Friday, September 30, 2016

Business Laws : Forming an LLC

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Importance of a Healthcare Proxy and Living Will

A living will is a legal document that describes your end of life wishes. You create it when you are alive, but it does not become valid until you are in an end of life situation. With a living will your agent(s) have final decision, but it should be made with medical doctors and other healthcare officials to be sure you are given the correct prognosis and so that your agents can make the right decision. You should give a copy of your living will and healthcare proxy to your local hospital, doctor, nursing facility or hospice care agency.


The living will covers common decisions your loved ones can make when you are near to dying. You have the choice to fill out the form in whatever fashion you like. Choices can be made regarding keeping you alive by machines, being kept on a feeding tube with no hope of recovery, being in a persistent vegetative state and more.


Living wills are available online and can be obtained for free. You need not pay for a living will to be drafted. Each state has its own differences so be sure you use the one for your state.

Once completed, the form should be signed in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses sign the document and attest that you signed of your own free will and that they are not your appointed health care agents or proxies. Some states do not allow relatives or people responsible for make medical decisions to be witnesses.

In your living will, you will designate someone who will be your proxy or agent. This person will be the one you choose to carry out the details of the document. Choose a family member who understands your wishes and has agreed to see that they are carried out. Do not choose a doctor or any employee of a hospital or institution that is treating you at the time it is executed. You can change your agent or proxy, but be sure that whoever got the original one has the new one replaced. The same applies to other changes to the document.

Most people don't like thinking about these things, however they are extremely important. You don't know when you will be in a situation in which this document will be needed. Be sure to complete it now before you can't. Consider all of the possibilities there are regarding your last wishes medically. There are certain powers given to your agent(s). Here are some general rules:

• "Full power to consent, refuse consent, or withdraw consent to all medical, surgical, hospital and related health care treatments and procedures on my behalf, according to my wishes as stated in this document, or as stated in a separate Living Will, Health Care Directive, or other similar type document, or as expressed to my agent by me;"
• "Full power to make decisions on whether to provide, withhold, or withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration on my behalf, according to my wishes as stated in this document, or as stated in a separate Living Will, Health Care Directive, or other similar type document, or as expressed to my agent by me;"
• "Full power to review and receive any information regarding my physical or mental health, including medical and hospital records, in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 USC 1320d ("HIPAA");"

• "Full power to sign any releases in order to obtain this information;"
• "Full power to sign any documents required to request, withdraw, or refuse treatment or to be released or transferred to another medical facility."

Your document should contain sections covering the following situations:

1. "If I have an incurable and irreversible (terminal) condition that will result in my death within a relatively short time, I direct that... "

2. "If I am diagnosed as being in an irreversible coma and, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, I will not regain consciousness, I direct that... "

3. "If I am diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state and, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, I will not regain consciousness, I direct that... "

You are able to decide which choices can be made.

Other areas to be covered include:

• Intravenous and Tube Feeding
• Life Sustaining Surgery
• New Medical Developments
• Other Non-Conventional Treatments
• Home or Hospital


A living will gives you the power to choose how you would like to be cared for in the days leading to your death. It also removes some of the burden from your family when they know that they are following your wishes.

Don't fail to prepare this document. As has been stated herein already, you don't know when you will be in a situation in which this document will be needed.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Living Wills Review: Five Reasons Why You Must Have A Living Will

Living wills and advance directives have lately become the hot topic of discussion with the case of the brain-dead pregnant women in Texas going to the courts to decide. While her individual rights versus Texas state law makes for a heated debate, the real question for most Americans and Canadians should be 'What happens if you don't have a living will and the unthinkable happens?'

Every year, thousands of people have an unfortunate accident that leaves them in an incapacitated state. This is where a living will comes into play. A living will, which can also be known as an advance health care directive or advance directive, is a set of instructions given by you, allowing for what types of medical intervention and treatment you would like to receive, if you are in a state of mind where you cannot make decisions for yourself. If you don't have a living will, you leave these decisions to someone else. So, there by itself, is the number one reason for having a living will. Now let's break down the other 4 major reasons why you should have a living will:

2. Avoid Family Fighting. Imagine what not having a living will could do to your family. If you haven't made the medical decisions that are usually addressed in a living will, depending on your state or province, often times it is left up to your family to make these pain staking decisions for you. Imagine your spouse having to decide whether or not to keep you on life support. Now imagine your mother, or brother, disagreeing with their decision. The emotional toll this can take on a family could be devastating. The case of Terri Schvaio often comes to mind. Back in 1990 she collapsed and fell into a coma for more than two months, and then was declared to be in a vegetative state. Years later, her husband made the decision, against her parents' wishes, to have her removed from a feeding tube. The argument went on for seven years. You can imagine the emotional toll your family would suffer in a similar situation.

3. The Medical Costs. In some cases when a person is incapacitated, the prolonged period of keeping a patient alive can outlast the medical insurance, leaving the extra costs to be paid by the patient's estate. Many times, when the decision is made by the spouse, or other family member, to artificially extend one's life, the medical costs involved can cause an extreme financial burden. It is not unheard of for families to end up losing everything because of this. If you were incapacitated, could you imagine your family losing their home, or possibly facing medical bankruptcy?

4. The Legal Costs. All it takes is for two family members to disagree and here comes the lawyers. This happens in many cases, like Terri Schvaio's, where lawyers for the disagreeing parties spend weeks, months, and even years, arguing for their side, all the while the costs are adding up. And eventually someone will have to pay those bills. Imagine the life insurance you left to protect your family, ending up in the hands of attorneys, all because no one knew what your wishes were. These situations happen all too often. You having a living will can avoid a catastrophe like this.

5. Peace of Mind. Simply put, when you have a living will, you are more likely to have the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes will be known, and that family members won't have to fret over whether or not they made the right decision. It is perhaps one of the most responsible, unselfish acts you can take by keeping the heart wrenching decisions out of the hands of your loved ones. If the unthinkable were to happen to you, there would be no reason to compound your family's suffering.

Now that you have the five major reasons to get your living will, you have to decide what to include in it. There are many points to consider, like if you should appoint a medical power of attorney (POA), where you would designate someone you trust to make decisions that may not have been covered in your living will, or adding a 'do not resuscitate' directive. These are some of the many items you will want to discuss with your family. Also consult your attorney for advice on your state's laws when drafting a living will.

I heard it said that having a will is like writing a final love letter to your loved ones to assure they get everything you want them to have. When you think of it in these terms, a living will would be an extension of that love letter, preventing unnecessary pain and hardships for your family, just in case you were to experience an incapacitated state for any length of time.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Advance Directives and Why You Need One

You've probably heard of advance directives, but are unsure of what they actually do and how they can help you. The truth is that these are a great way to plan ahead for your future, but they do require a bit of work upfront first. This is a good thing though, since it will save you time and energy later. It's better to have the work done before you actually need to do it so in a time of emergency everything is already sorted out beforehand.

The first thing to be aware of is the medical power of attorney, also called a healthcare proxy. This person is lawfully able to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to. This includes when you are suffering from dementia and when you are not conscious. This is a big shoe to fit into, so to speak, so it is important that you select someone that you trust completely. Sometimes, you may want to select a backup healthcare proxy in the event that something happens to your original choice for POA. This doesn't happen often, but when it does you will want to be prepared. So having another person you trust on deck allows you to not worry about constantly updating your POA paperwork.

You also need to know that your POA will not be able to make decisions that override your decisions. This is to benefit you, of course. If you were to wake up out of a coma, you would then be able to once again make your own decisions and not have to worry about your POA making a decision that you do not want them to.

Some states do not actually honor other states' advance directives. Some do. So it will require a little research, either on your own or with your attorney, to make sure that if you are moving from New York to California, for example, that your advance directive will hold up under the scrutiny of the legal system. The easiest solution to this problem is to have an advance directive made up for each state that you will be residing in. So if you do move into a California retirement home, make sure that you set up an advance directive as soon as possible once you are a resident there.

A final consideration for the State of California is that if you are in a skilled nursing facility and want to set up an advance directive, you must have a patient advocate sign the paperwork as a witness. Again, this is to protect you and your rights.

Basically, the State of California wants to ensure that the patient is of sound mind and that they are not being taken advantage of. This is why an advocate must sign-they look out for their patients' best interests.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

What Is a Deed of Trust and What Is It Used For?

A deed of trust is a term for a document which has a specific legal meaning in the United States not shared in other parts of the world. It means that the value of land or so called real estate is transferred to a trustee who holds the land or real estate as security in relation to a loan. The usual language used to describe the person borrowing the money is that of trustor whilst 'beneficiary' is the word used to describe the person that benefits from the deed, or in plain English the person or institution that lent the money.

This type of legal document is only relevant in a few states. The states which usually use this type of deed are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia,Idaho, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. The other states in the United States tend to prefer the use of mortgages to secure the interests of lenders in relation to real estate transactions. Theoretically, the loan to which this type of deed relates is created in such a manner that lending institution or person transfers money to the trustor so that they may purchase the property so that the purchaser may then transfer this money to the person selling the property and the seller then executes a grant deed followed by an accompanying trust deed executed by the purchaser to create the trust deed. However, the usual practice is that the property is put into the hand of an escrow holder until the funds are available and the grant deed and deed of trust are in the possession of the escrow holder to enable the reversal of the purchase if all of the necessary elements do not fall into place.

A trust of this type is certainly distinguished from the nature of a mortgage because this type of property document revolves around three parties. A mortgage is only ever between two parties. Also, a trust of this nature does not actually involve a transfer of title from the mortgagor to the mortgagee in the way that a mortgage does. Usually, the method of documenting a deed of this nature is with the county clerk near the location of the property. This enables the searching and registration of encumbrances and interests in the relevant property such that it is possible to have an open system of property registration.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Probate Process - What Is Probate? The Steps to Administering an Estate

Most people have heard the word probate before, but they might be wondering 'what is probate?' The probate process can refer to several things. The probate court determines whether or not a will is valid. If an executor is not named in the will, the court will assign an executor to perform those duties. However, the entire process of administering the estate of the deceased according to the will's instructions can also be referred to as probate. Many people think that an executor simply reads the will and hands out the bequests to the heirs. There is so much more involved in the duties of an executor during probate.

The actual court probate process is only a part of the responsibilities of the will's executor. The first duty is to file a petition to start probate in each of the states where the deceased owned property. Because each state has slightly varying probate laws, the answer to the 'what is probate?' question will change a little depending on a specific state's legal code. However, there are some common events between states when it comes to processing wills and other estate administration. Before the executor of the will can even be formally appointed or approved, a petition has to be filed, a notice of petition must be published with a certain amount of lead time (usually at least 15 days), the legal documents must be given to the judge for approval, and the concerned parties (such as beneficiaries) must be notified.

Following these notifications, the court hearing will formally begin the probate process and approve the named executor of the will. After the court hearing, the executor needs to inventory all of the deceased's assets. This information has to be filed with the probate court. Next, all creditor's claims are addressed and paid off. The IRS also has to be paid. It is the executor's responsibility to file all taxes, including income, estate, and others, by their respective deadlines. The timelines are not adjusted due to the death of the taxee. What is probate? It's probably a lot more than most people realize.

Once all debts and taxes are paid, the executor of the will files a petition for the judge's approval of the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. The concerned parties are notified, and there is a court hearing where the judge approves the distribution of assets. Finally in the probate process, the executor transfers those assets to the beneficiaries. These steps are the main answer to the 'what is probate?' question.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Which Business Entity Is Right for You?

Entrepreneur Network partner Brittney Castro talks business types with attorney Jessica Olmon.

Wednesday, September 21, 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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Advance Medical Directive: The Basics

Advance medical directives are legal documents designed to outline a person's wishes and preferences in regard to medical treatments, interventions and other health care related issues. Policies may vary from state to state, but regardless of location, advance directives should always be included with each individual's personal medical records.

Advanced directives typically fall into three categories:

  • Do Not Resuscitate Order: This legal document, also known as DNR, is extremely valuable for determining end-of-life issues. A DNR order, however, is not legal until signed by the patient, a witness and a physician. It should also be dated correctly and clearly state whether the patient wants to be resuscitated or not if their heart stops beating.

  • Living Will: This written document stipulates what kinds of medical treatment the patient recommends should they become incapacitated. It can be either general or very specific depending on the person and how adamant they are about their end-of-life care issues. The usual items outlined in a living will include: whether they wish to be on life support, receive tube feedings, length of time (if any) that they will stay on breathing machines, the individual that will make decisions on their behalf, etc.

  • Durable Power of Attorney: This type of advance directive allows an individual the opportunity to designate someone, or a number of individuals, to act on their behalf for specific affairs. A durable power of attorney, or DPOA, has the ability to make bank transactions, sign social security checks, apply for disability, or even write checks to pay utility bills while an individual is medically incapacitated. Once the document is signed, the DPOA has legal priority even over next of kin.

When Should a Directive be Created?

You will see an advanced medical directive used for several different situations-such as when someone is having a major surgery, diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or is even becoming a single parent. Advance medical directives are extremely beneficial if an individual is unable to make his or her own medical decisions. Whatever the reason, all advance medical directives should be signed by an attorney and be notarized.

How to Obtain an Advance Medical Directive

Luckily, there are many ways that someone can obtain an advance medical directive. Many companies have booklets available, social workers and nurses usually have them on hand, and hospitals and attorneys also have copies of directives. It is worth the effort to ask for an advance medical directive as it will be invaluable during a medical dilemma.

By having previously documented personal wishes and preferences, the burden of making tough decisions for family's and physicians' is lessened. Not to mention, the patient's autonomy and dignity will more likely be preserved by following their own choices regardless of mental or physical capacity.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Why Forming an LLC is a Good Idea

If you are experienced in running your business, you understand the importance of getting the correct corporate form in place. You should seek to have a structure that will not only aid long term expansion but also protect your assets. The good news - there are a lot of potential forms your business can take.

You should consider, if you have a small business, forming an LLC. Think about setting up an LLC if you have a small business. Fortunately, they are simple to create. There is little paperwork with them. Further, in many states, you won't need to file an annual report.

Also, LLC forms a business structure that can protect your personal assets. Just keep you LLC compliant and your personal property is protected.

With an LLC, you can safe guard your business name.Also, LLCs allow unlimited owners. This will help give your business growth room. Also, owners don't need to have US citizenship.

In addition, an LLC doesn't require meetings. It also needs little paperwork. And you can flow your profit and loss to your personal taxes.

Keep in mind that setting up an LLC has fees and paperwork. Also, you need to make sure you are following all city and state laws. Thus, only consider an LLC if you have a clear business plan.

Overall, an LLC is great for small business. So you should at least consider one if you are serious about your business. Remember, it can save you time and money, both of which you can invest in your business!

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Advance Directives - "The Living Will" and Other Issues

Advance directives are legal documents prepared in advance to accomplish a task at a later date. These documents can be instructions or permission granted for a specific usage such as life support or even financial issues. There are two types of advance directives. A durable power of attorney for health care allows you to name a (patient advocate) to make decisions on your behalf. A living will allows you to state your wishes in writing, but does not specifically name a person to assume the role of advocate. Regardless of which one is used, the court system can still intervene and make an overriding decision if situations arise.

Most people who choose to prepare advance directives do so to remove any doubt of their wishes in the event of a situation where they may be deemed unable to make decisions.
Considerations of the advance directive would be who you would want to assume the responsibility for decision making. Important decisions could be about ventilators (and other life extending machines) resuscitation, surgery, feedings (tube, food and water) and prescription drugs.

A Durable Power of Attorney for HealthCare is a legal document that allows you to name another adult (18 or over) to make your health decisions for you. Most people choose a family member but often a trusted advisor is selected. If end of life issues are in play, you may instruct your appointee to refuse any and all treatment and let you die. You would state this in writing that the person you select has the power to make that decision. The durable power of attorney only goes into effect once you are unable to make any decision yourself.

The power of attorney and the living will are both reversible. At anytime you may change your mind both as to treatments and who is the appointee. The only real component of either of these agreements is that at the time you execute the agreements you are considered a competent adult. This means that you are capable of making the choice of your own free will and without outside influence.

It is always best to seek legal advice when considering important decisions. Numerous sources exist to provide you with basic information about how these agreements work and how they may affect you and your heirs.

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Saturday, September 17, 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

Friday, September 16, 2016

Giving Someone the Power of Attorney

Power of attorney is a legal term in fact. This is a form or a document that is basically legal because it will be notarize by someone in the right position like the lawyers. Power of attorney allows some to have the authority to handle some other person's business affairs. There are two individuals involve in the process. The first is the principal which will authorize someone to act on his or her behalf. The second person is the agent or the attorney in fact who is appointed to carry out the task of its principal. In the United States, attorney in fact is the common term used; this person must be loyal and most importantly honest in carrying out his or her tasks. The attorney in fact may or may not be paid but for the record most principal would choose someone close to them to act as his or her agent. Usually the principal chooses individuals close to them as the agent because this individual acts as a confidant to the principal.

When making a power of attorney form, you should decide on what type you will use. This form may be limited or special and general. The effectiveness of its power ends when the principal becomes incapacitated or incapable or even before she or he dies. In this case, the principal will be unable to grant the power needed unless the grantor or principal will state and specify that the power of attorney still have its effectiveness even if he or she becomes debilitated. In case when the principal dies, so the effectiveness of the power of attorney ends as well.

There is also the durable power of attorney which encompasses an advance directive that sanctions the attorney in fact. In this position, the agent makes decisions regarding health care of the principal which now happens to be the patient. The decisions would include terminating care; consent to give or not to give any medication or procedure or treatment. An advance directive is very much different with a living will. A living will is a written document stating the patient's wishes regarding the health condition but this does not allow the agent to make any medical decisions.

In the end, it is really very important to understand power of attorney because giving or assigning this to another individual requires a lot of understanding. Yes, it is very easy to acquire such but then it will all end up when the agent would act upon the power of attorney.

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Wednesday, September 14, 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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Tuesday, September 13, 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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Sunday, September 11, 2016

What Is A Limited Power of Attorney?

A limited power of attorney is used for a very specific purpose that can be clearly defined when a power of attorney is needed. The agent or attorney-in-fact that is appointed does not have control over the person's entire life, only the specified authority granted to them in the form. In these cases, these types of attorneys are usually used for financial transactions and the sales of real estate or personal property such as motor vehicles. Again, this appointment has no control or influence over any other aspect of the person's life. They can only make decisions in a limited area and within limited parameters.

With a limited attorney, it can be given to a person or organization for a specific dealing. The person or organization has the authority to do what is specified in the power of attorney until it expires or it is revoked. The authority granted to the agent or attorney-in-fact can lasts as long as needed or includes a specific date that it will expire. Most anything a person can do themselves can also be done through an agent or attorney-in-fact appointed in a limited power of attorney.

There are a number of reasons that a limited attorney may be used. However, these are not the only reasons and there are many more, as long as they are not disallowed by state law. Some of the power or authority granted to an agent or attorney-in-fact can include:

* Any and all banking transactions

* Safety deposit box entry

* US security transactions

* Debt collections

* Real estate sales

* Real estate management

* Real estate purchases

* Borrowing money

* Management of a business

* Government issues

* Financial decision making

* Gift giving and real estate planning

* Buying and selling vehicles

* Buying and selling of other property, such as jewelry, furniture or electronics

* The signing of paychecks

* Moving dealings

* Shipping and storing items and goods

* Custodial care of children

* Child medical care

A limited power of attorney is used when a person can not take care of the business themselves. For example, when the person will be out of the country, or there are other commitments or health reasons that stop them from being able to complete the task themselves.

Giving someone power of attorney status is different from state to state, however it usually entails filling out a form and signing off on the document. The limited power of attorney form can also be revoked at any time and for any reason as well. The person still has complete control over their life and the status of the limited power of attorney appointment.

Choosing an agent or attorney-in-fact for a limited power of attorney should still be considered carefully to make sure that they will carry out the person's wishes correctly and will act in the best interest of the person.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Making a Will - What You Should Know About Creating a Will

A will is an important document for any person to have. This document simply provides directions on how your property will be handled when you pass on. Many times, when people die without a will in place, a lot of misunderstandings can arise within the family and the community at large. It is therefore important to specify how one's property or estate will be handled to avoid these misunderstandings.

A will writing service is important to help you come up with your will. It is possible for you to write your will without any help but if you are not familiar with this process, you need guidance so that you can write a will correctly.

The first thing you need to do is identify a good will writing service that has the requisite experience and reputation to ease the process of making a will. There are a number of benefits that you will get when you work with a will writing service. Some of these benefits include:

• Correct Structure

Certain things are required when you are drawing up your will. You must indicate that you are of the right age and of sound mind. You must also indicate that this is your last will and testament. You still are able to amend your will at any time you wish to.

These services will also help you to understand technical terms used when writing a will. A man writing a will is called a testator while a woman is called a testatrix. The will has to be signed by the testatrix or the testator and signed by two other witnesses.

• Tax Implications

Certain assets or estates can have tax implications. If you leave your estate to someone else other than your spouse, they might be required to pay taxes on it. It is important to know this in advance and plan for it accordingly.

• Will Execution

Another important aspect to consider is the executor of the will. This is the person who will carry out the terms of the will should you pass on. The person who helps you write the will can also be the executor if they have that capacity. If not, you should name the person or company to carry out this function.

Making a will should not be a problem for you. With the right people to help you, this process will be easy. It will allow you to rest well knowing that your estate will be handled correctly when you pass on.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Thursday, September 8, 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, September 7, 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Tax Benefits of a Limited Liability Company

A limited liability company, or LLC, is one of the most popular business entities today but also one of the newest. An LLC is unique in that it's a pass-through entity. The IRS does not consider an LLC a legal separate entity in terms of taxation, so all business income, losses, and expenses are "passed through" to individual owners to report on their personal income tax returns.

By default, a single member (or single owner) LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship. An LLC with more than one member is taxed as a partnership by default. There are many tax advantages (as well as drawbacks) to forming an LLC instead of a corporation.

Flexible Taxation

One of the biggest benefits to forming an LLC is you can choose how you are taxed. This is one of the lesser understood advantages of a limited liability company. When you file your taxes, you can choose to file as a "disregarded entity" and get the default tax treatment or you can choose corporate tax treatment. If you choose the corporation taxation structure, your business will be taxed at a much lower corporate rate on the first $75,000 in income. Keep in mind an LLC's tax rate is completely dependent on the owner's income. If you have higher income, you will likely pay lower tax rates by choosing corporate treatment.

Lease Assets

With a limited liability company, you can lease your personal assets to the company. This means you can run your LLC from your home office and have the LLC leasing the office from you. Doing so means you are creating a business expense that you may be able to write off while improving your personal financial situation. This is a tricky area, however, as the expenses must be legitimate business expenses and you will need a formal lease agreement in place.

No Double Taxation

Corporations are subject to something known as double taxation, which means a corporation first pays taxes at the corporate level then again on income from dividends that are distributed to owners. LLC owners are not subject to double taxation; business income is reported on your personal income tax return and taxed once.

Tax Disadvantages

While there are certainly tax benefits to an LLC, there are drawbacks as well. LLC owners are required to pay taxes on their distributive share of the company's profit, even if they do not receive the distribution because the money stays with the business. Corporate owners are not required to pay taxes on business profits unless the profits are distributed (usually as dividends).

Finally, as an LLC owner, you will also be required to pay self-employment taxes, even if you are a single member LLC. Corporate owners who work as employees of the company, meanwhile, only pay half of this tax amount on their salaries while the corporation pays the rest.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Understanding Probate in California

Probate is the legal process that settles the property of the deceased person and tells how it should be equally distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries in case there is no will. The rules and regulations of probate vary form state to state and each state can have a different procedure and hearing process for probate. Some general guidance might be similar in most states but it is always advised to take help of a legal advisor in case you need to understand the probate process in your locality. Moreover you should understand that every probate case is different depending on the amount of money involved in it. The different property, debts and people involved in it make the whole case different from one other. There is no way that the rules and results of one probate case can apply to other case. Normally people have a view point that probate can be an ugly scene but the fact is that it can be easy if all parties involved in it work together for a positive outcome and preserve the memory of the deceased person.

In most cases, the property of the deceased person is transferred to his spouse if the person has not made any will before his expiry but in some conditions due to the parties' involved the property cannot be transferred to the spouse directly. The probate court which hears the matter of probate cases will get involved if there any issues relating to the property of the deceased person. The case has to go through a legal framework and the final order of the court has to be addressed by each person involved in the case. Now, since every state has different law regarding the probate so the hearings of the case in the court can be different in each state.

If the deceased person has a will and has named a representative,all the assets will be handled by this person unless the judge deems this person unfit, etc.If there is no representative named in the will then the court appoints a representative who handles the property unless the decision is made. The appointed representative is called the administrator and has sole responsibility of handling the property.

The Probate Process

In the initial phase the administrator opens the case in the court. During this period he evaluates the property and collects all the property of the deceased person. Few items which come under contract of the deceased person are not held in probate and they pass automatically to the beneficiary. Any bank accounts or other things which has the clause of "payable on death" are transferred to the person named in the contract. Only those limited property that have no clear beneficiaries are accountable for probate process. After accumulating all the property, the administrator sends a legal notice to all parties involved in the case and pays all the debts and claims which remain outstanding on the deceased name. Then the administrator distributes the remaining property to the beneficiaries of the decedent as instructed in the court's verdict.

If there are any disputes during the process then the court hearing decided upon the matter and the final verdict has to be agreed upon by every parties involved in the probate process. Anyone can file the claim on the property and if the court declines the claim then the opponent can file lawsuit to claim the property. If the lawsuit is made then court has to take the case more formally and this is when major problems occur during the probate process.

Normally, probate process take a longer time and if the amount involved is huge then the process can be more problematic. But if all the parties involved work together to make a positive solution then probate process can be competed easily and the property is distributed equally among the heirs or beneficiaries.

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Sunday, September 4, 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

Saturday, September 3, 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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Friday, September 2, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 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