Friday, March 31, 2017

Is An LLC Best?

I am not a lawyer, I am a Judgment Broker. This article is my opinion, and not legal advice, based on my experience in California, and laws vary in each state. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a state-defined entity that can be thought of as being a hybrid business entity, having some features of both partnerships and corporations.

LLC's are popular primarily because they are more flexible, and are simpler to operate than type S or C corporations. Some think LLCs save taxes, however most often, they do not.

In some ways, LLCs are similar to corporations. Both LLCs and corporations provide basic liability protection for owners and/or shareholders, and officers.

One way LLCs are different, is that LLCs have owners, and corporations have shareholders. A LLC can have several owners, called "members" or "partners", named members, for the rest of this article.

A LLC's partnership agreement defines the member relationships in the LLC, and includes an ownership agreement.

LLCs can have at least one managing member, and may also choose to appoint officers. LLCs usually have an operating agreement, that describes the LLC's function. LLC members can be any combination of individuals, corporations, and other LLCs.

Double taxation occurs when a company first pays tax on their profits; and then their officers, employees, and shareholders, get taxed again on their individual incomes.

Historically, one of the primary reasons that LLCs were chosen, was for their potential tax savings. LLCs avoid the potential double taxation problems that C-type corporations can have.

Double taxation is not really an important financial issue now, because the IRS has caught up, and removed most of the way taxes could be saved on both common and creative types of income.

Now, there seems to be no tax advantages or disadvantages to forming a LLC. No matter what corporate structure or partnership one picks, they must pay taxes. Tax payments may be split up in different ways, however one way or another, income is taxed.

Single-owner LLCs are taxed the same as sole proprietorships, and file the same 1040 tax return and Schedule C, as a sole proprietor.

Single-owner entities rarely get the same liability protection that larger companies get. Multiple-owner LLCs may potentially provide better liability protection than some corporations.

Multiple-owner LLCs are taxed the same as partnerships. Partners in a LLC file the same 1065 partnership tax return, as would be done with any conventional business partnership.

Owners of LLCs are considered to be self-employed, and must pay a self-employment tax of about 15%, on the total net income of the business.

In C or S corporations, only the salary paid to employees is subject to employment tax. The IRS monitors salaries, and will define income as salary, if they think a company is not paying adequate salaries. Payroll taxation is expensive.

The actual advantages of LLCs over S or C corporations is that they are:

1) Much more flexible in ownership.

2) Simpler to operate.

3) Not subject to as many corporate formalities, or reporting requirements.

4) Owners of a LLC can distribute profits any way they want.

Usually, the state, county, and city, requires LLCs to pay them the same taxes, fees, and registration fees, as corporations must. Also, many states require LLCs to hire an accountant to prepare the LLC's tax returns.

LLCs no longer save you money. The best reason to choose to form a LLC, is the flexibility they offer.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

California Estate Planning Basics

California estate planning is essential for residents of the Golden State. Basic strategies should encompass executing a last will and testament; establishing a healthcare proxy; and designating power of attorney rights. Dependent on estate value, establishing a trust can further protect inheritance assets.

California estate planning strategies must comply with state and federal laws. California has some of the most complex probate laws in the country, so it is best to work with a qualified estate planner or probate attorney.

Probate is used within the US to settle estates that are not protected by a trust. The process varies depending on if decedents engaged in estate planning procedures prior to death. When individuals die without leaving a Will, the estate settlement process requires additional time and exposes the estate to a higher level of creditor claims or the potential for heirs to contest the Will.

The last will and testament provides directive as to how estate assets should be distributed. It is also used to appoint a personal representative charged with duties required to complete estate settlement process. Without these written directives, the estate must be settled according to California probate code.

The timeliness of estate settlement depends on various factors. One of the most prevalent is estate value. In the state of California, estates appraised with values of less than $100,000 are usually exempt from probate if a legal Will has been executed and filed through court.

The estate must undergo a 40-day waiting period to avoid probate. Afterward, the personal representative must present a legal affidavit to the court before distributing inheritance gifts to designated beneficiaries.

When decedents do not leave a Will the estate is required to undergo a probate proceeding to determine rightful heirs. This is particularly important to understand if California residents do not want to bequeath gifts to direct lineage relatives. In order to disinherit relatives the Will must include a disinheritance clause which states the reason why heirs are not entitled to estate assets.

The purpose of including the disinheritance statement is to minimize risks of heirs contesting the Will. It is not uncommon for disinherited relatives to claim the decedent was under the influence of another person or was of unsound mind.

Contesting a Will can freeze assets in probate for months on end. This act can force personal representatives to sell inheritance assets to cover legal expenses. Defense fees can easily bankrupt small estates and leave nothing for designated beneficiaries.

In addition to protecting assets, California estate planning is the most effective strategy for establishing healthcare proxies. This document allows individuals to document the type of medical treatment they do or do not want to have if they are incapable of making decisions due to illness or injury. Healthcare proxies include 'Do Not Resuscitate' (DNR) orders, as well as providing directives regarding life support and delivery of nutritional intravenous feedings.

Estate planning is also used to grant Power of Attorney rights. POA is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. The person granted with POA powers should be someone who can be trusted to make smart financial decisions, and make difficult decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Establishing California estate planning strategies is one of the best gifts to leave loved ones. Without written directives, decisions surrounding your estate will be left to the courts and chances are they won't be what you would have wanted. Additionally, putting affairs in order can reduce family discord and allow for efficient distribution of inheritance gifts.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Advance Directives: A Special Insurance Policy That Everybody Needs

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

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

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

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

Three benefits of Advance Directives:

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

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

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Friday, March 24, 2017

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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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What is Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney is a legal document where one person authorizes another to act on his/her behalf. It allows that authorized person to manage business and/or financial affairs when one person is no longer able to do so. It may be required due to illness, overseas travel or mental incapacity.

Why is it important to organise a Power of Attorney? Should you be considered incompetent to deal with your finances - you need somebody else to be authorised to deal with your affairs. A Power of Attorney document allows you to choose the person, with defined authority and limits if desired, the power to protect, or re-arrange, your assets.

The person named in a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf is referred to as your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact." With a valid Power of Attorney, your agent can take any action permitted in the document. Often your agent must present the actual document to invoke the power.

If you do not have a Power of Attorney and become unable to manage your personal or business affairs, it may become necessary for a court to appoint one or more people to act on your behalf. Usually referred to as guardians, conservators, or committees. If a court proceeding is required then you may not have the ability to choose the person who will act for you.

By executing a Power of Attorney for Finances (also referred to as a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances) you can decide who you want to make decisions about your legal and financial matters. You can be very specific about what actions you are authorizing your partner (or agent) to make, including which accounts he/she has access to and the types of decisions he/she can make.

A Power of Attorney for Health Care allows decisions to be made specifically on what kind of treatment the person wants, based on their medical condition.

A Living Will in some ways duplicates the information in the Power of Attorney for Health Care. It is a separate document that lets your family members know what type of care you do or do not want to receive should you become terminally ill or comatosed. It can also cover situations in which a person may survive but is not capable of making their own medical decisions.

It can be a directive stating that there is to be no heroic measures to keep the person alive when there is no realistic prospect of any meaningful recovery.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document authorizing a named person or people to act on your behalf. Subject to certain conditions it continues in force until death.

Guardianship is a legal relationship whereby a probate court gives a person (the guardian) the power to make personal decisions for another (the ward). A family member or a friend can initiate the proceedings by filing a petition in the probate court where the person lives. A medical examination by a licensed doctor may be necessary to establish the person's condition. A court of law will then determine whether that person is unable to meet the essential requirements for his/her health and safety.

As long as you are alive you have the power to revoke the Power of Attorney. To do this you must contact your attorney-in-fact to advise that the Power of Attorney has been revoked.

You can also specify a date that the Power of Attorney will expire.

A Power of Attorney is also important for unmarried couples, who live together, when a partner becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions. When this occurs the law usually assigns the incapacitated person's next of kin as the decision maker. With a Power of Attorney, unmarried couples can give their partners the power to make decisions.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Estate Planning : Family Estate Trust or Revocable Living Trust?

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

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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Saturday, March 18, 2017

FAQs - Know More About DUI Record Expungement and Get Your Life Back on Track

Most states in the US allow DUI record expungement. Expunging your DUI arrest or conviction record eliminates all the consequences it has in your life and helps getting your life back on track. To help you in regards to expungement, this article answers some of the most frequently asked questions.
DUI record expungement - Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What does expunging your DUI record mean?
DUI expungement is a legal process through which your DUI arrest or conviction record is completely physically destroyed.
2. Are you eligible for an expungement?
You are eligible to expunge your DUI record:
- if a certain amount of time has passed since your arrest or conviction.
- if you have completed all the terms and conditions of probation.
- if you have no new pending charges.
- if you have paid all the fines, completed jail time, community service, rehab and fulfilled all the conditions imposed by the court.
3. What will you benefit from expungement?
Once you are notified that your DUI records are expunged, you are, thereafter, to be relieved of all the disabilities resulting from your DUI arrest or conviction.
It means you do not have to disclose your conviction or arrest to your prospective private employer or when applying for a home mortgage loan or under any other circumstances.
4. How much does expungement cost?
Hiring an attorney to expunge your DUI records costs around $400 to $4000 depending on many factors like the nature of your charges i.e., misdemeanor or felony, number of charges and experience of your DUI expungement attorney. In addition to this, court and filing fees can cost $100 to $400.
5. Do you need an attorney for expunging your DUI record?
You can expunge your DUI record with or without the help of an attorney. A DUI expungement attorney ensures that your records get expunged on time. So if you can afford an attorney fee you can hire one. Otherwise you must make sure every phase in the expungement process is completed on time and correctly.
6. Will they need your presence at the court?
If you have hired an attorney, he/she will take care of all the matters on your behalf. But if you have not, you must represent yourself in the court.
7. How long does the DUI expungement process take?
If you want to expunge your misdemeanor record, it will take roughly 2 to 6 weeks from the time the application is filed.
Or if you want to expunge your felony record or want to reduce it to a misdemeanor it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks from the time the application is filed.
8. What expungement will not do for you?
Your expunged DUI arrest or conviction can still be used to increase your penalties and punishments if you get another DUI in the future.
Now that you know the answers for some of the most frequently asked questions, so you can take steps to expunge your existing or older DUI conviction and arrest record and get your life back on track.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Defining Legal Terms - By The People

Rene goes over what types of questions they can help answer at By The People. A legal document preparation company.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Advance Directives: A Need for All Ages

Emergencies or a health care crisis can happen at any time, and the time to think about how you would want your medical care is now.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Conservatorship Information

A conservatorship is a court proceeding that grants one or more people the authority to make financial or health care decisions for another because of a mental or physical incapacity that renders a person unable to make informed and sound decisions.

A conservatorship can be over the person, the estate, or both. The person appointed by the court to make decisions is called the conservator, and the person about whom decisions will be made is called the conservatee.

Conservators are generally family members or a professional conservatorship company and in some cases, the Public Guardian's office may be appointed. Regardless of who the conservator is, their duty is to act solely in the best interests of the conservatee. To insure this, court evaluation, supervision and monitoring of the conservatorship is established.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Power of Attorney - What Are the Options?

Business or personal matters often require giving power of attorney (abbreviated as POA) privileges to chosen individuals. POA authorizes the chosen individual to decide matters relating to finance or healthcare for another person who are not capable of deciding anything on his/her own.

Before giving such privileges to any person, you need to know how it works, as well as the rights given to that person. The person nominated for the purpose must be competent in making decisions, some of which may go against the wishes of other members of the family.

Law makes it obligatory to give POA only to persons who are at least eighteen years old. It is extremely important to select a person capable of taking difficult decisions relating to finance and health.

People can choose between different kinds of rights and responsibilities that they can transfer through a Power of Attorney form, depending on their needs. Every POA involves two persons, the 'Principal' and the 'Attorney-in-Fact.' The former is the individual who defines the contract, and the latter is an individual who executes the duties specified therein.

The most usual kind of contract is the Durable Power of Attorney. It's a legal document, authorizing the attorney-in-fact to take decisions concerning the finances and health, as stipulated by the Principal. This kind of POA remains in force till the Principal dies or revokes this act.

The other frequently made document is called the Non-Durable Power of Attorney. The attorney-in-fact to is authorized to take decisions for certain transactions, which are specified in the act. This kind of POA is usually made when the Principal needs to undergo surgery or another medical treatment that could make them unable for taking decisions. This POA is valid for a particular transaction, and automatically expires after the operation took place.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is required while authorizing an individual for taking medical decisions for the Principal. It essentially involves discussing the types of treatments to which the principal may be subjected to.

The Limited Power of Attorney is generally given to another person for selling or transferring some Real Estate or property in the possession of the Principal. The privilege expires after the completion of the transaction.

Most do not feel comfortable discussing such topics. However, the kind of treatment to be followed should be discussed in advance, in case anything unexpected happens. For instance, if someone doesn't want to be kept on a life support system, when the brain is declared dead, he/she should specifically mention it in his/her healthcare POA. Else, the medical personnel is obliged to obey the state laws and continue with the regular medical treatment.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

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, March 8, 2017

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

Monday, March 6, 2017

Durable Powers of Attorney in Wills and Estate Planning

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

The Medical Power of Attorney and The Living Will

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

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

The Financial Power of Attorney

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

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

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

Doing Business in Another State

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

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

Finding a Statutory Agent

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

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

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

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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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Limited Liability Company (LLC) - Definition and Explanation

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

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

Flexibility and Default Rules

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

Income Taxation

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Proper Estate Planning Tips in Case of an Emergency!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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