Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." 

-George S. Patton

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Medical Power of Attorney

A Medical Power of Attorney gives specific instructions, prepared in advance, that are intended to direct medical care for an individual if he or she becomes unable to do so in the future. Plainly speaking, a Medical Power of Attorney is made in anticipation of a medical emergency. If you are in an accident or suffer a disease or disorder that may leave you incapable of making a sound medical decision, a Medical Power of Attorney permits you to choose in advance who will represent and enforce your interests. The person authorizing the other to act on his behalf is the "principal" and the one authorized to act is the "agent".

A Medical Power of Attorney should be given to someone whom you trust unreservedly; this is an individual who will be making decisions for you when you are incapacitated, even if you are not on life support or terminally ill. However, an agent does not have the authority to act until the principal's attending physician certifies in writing that the principal is incompetent.

A Medical Power of Attorney is not legally effective unless the principal signs a disclosure statement that he or she has read and understood the contents before signing the document. If the principal is physically unable to sign, another person may sign the document in his or her presence and at his or her directive. Two qualified witnesses, who are competent adults, must witness the procedure. At least one of them must not be related to the principal, the principal's attending physician or the attending physician's employee, entitled to a part of the principal's estate, an individual who has a claim against the principal's estate, or an officer, director, partner or business office employee of the healthcare facility.

An individual may revoke the Medical Power of Attorney by notifying either the agent or the principal's health care provider of his or her intent to revoke the document. This revocation will take place regardless of the principal's capability to make sound medical judgments. Further, if the principal executes a later Medical Power of Attorney, then all prior ones are revoked. If the principal designates his or her spouse to be the agent, a divorce revokes the Medical Power of Attorney.
An agent, acting in good faith, will not incur criminal or civil liability for a medical decision made under a Medical Power of Attorney.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kent_Pinkerton

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Friday, May 27, 2016

What Happens During Probate

Probate is the court process that determines whether your will is legally valid. The probate court is also where your estate is officially distributed to your creditors and the beneficiaries under your will. Depending on the value and complexity of your estate, the probate process can take several months .... or it may be eligible for a simplified process.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Personal Finance Tips - How to Set Up a Financial Power of Attorney To Help Handle Your Affairs

If you have a good deal of money or assets it is probably a good idea that when you are planning your estate that you also consider setting up a financial power of attorney. What this is, is a document that will give another person the legal power or right to handle all of your financial affairs. To do this you don't even have to go to court. You just need to be of sound mind when you set up this type of an arrangement.

You being the principal in this document will then choose someone called the agent who will handle your affairs should there come a time in which for whatever reason, you can't. They can also be asked to handle your affairs if you are going to be gone and won't be able to take care of your affairs while you are away.

When you sit down to figure this out you are going to need to decide upon just how much authority that you are going to allow the agent to have. You may decide to give them general powers to handle all of it or you may just give him power to just take care of certain kinds of transactions like your stocks and bonds. They can even be asked to take care of financial issues while you are away on an extended vacation if need be.

You also need to figure out just how long you want their authority to last. It can be durable or it can be nondurable. A nondurable agent will lose their authority the minute you should become incapacitated in any way. So if you want to have them to continue on should you not be able to take care of things if you were incapacitated then you would want to make sure that you made them a durable agent.

You also need to figure out when the power of attorney will take effect. Understand that it will go into effect immediately as soon as the document is signed unless you set down a date in the document when it will take effect. Some documents with durable agents will not kick in until you might be declared incompetent or incapacitated by a doctor. You will also need to make sure there is a stipulation in the document that dictates when the power of attorney is ended, for instance you might stipulate that once a doctor says you are going to be OK and will be recovering, then the power of the agent will end.

Once you have your document written up you will need to have it signed by all parties involved and most states will require that you have the document notarized in front of two witnesses. If you don't want to do all of this yourself, you can always pay an attorney to write up your document for you.

When you decide to write up this kind of a document, the person that you pick needs to be someone you really believe that you know and trust well enough to honestly take care of your affairs for you whenever you might not be able to. Also remember that anything is possible so you might want to also name a second agent in case something should happen to the first one. Also make sure that if you would like to pay this person for performing their agent duties to state this in your document, otherwise they don't get paid for doing this.

Once you have your document written up and signed you should give a copy of it to your agent, a copy for yourself and you should also make sure that any agencies or businesses you do business with have copies as well and that would be banks, brokers, IRS or SSI.

Note: You can revoke your power of attorney at any time during your arrangement with them as long as you are mentally stable and you make sure that you send them a letter in writing stating you are going to revoke the document.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amy_Myer

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alwan_Fauzy

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Over 100 Legal Document Services at By the People

Rene of By the People in Fairfield CA gives a short overview of their services and the number of legal documents they can help with. For questions, call Rene or Tammy at 707-428-9871 and you can visit their website at http://www.bythepeopleca.com

Sunday, May 22, 2016

How Do I Set Up an LLC Without a Lawyer?

Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are business entities that got their start in 1977 and are considered to fit somewhere between sole proprietors/partnerships, and fully incorporated companies. Existing to fill the gap between corporations and sole proprietors LLCs can help to segment personal and business assets and liabilities while at the same time maintaining a simplified tax structure. An LLC is not corporations but is a company structure to operate like a corporation.


An LLC is in itself its own legal entity so long as it is treated as one. The LLC can assume obligations of debt. In other words the LLC, not the members, hold a loan and the liabilities that go along with it. If however the members of an LLC use the entity as their personal bank or for personal matters it is possible that the LLC will not be recognized as a separate entity if a lawsuit is filed.


As far as taxes go LLCs are considered by the IRS as pass-through entities. This means income passes through the business and goes straight to the LLC members just as they would with a sole proprietorship or partnership. These profits or losses are filed on each individual's tax return. A caveat to this is that LLCs can be taxed as a corporation if the members elect to do so. So, if treated appropriately an LLC can shield its members from the liabilities of a corporation without assuming the tax overhead a true incorporation must maintain.

How to File

If you are thinking about forming an LLC for your business, spend the next 20 minutes educating yourself on the difference between Sole proprietorships, LLCs, and S corporations. My guess is that for most people starting out as a sole proprietorship will be sufficient for current needs and much cheaper than filing for an LLC.

If you have done your homework and have decided that an LLC is the way to go, what next? The steps to filing an LLC are not complex and although requirements vary from state to state, setting up an LLC is a simple process that can usually be done in an hour.

  1. Articles of Organization

    The first step is to contact your secretary of state and obtain the required form for filing a LLC. In some cases this will be a simple fill in the blank form. The state of Washington for example has an online application. The processes guides you through establishing a legal name, completing the certificate of formation, establishing the registered agent, defining the members, and guides you through the initial annual report. The fee for WA is roughly $200.00, additional costs may apply depending on how you file. Google your secretary of state to find out more of the specifics.

  2. Registered Agent

    As you fill out your articles of organization you will be required to define the registered agent for the LLC. In most cases this will be you. The registered agent is the person or business that is designated to receive important documents on behalf of the LLC. The most appropriate individual for this is generally the one spear heading the business.

  3. Operating Agreement

    The operating agreement is the internal agreement between the members of the LLC. It is not required to form the LLC but it should be drafted to state the rights and responsibilities of the members. The operating agreement should contain but is not limited to the following;

    • Capital Contributions. How are the members expected to make capital contributions if the business needs additional capital?
    • Management Decisions.When the members are faced with important management decisions, does each get one vote, or do they vote according to their percentage interests in the LLC? Majority shareholders may feel they deserve a larger say.
    • Financial Withdraws. How do owners go about draws from the profits of the business?
    • Buy Out/Cash out. How do members leave the LLC? Will they receive an immediate payout of their capital contributions?
    • Compensation. If a member does leave how much should they be paid?
    • Share. While there are not actual shares within a LLC it should be defined how or if a departing owner is allowed to sell an interest to an outsider?

Publish a Notice

Some states require a notice of intent to be published. This can be as simple as running a classified ad in your local paper. Specifics on this will vary and your secretary of state can provide you with the steps required.


The last bit to think about is obtaining other appropriate insurance, permits, and licenses for your new LLC. Each industry had its own unique set of requirements so be mindful of this once your business is established.


LLCs are considered by many to be a great way to establish a small business. There is little required to get one started and protection they provide could be priceless. That said an LLC may not be needed for everyone. Only you know the entity type most appropriate for your business.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/TJ_Mollahan/289985

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Uncontested Divorce Made Affordable - By the People

Divorce is probably never easy, but it doesn't have to be expensive. Rene of By the People in Fairfield CA talks briefly about help with uncontested divorces with our without children. Rene or Tammy will be happy to answer all your questions. Call them at 707-428-9871 and you can visit the website at http://bythepeopleca.com

Friday, May 20, 2016

Why You Should Integrate a Family Trust with Your Business

Utilizing a Revocable Living Trust can be an affordable way to ensure your business passes effectively to your family or loved ones upon your death.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why Advance Health Care Directives Are Important

Consider this scenario. You are in a hospital with a terminal illness, unconscious, connected to all kinds of medical machines, and has a very poor prognosis. Who will speak on your behalf during this time of illness? Who would tell the doctors, the nurses and your family members what your medical wishes are if ever you get into this terminal condition? Who would let your caregivers know what you would like to happen to you and your body in such a condition like this? Would you like to be kept alive by all means? Or would you rather decide not to be subjected to futile treatments knowing that this is not a dignified living for you? But how would you let everyone know all these wishes now that you are no longer capable of speaking up for yourself?

This is why Advance Health Care Directives (AHCD) are very important. As a clinical counselor working in a hospital for several years now, I have personally worked with families and witnessed them break apart because they could not agree in making medical and end-of-life decisions for the dying loved ones. Their loved ones, who were unable to speak up for themselves, did not have an advance directive. Remember the Terry Schiavo case?

I have witnessed many cases where, because patients did not have an AHCD, families and caregivers are plagued with guilt and have constantly asked themselves if they were making the "right" decision for their loved one or for themselves. Yet, I have also witnessed many cases where, because patients had an AHCD, their families and caregivers felt at peace, in spite of the pain, just because they knew they were honoring their loved one's medical wishes as reflected on their AHCD.


AHCD are legal documents that enable you to do the following:

1. Appoint or designate a primary and secondary power of attorneys for health care whom you trust to speak on your behalf and honor your medical wishes in an event that you could no longer speak up for yourself.
2. Appoint a primary physician whom you trust to be your doctor or caregiver.
3. Make your end-of-life wishes known.
4. Make your wishes known regarding organ donation.
5. Make your wishes known regarding pain control.

For an AHCD to be legal, it has to be signed by you (the person creating the document) before two witnesses. These witnesses could not be your designated power of attorneys or your immediate family members or your health caregivers where you receive medical care. Close friends or distant relatives could be witnesses. If you cannot find witnesses, the document could be notarized by a notary. The notary can only notarize an advance directive if you have a valid photo ID (e.g. driver license or passport). This process applies particularly in California. Other states may have different processes.

I would also like to mention that a Living Will is a kind of AHCD. Likewise, an AHCD could also be known as "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care."


Once you created your AHCD, you keep the original and remember to keep it in an accessible place in your home. If possible, make several copies to give to your designated power of attorneys, your primary physician and to your hospital. I strongly encourage people to always bring a copy with them whenever they go to the hospital so that the hospital will not only have a copy of your document but also will know and honor your medical wishes. While creating an AHCD is not mandatory, it is a Federal Law that hospitals have to ask patients during their admission if they have an AHCD.


Most, if not all, hospitals have AHCD forms. You can always ask your hospital if they have available forms. You can also ask your doctor if he/she has a form. There are many websites now on the Internet that offer AHCD forms. Just do a search on "Advance Health Care Directives."
I believe that your completed (properly witnessed or notarized and signed) AHCD is legally recognized in states other then your own. However, since each state may have its own froms and probably laws on AHCD, the best thing to do is to always bring an extra copy with you when traveling.


Many folks think that an Advance Health Care Directive is only for patients who are terminally ill. Not so. Any competent adult, 18 years old and above, can fill out an AHCD. I remember dealing with the family of a 20 year old woman who ended up on a persistent vegetative state (PVS) as a result of a car accident. Her parents ended up divorcing just because they could not agree as to what to do with her in her grave condition. The mother believed that her daughter loved life so much that she would not like to be living in such a terrible medical condition where there is no dignity of life any longer. The father thought otherwise. This sad break-up of a family would have not happened if, even at early age, their daughter had an advance heatlh care directive.

I strongly encourage you to talk to your physician or family members about this difficult yet very important subject. I just hope that this article has been a source of help.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jun_C

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Estate Planning : Family Estate Trust or Revocable Living Trust?

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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Becoming Incorporated - The Pros and Cons Of Incorporation

So you currently have your own business and you're pondering over whether or not you should incorporate it, or carry on as a sole trader?

Before you make the incorporation decision, you need to consider all of the advantages and disadvantages that incorporating brings.

This article will set out to explain the benefits and downsides to incorporation, starting with the benefits ...

Benefits of Incorporation:

Personal Liability Protection

An incorporated company is a separate legal entity responsible for its own debts. Shareholders only have responsibility for servicing debts and liabilities up to the value of their equity in the Company.

Creditors of a corporation can only seek payment from the assets of the incorporated business and not from the personal assets of shareholders, directors and officers.

As a small business owner of a non incorporated company, your personal assets are at risk if your business fails to service it's debts.

Personal liability protection is therefore a major benefit of business incorporation.

However, owners forming new corporations with small amounts of invested capital may well be asked to provide personal guarantees that credit will be honoured to reduce the risk of the lender.

Also, owners of incorporated businesses are required to personally ensure that the company makes its required tax repayments.

Protection From Legal Action

As with personal liability protection from debts above, the personal assets of the company's owners is protected by the separate legal entity status in cases where the incorporated company faces legal action.

Note, incorporation does not protect a company's officers from liability and prosecution in cases where the company is found guilty of criminal negligence.

Tax Advantages

Some incorporated businesses can enjoy lower taxation rates following business incorporation compared with partnerships and sole traders. One way of achieving lower taxation is to minimise the salary paid to the owners to reduce higher rates of personal taxation, and draw income from the business in the form of dividends which are taxed at a lower rate.

Obviously professional advice from a qualified taxation expert should be sought in all instances as all personal circumstances are different.

Other taxation benefits of incorporation are that once incorporated, many additional items of expenditure become tax deductible. For example medical expenses, entertainment expenses, vehicle and travel costs, recreational facilities and pension costs all become tax deductible. This can be a significant cash benefit. In particular money placed in an approved pension plan is tax free as is the funds growth.

Raising New Capital

Once you've incorporated your business, the ability to issues shares simplifies the process of raising capital investment. It's also easier to get loans and other finance approved from financial lending institutions if you are an incorporated company.

Transferring Ownership

The existence of shares also simplifies the sale of your business in the future. Also should an owner or director die, the business can continue to operate indefinitely.

Business Credibility

Having the words Inc or Corp in your business name gives a positive perception of long term financial stability.

Disadvantages of Incorporation

Double Taxation

Once incorporated, earnings are subject to double taxation, whereby, company profits are taxed, and then the dividends paid to shareholders from the "net" profits are also taxed.

With a non-incorporated business, the income the owner receives from the business is only taxed once. Double taxation can be avoided if the corporation is registered as an "S-Corporation"

Statutory Compliance Costs

Compliance with legal and accounting requirements places a significant burden on companies in terms of staffing, cost and time. There are also fees associated with the initial company incorporation, and ongoing operations.

Loss of flexibility The separate legal entity status of incorporation also means that the company finances are separate from the individual's, therefore the individual cannot "borrow" money from the accounts of the corporation, and statutory requirements in general reduce the flexibility of what can and can't be done with the business and its finances.

The above are some of the key advantages and disadvantages that you as a business owner need to consider before you begin the process of incorporation. You should always seek legal advice as all cases are different.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Richard_Taylor

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorneys Help to Make Sure Your Wishes are Met

No one can foresee problems that may arise should he become incapacitated. Yet, you can avoid negative consequences of unforeseen problems by creating Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorneys (HCPOA).

Setting up a Living Will or HCPOA is a relatively simple task. The first step it to consult with an attorney that specializes in estate planning to ensure that your documents are clear. Here's an overview of what you can expect from your Living Will and HCPOA.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

The HCPOA, otherwise known as a "healthcare proxy" is a legal document that enables an individual that you appoint (your "agent") to act as your healthcare representative if you become incapacitated. The agent becomes your acting representative at the moment you become incapacitated, thus eliminating the need for your loved ones to argue over your rights and wishes in court.

Your agent has the authority to request or deny any medical treatment that he determines to be appropriate. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose someone that you trust as your agent. Please note: In most states, your spouse will be your default agent. If you are not married but are in a lifelong relationship your partner, he does not automatically become your agent. Make sure that you appoint your partner as your agent to ensure that he or she has control over your medical decisions if you are unable to make them.

Because your agent has whatever powers you give him or her, make sure that he or she understands your desires. Some of the decisions he or she may need to make include but are not limited to:

  • Deciding whether or not you will receive medical treatment
  • Withdrawing life-support

Living Will

A Living Will and HCPOA should be used in tandem, since one document complements the other. Your Living Will is a document that clearly expresses your desires. In short, your Living Will provides your medical team with instructions for how to carry out your wishes should you become incapacitated. For example, if you become brain dead, you can state in your Living Will that you wish to receive or not to receive life support.

By creating a Living Will, you ensure that your desires will be carried out without court involvement that can be costly and stressful for your family. Criteria for enacting a Living Will vary by state; so make sure that you consult with an attorney to ensure that your Living Will complies with the rules in your state.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Thomas_McNally

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Friday, May 13, 2016

The Advance Directive for Health Care: An Overview

An advance directive for health care is a legal document in which you state the medical treatment you want to receive at some time in the future if you are not able to speak or make sound decisions for yourself. Other names for it are advance directive, health care directive and medical directive. It consists of three parts: the living will, power of attorney and do not resuscitate form (DNR).

The living will is the part of the set of documents in which you make known to your doctor and family members the kind of care you would like to receive as you near the end of life and you can no longer speak for yourself. It is prepared in advance of circumstances requiring its use and does not override your expressed desires.

Therefore, your consciously stated desires will always prevail over what's in the document if the two don't agree.

A living will might specify the withholding and/or withdrawing of treatment. It can be general or specific. A general one usually includes wording that directs the withholding or termination of any treatment, other than that for comfort, if you have a terminal illness. More specific instructions apply to the withholding or withdrawing of specific forms of treatment. They might include things such as artificial feeding, intravenous fluids, or intravenous antibiotics.

A medical power of attorney is that part of the health care directive which allows you to appoint someone to act in your behalf in directing your medical treatment if you are not able to speak for yourself or make sound decisions. The health care power of attorney goes into effect when your physician decides that you are no longer able to understand the nature and the consequences of your treatment decisions.

The term for the person appointed to make these decisions is health care agent (proxy). It is most commonly a family member or close friend who fully understands your treatment wishes. The proxy cannot be a physician or other health care provider involved in your treatment though.

With the exception of state restrictions or limitations listed by you on the power of attorney form, your health care proxy will make all decisions with regard to your treatment once the medical power of attorney goes into effect. Therefore, it is very important that the proxy have a good understanding of your wishes.

In order for the document to be official and legal, you must fill out and sign the medical power of attorney form. Your health care agent must also sign the form. You can revoke the document at any time.

The do not resuscitate (DNR) form is the part of the advance directive for health care that allows you to instruct healthcare personnel to not attempt to revive you if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. Unless the form exist and is visible medical personnel will assume that you consent to attempts to revive you. Those attempts might include the placement of a tube down your windpipe, chest compressions and the use of electrical voltage to stimulate your heart.

The do not resuscitate form is particularly valuable outside of the hospital, e.g. in situations where paramedics are called to a home. In that setting, it is important to have the form visibly on display where the emergency crew can see it. Otherwise, they will attempt resuscitation if it appears to be indicated.

Medical advance directive forms can be obtained from a number of sources including medical offices, hospitals, attorneys, social workers and some post offices. You can also draft your own. Because states regulate advance directives each state has its own official living will, medical power of attorney and do not resuscitate forms. Therefore it is probably best to use your state's official forms in order to be fully compliant with all your state's laws.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Victor_E._Battles,_M.D.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Becoming Incapacitated Without A Healthcare Power Of Attorney

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is meant to be in place to allow you to make healthcare decisions for yourself when you are no longer able to speak for yourself. You are considered to be legally incapacitated when you can no longer speak for yourself. What happens when you become incapacitated without having a healthcare power of attorney in place?

If you become incapacitated or no longer able to speak for yourself concerning medical decisions without a Healthcare Power Of Attorney in place for yourself then family members in most states might be able to step in to make decisions for you. This is put into place by the power under the Adult Health Care Consent Act of most states. The Adult Health Care Consent Act states an order of succession of who will be able to step in to speak for you in case of your incapacity. The Spouse is given priority in the order of those that can step in and speak for you. The next in line is the children.
The next in line is parents. After that are siblings. In the order of succession after the spouse each group of children or parents if there is more than one must come to an agreement on a decision to be made. This situation puts an undue stress and difficult decision in the hands of family members that have within their choice the power to keep alive or let a family member die. This can lead to unnecessary fights or disagreements among family members at a difficult and stressful time.

When there are differing opinions on whether you should be allowed to stay alive or pass among family members the situation can quickly and literally become life and death. Unnecessary stress and arguments can be prevented by simply putting in writing your healthcare wishes in your advance directives. Take the choice and doubt over what you would have wanted to happen to you away from everyone else. This is a simple and selfless act that could potentially keep a family together by having a plan in place. Having a plan in place allows for everything to flow smoothly at a time when tensions and grief can be high and get even higher.

It is best to have a Healthcare Power Of Attorney in place to make your wishes clear and appoint one agent to make decisions on your behalf.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Which Is Best, A Will Or A Living Trust?

You don't have to be wealthy to need a will in regards to your personal property. After you're gone, legal wrangling can become time consuming for family members left behind and often creates indecision and fighting amongst potential beneficiaries as your wishes may not be clear. A will is usually straightforward and simply put is a legal document that specifies how your property will be dispersed at the time of your death. It can be revoked or amended at any point in your lifetime, and can be used to appoint a guardian for any children that are not yet of legal age.

Another option to be considered is a living trust. A living trust handles property management of all assets and all of these assets are transferred to the trust. Typically, you will act as your own trustee while specifying who will act as trustee upon your death. A living trust has the added benefit of avoiding probate after you die and preventing public disclosure of all your private financial matters. A living trust does have some drawbacks. It must be maintained and any new property acquired must be transferred to the trust or it will not be under the protection of the trust. A living trust is also more expensive to initiate and must be managed. Generally a living trust is recommended if your estate exceeds a specific dollar amount, you have minor children, you're willing to manage the trust, and if you want control of when your beneficiaries receive any assets.

A simple will might be a better option if there is informal probate available where you live. Informal probate is a greatly expedited form of probate and is generally available to those whose estate is under a certain dollar amount. If you are single without children, and you don't own a business, it probably isn't necessary to set up a living trust and a simple will is sufficient. Upon your death, the executor of your estate will submit your will along with a petition to the probate court. The petition requests that the will be accepted as legal and valid and request that the executor named in the will be legally appointed. Any heirs, beneficiaries, or creditors must be notified of the submission of the will and have a specific amount of time to challenge it or submit claims against the estate.

This process does not apply to living trusts, which is why many people opt for a living trust versus a will. Each person's situation is unique and should be evaluated by an attorney who is familiar with estate law. Talk to your family and determine who will handle your affairs after your death. With everyone understanding who will handle which aspects of the estate and what to expect, the loss of a family member is a less stressful one.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shauna_Rupert

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Estate Planning - More Than Just A Legal Will

When people think of Estate Planning, they generally think of legal wills. Estate planning is not just a will, although it does involve writing one. Rather, it's a series of legal steps that involves allowing your beneficiaries to avoid probate and minimize the taxes incurred, and for you to write a living will in which you nominate trusted associates who would assume power of attorney and executor status should you be incapacitated or die. Estate planning also allows you more direct control over how your assets will be treated when you're gone.

One of the most important parts of any estate plan are measures to avoid too much of the estate's worth being lost to taxes. In the United State and abroad, dying can attract a number of specific taxes from both State and Federal governments, like death tax and estate tax. The simplest way to minimize estate tax is to name recipients of funds or assets from your estate in your legal will, specifying that a certain amount should be given as a gift. Provided your lifetime tax-free gift threshold of $1 million is not exceeded, these portions cannot attract any taxation.

An important part of any estate plan is the inclusion of a living will. A living will is not usually considered a legally binding document, however, it is given consideration if you are ever incapacitated and left unable to carry out your legal rights, or make decisions. While the living will itself may not carry much weight, you can nominate someone to assume your enduring power of attorney (EPA). If you are unable to exercise the living will as a legally binding decision, your enduring power of attorney can only be challenged by a court.

The will itself is the most important part of any estate plan. If you should die without writing a will, the specific laws of your state will determine how your assets will be divided following probate. Additionally, with no prior planning of where the assets should go on the event of your death, your estate is likely to be taxed the maximum possible amount. Where no will is present, the spouse is likely to keep one third of the value of the estate with the remainder to be distributed evenly among children.

An estate plan enables you to stipulate, for instance, that if your children receive an inheritance, the property is given to them personally and not, for example, to the child's spouse. Should your child ever divorce, then the value of any inheritance received would not have to be shared in any divorce settlement, as it would not be a shared asset of that marriage.

One of the more important aspects of estate planning is the protection it can provide your assets. Typically, after a person passes away their family sells the assets that were left to them and divides the proceeds among themselves. If, however, you have a company or significant property holdings, you may wish to prevent the breakup of any of these assets, judging them to have more value whole compared with their value after being broken up.

Estate planning allows very specific instructions for how such assets should be treated if you wish to prevent this asset division from happening. For example, you can specify in your will that you require that your business be run by a family trust whose members and membership requirements you specify. It is not uncommon for people to wish to leave behind some legacy when they've gone, and the establishment of a family trust to ensure your assets are managed properly by a family member is a good way of ensuring it.

Another common request made is for a trust fund to be established as a scholarship fund or similar. Again, with a proper estate plan, it is possible for a benefactor to specify who a scholarship fund is for, and who is allowed to sit on any board or committee it relies on to pick a recipient.

Estate planning is the method by which specific instructions may be given in advance on how to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated or die. Estate planning represents the best way of protecting your assets from the whims of financially irresponsible relatives, excessive government taxation, and dissolution of your assets by the normal laws of succession in the state or country concerned.

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

What is Probate and Will it Affect My Inheritance?

What is probate is a fundamental question. Financial planners claim less than 20-percent of heirs and beneficiaries receive their intended inheritance. Funeral expenses, unpaid debts, estate taxes and legal fees can financially deplete the estate, leaving nothing for those left behind.

This article answers the "what is probate" question and provides tips and techniques to keep assets out of probate. Estates will process through the court system faster when fewer assets are involved.

Probate is the legal process used to validate decedents Last Will and Testament and tie up financial loose ends. The last will is the instrument used to convey final wishes and designate who should receive money, personal belongings, real estate and valuable items.

Numerous options exist for creating a Will. Preformatted Wills can be downloaded online or purchased at office supply stores. Complex estates generally require assistance from a probate attorney or professional estate planner. Much depends on the estate's net worth and how many heirs are entitled to assets.

An estate administrator is designated within the decedent's Will. This individual is responsible for a wide range of duties, so it is best to appoint someone who is good with finances and able to cope well under stress. This is of particular importance when family discord exists.

Probate begins when the decedent's death certificate is submitted to probate court. The estate administrator must create an inventory list of assets and obtain property appraisals for valuable assets such as real estate, collectibles, antiques, artwork and heirloom jewelry. Other duties include paying outstanding debts, filing a final tax return and distributing assets according to directives outlined within the Will. Most Administrators require assistance from an attorney or estate planner.

The process of probate typically takes six to nine months to settle. This can be financially challenging for estates with business or real estate holdings. The estate is responsible for maintaining real estate properties and managing business entities. If the estate does not possess the financial means to maintain property or handle business affairs, the court can order these assets to be sold.

Probate provides a stage for disgruntled heirs to contest the last will. When family members are disinherited or do not receive assets they believe are rightfully theirs, they can file a petition through the court.

The plaintiff is responsible for legal fees. The estate must reimburse legal fees if the court rules in favor of the plaintiff. When Wills are contested probate can drag on for years and potentially bankrupt the estate. In most instances when Wills are the contested, the only people who win are the attorneys.
Estate assets can be exempted from probate by establishing a trust. A variety of types exist and most can be customized to suit the needs of the estate. Trusts are typically reserved for estates valued over $100,000.

Smaller estate can utilize various techniques to keep assets out of probate. These include establishing transfer on death (TOD) and payable on death (POD) beneficiaries. TOD is used with investment and retirement accounts, while POD is used for checking and savings accounts.

TOD and POD assignments can be made by filling out a simple form through the financial institution where accounts are held. Financial assets avoid probate through the assignment of beneficiaries.
Real estate can avoid undergoing the process of probate by titling the property as 'Tenants in Common' or 'Joint Tenancy'.

Titled property such as automobiles, motorcycles, boats and airplanes can be jointly titled and transferred to the name beneficiary upon death without passing through probate.

Another option to avoid probate is to give assets to loved ones while you are still alive. The IRS allows cash gifts of up to $10,000 per person or $20,000 per married couple, per year. This option is oftentimes attractive to individuals with chronic or terminal illness.

Probate can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task. By taking time now to execute a last will and testament and taking action to keep assets out of probate, you can rest assured knowing your loved ones will receive the inheritance you wish to leave them.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

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

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

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

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

Doing Business in Another State

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

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

Finding a Statutory Agent

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

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

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Business Laws : Forming an LLC

Forming a LLC, or limited liability company, requires contacting the Small Business Administration to find out what type of licenses and registrations are needed to be filed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How to Expunge a DUI Record

Getting behind the wheel while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a very stupid decision. This mistake can cost you a hefty fine or your freedom. You can get arrested for drunk driving and this charge may result to expensive fines, community service, jail time and a permanent record.

A DUI conviction in your record can have a negative impact which may affect many areas of your life. Even after you have paid the fines, attended drunk driving classes, and served your sentence, you may realize that a DUI conviction on your record can become a form of punishment on its own. For instance, a permanent record can keep you from getting a job, a loan, or from renting a decent apartment. To that end, you may want to have your DUI record expunged.

What Is Expungement?

When the court agrees to expunge a criminal record, it basically means that the conviction is sealed or erased. To that end, when a background check is performed, the record won't appear. This is very helpful for those who are seeking employment, applying for a loan, or for other purposes.
Remember though that the record is not completely erased. It can still be seen by law enforcers and court officials to check whether the person has previous run-ins with the law. But an expungement will keep the permanent record from ruining the individual's life.

How To Expunge A DUI

1. Understand what it means to expunge a DUI record: As previously mentioned, DUI is a permanent record. If it gets expunged, all the information about the case, including the files, records, and criminal charges will be sealed. This means that in case you apply for a job, you can tell your potential employer that you have never been arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI.

2. Learn about the laws involving the expungement procedure: You need to understand that expungement process may vary from state to state. To that end, you must check with your country's court or law enforcement agency where the arrests are expunged. Ask about the requirements, such as a certificate that proves you have completed probation and how many years before you can get your DUI expunged. There are some states that allow immediate expungement for some cases, such as a first offense in DUI.

3. Complete the process: It is crucial to fill out all the necessary forms and requests for expungement, such as the Motion to Expunge. After filling out the formal request, you will need to submit the application to the court and pay the fees necessary. You must then attend the expungement hearing once it is scheduled by the court. Lastly, you may also need to appear in front of a judge.

If everything went well, the judge will agree to the expungement plea. He will then give a court order to expunge the DUI record.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

What is Guardianship and Power of Attorney?

Learn what the difference is between guardianship and power of attorney.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tips on How to Get Your Criminal Record Expunged

You may have tried to forget about that time when you and your friends had a little too much fun on the spring break of '97 or forced yourself to believe that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". Although that breaking and entering incident happened way back when you were a college sophomore and that you got away with that little Vegas fiasco with just a month-long community service sanction, these can all go on your permanent record and can appear in background checks. For more grave crimes, it can even affect your chances of getting a reputable job or a loan from a bank.

Therefore, expunging or erasing your criminal records can reap a multitude of benefits other than just clearing up your conscience. It may be a lengthy process and a number of errors may come up but it will definitely be worth it. With that taken into account, here are some tips on how to get your criminal record expunged

Find out if your record can be dropped.

Most felonies and some serious misdemeanors can't be dropped off your permanent record. Offenses against children, sexual and violent crimes can't be erased. It's worth finding out if your criminal act can be expunged in the first place rather than going through all the processes only to find out it was all for nothing.

Give the judge a reason to allow the expungement.

Certain violations, even seemingly minor ones, can result in a loss of someone's rights. For example a person charged with a DUI may have his license revoked. In majority of cases, the offender may have to defend himself in front of a judge, even if it doesn't involve getting a right back. You need to make a good case for yourself to convince the judge because ultimately he decides whether you deserve a clean slate or not.

Show the judge how you can benefit from a clean record.

When convincing a judge, the best defense is to show how much you and others can benefit from the expungement. For example, if you have been stripped of your right to leave the country, explain how you have a family member in need of your attention abroad or something like that. Make sure your reason is convincing while still being truthful.

Begin the process early.

For most cases it can take four months to a year with a lot of waiting in between to clear your record, depending on the state you live in and the severity of the crime. Start by finding yourself a reputable lawyer and working on your paperwork early on to prevent any additional delays.

Be mindful of pretend lawyers and scams.

An attorney is not necessary to file for a record expungement. However, getting legal advice from someone knowledgeable in the whole process is a huge plus in getting your records cleared. Just be smart about the whole thing and be mindful of scammers who falsely guarantee you of a quicker process and certain expungement all for a steep price.

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