have a signed copy.


A financial durable power of attorney is not a part of your will. It is a separate document that authorizes someone you name to act in accordance with your financial intentions. It becomes effective only when you cannot express your wishes yourself. You should make sure that all your financial professionals (stockbrokers, accountants, financial planners) and banks have a signed copy.


The end of your life is something you probably don't want to dwell on, but thinking about what will happen to your loved ones and your assets and personal possessions is important. Making sure you've done all you can to make their lives easier will give you peace of mind. And once your will is drafted, you won't have to think about it again unless something significant in your life changes.

Sheri R. Abrams is an Attorney in Fairfax, VA. Her practice is limited to the areas of Social Security Disability Law and the preparation of wills, living wills, health and financial powers of attorney. Ms. Abrams is a graduate of Boston University's School of Management and the George Washington University School of Law. Ms. Abrams is rated "AV" by Martindale-Hubbell. More information can be found at

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 10 Reasons For Criminal Record Expungement

If you're one of the millions of Americans with a criminal record, you've likely experienced a few hardships as a result. There are countless difficulties that can arise if your background isn't spotless and most of those affected have yet to realize the scale of their disabilities. Below are the top ten reasons to apply for expungement of your criminal record. Expungement can relieve the burden and restore hope that has faded with the "life sentence" that can come with mistakes made long ago.

1. Employment

- Employers often deny jobs to applicants with a criminal background.

- Some states even allow employers to terminate current employees if they are found to have had a conviction

2. Education

- The Higher Education Act of 1998 makes students convicted of drug related offenses ineligible for any grant, loan or work assistance.

- Having a criminal record may prevent you from attending the college of your choice or disqualify you from certain graduate programs

3. Housing

- Private landlords can legally deny housing to someone with convictions.

4. Loans

- Having a criminal record may make you ineligible for a loan or result in higher interest rates

- Certain offenses can eliminate the possibility of a student receiving financial aid

5. Licensing & Certifications

- Convictions can prevent you from obtaining state licenses and certifications.

- Over half the states in the U.S. have no standards governing the relevance of an applicant's conviction records for occupational licenses.

6. Insurance Rates
- High insurance premiums may result if a criminal background is found.

- Specific offenses may deem you "uninsurable" or "high risk."

7. Firearm Rights
- Hunting rights may be limited to archery or muzzle loaders.

- Convictions can greatly restrict gun ownership.

8. Federal Assistance
- Several states ban people with convictions from being eligible for federally funded public assistance and food stamps.

- Many public housing authorities deny eligibility for federally assisted housing based on an arrest that never led to a conviction.

9. Adoption
- Fifteen states ban people with a criminal background from becoming an adoptive or foster parent.

10. Volunteering
- Nearly all volunteer positions involving youth require a clean criminal history.

Check your criminal record expungement [] eligibility for Free at [] You may reprint this article free of charge in your newsletter, magazine, or on your website, provided the article is unedited and that the author's information appears with each article. Articles appearing on the web must provide an active hyperlink to the author's web site,
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes

Just as we discussed last month regarding Medicaid planning, there is also a lot of misinformation that exists in the area of estate planning. Nearly every day someone will tell us for example, that they heard that if you have a will "there is no probate". Unfortunately, this type of erroneous information is often passed on as helpful estate planning advice. Clients frequently learn the hard way that relying on such advice can cost them thousands of dollars. In an effort to help educate and prevent others from making these all too common mistakes, we have complied our list of the top 10 estate planning mistakes.

1. Procrastination.

Most everyone is at least aware that it is important to have an estate plan. Far too often however, they procrastinate doing anything about it. Don't let this happen to you.

2. Not having a will.

The majority of people do not even have a basic will. A will is essential in nominating who will be responsible for administering your estate and to whom your estate will be distributed to after your death.

3. Not Having Powers of Attorney.

Planning for death is only part of estate planning. In addition to a will, it is extremely important to have a durable power of attorney for your finances and a health care power of attorney for medical related decisions.

4. Failing to recognize a will won't avoid probate.

Assets in a decedent's name only will not avoid probate even if there is a will.

5. Failing to consider a trust.

Too many people mistakenly believe a trust is only for the wealthy. They also fail to understand how expensive and time consuming probate can be. A trust often can save your family time and money if you become disabled or upon your death.

6. Failing to properly fund a trust.

For those persons who decide that a trust is right for them, simply signing the trust is only part of the process of having a trust. Assets such as a home or other real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc., must be re-titled into the name of the trust in order to avoid probate.

7. Doing it yourself.

While everyone loves to save money, the old adage that you "get what you paid for" is particularly true in estate planning. If your estate and loved ones are important to you, it is strongly recommended that you do not attempt to plan your estate on your own.

8. Putting children's names on assets.

Adding children's names to bank accounts, real estate or other assets is often the surest way to create problems after your death.

9. Incorrectly naming beneficiaries.

A good estate plan must also take into account those assets that have a beneficiary, such as life insurance, annuity, IRA or 401K. The failure to correctly name primary and secondary beneficiaries will undermine even a well drafted will or trust.

10. Failing to periodically review your estate plan.

A will or trust drafted years ago may not be appropriate today. As circumstances or laws change, it is recommended that your plan be reviewed by an elder law attorney.

Brett Howell, the founder of the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm, specializes in helping Michigan families protect their estates. Contact our office for a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns with Brett - you will be glad (and relieved) you did. Contact Brett by calling the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm at (810) 953-3846 or visit his website for more information.
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

How to Properly Use a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes one person to act on behalf of another in the legal or business dealings of the person authorizing the other. This type of document has a lot of relevance when, for example, somebody needs to execute some business or legal matter but is unable to do so for whatever reason. In the absence of the person, another person may be authorized to execute the matter through use of a power of attorney, which in common law systems or in civil law systems, authorizes another person to act on behalf of the person so authorizing the other. The person authorizing is known as the "principal" and the person authorized is called the "agent". The agent may, on behalf of the principal, do such lawful acts such as signing the principal's name on documents.

An agent is a fiduciary for the principal and, as this is an important relationship between principal and agent, the law requires that the agent be a person of impeccable integrity who shall always act honestly and in the best interests of the principal. In case a contract exists between the agent and the principal for remuneration or other form of monetary payment being made to the agent, such contract may be separate and in writing to that effect. However, the power of attorney may also be verbal, though many an institution, bank, hospital as well as the Internal Revenue Service of the USA requires a written power of attorney to be submitted by the agent before it is honored.

The "Equal Dignity Rule" is the principle of law that has the same requirements of the agent as it does to the principal. Suppose that the agent has a power of attorney that authorizes him or her to sign the sales deed of the principal's house and that such sales deed should be notarized by law. The power of attorney does not absolve the agent from the necessity of having the sales deed notarized. His or her signature to the sales deed must also be notarized.

There are two types of powers of attorney. One is the "special power of attorney" and the other, "limited power of attorney." The power of attorney may be specific to some special instance or it may be general and encompasses whatever the court specifies to be its scope. The document will lapse when the grantor (principal) dies. In case the principal should become incapacitated due to some physical or mental illness, his power of attorney will be revoked, under the common law. There is an exception. In case the principal had in the document specifically stated that the agent may continue to act on his behalf even if the principal became incapacitated, then the power of attorney would continue to enjoy legal sanction.

In some of the States in the USA, there is a "springing power of attorney" which kicks in only in case the grantor (principal) becomes incapacitated or some future act or circumstance occurs. Unless the agreement has been made irrevocable, the agreement may be revoked by the principal by informing the agent that he is revoking the power of attorney.

Making use of standardized power of attorney forms helps in framing a legally sound and mutually beneficial relationship for principal and agent. With the ease of use and ready availability of such forms, it is highly recommended that they be utilized when thinking of granting a power of attorney to someone. However, care should be taken not to let unscrupulous persons defraud innocent persons such as the elderly through ill-conceived agreements.

Wade Anderson is a CPA and operates
Click to view a Power of Attorney Form

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Can You Afford Effective Estate Planning?

"Can I Afford Effective Estate Planning?"

That's Really Not the Right Question.

What you should be asking yourself is: "Can I Afford Not to Do It?"

You may be asking yourself whether you can really afford to do the effective estate planning that you know needs to be done. That's not the question to ask. The real question is whether you and your family can afford to be without the protection and security that the right planning provides.

Would you drive without car insurance? How would you feel without the protection that liability and property coverage offers??

Would you leave your home uninsured?

Would you go without health insurance, knowing that any major medical bills could wipe you out?
In the case of the car, home, and health insurance, you're protecting against the possibility of something happening. If an insured event occurs, then your insurance will cover you, and the premiums you paid for the insurance will be more than worth it.

Estate planning is protecting against the possibility that you might become incapacitated during your lifetime, and the certainty that you will pass away one day.

So what protection and security does the right kind of planning provide?

Protecting You if You Become Incapacitated. If you become incapacitated and need help managing your financial affairs and your medical care, the people you want helping you will need the proper legal documents in order to have the authority to act for you.

Protecting Your Loved Ones. The right kind of estate planning will protect your loved ones from any of the following:

  • Creditors - whether they have creditor problems now, or some that arise in the future.
  • Predators - people who would take advantage of them after they receive an inheritance from you.
  • Poor Financial Judgment - sometimes our loved ones just aren't good at handling money.
  • Loss of Benefits - if you have a loved one with Special Needs, then having the right plan will protect their continuing benefits.
  • Family Feuds - Unfortunately, when your planning is not done correctly, horrible feuds can arise between family members, even among siblings who previously got along.
  • Divorce Loss - if one of your loved ones got divorced, would you want their ex-spouse to receive half of their inheritance? Without proper planning, that can happen.
  • Blended Families - in families where there are children from other marriages, then the right estate planning will protect against one side of the family being inadvertently disinherited.
Protecting Your Assets. The right planning will protect your assets from unnecessary expenses, and the potential for loss from creditors or a nursing home spend-down.

  • Probate Expense - If your estate goes through Probate, then your family will pay a much higher cost to administer your estate. The attorney fee to pay in Probate is calculated as a percentage of your assets, starting as high as 4.5%. For example, in Lucas County, the attorney fee for probating a $400,000 estate (gross value) would be $15,000. With the right planning, that cost could be significantly reduced, resulting in savings of up to $11,000!
  • Creditors or Long Term Care Spend Down. If you're concerned about the potential for losing your savings to a nursing home, and if long term care insurance is not an option for you, then the right kind of estate planning can help protect a large portion of your assets and preserve them for your loved ones.
Whether or not your current estate planning is appropriate for your current needs and goals is something you need to be concerned about. In our office, we offer a no-cost and no-obligation initial consultation. We meet with you to determine whether your current planning is appropriate for your needs and goals, and make recommendations for any changes that may be required.
Call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys, or visit our website ( to learn more about our services and how effective estate planning can benefit you and your loved ones.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Probate Law 101

Probate law is a legal process that no one ever wants to deal with. When someone who has a valid will passes away an administrative process goes into effect which determines how the individual's property and belongings (termed their estate) will be handled. The process of this is great to know as both the person who is writing the will and the people who will be involved in the process should the unthinkable happen so that everything is understood and further pain is avoided. Estate planning is a lot better than no estate planning at all where motives have historically been influenced by relationships between friends and family and the value of the estate.

What is probate?

The term probate can be used in a variety of related ways. However the most common context is known as the process that occurs within the legal system administering your estate after someone has deceased. Each person listed on the will, must apply for a grant of Probate.

What if I have no will?

The Probate Law will only take effect when a valid will has been written by the deceased person. If the deceased does not have a recognized will, then the probate is invalid and an administrator needs to be made official (generally the next of kin). This process can be complicated and takes a lot longer than if a will was written.

What is included in an estate?

The probate lawfully considers an estate to be all assets that are owned fully or partially by the deceased. This includes future pay checks from work before passing, household goods, property and anything else that ownership can be determined by various forms of legal documents. All of the above can be probated by a local Probate Council except for real estate. Probate law for real estate is under the jurisdiction that the property is located. If someone wants to contest the ownership of any part of the estate, they must go through the appropriate legal channels.

Getting the process started?

If someone has deceased, their will is not official until it has been submitted for probate. Therefore when estate planning, you will need to tell someone where they can locate your will if required. Although there are some parts of the probate court procedures that are informal, there are severe penalties if the will is not produced within a certain time, is concealed or destroyed.

Estate planning is not enjoyable to think about. However, by doing so you do make things clearer for those who are mentioned in your will. The probate law may seem like a nuisance given the circumstances that the law is applied however is required though to keep everyone in check. It also simplifies the process as there have been situations where assets of the deceased are fought over for years resulting in ongoing pain for all parties involved. Ultimately, who do you want to go through your underwear draw?
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

California DUI Expungement - Expunge Your Record and Move on With Your Life

Having a DUI arrest or conviction record can tarnish your reputation and make it difficult for you to get a job, loan, college, military etc. Fortunately, California State allows you to expunge your DUI record thereby, helping you to leave behind your past crimes and move on with your life. However to obtain DUI expungement in California you must meet certain requirements. Also, your expungement is not guaranteed even after it's ordered.

Can your case be expunged?

Under California law, your case can be expunged if you meet the following requirements:

1. if you fulfilled the conditions of probation.

2. if you are not presently serving a sentence or on probation for any other crime.

3. if you are not presently charged for any other crime.

Also other factors are considered before granting an expungement such as whether you are a minor or an adult at the time of your conviction, whether you are charged for misdemeanor or felony, and whether or not you were sentenced to a state prison. If you meet such requirements your case will be expunged.

What happens when the expungement is granted?

Under California law, expunging means withdrawal of plea of guilty or no contest and entering a plea of not guilty or setting aside the judgment if you are found guilty in the trial. Once granted, you are thereafter, relieved from all the consequences resulting from a DUI violation, though with some exceptions.

Your life after expunging DUI record:

Job Applications:

As per the California law, when applying for a private job you can firmly answer "no" to the question "have you ever been convicted of a crime?" in the application form. Also, your DUI record will not show up when conducting a background check.

But expungement does not serve its purpose when you apply for a government job. Your DUI convictions will be revealed as expunged. It's not very helpful though. Also, your expunged records are seen as a prior conviction, meaning, it can be used for enhancing the penalties of your future DUI conviction in case you commit any.

Expunge your DUI record "completely" with the help of DUI Process Manual. It offers little-known strategies to clear your DUI record completely and pass employment background checks in a step-by-step approach. Visit my site for free DUI strategies report and DUI Process Manual review and take action to clear DUI record [].
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Naming Of Guardianship In Wills

When there are minor children, a Will should always be used to name a guardian(s) of their persons and property. This guardian is who will be taking care of them in your absence and will also have control over their finances, both from you and for their well being. This guardian that you appoint, needless to say, is someone that you must be able to trust completely with your children and someone who will make sure that they are cared for in the way that you have planned. This person "can" of course be someone other than your X.

Alternate guardians should also be named in the event that the original guardian is for whatever reason unable to assume responsibility. Naming of guardians and alternates should not be done any other way but in a Will. This will relieve any hint of confusion after you are not able to take care of your kids yourself. Of course, if there is a surviving parent that person will be automatically named guardian if living in the same household; but, if your will specifies a different person to control the money, then this can fit your goals quite nicely.

This situation can and often gets tricky in divorce cases. Since you are divorced, the parent with legal custody of the child(ren) should designate a guardian. If you are the legal guardian, then you have the authority to designate who will care for your children after you die. Understand, however, that if somebody besides the other biological parent is named, this decision might not be binding.

When a custodial parent dies, the non-custodial parent always has priority in seeking guardianship and custody, unless that person is deemed unfit to perform the duties necessary or is unsafe to leave with children. If you are set against your "X" getting custody of your children if you were to die, you need to make sure that you or your appointed guardian will be able to prove that your "X" is unfit or unable to perform the job.

However, be aware that the court will probably have to approve who you have proposed to be the legal guardian eventually even if named in your Will. The purpose of your Will in this regard, though, is to guide the court in its judgment. It will also help avoid family arguments over who is better qualified to raise your children and will give the person you choose the authority over all others.

Dennis Gac is widely known as "The World's premier fathers rights Consultant!" But why would you care? Well, I'll tell you if you rush over to his site... I think you'll come to your own conclusion that he "IS" the real deal! Experience someone who works and thinks outside the box for you! Read what others have to say at
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Estate Planning Glossary

Estate: Essentially includes everything you own. This includes life insurance, business interests, personal property, real estate and retirement plans. The "value" of your estate is determined by the "fair market value" of the assets.

Probate: The public, court controlled, legal process for changing title to assets for people who have died. Since deceased persons are legally incapable of transferring property, the probate court provides the process for transferring a decedent's property. Owning property in more than one state will require multiple probates.

Will: A legal document that advises the probate court about a decedent's wishes for distribution of their assets. A will is only effective after the person's death.

Will Substitutes: Certain forms of ownership that transfer property automatically on death. The most common will substitutes are beneficiary designations and joint tenancy. Will substitutes can cause unforeseen results and consequences.

Trust: A legal document that provides instructions to a personal trustee on how to manage and distribute the estate. A Living Trust is established during the person's lifetime and is usually revocable and amendable. A properly funded trust avoids probate and can provide instructions for management of the estate in the event of death or incapacity. A Testamentary Trust is established as a part of a will, but like a will, is only effective on death and must also be probated. Special kinds of trusts can be used to provide for disabled children or grandchildren, called a special needs trust. Also, certain irrevocable trusts can help protect assets from nursing home expenses.

When you create a trust, you (Trustmaker) transfer your property into the name of the trust, to be managed by you or someone else that you choose (Trustee) for the benefit of yourself or someone else (Beneficiary). In a Living Trust you are generally the Trustmaker, Trustee and Beneficiary so that you retain total management and control over your assets. However, at the time of your death, if the trust is then the owner of everything in the estate, there is nothing to probate and that process is avoided. Your Successor Trustee simply follows your instructions for further managing and distributing your estate. A revocable Living Trust does not require any special or additional tax filings, and can generally be revoked or amended at any time.

Guardianship: A guardianship is a legal relationship in which the probate court gives a person (the guardian) the power to make personal decisions (i.e. medical decisions) for another (the incapacitated person). If the judge determines that the person does not have the mental capacity to care for his or her own needs, the judge will appoint a guardian. Unless limited by the court, the guardian generally has the same rights, powers and duties over the person that parents have over their minor children.

Conservatorship: A conservatorship is a legal relationship in which the probate court gives a person (the conservator) the power to make financial decisions for another (the protected person). The court proceedings are similar to those of a guardianship except the judge is determining whether the individual has the capacity to manage his or her financial affairs. If the individual is determined not to have the necessary mental capacity, the court will appoint a conservator to make financial decisions for the individual. Once appointed, the conservator must file an accounting each year documenting all of the income and expenses generated on behalf of the protected person.

Brett Howell, the founder of the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm, specializes in helping Michigan families protect their estates. Contact our office for a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns with Brett - you will be glad (and relieved) you did. Contact Brett by calling the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm at (810) 953-3846 or visit his website for more information.
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Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Advantages of Incorporation

It is a universal fact that persistent hard work and some timely luck is needed to be successful in any business venture. However, when it comes to forming a corporate entity for your business, a little homework is all that is required to help make an informed decision which could lead to the continued success of your business.

While it is correct for business owners to give premeditated thought as to their venture's location, customer service, human resources and other management issues, it is equally important that the owner consider the corporate structure of the business as well.

Many business owners don't consider this, but the corporate structure that is chosen can often times be the difference between the venture's success or failure, especially in today's highly competitive and litigious marketplace. Most often, entrepreneurs select the corporation as their preferred entity choice, which encompasses several unique benefits.

Incorporating, while definitely not for everybody, offers several distinct and money-saving advantages over other types of legal entities. Here are eight advantages of incorporation:

1. Protection of Personal Assets
If you operate as a sole proprietor or partnership, there is virtually unlimited personal liability for business debts or lawsuits. In other words, should you go out of business or be a defendant in a lawsuit, your personal assets such as homes, jewelry, vehicles, savings, etc. are subject to seizure. This is generally NOT the case of incorporation. When you incorporate you are only responsible for your initial investment in the corporation; as such, this limited liability feature of a corporation, while not a guarantee, is DEFINITELY one of the most attractive reasons of incorporation.

2. Transferable Ownership
Corporations are generally much easier to sell and are usually more attractive to buyers than either a sole proprietorship or partnership. The reason for this is because a new buyer will not be personally liable for any wrongful acts committed by the previous owners. For example, if someone buys a sole proprietorship, the new owner can be held personally liable for any mistakes or illegalities on the part of the prior owner... even if the new owner had NOTHING to do with the situation! This is usually NOT the case with a corporation.

3. Taxation
When you incorporate a business, there are numerous tax advantages at your disposal that are virtually impossible to accomplish with other business entities. When a business is incorporated, a separate and distinct legal entity is created. Because of this, there are various transactions that can be structured within the corporate parameters of the business that will save big money on taxes. For instance, if you own a building, you can rent office facilities to your corporation and claim depreciation and other deductions for it. Your corporation can then claim the rental expense. You are prohibited from doing this if you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a partnership.

4. Privacy and Confidentiality
Incorporating your business is a great way to keep your identity and business affairs private and confidential. If you want to start a business, but would like to remain anonymous, forming a corporation is the best way to accomplish this. Moreover, some states such as Nevada offer even more privacy protection for corporations and their shareholders.

5. Easier to Raise Capital
When you're looking to raise money through investment or borrowing, a corporation can actually make finding and getting the money you need easier. If you want to take on investors, you simply sell shares of stock. If you want to borrow, a corporation can add clout when dealing with banks or other lending institutions.

6. Perpetuity
As mentioned in #3, when you incorporate a business, you create a separate and distinct legal entity. This separate and distinct entity (the corporation) will exist in perpetuity irrespective of what happens to the shareholders, directors, or officers. This is NOT the case with sole proprietorships, partnerships or even limited liability companies. For example, if an owner, partner, or member dies, the business AUTOMATICALLY ends or gets wrapped up in the legal dissolution process. Corporations, on the other hand, exist forever.

7. Retirement funds
Retirement funds and qualified retirement plans, such as a 401k, may be established more easily.

8. Credit Rating
Regardless of an owner's personal credit scores, a corporation can acquire its own credit rating, and build a separate credit history by applying for and using corporate credit.

Yusoff Allian is a legal expert on the formation of C-corporations, LLCs, and LLPs. To learn more about the advantages of incorporation, visit
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Saturday, March 1, 2014

By The People FAQs

  • Are BY THE PEOPLE Personnel attorneys? No, we are not attorneys. We are Legal Document Assistants. In California, we are a licensed and bonded profession.
  • What if I need legal advise? You can always consult with an attorney of your choice. We can provide you with a referral for an excellent local attorney who specializes in cases similar to yours if you have questions we cannot answer for you, or your situation is more complicated than our services are meant to help with.
  • Do you have a Notary Public? Yes, whenever we are open we have a Notary Public on staff. If you are a BY THE PEOPLE customer, all Notarizations of your documents are included in our fees. If you have documents not prepared by BY THE PEOPLE, we charge $10.00 per signature you need notarized, in Cash Only. You must sign the document in our presence and provide valid photo identification.
  • Does BY THE PEOPLE handle Criminal Matters? No, we only handle uncontested civil matters. However, if you would like to contact us, we may be able to refer an excellent local attorney to you.
  • I need to have my documents prepared immediately. Do you have Rush or Same-Day document preparation services? Yes, we can prepare certain documents within a few hours, if necessary. Rush and Same-Day services are available for the following documents: Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Deeds, LLC and Incorporation Articles. A modest Rush Fees will apply to these services.
  • How long will it take to prepare my documents? The documents we prepare at BY THE PEOPLE are typed specifically at your direction. All documents are then rigorously proofed to ensure you receive the highest quality legal documents available anywhere. Most of our documents are prepared and ready for you to sign within one week, depending on your situation. 
For more information please visit