Sunday, April 30, 2017

Partnerships, LLCs, Corporations What’s Best for Your Business

Don't know if you should choose an LLC or a Corporation? Learn some tips here on what's best for you business.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

How Thinking About An Uncontested Divorce Figures Into Your Decision About Divorce

An uncontested divorce is the most common type of divorce. An uncontested divorce is a divorce that occurs when there are no disagreements between spouses over divorce related issues like custody, finances, living arrangements, spousal support, child support, etc. An uncontested divorce can be an easy way for people to get divorced without the hassles of a legal struggle and undue wear and tear on emotions.

But, you may not be ready to seriously consider uncontested divorce if you're just thinking about it.

Thinking about an uncontested divorce can mean a variety of things from a psychological could mean that you are really on the brink of divorce.

It could also mean that you're feeling frustrated and just want to end things as fast and quietly as possible. If this is the case, you may want to make sure that you aren't just being lazy and you should examine your reasons for divorce first before you go any further.

"Does it mean I am really ready for divorce just because I am starting to think about an uncontested divorce?"

Maybe, maybe not.

Here's a few things you might want to think about before going onto next steps with regards to an uncontested divorce, just to make sure that you're really ready to go through with it.

Uncontested divorce situation 1:
You're thinking about an uncontested divorce because you want out but you aren't sure if your spouse is ready to call it quits.

This can be tough if you aren't careful. The main point of an uncontested divorce is to have both parties agree on things. If your spouse doesn't even know that you're thinking about getting a divorce, mentioning an uncontested divorce may result in an explosive discussion.

Uncontested divorce situation 2:
You've both agreed that you'd like a divorce, but haven't really clearly defined why, you just know you both feel ending the marriage is best.

Maybe there's a chance to make your marriage work! Don't be too hasty. If you can't clearly define why you and your spouse want to end your marriage, you're acting on emotion rather than a healthy combination of emotion and logic. Sit down, think it through and have a detailed discussion around all of the details.

But, be careful...this can be a volatile situation if you haven't talked everything through and mutually agreed on how you'll actually implement your divorce decision to have an uncontested divorce.

If one of you is more demonstrative than the other or is usually the person who drives the decisions, that sense of control may carry over into the discussion of the terms of the uncontested divorce.

Uncontested divorce situation 3:
You both agreed that you'd like a divorce (and you both know why), and you've successfully talked about and agreed on all of the details regarding the uncontested divorce.

Although it can be a sad situation most of the time, sometimes a divorce is actually a good thing unfortunately. If you and your spouse have amicably decided to part ways and can continue on as responsible happy adults, then an uncontested divorce can be an easy way to sever the relationship and all legal obligations. This is the best situation to be in if you're looking for an uncontested should be simple to finish from this point.

Lots of people think about uncontested divorces and never go through with getting one because they actually work things out...and that's a great thing! And, some people think they want an uncontested divorce but haven't agreed on the details and terms, they're just looking for the fastest way to end the marriage. If this is the case, the relationship can turn from being amicable (and each party thinking they want a divorce) to being nasty and a resulting tug of war ensues with each person striving to get what they feel they deserve out of the divorce...and this can lead to a drawn out negotiation which certainly is not an uncontested divorce.

Be smart when you're considering an uncontested divorce...make sure that you're really ready to go through with it. Don't let the term 'uncontested' fool you, an attorney can ethically and legally on represent one of the married parties. But, if you and your spouse can truly be amicable and truthful, an uncontested divorce can be easy.

Karl Augustine

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Choose the Best Legal Entity for Your Business

Choosing a legal entity can be complicated, but it can help protect your business's assets. Attorney Mark Kohler explains.

Monday, April 24, 2017

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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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Power of Attorney = Power in Your Hands

If you manage your property remotely and use a local trusted friend or family member to handle the rental issues for you, you need a contract or a power of attorney. It is a contract involving the details on the work and the compensation in return. It should also define what happens in the case the contract is breached.

With a power of attorney, you grant the person permission and authority to make decisions on behalf of you. Your power of attorney is like a backup and you can revoke it any time you want.

The power of attorney can be very general or specific. To protect yourself, you should always use a limited power of attorney. A good limited power of attorney document for a rental property should specify the expiration date, the property on which it is authorized, and acts permitted. You can customize this according to your needs.

For an ongoing property management purposes, you can specify the expiration date for a year or two. On the other hand, if you are on vacation or just want your power of attorney to sign the lease with the tenant, you can set the dates for a shorter period of time.

You also want to restrict the properties your power of attorney has the authority on by specifying the address of the property. Or if you allow him/her to act on all the rental properties in a city or state, you can put this in the document.

Other important things to spell out in the power of attorney are the kinds of delegations you grant. You might allow your power of attorney to lease the property only, but not collect future rent payments for you. You might give the power to them to furnish the property or adjust the rent or not. It is entirely up to you to decide how much or little power you grant to your power of attorney.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Estate Planning Eases Confusion, Financial Worries

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

What is Probate and Will it Affect My Inheritance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Advance Health Directive: The Living Will and The Power of Attorney

A living will, also called will to live, is one type of advanced health care system, or advanced health care principle. It often goes along with a specific type of power of attorney. These are legal tools that are usually witnessed or notarized.
A living will usually covers specific directions as to the course of treatment that is to be taken by caregivers, or, in particular, in some cases denying treatment and sometimes also food and water, should the patient be unable to give conscious consent ("individual health care instruction") due to illness.
A power of attorney for health care, appoints an individual (a proxy) to give health care decisions should the patient be unable to do so.
Refusal of treatment forms, the name suggests, the term "will to live", as opposed to the other terms, tends to point out the wish to live as long as possible rather than refusing treatment in the case of serious conditions.
In the Netherlands, patients and likely patients can identify the circumstances under which they would want euthanasia for themselves. They do this by providing a written order. This helps to ascertain the preexisting expressed wish of the patient even if the patient is no longer able to exchange a few words. However, it is only one of the factors that is taken into account.
In Switzerland, there are several associations which take care of registering patient declarations, forms which are signed by the patients declaring that in case of unending loss of judgment (e.g., inability to communicate or severe brain damage) all means of prolonged life shall be stopped. Family members and groups, also keep alternatives which entitle its holder to enforce such patient decrees. Establishing such decrees is pretty straightforward.
In the United States, most states recognize living wills or the label of a health care surrogate. However, a "report card" issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2002 concluded that only seven states deserved an "A" for meeting the standards of the model Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act. Surveys show that one-third of Americans say they've had to make decisions about end-of-life care for a loved one.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How to Form an LLC - A Simple, Straightforward Guide

Forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) is not as complicated as most people think. While each state has its own unique list of steps and requirements, you'll find that they have the important things in common. So whether you're establishing your LLC in business-friendly Delaware or in rural Wyoming, it's likely that you'll need to go through the following steps if you want to form an LLC:

1. Choose a business name.

It helps to have a short list of possible business names to choose from before you register your LLC. Some of the business names you want may already be taken, or they might violate a trademark. Don't worry too much about this, though. Most states have a searchable database online where you can see if the business name you want is already being used. Also, remember that your business name must be followed with a designator identifying it as an LLC. Some valid ones include "Limited Liability Company", "Limited Company", "Ltd. Liability Co." and the acronym "LLC".

Once you've selected a valid name for your LLC, don't worry about registering it. Usually, it will automatically be registered once you complete the second step.

2. File your Articles of Organization.

Simply put, your LLC's Articles of Organization is a document containing basic business information such as your business name, address, purpose, and the names of the owners. This is often a ready-made form that you can get from your Secretary of State's office. While you're at this step, it also helps to ask them about the fees and requirements involved in setting up an LLC. This will help you plan for the later steps.

As you file your Articles of Organization, you will be required to pay a filing fee. This is usually inexpensive, but if you want the filing to be expedited you will have to pay a few hundred dollars more. Keep in mind that some states have additional fee requirements. For example, LLC owners in California are also asked to pay $800 in business tax on filing, to be repaid annually.

3. Create an Operating Agreement.

Though operating agreements are not required in all states, it's handy to have them from the start - especially if the LLC will be owned by more than one person. Your LLC's operating agreement should contain information about the role of each owner, how profits and losses will be shared, as well as the operating rules and bylaws of the business.

4. Submit other miscellaneous requirements.

Since business laws vary from state to state, there are probably specific requirements you need to submit depending on where you're establishing your LLC and what kind of LLC you have. For example, if you're starting a business that sells and distributes liquor, you'd need a specific liquor license for that. Other requirements may include zoning permits, publishing a classified ad announcing your LLC, and practice permits for specific professions.

As you can see, it's really simple to set up your own LLC. All you need to do is to follow the steps above while being aware of the unique documents and fees required by your state.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

3 Positive Points of Starting an LLC

When you start a business you will have to sift through the variety of options that are available to you in terms of running a full scale operation. Even if you're the only person working within the framework of a company, you will still need to file paperwork with your state and city governments, and you will need to have a good plan of action. Sure, you could just go into business and wait for the penalties to pile up and then form a legitimate business, or you could look into the proper way to go about starting an LLC. The latter is far better in many people's views, and will definitely save you headaches later on. Consider the following positive points of starting an LLC.

Multiple Owners or One Owner - Whether you have a great deal of investors that want to be part owners or you are alone in the process you will find that an LLC allows you to run your company with a great deal of freedom. Not only that, you will be able to include others in a management or even ownership capacity later on as long as you have an operation document that will showcase your ideas moving forward.

Liability - The best part of starting an LLC is that you will not be liable for a great variety of issues that will come up. For instance, let's assume that you have a client that is hell bent on suing you, and so they sue the business that you own and you have to go to court. If you file your paperwork properly, and you lose the case, you will only be liable for the money that is held within your business, and nothing else! That means if you own a home, a boat, a car or just about anything that is not part of the business proper, you could stand to lose nothing on a personal level. This is a great thing because you can protect your assets and not worry about what some might do to try and get your money.

Taxes - Dealing with taxes can be quite easy because they flow into personal income taxes in many ways. You will find that you will have to deal with your taxes in a manner that is a bit more simple than starting a larger company or a different option in terms of business. While it's not a matter of not paying your fair share, it's really a matter of ease when tax time comes around.

The above 3 positive points when starting an LLC are just 3 items that many find to be great. There are a number of other integral points to consider and each one seems to make the formation of this type of company a bit better than others. Only you can decide what path your business takes, but when it comes to starting something away from the traditional route of 40 hour work weeks, this is definitely one of the more attractive options. You'll find that it's easier than others, and it can bring amazing profits in time.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

By The People FAQs

  • Are BY THE PEOPLE Personnel attorneys? No, we are not attorneys. We are Legal Document Assistants. In California, we are a licensed and bonded profession.

  • What if I need legal advise? You can always consult with an attorney of your choice. We can provide you with a referral for an excellent local attorney who specializes in cases similar to yours if you have questions we cannot answer for you, or your situation is more complicated than our services are meant to help with.

  • Do you have a Notary Public? Yes, whenever we are open we have a Notary Public on staff. If you are a BY THE PEOPLE customer, all Notarizations of your documents are included in our fees. If you have documents not prepared by BY THE PEOPLE, we charge $10.00 per signature you need notarized, in Cash Only. You must sign the document in our presence and provide valid photo identification.

  • Does BY THE PEOPLE handle Criminal Matters? No, we only handle uncontested civil matters. However, if you would like to contact us, we may be able to refer an excellent local attorney to you.

  • I need to have my documents prepared immediately. Do you have Rush or Same-Day document preparation services? Yes, we can prepare certain documents within a few hours, if necessary. Rush and Same-Day services are available for the following documents: Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Deeds, LLC and Incorporation Articles. A modest Rush Fees will apply to these services.

  • How long will it take to prepare my documents? The documents we prepare at BY THE PEOPLE are typed specifically at your direction. All documents are then rigorously proofed to ensure you receive the highest quality legal documents available anywhere. Most of our documents are prepared and ready for you to sign within one week, depending on your situation. 

For more information please visit

Friday, April 14, 2017

Roadblocks to Surpass When Starting an LLC Business

Some folks have a lot more excuses than reasons to start an LLC business. Some optimists would prefer to label them as roadblocks that serve well as challenges. Taking this perspective will help business owners persevere despite the challenges that come their way. Here are some of the roadblocks that anyone starting an LLC business in are likely to face:

- Bad economy

Even when the economy is good, you might still have reasons not to take the entrepreneurial jump. It is a fact, however, that opportunities abound even on a bad economy. The challenge is how to spot these opportunities so that your LLC business can flourish.

- Financing

Money is not always enough to start an LLC business, or elsewhere for that matter. Fortunately for those who wish to put up their own LLC, there are banks that offer financing instruments that could provide the necessary operating capital.

- Location

There will be no shortage of business-worthy locations as long as you are offering the right products and services in the right place where your customers are likely to be at. School fairs and carnivals would be ideal for a food kiosk or a novelty shop. Just be where your potential customers could possibly hanging out.

- Marketing plan

Of course, a big factor to consider in setting up your LLC business is your marketing plan. How are you going to promote your products and services to your customers? What messages would be compelling enough for them to buy your products or avail of your services? These are just a couple of questions you should ask yourself. The answers to these questions should be factored in when you draft your marketing plan.

- Suppliers

Most small businesses do not exist on their own. In most cases, you will have to rely on suppliers whether for your raw materials or for the products that you are going to distribute. Your partners in your LLC business are your suppliers. Make sure that you find those that can match your customer demand. If necessary, you should be able to find several suppliers to ensure that you will not run out of the products and services that you intend to sell to your customers.

- Number of employees to hire

Hire only based on what you can afford. Some new start ups would hire more employees than what they could afford on their budget. They hire people so they don't have to do all of the work themselves. If there are some tasks that you can do yourself, do it yourself for the meantime and keep whatever money you could instead of paying an additional employee who might not exactly be critical for the operations of your LLC business.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Why Making a Will Is An Important Task for Your Family And You

All our lives we work hard to ensure that our family never has to face a difficult time ever but we promptly forget all about them at the end. We are talking about preparing wills or last testaments that people almost always don't prepare or unnecessarily delay due to a psychological block. The psychological block is our inherent fear of death which is aggravated during the making of a will. The preparation of a will is almost an indication of our own mortality and that is something none of us want to accept.

But whether we accept it or not, our mortality is the only truth and we must keep the responsibility of taking care of our family with us. A will could save our family from a host of troubles out of which some could be huge hassles that will need a lot of time and resources to solve. Say for example, the most common form of trouble that comes from the non preparation of a will is property disputes. Normal property disputes could siphon off huge amounts of time and resources. Plus there is no guarantee that the problem will be solved within a stipulated time. Property disputes are known to stretch for years and some even extend till the death of the supposed beneficiary. This means there are chances that your family might never get to enjoy the property that rightfully belongs to them.

Does that statement depress you? But that's simply the beginning as there will be more and more problems associated with non-existence of a will.

The next problem that could occur is the proper division of the property and in case of common ownership of a property- the lack of a trust fund. These are legal wrangles that could again put pressure on your family or dear one's resources.

Making a will is the best form of property management as the methods of division are expressly mentioned in the will. Without the existence of a will there are chances that the beneficiaries or dependents will have a tough fight in their hands to ensure their right on the property. Then there are properties which have common ownership and for those you need to create a trust fund. But that's again not possible without the presence of a will or testament.

Make a will immediately as this will not only guarantee the peace and security of your loved ones but also give you the strength to accept your own impending mortality.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Uncontested Divorce Made Affordable - By the People

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Aging, Communication, and Preparation

Making plans for retirement is clearly one of the highlights of your life. From the time you get out of college and enter the workforce most of your time is accounted for, and over those years there are invariably going to be many experiences that make their way onto your "to-do" list. The day that you retire is the day that you start to check things off that list, and your life experience in enriched with every mark.

We often talk about the fact that one of the challenges that is inherently part of any type of long-term planning is the fact that you can't predict the future with any degree of certainty. This is true of financial markets, laws, our own health and that of our loved ones. All of these things impact retirement planning, but there is another factor that can be difficult to fully digest.

Your mental capacity may not be the same as your retirement years pass. When you are planning for retirement it is very important to be realistic and keep this in mind. What happens if you need long-term care? What if you never made your medical preferences known via the execution of advance health care directives? You don't want to start considering these matters for the first time when you are in the latter stages of your life.

It may be a good idea to plan for your twilight years simultaneous to making plans for an active retirement both emotionally and financially. Bringing the issues of long-term care and possible incapacitation out in the open with your family long before they are directly relevant is also something to consider. Successful people generally confront reality and stay ahead of the curve. If you follow the same path that brought you success throughout your life you will invariably age just as successfully.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Do Not Wait Until It Is Too Late! Set Up A Durable Power Of Attorney While You Still Can

Many things in life need to be decided in advance, but none more so than durable power of attorney. Why is this legal document so important? Because in it you indicate who will handle your finances and make decisions for you while you are of sound mind and body, or should you become mentally or physically incapacitated. This trusted individual is known as your agent.

Once you have decided to arrange for a durable power of attorney, how do you choose your agent? Since this individual will be stepping into your shoes to undertake as many or as few of your financial and property matters as you decide, you must choose someone whom you trust absolutely, who has the ability to manage money, and is at least 18 years of age.

Moreover, you must set up a durable power of attorney while you still have the mental capacity to sign a legal document and to make decisions for yourself. Once you can no longer do this, it is too late to give anyone else the authority to do so. Your wishes regarding bank accounts, financial transactions or real estate dealings could be largely ignored or unknown.

Normally people choose a trusted family member, spouse, friend or legal advisor for their agent. What is crucial to note here is that if you would like your spouse to manage your affairs in circumstances foreseen and unforeseen, you must arrange in advance for him or her to have a durable power of attorney. Lingering in the mind of the public is the misperception that your spouse can automatically sign documents for you if you are mentally or physically incapacitated, but this is not the case.

One of the great benefits of the durable power of attorney instrument is its flexibility and convenience. When your durable power of attorney takes effect and the powers that you grant your agent can be as broad or as narrow as you choose.

For example, you can be completely competent to manage all your affairs, but choose to give your agent power immediately because you would like him or her to act on your behalf if you are on vacation, out of the country, or sick. For a couple who moves to Florida to retire, it is much more convenient to have their New Jersey-based son, who is their agent, sell their New Jersey home.

By the same token, you can grant your agent power that becomes effective only in the future, whether you remain competent to handle your own affairs, or not. In either case, the powers that you grant your agent are completely up to you and can encompass as many or as few tasks as you designate.
Some of the powers that you can give your agent include the authority to sign checks, make deposits, pay bills, file tax returns, make health decisions (the subject of another article), sell property, or invest money.

You can also empower your agent to hire individuals to manage your business and personal matters, whether it is as simple as lawn mowing or as complex as investment advising. The only restriction is that your agent cannot write and sign a will for you, and his or her powers become void upon your death. Whatever powers you designate, you can also revoke at any time.

How is a durable power of attorney different from a power of attorney that is not durable, and why is appointing a durable power of attorney so much more important to your future? If you were to grant a non-durable power of attorney to your agent, it would only become effective only upon your showing signs of mental incapacitation.This means that if you are physically incapacitated, your agent does not have the authority to act upon your behalf.

As the following example shows, a non-durable power of attorney is not at all flexible.

When an elderly widower was hospitalized and physically incapacitated for several weeks, he was unable to rollover a CD and pay the premium on his life insurance policy in time.

Because he had previously arranged for his daughter to have a non-durable power of attorney only, she could not carry out either of these tasks for him. She was neither able to take advantage of a new CD offer with a better rate, nor was she able to prevent the life insurance policy from lapsing. Had the father arranged for his daughter to have a durable power of attorney, she would have been able to act on his behalf in both of these matters.

Finally, a durable power of attorney is much more affordable than the alternative: setting up a guardianship. If you have already planned for a comprehensive, durable power of attorney, and you become mentally incapacitated, the need for a guardianship is obviated. Establishing up a guardianship can take months of court time and medical testimony, as well as costing thousands of dollars.

Ultimately, it is up to you and your lawyer to decide how to best ensure that your affairs, whether in the present or the future, are managed according to your wishes. A well planned durable power of attorney can do just that.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cover Your Bases With Estate Planning


Create a Will

As an original concept of estate planning, creating a will is a part of it. By writing a will, money and property are divided after someone's death. There is a living will, which relates to medical treatment and any procedures that must be adhered to in case the originator becomes extremely or deathly ill. Also, by taking responsibility for communicating--both properly and promptly--creates a more action oriented atmosphere that is destined to be organized, in comparison to no guidance for the future.

Issue Trusts

After someone's death, relatives and loved ones tend to be on end. In some cases, there are certain property rights and awards that must be issued out to these members. That is where a trust sets in. A trust is method of passing down funds to another, after one's death has occurred. There are many forms of a trust in action today; and they vary according to the specific needs of the person granting the initial trust (in most circumstances).

Power of Attorney

During estate planning, assigning a Power of Attorney is important. By addressing this issue, someone is nominated as the head honcho when you are not able. This applies to financial issues and personal matters (i.e. health).

Letter of Instruction

Moreover, a letter of instruction is another important document that must be created and developed. This kind of particular pass-down includes specific directives that your successors must adhere. In summary, a letter of instruction contains contact information (in the event of your death), which pertains to where important information, files, or safes are stored; and details that pertain to financial accounts, in addition to pass-downs about continuing activities.

Good Reasons for Estate Planning

When the responsibilities--of a grantor, etc.--are put into place, the numbers can be big, in relation to financial responsibilities, health decision leader, etc. As a result, governments and certain laws have been put into place, in order to assist families and associates passing things down. Before, without a will or any other lawful documentation, people and tribes had to go by what they were told, and what they had learned, while certain individuals were alive and/or on their deathbeds. Thereafter, conflict could occur because of possible misrepresentation, disbelief, and manipulative factors.

With that said, by attempting to be responsible and producing wills and trusts (estate planning), detrimental misguidance--concerning responsibilities--should be null if any. Ultimately, It is always a good idea to tinker with estate planning; cover your bases, before you are out for the count.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Probate Court Will Appoint a Personal Representative to the Estate

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

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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