Sunday, July 31, 2016

LLC Vs Sole Proprietorship: Which Is Right for You?

Most small business owners in the United States operate as a sole proprietorship, the default business entity. While this may work for some businesses for some time, it does not create any legal separation between your business and your personal assets. You will face both the risk of lawsuits and the potential of business debt that you cannot afford. Operating as a sole proprietorship is a risk that grows with your business.

If you want to protect your business and yourself forming an LLC is one affordable option that offers many benefits.

What is a Limited Liability Company?

If you form an LLC, you will create a separate entity that offers liability protection for owners. Your personal assets like your home and savings will not be at risk if your business is sued or has debts it cannot pay, provided you maintain the LLC and meet legal requirements. A limited liability company provides flexibile management options and it operates as a pass-through entity by default. This means that forming an LLC from a sole proprietorship will not change your taxes at all, if you have one member.

Choosing an LLC may also offer you additional benefits. You will find it easier to raise capital through investors, and you have the ability to deduct health insurance premiums. Self employment tax is based on net income and you can be taxed as a partnership or a corporation, if you choose.
Because it is very affordable to form a limited liability company and offers many important protections, it is the most popular choice for small business owners.

What is a Sole Proprietorship?

Sole proprietorships have one owner and they are not legal entities. This means that operating a sole proprietorship offers no distinction under the law between your business liabilities and assets and personal liabilities and assets. If there are business debts or a lawsuit that you cannot pay through business assets, your home, savings and other assets will then be at risk.

There are benefits to remaining a sole proprietorship, depending on your situation. Taxes are straightforward, you do not need to register with the state or file annual paperwork, and payroll can be much easier to set up. There will be no compliance issues to worry about, either.

Which is Right for You?

The choice between a sole proprietorship and LLC depends on your business. If you have a very low-risk business that does not involve working in people's homes, offering advice or selling products, remaining a sole proprietorship may be your best move. This is especially true if you are very unlikely to incur great liabilities. If you are concerned about keeping your business and personal finances and assets separate, however, or you plan to expand or take on debts, it is worth considering forming a limited liability in your state or in another state.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

Many states these days give couples the ability to go through a simple uncontested divorce. In fact, this is the way most couples do divorce. It's relatively simple and inexpensive, and it preserves both parties' dignity and privacy.

Divorce is expensive no matter how you slice it, but if you do need to get a divorce, an uncontested divorce will let you save yourself time and money, and as much heartache as possible. This situation is difficult enough, and you don't have to make it more difficult to making the divorce itself contentious unless it's absolutely necessary to do so.

If there are particularly contentious issues in your marriage still to be resolved (such as child custody), then an uncontested divorce may not be the way to go, since of course you'll need to make sure your rights and those of your children are taken care of. In fact, in some states, if there are children involved, an uncontested divorce may not even be an option for you.

However, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on relatively good terms and simply need not to be married anymore, and if issues such as child custody are already worked out between you, then an uncontested divorce is going to be easier for everyone. Yes, the process of getting divorced is still painful, but an uncontested divorce makes it as simple a process as possible, too.

Privacy is also an issue with divorce. The disclosures you make to each other don't have to be a matter of public record unless you each want them to be if the divorce is uncontested. The agreement you make will have to be a matter of public record, but only that. By contrast, contested divorce is likely to have every single little nuance of the divorce a matter of public record simply because spouses in a major battle with each other make such things a matter of public record. So if you want to protect your privacy, work out the details of the divorce between you and simply make the final agreements a matter of public record, not every little discussion you to have had as well. This is easier on your children, too.

If you think you can't negotiate an uncontested divorce with your spouse, that's fine. Perhaps you can't. However, make sure that your spouse and you are both aware of the problems an uncontested divorce can help you avoid. It may very well be that simply faced with the differences in navigating through a contested divorce versus an uncontested one will convince the spouse who doesn't want the uncontested divorce to go through with it.

Now, it should be noted that you don't have to agree as to why the divorce is happening to make it uncontested. You only have to agree on the terms of the divorce to make an uncontested divorce possible. Therefore, at first blush, it may certainly be true that you think you cannot manage an uncontested divorce. However, after a bit of time has gone by and tempers have cooled, you may think that having an uncontested divorce is best for you after all. Think about it, think about the cost both financially and to your children, and then decide whether or not an uncontested divorce is your best bet.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Probate Court Will Appoint a Personal Representative to the Estate

The probate court will appoint a person to represent the decedent and to administer the decedent's estate; this is called a personal representative. This person has a variety of names in the absence of statue to the contrary depending on various circumstances. This being, if the decedent died testate and designed such a person in his will. The court usually will appoint that person the executor (man) or executrix (woman).

If the will does not so designate any such person or the person so designated is unavailable or is unqualified to be the personal representative; the court will appoint someone else as the appointed one is called the administrator. If the personal representative cannot complete the duties, the court will appoint a new personal representative.

The responsibilities of the personal representative is to administer the decedent's estate. This is in accordance with the legal directions as expressed by the testator in the will. All is within accordance with the statute of descent and distribution with respect to an intestate estate.

This involves the collection do to the decedent's property which forms the decedent's estate. Payment of claims against the estate is distribution of the remaining property. Directions are provided in the will or pursuant to the statute on descent.

The personal representative must post a bond to assure that he one she properly carries out their responsibility, unless the will expressly waives the requirement of a bond. If you'll simply file a Living Will, then your family will not have to go through probate court system. This is if you have a small estate however, if it's a large estate then you'll probably have to go through probate.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Estate Planning Eases Confusion, Financial Worries

What you need to know about estate planning, including why having a will and assigning a power of attorney is crucial.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Different Types of Power of Attorney

Although power of attorney is essentially handing control of your affairs over to another person, there are different uses of the position which vary depending on the situation. These largely depend on the reason behind power of attorney being transferred from the 'principal', the individual who wishes to relinquish control of their affairs, and the 'attorney-at-fact', the person who takes control of the principal's business and legal dealings.

Non-Durable POA

Non-durable power of attorney is used for short-term transactions, which for whatever reason the principal cannot handle themselves. Any such power of attorney that is non-durable has an expiration, primarily when the principal becomes incapacitated for some reason and is no longer able to give permission for the power of attorney to continue, nor can they revoke it. Usually, non durable power of attorney is limited to a specific time frame, in which any particular deal that is needed to be completed is given time to be dealt with. When this particular instance is complete, power returns to the principal.

Non-durable POA is effective immediately.

Durable POA

This type of power of attorney is similar to non-durable power of attorney, only it continues in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally ill. All powers of attorney come to an end when the principal dies, but durable power of attorney continues right up to that point. Power of attorney that is durable is often used in terminally ill cases, where the principal asks their attorney-at-fact to allow any lifesaving equipment to be removed or authorize a Do Not Resuscitate

Durable POA is effective immediately.

Springing POA

Springing power of attorney is used in cases where the principal cannot actively give permission, either verbally or in writing, for someone to act as their attorney-at-fact. To obtain springing power of attorney, a doctor must certify that the principal is incapable of thinking for themselves and an attorney-in-fact is required. Springing power of attorney is used predominantly in cases of sudden deterioration of health, such as deterioration of a mental illness or a serious accident.

These are the three main types of power of attorney, governing time and how the power is assigned. However, power of attorney does not have to be granted for all of the principal's affairs - it can sometimes only apply to one aspect, such as financial. The differences are as follows:

Special or Limited POA

Predominantly used with non-durable power of attorney, special or limited power of attorney is used for specific cases. It often just applies to financial dealings or a specific property sale, and though an attorney-in-fact is appointed, they have no control over any aspect of the principal's life apart from the sector they are charged with.

Any other type of POA is called General Attorney, which applies to all affairs and dealings of the principal.

Health Care POA

This is a specific power of attorney that is used for those who are terminally or mentally ill, and gives the attorney-in-fact power over medical decisions but nothing more. It is similar to special attorney, though is specifically used for medicinal purposes.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Start an Online Business: Sole Proprietor, Corporation Or Limited Liability Company?

Who Is This Article For?

First, let's identify for whom this article is written. This article is for new entrepreneurs thinking about starting an online business which operates in the United States.

The information contained here is "entry level" for people just starting out in online business. It is not written for people in more sophisticated situations. That being said, let's get going.

Most new online business owners seem to "jump off the deep end" without giving much thought or doing much planning as to how they will operate their businesses.

That is a poor approach to starting a business. In reality, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account at the outset if you want to succeed with your online business and not expose yourself to problems down the line.

Forms of Business Entities

One of the first matters to consider is whether to form an entity to operate your business. Let's begin at the very basic level and quickly identify your options with respect to operating your business.

For most new businesses, your options are:
  • Sole proprietorship

  • Partnership

  • Corporation (S-corporation or C-corporation)

  • Limited Liability Company

There are other forms of doing business, but they are usually for more sophisticated enterprises, so we'll confine our discussion to the ones listed above.

Sole Proprietorship

This is the default option, one that many new entrepreneurs wind up using because they never really think about the issue.

Basically, a sole proprietorship is just you doing your thing. You and your business are not separated legally. That can be quite significant, as we'll see below.

Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Here are the advantages for choosing to do business as a sole proprietor:
  • Ease of Formation. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business format to form, because there is no formation. It's just you doing business as you. There is no separate legal entity within which you are operating your business. You may still require business licenses, tax id numbers, etc., but there is no separate entity to be formed and operated.

  • Low Cost of Formation. Since it is not necessary to form a separate entity to operate as a sole proprietorship, it is less expensive to get started because you don't have to pay an attorney or company to form a special entity for you and you don't have to pay any of the fees to you state that are required to form a corporation or LLC.

  • No Separate Income Tax Returns. Because there is no separate entity involved in the operation of a sole proprietorship, the IRS doesn't require you to file any separate income tax returns. You will normally just add a schedule (Schedule C) to your good old Form 1040 and file away.

Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Here are the disadvantages of operating as a sole proprietorship:
  • Personal Liability. This is the overriding disadvantage of doing business as a sole proprietor. Because there is no separation between you and your business, if you get sued all of your personal assets (house, car, investments, etc.) are at risk. Given the fact that we live in a litigious society where people are suing other people over ridiculous claims, and sadly prevailing sometimes, this is a major concern. If you end up with a judgment against you, you risk losing most of your personal assets.

  • Less "Professional" Image. Doing business as "John Smith" doesn't present the professional image in the business world that, for example, "World-Wide Multimedia, LLC" would. This may not be a major concern for you, but it is something to consider, especially if you are trying to get other businesses to recognize you as a joint venturer, affiliate, or member of their CPA network.


We won't spend much time on this one, because it is relatively rare in the online world. A partnership is an association of two or more people or entities for the purpose of engaging in business.
So, for example, if you and your brother-in-law want to start a business, a partnership could work. It is not something that is normally recommended, though, for reasons explained below.

Advantages of a Partnership

Frankly, in most situations there are none.

Disadvantages of a Partnership

Here are the primary disadvantages of a partnership:
  • Separate Tax Returns. Partnerships are required to file their own, separate income tax returns, so paperwork is increased without commensurate advantages being offered.

  • More Complicated to Form. Partnerships normally require paid assistance in the formation process, so costs are increased, again without offsetting advantages in most circumstances.

  • Increased Liability. This is the big one. A partnership does not protect your personal assets. Even worse, since you have one or more partners involved, you potentially become liable for their activities too, whether or not you actually participated in a given transaction. In addition, your partners can normally obligate the partnership to financial obligations and contractual agreements, sometimes without your knowledge. So, there is definitely increased personal risk to you financially in a partnership.

And, you must be cautious when pursuing business objectives with other people. You can end up in a partnership without meaning to.

Since there are normally no formal organizational requirements for a partnership, a handshake may be all that is required. Just the act of doing business and sharing profits and losses with one or more other people can result in the courts declaring you to be in a general partnership, whether that was your intent or not.


A corporation is a separate legal entity that is formed to operate your business. It is that separation between you and your business that can be a major advantage.

You will hear two broad types of corporations discussed: C-corporations and S-corporations. Those distinctions are a topic for another article, but they will be mentioned briefly.

In a nutshell, a corporation is a corporation, the S-corporation/C-corporation distinction is merely an election made by a corporation as to how it wants to be treated for income tax purposes by the IRS.

Advantages of a Corporation

Here are the principal advantages of using a corporation to operate your business:
  • No Personal Liability. The main advantage has already been hinted at. A corporation is a separate legal entity from you personally. Assuming you set things up properly and adhere to the operational requirements of a corporation, if your incorporated business gets sued only the assets owned by the corporation are potentially exposed to the business's liabilities. Your personal assets are shielded from liability.

  • More Professional Image. As discussed above, a corporation presents a more professional image to the world than a sole proprietorship.

  • One or More Owners. The owners of a corporation are called "stockholders." The law allows a corporation to have one or more than one stockholder. S-corporations may not have more than 100 stockholders (at the time of this writing). C-corporations may have an unlimited number of stockholders.

Disadvantages of a Corporation

Here are the main disadvantages of a corporation:
  • More Complicated to Form. Articles of Incorporation and other formation documents must be prepared and filed with the state in which you incorporate. Normally, you will need paid assistance and there will be certain filing fees paid to your state, so there is expense involved. At least with a corporation you are getting the offsetting benefit of limiting your personal liability.

  • Requires Separate Bookkeeping. Since a corporation is regarded as a separate enterprise from you personally, you will be required to keep separate books and records for business and tax purposes. This may require an accountant or CPA to assist you in setting them up properly.

  • Separate Income Tax Returns. Generally, a corporation will be required to file its own separate income tax returns. You do not report the corporation's income and expenses directly on your personal tax return.

  • Annual Filing Requirements. You state of incorporation will require at least one annual report to be filed for your corporation, and there will be a small fee charged by the state in connection with that filing.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

Limited liability companies are probably the most popular entities these days. They are gradually replacing corporations and the "go-to" business entity.

So as to not over-extend the length of this article, I'll just list the advantages and disadvantages without more discussion, since they are almost identical with the remarks about corporations. Where there's a difference, it will be pointed out.

Advantages of an LLC
  • No Personal Liability (See discussion under corporations)

  • More Professional Image (see discussion under corporations)

  • One or More Owners. An LLC's owners are called "members." The law allows an LLC to have one or more members.

Disadvantages of an LLC
  • More Complicated to Form (See discussion under corporations)

  • Requires Separate Bookkeeping (See discussion under corporations)

  • Separate Income Tax Returns. A multi-member LLC will be required to file its own income tax returns. For single member LLCs, there are some special opportunities with respect to how they are taxed for income tax purposes. Often, the single member can choose to have the LLC disregarded for income tax purposes. That does not, however, jeopardize your liability protection from lawsuits.

  • Annual Filing Requirements. (See discussion under corporations)


I think it's fair to say that limited liability companies are the most recommended entities, especially for online businesses. As a general proposition, they offer the same protection of your personal wealth from business liabilities that a corporation does, and LLCs are usually considerably more flexible as far as what the law allows in their management structure.

There are a lot of subtle nuances that professionals can debate when considering the pros and cons of the various forms of doing business.

In reality, though, the main concern for most smaller businesses is liability protection for the owner's personal assets.

Liability protection can be gained by using a corporation (S or C) or an LLC as the entity for operating your business. Liability protection is not gained by operating as a sole proprietor or in a partnership (formal or unintended).

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Sunday, July 24, 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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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Why You Need a Durable Power of Attorney Now!

Planning for unfortunate events such as serious illness or injury is rarely on anyone's list of favorite pastimes. Sometimes, though, enduring the small discomfort that may accompany preparing for the unexpected will avoid untold anguish on the part of your family and friends. This is certainly the case with the Durable Power of Attorney, an often simple document that becomes so very important if sickness or injury renders you unable to take care of your own affairs.

Power of Attorney Defined

A Power of Attorney is a document in which you (as the "Principal") allow someone else (the "Agent" or "Attorney-in-fact") to act legally on your behalf. The Power of Attorney may be limited to very specific actions that the Agent is authorized to take on your behalf. On the other hand it may give the Agent very broad powers. In either event, the Agent you appoint in the Power of Attorney should be someone that you trust without reservation. That could be a family member, an advisor, a trustworthy friend or a bank or similar institution.

The "Durable" Power of Attorney

The significance of having a "Durable" Power of Attorney is best understood if you know what can happen with the plain old garden variety of Power of Attorney.

If you sign a Power of Attorney that is not "durable," the document remains effective only while you are alive and competent to handle your own affairs. If you become incompetent or die, the Power of Attorney is automatically revoked by law and your Agent is no longer able to act on your behalf. This prevents a Power of Attorney from becoming irrevocable inadvertently, and, until recent times, it was the only way a Power of Attorney could be prepared.

The non-durable Power of Attorney has limited usefulness for family and estate planning purposes, though, because the Power of Attorney is often most needed when you have become incapacitated! That is when you really need someone else that is able to make legal decisions or take other actions on your behalf.

All fifty states now permit the use of a "durable" Power of Attorney that is not revoked simply because the Principal becomes incapacitated or mentally incompetent. This makes the Durable Power of Attorney a far more reliable document, particularly for family and estate planning purposes, since you may now authorize your Agent to act on your behalf even after illness, injury or other cause has rendered you unable to manage your own affairs. Even with a Durable Power of Attorney, however, the Principal's death causes an immediate revocation of the document and termination of the powers that are given to the Agent.

A Matter of Convenience

The Durable Power of Attorney is often used as a matter of convenience.

Suppose, for example, you have your home listed for sale. You have also planned a long awaited trip to visit Aunt Trixie in Deadwood, South Dakota, and you are concerned that an interested buyer may come along while you are on the road. A Durable Power of Attorney would be handy here to appoint someone you trust to act in your absence to negotiate the sale and sign any documents that are needed to make the deal binding.

The Durable Power of Attorney could be prepared so that it is effective only until the date you plan to return from your trip, and it might describe specific terms that your Agent must include in the sale, such as the minimum sale price that is acceptable to you.

A Matter of Protecting Loved Ones

What happens if, from illness, injury or another cause, you become physically or mentally incapacitated to the point that you are no longer able to handle your own legal affairs?

Let's suppose again that while you are incapacitated it becomes necessary to mortgage your home to pay your medical bills. Who will sign the mortgage? Even if your home is jointly owned with your spouse, he cannot obtain a mortgage without your signature.

In those circumstances it would be necessary to request the local probate court to appoint a guardian for you that has the power to handle your legal affairs. In many states, this type of guardian is referred to as a "conservator". Included in the conservator's powers might be the power to borrow money and sign a mortgage on your behalf making it possible to obtain the funds needed to pay the medical bills.

However, you may have heard that it is advantageous to avoid probate whenever possible, particularly if there is a good alternative available. The delay and expense associated with probate proceedings and the fact that they are conducted in the probate court, a public forum, make that good advice in most circumstances. And there is a better alternative than probate, but it requires you to act before the incapacity arises - you need to sign a Durable Power of Attorney.

When used in this estate planning context, the Durable Power of Attorney is generally worded very broadly to give your Agent the power to step into your legal shoes in almost any circumstance. In effect, you tell your Agent "You can do anything I can do."

Now, if you have prepared the Durable Power of Attorney and then become incapacitated, no one has to go through a probate proceeding to appoint a guardian or conservator to act for you - you have already given your Agent the power to do so. As you can see, the Durable Power of Attorney can save precious time and expense in critical situations and avoid having your personal affairs become the subject of a public proceeding.

Appointing a Successor Agent

It is often a good idea to appoint one or more successor Agents. The Agent you appoint in your Durable Power of Attorney may die or for some other reason become unable or unwilling to act as your Agent. In that case, you may be left without someone to act for you when you most need that assistance.

Appointing successors to your first choice of Agent helps insure that someone is always available to handle your affairs. Of course, each successor that you appoint should be someone that has your complete trust.

Revoking a Power of Attorney

As long as you are competent, you have the power to revoke your Durable Power of Attorney. To do so, send written notice to your Agent notifying him or her that the document has been revoked. Once the Agent has notice of your revocation, the Agent may take no further action under the Durable Power of Attorney. However, your revocation will not undo any permissible actions that the Agent has taken prior to being notified that the Power of Attorney has been terminated.

You must also notify third parties with whom your Agent has been dealing that the Durable Power of Attorney has been revoked. For example, if the Agent has been dealing with a stockbroker, you must notify the stockbroker as soon as possible. Do this in writing, as well, and do it immediately. Third parties who do not receive notice of the revocation are entitled to, and probably will, continue to rely on the Durable Power of Attorney.

Making the Durable Power of Attorney Effective upon Incapacity.

It is possible to have a Durable Power of Attorney that only becomes effective if and when you become incapacitated. This document is referred as a "springing" Durable Power of Attorney because it "springs to life" on the occurrence of a future event - your incapacity. The document should include a detailed definition of "disability" to make clear the circumstances in which your Agent may act on your behalf.

Knowing that your Agent is unable to exercise his or her powers until you are actually unable to do so yourself may make using the Durable Power of Attorney more comfortable for you. Unfortunately, even with a good definition of incapacity in the springing Durable Power of Attorney, your Agent may find that third parties are simply not willing to make the judgment that you are indeed disabled. If they are wrong, they may be held liable to you for any damages that you sustain as a result of the error in judgment. You may therefore find the springing document cannot be relied upon in all circumstances.

Don't Procrastinate!

Estate planning is easy to put off. But don't! Advance planning, such as executing a Durable Power of Attorney, may make a horrible circumstance for you and your family just a bit more bearable.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Selecting a Legal Structure for Your Business

Starting a business requires prospective entrepreneurs to make hundreds of different decisions before opening their doors to customers. One of the most important decisions is selecting the right legal structure for your enterprise. The manner in which you choose to organize will impact your taxes, personal liability exposure, and fundraising options.

Sole proprietorships are the most common arrangement for people who work alone. This structure is a popular choice because it is the easiest to arrange and does not require any filings with the state. One of the biggest disadvantages of the sole proprietorship, however, is that entity does not exist apart from the owner. Consequently, the owner is personally liable for all financial obligations and damages resulting from lawsuits filed against the company. Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to raise capital. Banks are reluctant to make loans to sole proprietorships, leaving the owners to rely on home equity loans or borrowing from family.

For enterprises with more than one owner, a partnership might be a good arrangement. Each partner contributes capital, labor, or expertise in order to turn a profit. The partners share in the profits, but like a sole proprietorship, they are also personally liable for debts and damages. One way in which partners can reduce personal exposure is by forming a limited partnership. This form consists of general partners who make decisions and assume the risks and limited partners with no control in the operations in exchange for reduced liability. Tax treatment is one of the main reasons this arrangement is selected. Profits and losses are passed through to the individual partners.

Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, are a type of structure that is becoming very popular. This structure creates an entity separate from the owners. As a result, the owners are not liable for debts or judgments against the venture. Unlike a limited partnership, all members are free to participate in the management and enjoy protection from personal liability. LLCs also enjoy pass through taxation. However, the tax rules for these structures are complicated. The amount of paperwork is a huge hurdle, and members must file articles of organization with the Secretary of State or sign an operating agreement.

The right structure for your business depends on a number of different factors unique to your enterprise. For example, a small boutique selling handmade cat collars will obviously have less risk and perhaps less revenue than a company that provides window washing services to high-rise office buildings. Prospective entrepreneurs are advised to contact their attorney or accountant in order to discuss the taxation and liability consequences of the different entities. A number of free or low-cost resources to help you make your decision are available from your local chamber of commerce, Small Business Administration, or volunteers with the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

Selecting the organization for your business is one of the most important decisions you and your partners will make. Research all of the available options and seek advice from experienced professionals before making your selection.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Suspension, Termination and Conflicts Relating to Advance Directives and Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney are commonly used instruments, but few people spend the time to really understand how they actually operate. This includes attorneys and lay persons. Depending on whether a power of attorney is considered durable, there are certain events, such as a principal's subsequent incapacity, which may limit, or restrain an agent from exercising his or her enumerated powers pursuant to the power of attorney instrument.

Let's take a look at just some of the events which can result in a suspension or termination of a power of attorney. Firstly, if a power of attorney is not durable, meaning it does not contain certain language referenced by law, the following events will terminate a power of attorney. 1) principal dies, 2) becomes incapacitated. Of course a subsequently executed "poa" that explicitly revokes all previous ones, will also result in its termination.

If a poa is durable, the scenario mentioned above is a little different. While the death of the principal still results in termination, subsequent incapacity of the principal could lead to a multitude of scenarios. If a petition to determine the incapacity of the principle is filed, the authorities granted in the power of attorney are suspended until the petition is dismissed or the court enters an order authorizing the agent to carry out powers granted to him. Certain powers, like the authority to make health care decisions for the principal, remain effective until the Court orders otherwise.

In emergency situations, if the agent feels he needs to act on the principal's behalf the agent may ask or "petition" the court to allow him to use powers which are otherwise suspended, after a petition to determine incapacity has been filed.

Other issues arise when powers of attorney conflict with advance directives which the principal may have executed and which may have given different individuals authority to act on his or her behalf. These disputes sometimes involve family members, who have different opinions on what is best for the principal. The law provides that if an advance directive and a poa conflict, the advance directive controls, unless a poa is later executed, and expressly states otherwise.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DUI Expungement Process - Steps to Clear Your DUI Record

If you are convicted of DUI, you may want to expunge your DUI record in order to get a job, loan, house, etc. Expungement refers to the process of removing or erasing your DUI records. You are required to petition the court in order to get your records expunged. This article discusses steps to clear your DUI record by covering the whole process from petitioning to obtaining expungement. Each state's expungement laws vary; therefore, this article gives you a basic idea on the process.

DUI expungement process:

1. Where to file a petition for expungement?

You need to file a petition for expungement in the superior court in the county where your DUI arrest occurred.

2. What are the grounds for denial of expungement?

You can be denied for expungement:

- if you haven't completed probation.

- if you didn't show a good reason to expunge your DUI record.

- if you are convicted of severe felony.

- if a great deal of time has passed since your arrest or conviction.

3. What are the grounds for acceptance of expungement?

You are allowed to expunge:

- if this is the only conviction on your record.

- if you didn't spend any time in state prison.

- if you have rehabilitated yourself.

4. How to file for an expungement?

- Do you need a lawyer?

You don't necessarily need a lawyer for expunging your records. It's just that this process involves a lot of paperwork and if you have a lawyer by your side, he can give you advice regarding that. If you don't wish to hire a lawyer, you should learn all the procedures that are required to get this process done.

- How long does it take?

The entire expungement process could take anywhere from 4 to 6 months.

- What is the filing fee? 

The filing fee may vary from $50 to $400 depending on your case and your state.

- What forms do you need to fill and where to get them?

You need to go to your county courthouse and ask the clerk for the expungement forms. As mentioned above the forms may cost around $50 to $400. The clerk may give you the following forms: 1. Expungement petition, 2. Affidavit or proof of service form.

5. What happens after you file the petition for expungement?

After you file the petition for expungement, a copy will be sent to all agencies that have your records like arresting agency, the county attorney, the city police department etc. They may accept or refuse your request. If they accept, the court will grant your petition without hearing. If they refuse, a hearing will be held and you are required to attend. (This law can vary from state to state). You will be notified of hearing date through the mail. In some states, though, the court sets the hearing date, while in others you have to pick the date. You must ask your clerk beforehand regarding how your state's county court hearing date is set.

6. The Court hearing and decision:

Your petition for expungement may or may not be granted. If you won the expungement hearing, you must check after 60 days to see for yourself whether your records show up during a criminal record check. The 60 days period is when the court orders all the agencies to seal your record. However, if you lose your hearing, you may need to ask for an expungement once again.

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Tuesday, July 19, 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

Monday, July 18, 2016

LLC Or Corporation - Which is Best For My Business?

Both the LLC and corporation are legal entities that provide liability protection for their owners. While the corporation has been around longer, the limited liability company was created to offer the same level of protection. However, an LLC is designed specifically to cater toward the small business owner. It offers the same liability protection as a corporation but allows a much more simple operational structure with a lesser number of formalities.

LLC v. Corporation - TAX MATTERS

The limited liability company offers more tax choices than a corporation. Owners of an LLC can elect for profits to be taxed pursuant to a pass through structure (single layer of taxation) or pursuant to a C corporation (double taxation) or S corporation structure (single taxation but with many requirements and ongoing compliance requirements).

The corporation only has the choice of C corporation or S corporation taxation. Small business owners many times prefer the LLC pass through taxation because it allows them to avoid double taxation of profits and in many cases be able to take business losses to reduce taxes from other income WITHOUT having to worry about meeting a laundry list of S corporation requirements.

While the S corporation structure is available to both types of entities, it only allows a certain # of owners, all owners must be persons (so no entities) and US or permanent residents of the United States. There are other requirements as well so check with your accountant for the specific details.

As a business evolves, things change and with an S corporation tax status, you always need to be on top of the latest S corporation requirements. The failure to meet a requirement, even if accidental, can result in disastrous tax liability and penalties.

The S corporation can have some tax benefits over the standard pass through when it comes to self employment. In these cases, you have the option of S corporation taxation with either the LLC or corporation.


An LLC also gives an LLC business much more flexibility when it comes to ownership structure. The LLC laws allow for the company to tailor what each owner gets in terms of voting control and distributions.
 The corporation has a set ownership structure. Ownership is defined by a share of stock and each share of stock provides a set right when it comes to voting and profits rights. The LLC can choose this standard structure but does have the flexibility to customize it if needed without having to create multiple classes of ownership.

Accordingly, an LLC is more attractive when it comes to bringing in investment capital or services partners because it offers more options to address specific business situations.


In addition, a limited liability company can have a very simple single layer of management (known as member-managed) or the management structure can be structured with a central governing body (manager managed).

When it comes to operations, the LLC is not required to meet the same level of formalities and paperwork as a corporation.

The corporation laws generally impose a set management structure for a corporation which requires a Board of Directors as a central body of management. In addition, in most states, there are required meetings and certain governance documents that must be entered into each year.

While it is still recommended that an LLC have some simple governance paperwork to document major business decisions, it is comforting to know that the laws do not require it for the legal entity to qualify as an LLC and get LLC benefits.

In deciding LLC or corporation, the LLC offers the same management structure imposed upon for a standard corporation but also allows for a much simpler one or a more complex one if needed to protect investors or the business.


Given the simplicity and flexibility of the limited liability company, the LLC was designed to offer all the benefits of a corporation but without the disadvantages. As a result, the number of LLC formations each year greatly surpass incorporations when it comes to small businesses.

However, there are some situations where the corporation may be the better entity choice. If you plan on taking your business public with an initial public offering, you should use a corporation. Also, if your business requires professional company investors such as venture capitalists, the venture capitalists will generally require that your business be a corporation.

As noted above, the decision of LLC or corporation depends on your specific situation and the best person to advise you is a competent attorney after having met with you to discuss your particular circumstances.

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Sunday, July 17, 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

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Incorporation - Is It Right For My Business?

The process to form your incorporation is relatively easy, and the legal concept of incorporation is recognized all over the world. A Certificate of Incorporation is the evidence of incorporation and registration of the legal entity with the authorities of a particular state or an offshore jurisdiction. A primary advantage of incorporation is the limited liability the corporate entity affords its shareholders, and in many cases, favorable tax treatment. For anyone starting up his or her own business, an understanding of business incorporation is a must before taking that step.

Incorporation is a system of registration which gives a business certain legal advantages in return for accepting specific legal responsibilities and is an option that many businesses each year decide to take advantage of. However, prior to filing with the state, you should have your attorney and accountant advise you as to whether or not incorporation is the right step for your business, both from a legal standpoint and from a tax perspective. If the corporation is a closely held corporation and does business primarily within a single state, local incorporation is usually preferable. Incorporation is a state process, and therefore the process and specific benefits may differ from state to state, as well as registration costs, resident agent fees, etc.

What type of incorporation is best for my business? A "C" Corporation, an "S" Corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? In addition to those choices, you then need to decide where to incorporate. Not only does each state offer certain benefits, but costs to file and maintain the corporate status are different. Additionally, if your business purpose is rather simple and straight forward, you may be able to use an online incorporation service to incorporate, at substantial savings. Remember, when in doubt, or if any questions or issues need addressed, seek professional usually is cheaper in the long run!

There are certain states that offer important incorporation benefits to the directors and shareholders. You need to make a comparison of these benefits, as well as the filing costs, to determine if incorporation in that state is warranted. Another consideration for incorporation in a state other than where your business is located, is that you may be required to register as a foreign corporation in your resident state. This will usually entail annual filing fees equal to or greater than that for a domestic corporation. Again, prepare a checklist and weigh all benefits as well as additional costs, etc. before the incorporation process begins. Rather than incorporating in another state, you may also benefit by an offshore incorporation. Check it out carefully.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Can You Afford Effective Estate Planning?

"Can I Afford Effective Estate Planning?"

That's Really Not the Right Question.

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

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

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

Would you leave your home uninsured?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Probate Expense - If your estate goes through Probate, then your family will pay a much higher cost to administer your estate. The attorney fee to pay in Probate is calculated as a percentage of your assets, starting as high as 4.5%. For example, in Lucas County, the attorney fee for probating a $400,000 estate (gross value) would be $15,000. With the right planning, that cost could be significantly reduced, resulting in savings of up to $11,000!
  • Creditors or Long Term Care Spend Down. If you're concerned about the potential for losing your savings to a nursing home, and if long term care insurance is not an option for you, then the right kind of estate planning can help protect a large portion of your assets and preserve them for your loved ones.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Don't "Lose" Your Living Will - Storage Places to Avoid

Question: I just came back from my attorney with my estate planning documents.  One of my documents is a "living will," but I have no idea where to put it.  How about putting it where it will be safe, like in my bank's safe deposit box?

Answer: Remember that a living will is only useful if it is found!  You should store your living will (also called an "advance healthcare directive") where it will be found when it is truly needed.

If your family has no idea where your living will is, the document is useless.  If it is never found, it is a legal document without any effect.  It will never serve any function.  The purpose of having a living will in the first place is to grant authority to your agent: Through that document your agent is given the legal authority to make essential healthcare decisions on your behalf.  But if your agent cannot find the document, he or she may never be able to make the decisions that you intend.

Where should you never store your living will?  Here are some places to avoid, the first being exactly where you are thinking of putting it:

Your safe deposit box.  Sorry, but think again!  If your agent does not have access to your bank safe deposit box, obviously he or she may never be able to get the living will in time so that it can be used.

Your home safe.  This is like placing your healthcare directives in the bank's vault.  If only you have the combination to the safe, then your agent will probably never find it.

Giving it to someone unknown to your agent.  This is another way to "lose" your directives -- giving the living will to someone other than your agent, without your agent's knowledge.  Again: If your agent has no idea where the living will is, then how can he or she get it?

Giving the original to someone at odds with your agent.  Some of you may have intra-family turmoil.  Obviously, never give your living will with someone who often fights with or is at odds with your designated agent.  Remember: The purpose of the living will is to ensure that your wishes are carried out.  PERIOD.  Your directives are not to be used in a way to be "fair" to another family member, or for any purpose other than ensuring that your wishes are followed.

Putting it where nobody would ever look.  This is a general category.  Never place your living will in a secret place, or in the middle of a "mess."  It should be kept in a place known to your agent, or otherwise where important papers are kept.

So many people go to the expense of preparing a living will, but give little thought as to where it should be kept.  Even more important, they place their living wills in entirely inappropriate places.  Make sure that your agent knows where you have stored your living will.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not legal advice, and the use of it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this article or any links from this article is expressly disclaimed. This article is not to be acted upon as if it were legal advice, and is subject to change without notice, or may include obsolete or dated information, or information not relevant to your jurisdiction. If you require legal services, you should consult with an attorney.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What is Guardianship and Power of Attorney?

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

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

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

Can your case be expunged?

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

1. if you fulfilled the conditions of probation.

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

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

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

What happens when the expungement is granted?

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

Your life after expunging DUI record:

Job Applications:

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

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

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Is Probate Law and How Does It Affect You Today?

Have you made your will official yet? It is not pleasant to talk about, but death will inevitably take us all at some point in our lives. Having an officially recognized will ensures that your estate goes to the people that you want it to when you pass away. The simplest definition of probate is 'the official proving of a will'. The laws of probate can be overwhelming at times, especially when emotions are still raw. It does serve its purpose however as not having a will (in-estate) makes the procedures a lot trickier and the results which can take months may not be what stakeholders deem right.

When a will is filed with the courts, the process for probate varies from country to country, even city to city. However the basic process is someone close to the deceased approaches the courts to act as 'executor', once the executor is established the process starts by collecting all assets and getting a value for the total. Once debts have been paid, the remaining assets can be distributed as per the will before the probate process is formally closed.

The Executioner

The executioner is usually the closest person to the deceased (wife, daughter, father etc.) or a close friend.

Probate affects you today in two ways. As someone who files a will and as a person nominated to be the executioner of a will.

Writing Your Will

Writing a will may seem like a death wish, it is something no one wants to ever think about however there is an incentive. You likely have worked hard for what you have acquired in life and would like your estate to be distributed as you see fit according to your values and wishes. It is also to protect your family, pre nuptial agreements may appear to only be agreed to when a high profile celebrity gets married, or someone wealthy but they are doing it for the same reasons as a will. The subject of money makes people act in irrational ways to protect themselves. Family members may lay claim that they should get everything, while others believe it should be theirs. It is not a nice situation for all involved. By writing your will now, you ensure that these disagreements can be solved by simply reading your official legal will.

As The Executioner

As the writer of the will, you will normally want to tell the person who you are leaving in charge of your estate should tragedy strike. It isn't the easiest conversation to begin, but knowing you have someone you trust can put your mind at ease. When someone brings up the subject with you, there is no set way to react. Simply listening to their requests is best, do not try and influence them either way. If you are unsure of anything though, do ask. Documenting everything possible is the safest option as emotions may get in the way of what was truly requested. In a perfect world there will be many, many years to you put everything in place exactly the way you wish. Make it a common practice to revisit the will every couple of years, to verify that it fits how you feel at that time.

Probate is something most people will deal with from both sides as the executioner and the writer of the will in their lifetime. Having a will ready so that the probate law process can be handled appropriately by all parties is law that should be taken seriously.

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

How to Become Someone's Power of Attorney

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

Friday, July 8, 2016

Estate Planning Tips for People Going Through Divorce

Divorce is stressful period of transition and change for most people. While there many things on which you will need expend your attention during this challenging time, you should not forget that your estate plan also requires addressing now that you've experienced this life change.

One of the first things you will want to do is update your will. Generally, your will names your spouse by name, so if you die and your will leaves a sizable inheritance to "John Doe" or "Jane Doe," then your executor (or the trustee of your trust) and the courts will be obliged to follow this instruction, even if this person is your ex-spouse. For many people, such an outcome might be especially frustrating and painful, so you should deal with updating your will promptly.

You will also need to go through any asset or account that has a death beneficiary destination on it to remove your ex. Recent court cases have ruled that, even if you divorce your ex and update your will, your ex will still receive the money from your life insurance or retirement account if you do not update the paperwork on those accounts. The single determining factor regarding who gets your transfer-on-death or pay-on-death accounts is the name on that account's death beneficiary designation form, so it is vital that you make sure you update each of these accounts.

Additionally, you'll want to tend to your powers of attorney and living will. Chances are, you do not want your ex managing your financial affairs or making healthcare decisions (including end-of-life decisions) for you after you're divorced. Executing new powers of attorney and a new living will is often a relative quick and straightforward process.

If you have a living trust, you should investigate updating this part of your estate plan, as well. For many people, their spouses may not only be beneficiaries of their trusts, but trustees, as well. A capable estate planning attorney can assist you with making the changes your trust needs to address your divorce.

Finally, you do not have to wait until your divorce is finalized in order to begin updating your estate plan. Even if you anticipate that your divorce may take several months or years to complete, you can (and should) start working on updating your estate plan right away. Keep in mind, though, that the law in every state says that you cannot disinherit your spouse so, even if your preference is to leave your ex nothing, you will not be able to make that happen until the divorce is final.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Jeffrey Volosin Discusses The Difference Between LLC And C Corps for Businesses

As being a part of the business world, it is important to understand different terms. Educating oneself on these terms not only helps with learning and understanding business conversation, but lets people know that the businessman (or woman) is serious and truly knowledgeable in the field. The two terms professionals should be able to know are a limited liability company (LLC) and a C corporation. While they are both structures, they both have their different traits and can allow many businessmen and businesswomen know what is most suitable for a business. Both have an indefinite term of life, but LLCs having plenty of distinguishing traits.

A limited liability company (better known as an LLC) is a specific type of business entity that mixes the personal liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits of a partnership. It is a structure that offers protection to a company's owner. An LLC is best suited for small businesses with very few shareholders.

A limited liability company's taxation is a single taxation, which means the interests of the profit or loss is passed to members who are in the top 39.6% bracket. An LLC has the option to elect to be taxed as a corporation. Only the members own and manage an LLC. It has limited liability. In other words, the liability is not exceeded by the amount invested by members. Meetings for members are not required, but activities should be recorded.

A C corporation is a complete opposite. It is a specific type of business entity that is taxed separate from its owners. It is used for medium and large-sized corporations and owned by its shareholders; this is different from an LLC since LLCs deal with small businesses with a few shareholders. C corporations are managed by officers while LLCs are managed by the members or managing members themselves.

Another trait of C corporations is that it uses a double taxation in lieu of a single taxation that is seen in LLCs. Income is taxed roughly 34% and shareholders pay taxes on profits distributed. The choice of taxation structures are not allowed with C corporations, they must be taxed at a corporate tax rate. Shareholders are required to attend board meetings whereas stated for LLCs, meetings are not required. While these differences may be broad between the two types of corporate structures, knowing the differences allows professionals to make the right assessments for future businesses.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Advantages of Making a Will Which Can Serve As a Catalyst for Preparing It

Like most legal documents, the importance of a will increases with its acceptance amongst authorities. Making a Will is a complete legal procedure and its advantages are many which make the preparation imperative on the part of the owner. But the legal responsibility for making a Will shouldn't be taken in a negative light and procrastinated about. Instead the very advantages of making a Will could be the single greatest catalyst for the preparation of a Will by the owner of the assets. Below are a few of the major advantages of making a Will that could be the catalyst for the owner to prepare it.

Also we would like to state that people rarely find making a Will to be a pleasant task. Preparing a Will is a metaphor for our own mortality which people don't want to face. But as they say- No one is immortal or escapes death and taxes! Who knows? You could compromise with your own mortal end during the preparation and come out with a better view on life.

The advantages of making a Will are:

No dispute between dependents: There can be no chance of any conflict or dispute between the several dependents of the property if a will is already made. The will perfectly sums up what is left to whom and that itself diffuses any chance of conflict plus the division is also ensured by law of the land. Without a Will, inheritance disputes often run into years and decades which are not a viable option.

Lack of ambiguity: A Will is a legal document that clearly states the division of the property and that in itself clearly puts out the lack of ambiguity.

Property Management: The property can now be easily managed or divided according to the directions given in the Will and that leads to a better sense of property management.

Appointment of Executor/Guardian or Trustee: Will often appoints a responsible person as a Executor or a Trustee who acts as the overseer of the property. This also is important when the beneficiary is a minor or of unsound mind and cannot look after the assets.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic — have always blown on free men.” 
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

What Is Health Care Power of Attorney?

A health care power of attorney or a health care proxy is a document that designates a person or persons you name and authorizes that person to make health care decisions for you -- but only in circumstances when you can't make the decisions for yourself.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

What Are the Tax Benefits for LLCs?

If you form a limited liability company (LLC) from your business, this is an excellent way to protect your personal assets from the liabilities of your company. Incorporation protects your own property, if a judgment is rendered against your business. In addition, forming an LLC gives you an advantage, since your business isn't responsible for the taxation of its profits.

The owner of an LLC reports the profits and losses of the business on his personal tax return. This operates in a way that is similar to general partnerships or sole proprietorships. These are called "pass-through" taxes, and you will not have to file a corporate return if you own an LLC. Your share of the profits or losses is reported on your individual tax return.

No Residency Requirements

When you form an LLC, you do not have to live in the state in which it is formed. You don't even need to be a permanent US resident or a US citizen. For this reason and others, businesses owned by immigrants are usually formed as LLCs.

LLCs give your company more credibility with prospective customers, suppliers, partners and lenders. The LLC is often favorably looked upon by other businesses.

LLCs have flexible management structure. Your LLC can establish any type of organizational structure upon which the owners agree. It can be managed by the owners, known as members, or by managers. This differs from corporations, which must have a set board of directors who will oversee all major business decisions for the company. They will also manage all the affairs on a day-to-day basis.

LLCs encounter fewer ongoing formalities and annual requirements imposed by states than corporations do. In addition, there are fewer restrictions on who can own an LLC, unlike the rules found with S Corporations.

You may also be considering how to incorporate a business as an S-Corp or C-Corp, if you plan to incorporate rather than pursue registration as an LLC.

What is an S-Corporation?

An S Corp has similarities to LLCs, because its federal tax status also allows pass-through of taxable income or losses to the investors or owners. Your company will not be double-taxed as it is with a C corporation. S Corp status offers you pass through taxation, limited liability protection, investment opportunities and the elimination of double taxation on business income. An S Corp can also continue to function even if the original owner dies.

What about a C-Corporation?

If you prefer to incorporate, as opposed to becoming a Delaware LLC or an LLC in your home state, the C-Corp is the most common type found in the US. When you form a C-Corp, you will create a separate structure that shields personal assets from any judgments against your company. C-Corp structure includes officers, shareholders and directors.

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Friday, July 1, 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.

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