Thursday, June 30, 2016

Top 6 Most Frequently Asked Questions in Expunging Your DUI Conviction Records in California

Like most states in US, California too allows you to expunge your DUI conviction record. Expunging your DUI conviction record will help you get rid of all the problems resulting from your offense and make you to experience the life like before. Regardless of whether your offense is misdemeanor or felony, they can usually be expunged. Following are the FAQ's which are sure to provide you an insight about expunging your DUI records in California:

What is expungement?

Expungement means sealing your DUI conviction record which practically means giving petition to the court to expunge your record and the court replaces your plea as not guilty and then dismisses your case. So when applying for a job or under any other circumstances you need not have to disclose that you have been convicted.

Who Is Eligible For expungement in California?

You are eligible for expungement:

  • if you are a first DUI offender who has only one charge for either a misdemeanor or felony
  • a year has passed since conviction
  • if you have completed probation successfully and not on probation for another offense
  • have no charges pending
  • have paid all the fines ordered by the court
How much does it cost to file for expungement? 

It costs between $50 and $80 to file for expunging your record. 

Will they need my presence at the court? 

No, your expungement lawyer can do it for you. 

What will I benefit from expunging my DUI conviction record? 

There are a lot you will benefit from expunging your record such as employment, licensing etc,. 

What expungement won't do? 

Your expunged case can still be used for increasing your punishment when you again caught up for a DUI or other criminal cases.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Benefits of an LLC For Rental Property Owners

Rental property owners are entrepreneurs. And as entrepreneurs, their primary goal is to maximize profit. One of the most basic steps in maximizing profit is to minimize costs and other liabilities. Recently, the up and coming trend of protecting one's personal assets from the liabilities of a rental business is to set up an LLC over the rental properties. With this LLC, the rental property owner's personal property, like home, car and other assets, are protected from the unpredictable demands of owning rental property. There are also other benefits of an LLC for rental property owners.

Personal property protection

First of, what is an LLC? LLC stands for Limited Liability Company. Without the LLC, business owners are liable for damages and other losses from their business even with their own personal assets.

To illustrate, a sole-proprietor will have to pay for anything and everything that deals with his business out of his own pockets. He can never interpose that his business is bankrupt when he still maintains a personal bank account, his own car and his own home. His personal assets will have to answer for the deficiency. Corporate shareholders do not have this problem because they are protected by the law on corporations that shareholders are only liable for losses out of their corporate shares, hence, their personal property is protected and remains untouched by any corporate liability. The downside of forming a corporation though is that the process itself is meticulous and profits will have to be shared with a handful of shareholders.

LLC combines the ease of being a sole-proprietor with the potential of earning huge profits all by yourself and the protection to personal assets that corporations offer. Personal property protection is the most basic and primary of the benefits of an LLC for rental property owners.

Tax advantages

Another of the benefits of an LLC for rental property owners is the tax advantages. Has even better tax treatment than when in a corporation. A corporate shareholder in essence will have to pay taxes twice. First, when the corporation itself pays its taxes, and second when the shareholder has to pay his own tax from the income derived from the corporation. An LLC is not taxed as a separate entity. The property owner will only have to pay his taxes once, upon his receipt of the income from the rental property. Also, the net loss in the LLC can be declared as a personal deduction for the property owner!

Be a professional by name

Real estate laws require one to spend a certain number of hours in real estate activities to be called as professionals in the real estate industry. But being in an LLC, these requirements are cut in as much as half!

An LLC may be obtained for separate properties

Another of the great benefits of an LLC for rental property owners is that a different or separate LLC may be obtained for each and every property. Why is this beneficial? Because when an investment is sued covered by an LLC, all the properties belonging to that LLC will stand liable for the suit. Covering separate properties with separate LLCs will only make the specific property or investment liable for the claim it is sued for.

These are only the basic benefits of an LLC for rental property owners. And these are already enough to convince any serious business-minded property owner, what would a more detailed study of the benefits do? Start protecting your own personal property and increasing your profits all in the same time. Get an LLC now!

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

4 Reasons to Form an LLC or Incorporate Your Business

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

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

1. You are sending a bad message to your customers

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

2. You can protect your assets

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

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

3. There are important tax benefits

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

4. It will be easier to raise capital

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

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

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Saturday, June 25, 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.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

QDRO Forms to Divide Pension Benefits in Divorce - "Shared Interest" Or "Separate Interest" Approach

Many people facing the prospect of divorce are surprised to learn that pension benefits accrued during the course of a marriage are considered marital property (or, in some states such as California, community property) that is divided between the spouses upon divorce. A pension plan falls under the category of retirement plans known as defined benefit plans. These types of retirement plans generally provide that upon retirement, the participant (employee) is entitled to a monthly annuity that is payable over his or her lifetime.

Because of certain provisions contained a Federal law known as the Employment Retirement Security Act, a divorce judgment or matrimonial settlement agreement, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient mechanism for dividing a pension plan. It is essential that a further order, known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) be entered by the court and approved by the pension plan administrator.

In situations where the participant spouse is not yet retired, the QDRO form can utilize two different methods for dividing pension benefits. These include the "shared interest approach" and "separate interest approach."

If a QDRO form uses the Shared Interest Approach, payments to the Alternate Payee cannot begin until the Participant chooses to retire and begins to receive a retirement allowance. Furthermore, payments to the Alternate Payee must end upon the Participant's death unless the Alternate Payee was designated in the QDRO as the surviving spouse of the Participant for the purpose of electing a Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity and such election was elected by the Participant at the time of the Participant's retirement.

If a QDRO form applies the Separate Interest Approach, a "separate interest" is carved out for the Alternate Payee and adjusted to his or her actuarial life expectancy. In addition, the Alternate Payee controls the timing and manner of his or her receipt of the benefit payments. The Alternate Payee can commence receiving benefits at the Participant's earliest retirement date, rather than wait for the Participant to begin to receive a retirement allowance.

In most instances, it is highly beneficial for the non-participant spouse that the QDRO form utilize a separate interest approach. Sample QDRO forms are available for download. Upon completion of a proposed QDRO form, the document must be submitted to the pension plan administrator for approval, and, thereafter, to the divorce court adjudicating the matter.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Limited Liability Company (LLC) - Definition and Explanation

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a very flexible form of business structure that combines elements of the typical corporation and partnership structures. By forming an LLC, you create a legal entity that provides limited liability to its owners. Often, these are incorrectly called a Limited Liability Corporation instead of Limited Liability Company. It is truly a hybrid business entity that can contain elements and/or characteristics of corporations, partnerships and even sole proprietorships, depending on how many owners are involved in the Limited Liability Company. An LLC, even though it is a business entity, is actually a type of unincorporated business and is not a corporation. The main characteristic that an LLC shares with a corporation is the limited liability protection that they both offer. The main characteristic that an LLC shares with a partnership is the pass-through income taxation that they both offer. It is, however, much more flexible than a corporation and is very well suited to single owner businesses.

You should understand that neither limited liability companies nor corporations always protect owners from liability. The legal system in the United States does allow a court system to pierce the corporate veil of an LLC if some type of fraud or misrepresentation is involved or in a situation where the owner uses the company as an 'alter ego'.

Flexibility and Default Rules

All LLC legal statutes include a phrase similar to "unless otherwise provided for in the operating agreement" and this allows for the flexibility the members of an LLC have in deciding how their LLC will be governed. Some statutes provide default rules for the governance of an LLC that are in effect unless an operating agreement has been adopted.

Income Taxation

For the purposes of the Internal Revenue Service and Federal income tax purposes, LLCs are treated by default as a pass-through entity. If the limited liability company has only one member or owner, it is automatically considered a "disregarded entity" for tax purposes and the owner is allowed to report the income from the LLC on his or her own personal tax return as a Schedule C. If the LLC has multiple owners, it is treated as a partnership and must file IRS form 1065. Partners will then receive a K-1 for their share of losses or income so they can report it on their tax return.

LLCs also have the option of electing to be taxed as a corporation, simply by filing IRS Form 8832. Then, they will be treated the same way as a regular C Corporation or they can elect to be treated as an S-Corporation. If it is treated as a C-Corporation, the entity's income is taxed before any dividends or distributions are given to the members and then taxation of the dividends or distributions will be taxed as income for the members. Some analysts have recommended the LLC taxed as an S-Corp as the best possible small business structure, because it combines the flexibility and simplicity of the LLC with the self-employment tax savings of the S-Corp.


Here are the attributes of a limited liability company that are most widely viewed as advantages:

•Check the box taxation. LLCs have the option of being taxed as a sole proprietor, partnership, S-Corporation or C-Corporation, which provides a great deal of flexibility.

•Limited Liability. The owners of an LLC, who are known as members, are generally protected from some or all liability related to the acts and debts of the LLC, depending on state laws where the LLC formation took place.

•Administrative paperwork and record keeping is significantly simplified compared to a corporation.

•Pass-through taxation is automatic, unless the LLC elects to be taxed as a C-Corporation.

•Profits are taxed at the member's personal level, rather than at the LLC level by simply using the default tax classification given by the IRS.

•In most states, LLCs are generally treated as being a totally separate entity from the LLCs owners.

•LLC's can generally be set up with only one person being involved.

•An LLC can assign its membership interests, and the economic benefits of those interests can then be separated and assigned, which provides the economic benefit of distributing the profit and losses of the company, like in a partnership, without actually transferring the title to the interest.

•Except in cases where the LLC has adopted a corporate taxation structure, the income from the LLC will generally remain in the hands of its members

•By adopting an operating agreement, members can generally establish their own rules for governance and protective provisions for the members.


Here are the attributes of a limited liability company that are most widely viewed as disadvantages:

•Most states do not have a statutory requirement for an LLC to have an operating agreement, however, if you are a member of a multiple member LLC, you may run into problems if you don't have an operating agreement, since most states do not dictate the governance and protective provision for the members of an LLC as they would with a regular corporation.

•If a member decides to sell his interest in a limited liability company, and if the ownership of the LLC is vested in multiple members, it is not as straight forward as with a corporation since the LLC cannot issue and sell stock certificates.

•Some investors are more comfortable with investing in corporations, due to the possibility of an eventual IPO. This can make it harder to raise financial capital.

•Franchise taxes are levied on LLCs in many states. This tax is essentially a fee the LLC pays the state for the benefit of providing limited liability. This tax can be based on revenue, profits, the number of owners, the amount of capital employed in the state, or some combination of these.

•LLCs are considered to be taxable entities in the District of Columbia, which eliminates the benefits associated with pass-through taxation.

•In some states, renewal or annual fees may be higher than corporations.

•Creditors have been known to require members of LLCs to personally sign for and guarantee debts of the LLC, which obviously makes to owners personally responsible for the debt.

•A Series LLC is a special and uncommon type of LLC. It allows a single LLC to segregate its assets into separate series.

•A Professional Limited Liability Company, also known as a PLLC, P.L.L.C., or P.L., is a type of LLC that is specifically organized to perform a professional service. This will usually involve professions where the state requires a license to provide these same services, like a doctor, chiropractor, lawyer, accountant, architect, or engineer. Some states do not allow an LLC to participate in the practice of a licensed professional.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Advance Directives: A Special Insurance Policy That Everybody Needs

What is insurance? A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.

Given the advances in medical technology, there are many possible circumstances in which my body may be kept alive even if my mind may have ceased to function. This could result from accident or disease. It could occur in the near or distant future. Under these circumstances, I have very specific desires of things that I want to be done and others that I want to stop or prevent from occurring. Can I take out an insurance policy that will protect me against institutions or people taking actions that are against my wishes? Yes, it's called an Advance Directive.

This form of insurance can be acquired without an agent or attorney. To get this coverage you must invest some time and energy to get your state's forms and fill them out. This is usually a two-part form with the first section designating who can make health care decisions for you in the event that you are not capable. This is usually called a Medical Power of Attorney designation. The second part, sometimes referred to as a living will, is where you are able to give physicians and family specific instructions regarding your care. The forms can be downloaded on-line from several different sources or can be picked up from any hospital in your area.

The mechanics of the process can be a little difficult and uncomfortable. This small discomfort allows for procrastination to jump in and convince you that this is a good idea and you really should do it someday, but not today. Maybe you'll do it next week or next month. One way to help you get over the hurdle of procrastination is to really look at some of the many benefits that you get from completing this task.

Three benefits of Advance Directives:

  • Peace of mind from knowing that you have insurance in place.
  • A huge gift will be given to your family and loved ones. In the event that it is needed, they will be greatly helped and assured that you are guiding their decisions.
  • Protection of your estate and financial assets. Medical institutions are allowed to utilize their technology to prolong life even when the outcome may be futile. This process can drain your financial resources and possibly impoverish your family.

When you discipline yourself to create an advance directive, set aside adequate time to consider specific details. The more specific you make your wishes, the better the quality of your policy. After completing the process you will enjoy a deep sense of satisfaction. So set a deadline to help you guide the process and make it happen.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

The Proper Estate Planning Tips in Case of an Emergency!

The proper estate planning documents you need in case of emergency! Nobody likes the thought of an emergency cutting a life short. Especially for families, it's really hard to imagine what might happen if there were some sort of tragic accident, an unforeseen illness, or a catastrophic disaster that resulted in the casualty of a vital family member. Without the necessary legal documents such as a living will or power or attorney, the wellbeing of a family may be threatened and your expressed or even written wishes may not necessarily be honored.

If someone is involved in a serious accident, but is injured to the point they are unable to communicate their wishes, a healthcare power of attorney is given the legitimate right to make major healthcare decisions on the patient's behalf. For example, if you do not wish to be placed on life support for an extended period of time, the only way to make this preference legal is taking the proper steps to create lawfully acceptable paperwork and documentation.

When someone dies without any legally authorized instruction for the delegation of their belongings and investments, all property goes into a very complex court proceeding where assets are given to the spouse, next of kin, or separated between various related parties. In this situation, a third party has full control over how these items and funds are distributed, regardless if the deceased had verbally expressed other wishes. A legalized will is absolutely necessary to ensure that your belongings are properly taken care of after your passing.

Have these legal documents prepared today so that you ensure that your family is taken care of in the event of an emergency.

Prepared Will is a legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his or her property to be distributed after death.

Health Care Power of Attorney is a legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment.

Living Will Directive is a written statement detailing a person's desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent.

I know the fees associated with the creation of these documents can become incredibly expensive if prepared by a private lawyer. I also know that people are looking to the web for do it yourself forms which can turn into a nightmare if not done correctly. In many states these documents if not done by an attorney can be thrown out and not accepted by a court.

There are affordable solutions so that your documents are prepared by an attorney and reviewed annually for you, your spouse, and covered family members.

When it comes to protecting your family and your wishes, don't waste any more time or put your loved ones at risk any longer.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Setting Up an LLC - The Benefits and Steps of a Limited Liability Company

A limited liability company (which is commonly abbreviated as LLC) offers limited liability to its owners as a legal form of business company in the United States. Many small business owners are drawn to this type of business formation because it offers limited liability for the actions and debts of the company. This type of business formation excludes personal liability from the general debts and other obligations of the company and limits the liability of the owners to the extent of their equity. An LLC has characteristics of both a partnership and corporation; the primary partnership characteristic is the availability of pass-through income taxation while the primary corporate characteristic is limited liability.

Many entrepreneurs choose to setup an LLC for tax reasons. LLCs avoid "double taxation" because the income of the LLC itself is not taxed at the company level. Instead, taxes on profits and deductions of losses are computed at the individual level on the personal tax return of each LLC member (owner). LLC owners can elect for the IRS to tax the LLC as a sole proprietorship, partnership, C Corporation, or S Corporation. Owners make this election through the IRS after the company forms with the state.

After setting up an LLC, the bottom-line profit of the business is not considered to be earned income to the members, and therefore is not subject to self-employment tax. But it is still important to consider that the managing member's share of the overall profit of the LLC is considered earned income, and is subject to self-employment tax.

Members of an LLC are compensated using either guaranteed payments or distributions of profit. Guaranteed payments represent earned income to the members, which qualifies them to enjoy the benefits of tax-favored fringe benefits. A distribution of profit allows each member to pay themselves by merely writing checks. However, as a member of an LLC, you are not allowed to pay yourself wages.

Another important perk of setting up an LLC is that the managing member of an LLC can deduct 100 percent of the health insurance premiums he pays, up to the extent of their pro-rata share of the LLC's net profit.

The basic steps to setting up an LLC are fairly simple:

Step 1: Find a copy of the LLC Articles of Organization Form for your state. This is usually located at the Secretary of State's office. It is also a good idea to check there are any rules concerning business names in your state.

Step 2: Choose a name for your business. Almost any name will work so long as it is not the same or deceptively similar to a name being used by another entity that is filed with the State Filing Office which is usually the Secretary of State's Office. The name must end with the words Limited Liability Company or an abbreviation such as LLC or L.L.C. The ending such as LLC or Inc is not considered part of the name when searching for availability.

Step 3: Complete and File the Articles of Organization form with the State Filing Office. The State Filing Office where you turn in the form is usually the Secretary of State where you are required to pay a filing fee. The Articles of Organization form is a relatively simple document that includes the name of your business, its purpose, office address, the registered agent who will receive legal documents, and the names of each initial member of your proposed LLC. A registered agent is simply a person or incorporated company who can accept service of legal papers if your company is sued or the person who can receive mail from the State Filing Office. You can act as your own registered agent, however, the address you use must be a street address and not a P.O. Box. The address is important to make sure you receive papers that are served or sent to your company.

Step 4: Submit a notice to your local newspaper for publishing. This step is sometimes required by your state, you may want to check to make sure. Some states even require this step to be done before filing your Articles of Organization form. This notice should detail your intention to setup an LLC.

Step 5: Prepare and Sign an Operating Agreement. This is not required by the state but is a very important step in maintaining your liability protection and preventing disagreements between the members. The Operating Agreement is an essential document which sets forth the rights, duties and obligations of each member of the LLC. It also usually sets the ownership percentages between the members, the division of profits and the distribution of income. This document can also strengthen your liability protection by demonstrating that you have completed the organization of the company and are in compliance with the process.

The State Filing Office usually does not provide Operating Agreements, this will be something that you have to come up with. Many people use online services such as, and other people go further and hire attorneys which can be much more expensive.

Step 6: Obtain an Employer ID Number (EIN) from the IRS. As a separate legal entity, your LLC requires its own federal tax identification number from the IRS. This can sometimes be avoided if an LLC is owned by only one person, in which case the person has the option of reporting taxes on his own social security number. To get the Employer ID Number you can acquire from SS-4 from most post offices and then file it with the IRS.

Step 7: Setup a Separate Bank Account for the LLC. A separate legal entity requires a separate bank account. It is important that you do not co-mingle your funds between business and personal bank accounts. The courts will look at this if you were to ever get sued.

Step 8: Document Ownership Interest Percentages of the LLC. To avoid disputes and ownership conflicts in the future, it is important to assign ownership percentages when the company is first formed. This step is not necessarily required, but it would be very wise.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Situations Where Your Last Will May Be Considered Void

Drafting a last will and testament is something we only hope to do one time. Creating a document that specifies our wishes after our deaths can cause some anxiety in that we are reminded of our mortality, but more than that making changes to a will can cause headaches if not done correctly. You also risk voiding your will under certain circumstances. In order to keep your friends and loved ones from inheriting any headaches along with your estate, it is important to know exactly what events can void your will.

If your will is judged void after your death, it opens the door to any number of disputes between family and friends as they argue over dispersing your assets. Charities you wished to benefit from your generosity may not receive the funds you set aside for them, and even your burial plans may be altered. It is important, therefore, to make sure you following everything to the letter. Here are a few situations that could lead to voiding your will.

1) You make unauthorized changes. When you complete a will, it is typically signed and witnessed, and notarized. If you make written additions or deletions anytime after that period, somebody could contest the validity of the will and cause problems. If you want to make corrections after the legalities are complete, you can either destroy the current will and start over, or draft a codicil to accompany the will you current have.

2) You were not of sound mind when you wrote the will. Some people may be pressured or heavily encouraged to draft a document in order to bring peace of mind for your family. However, a will written under duress or other influence could be proven invalid if somebody believes you were not of sound mind at the time. You want to make it perfectly clear that your wishes are your own, and that you have not been forced to write anything you didn't want to write.

3) Changes in marital status. Depending on the laws in your state, a will drafted before a legal marriage or divorce could allow a party to contest your will if you do not have it changed. If you have a will ready and decide to marry or remarry, speak with your attorney about what needs to be done to ensure your wishes are kept intact.

Take care to know what factors could render your last will and testament void.

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Thursday, June 16, 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.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Uncontested Divorce - Definition, Terms and Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Power of Attorney

Rene at By the People in Fairfield CA talks about just some of the reasons for a need for a Power of Attorney. These documents can be really important aids in helping loved ones.

For any questions about the types of Power of Attorney, and what may be beneficial for your individual needs, call Rene or Tammy at 707-428-9871 and visit the website at

Monday, June 13, 2016

Making A Living Will Impacts End Of Life Care

New research by Lauren Nicholas at University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research shows that making a living will impacts the end of life care of individuals. This is the first national study involving sample from across the US.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Deeds - Some Ways To Make Changes - By the People

Rene at By the People talks about Deeds of trust and how they can help people make the necessary changes to their title for a number of different reasons. Call 707-428-9871 with any questions, and visit the website at

Saturday, June 11, 2016

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.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Living Trust and Wills - By the People

Living Trust or a will? Rene talks about some of the differences and what sets one apart from the other to help you make the best decision for your needs. Call Rene or Tammy at 707-428-9871 with any questions you may have, and see their website at

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What is Conservatorship

It is a court process that helps appoint a person to protect and manage the financial affairs and/or the person's daily life due to being disabled. To become a conservator either the party intending to be the conservator or another loved one responsible for the adult will petition the court to appoint the conservator.

Conservatorship can be both expensive and time consuming. This process can be avoided by doing a simple Financial Power of Attorney which takes minutes and is low cost. A guardianship may be needed also for the disabled person. The same person or a separate person can be named by the courts. The cost rises if both processes are needed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Incorporation and LLC's - By the People

Rene of By the People Document Preparation Service in Fairfield CA talks briefly about the basic differences between Inc. and LLC, and the benefits and features of each. Give Rene or Tammy a call at 707-428-9871 with any questions you may have so they can help you get the right product for your business.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

What is a Living Will, and Why You Should Inquire about One Today

Modern advancements in medicine have made it possible for us to live longer than ever before. While these advancements have substantially extended our lives, such an extension may not be desirable because it may lower our quality of life and result in a loss of our dignity. Since all competent adults have the right to make their own medical decisions, you may want to tell your doctor now not to take heroic or extraordinary means to prolong your life in the future if you become ill and there is no hope for your eventual recovery. You can do this by preparing a living will.

"What is a living will?"

A living will is a legal document in which you direct your doctor to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, whose only purpose is to prolong your dying process, if you are in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness.

"Who can prepare a living will?"

You can prepare a living will if you are of sound mind and are at least 18 years of age, or have graduated from high school, or are married. You must sign your living will in the presence of two witnesses who are both at least 18 years of age.

"What medical treatment can I refuse in my living will?"

You can refuse all medical treatment including but not limited to cardiac resuscitation, artificial feeding, blood, kidney dialysis, antibiotics, surgery, diagnostic tests, and mechanical respiration. You can, however, direct your doctor to administer only treatment that will keep you comfortable and alleviate your pain.

Also in your living will, you can designate another individual, known as your surrogate, to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.

"When does my living will become operative?"

Your living will becomes operative when you or another individual provides a copy of it to your doctor, and your doctor determines you to be incompetent and in a terminal condition or state of permanent unconsciousness. At that time, your doctor has to act in accordance with the instructions outlined in your living will. If your doctor cannot in good conscience follow the instructions in your living will, your doctor must inform you or your surrogate of this fact. At that time, your doctor is required to assist you in finding another doctor who will comply with the instructions in your living will.

"Can I revoke my living will?"

Yes. You may revoke your living will at any time and in any way without regard to your mental or physical condition. Revocation is effective at the time it is communicated to your doctor by you or by a witness to the revocation.

"If I do not have a living will, will my doctor continue to order treatment to prolong my dying process?"

Not necessarily. Your failure to prepare a living will will not raise any presumption as to your intent to consent to or refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. In fact, in one Pennsylvania case, the court permitted a close relative with the consent of two physicians to remove life-sustaining treatment from the patient who had no living will and was in a persistent vegetative state.

"Can my doctor refuse to treat me if I do not have a living will?"

No. Your doctor cannot require you to have a living will as a condition to provide treatment to you. Also, your doctor cannot charge you a different fee for providing treatment to you if you do not have a living will.

"If I have a living will and am involved in a serious accident, will emergency medical personnel refuse to treat me?"

No. Emergency medical personnel will provide any and all treatment necessary to save your life. Your living will does not apply until it becomes operative, i.e., your doctor determines you to be incompetent and in a terminal condition or in a state of permanent unconsciousness.

In summary, a living will lets you decide now what medical treatment you want in the future if you become incompetent and are in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness. It helps to eliminate uncertainty regarding your desire for specific medical treatment, and provides guidance to your doctors and family members. Failure to prepare a living will may cause increased stress on your loved ones who are left to decide the proper medical treatment for you.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

4 Things You Need To Know About Advanced Directives

It is a sad truth that death is an inevitable part of life. And, even though many of us are reluctant to face this fact, it is no excuse to fail to plan for your end-of-life healthcare, particularly if you are past retirement age. Although it may be scary to think about your end-of-life decisions, it can greatly improve the quality of life for your family after you are gone, and will reduce the chance your passing is a burden on your family. Advanced directives offer you the assurance that your last wishes will be fulfilled. Here are four things to know about them.

1. What is an Advanced Health Care Directive?

An advanced directive is a generic term for a legal document that describes to and instructs others about your medical care, in the event you are unable to make your decisions known. A directive only becomes effective under circumstances described in the document, but in general allow you to do two things. The first is to appoint a health care agent or power of attorney. This person will make decisions on your behalf. Secondly, the directive will provide instructions about exactly what forms of health care you want and do not want.

2. Why Are Advanced Directives Important?

According to recent surveys, the majority of people would prefer to die in their own homes. However, many terminally-ill patients meet the end of their life while in the hospital, typically while receiving ineffective treatments that they may or may not really want. Occasionally, this confusion can cause conflict between the surviving members of the family, leading to fights and arguments. Meanwhile, the dying person's thoughts and wishes remain unexpressed. An advanced care directive prevents all of this. From documenting the treatments you want, to describing your wishes for your remains and personal effects, advanced care planning is highly beneficial.

3. Creating an Advanced Care Directive

An advanced care directive and living will does not have to be complicated, however the content may be complex and should be considered carefully. In general, it will consist of short, simple statements about what types of treatments you would accept or deny, given particular circumstances where you are unable to speak for yourself. It is important to create this document with the help and guidance of your family, legal, health, and financial professionals for maximum effectiveness.

4. Talking With Your Loved Ones About Your Choices

A vital step in advanced care planning is to clearly communicate your wishes to your loved ones and family about your decisions, and why you are making them. For most of us, this conversation can seem like a daunting task. You may be uncomfortable bringing up your own death with your loved ones, or it may seem like poor timing to have that conversation, but it is much better to have this conversation now, before there's a problem, so that everyone can remain calm and relaxed.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Durable Powers of Attorney in Wills and Estate Planning

Planning how your estate shall be divided, distributed and disposed of doesn't only mean creating a last will and testament or putting up a trust for someone. Estate planning also means preparing for the unexpected, such as falling ill to an incurable disease or becoming incapacitated later in life. In this regard, you'll need the help of someone you completely trust to put your affairs in order even when you're no longer able to make those important decisions or even communicate your wishes. Drafting durable powers of attorney gives this person you appointed the legal means to sign documents, make decisions, and represent you in court.

The Medical Power of Attorney and The Living Will

Actually, the functions of a medical power of attorney play in tandem to the directives of a living will. They're both health care directives, but the durable power of attorney for health care focuses solely on assigning someone the legal duty to make decisions related to your illness or health condition. It needs a living will, which contains your instructions and wishes, including end-of-life decisions. Once you've lost the capacity to think or act on your own, such as when you've fallen into a coma, this durable power of attorney takes effect and hands over the responsibility for your personal health and well-being to your agent or attorney-in-fact.

You'll have tighter control over managing your living will, estate planning, and health care directives when you specify that these shall only take effect after a physician has confirmed that you lacked the mental and physical capacity. In this case, you have a springing durable power attorney in hand. The term capacity here legally pertains to a person's lack of understanding of the nature of his medical condition, the health care options open to him, and the possible consequences from making these choices. In addition, that person also loses the ability to speak out or make hand gestures to relay his personal preferences for medical care. This is where a health care declaration becomes an invaluable document in your estate planning.

The Financial Power of Attorney

Through a durable financial power attorney, you give another person - someone you fully trust to act in your best interests - the legal authority to act on your behalf. However, this power attorney for finances doesn't hand over absolute authority to your proxy. You may limit or extend your agent's legal access to your financial accounts. Generally, your financial surrogate can file and pay your taxes, manage your business, handle financial transactions in your name, access your bank accounts, claim an inheritance, collect Social Security and other benefits, and make use of your assets and properties to pay off debts and provide for your family's daily expenses.

These two powers of attorney must be specified as durable when filed. Otherwise, they won't take effect once you were found lacking capacity to think and act for your well-being. A divorce ends both documents when the agent is also the spouse. The court may revoke an agent's authority under a power of attorney for health care when it finds that the agent has acted improperly. A second person named in the document takes over as an alternate agent.

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