Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marc_Rapaport

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Selecting a Legal Structure for Your Business


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

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

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

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

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

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


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andrew_Stratton

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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Estate Planning 101 - Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Trusts


Estate planning sounds so overwhelming: Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Trusts, Guardianships, etc., etc., etc.

What does it all mean and what do you really, really need to ensure that your family will be cared for when you pass away?

While the following definitions are by no means intended to be all-encompassing, or cover all of the variations of each document, they are helpful for the estate planning novice in determining what documents are right and necessary for them.

What is a will?

A will is a written legal declaration by which a person makes known how their property will be disposed of upon their death. Property includes not only real property (land, house, condominium, business storefront, etc.), but also personal property such as jewelry, art, sports memorabilia, even pets.

What is a living will?

A living will is a legal document, by which a person makes known his or her wishes regarding life-sustaining or life-prolonging medical procedures, such as resuscitation. A living will can also be called an advance directive, health care directive, advance medical directive, or physician's directive.

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document by which Person A gives Person B the power to make decisions about their legal and/or financial affairs upon Person A's incapacitation. Powers of Attorney expire upon your death.

What is a trust?

Trusts come in all forms and can be straightforward or extremely complex. Simple stated, trusts are a financial arrangement that allows a third party (the trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. How and when the assets pass to the beneficiary can be controlled by establishing a trust.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll have the peace of mind in knowing that your family will be cared for when the inevitable happens.

Even if you have completed estate planning, it's never really 'done.' Life is going to come along and make you re-do it.

Following are a few examples of life circumstances that necessitate your updating your estate planning documents:

  • IF you had a baby
  • IF you got married
  • IF you got divorced
  • IF you adopted a child
  • IF you have a new grandbaby
  • IF a relationship within your family has changed
  • IF tax laws have changed
  • IF your estate value has dramatically increased (or decreased)
  • IF you moved to a new state
  • IF you retired
  • IF you changed your investments

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nancy_L_Holm

Friday, December 14, 2018

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.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christine_Layton

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Business Laws : Forming an LLC



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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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


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

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

The advantages of making a Will are:

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

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

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

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Saroj_Ku_Ghadei

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What is a Financial Power of Attorney?


If you are ever incapacitated, who is going to take care of your finances? Betsy Abramson talks about why preparing these documents in advance is important.


By The People in Fairfield, CA is available to help with document preparation for you to represent yourself in many uncontested legal matters. Learn more here: http://bythepeopleca.com

Monday, December 10, 2018

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.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4339215

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Advance Directives and Why You Need One


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

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

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

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

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

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matthew_G_Young

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Friday, December 7, 2018

The Tax Benefits of a Limited Liability Company


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

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

Flexible Taxation

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

Lease Assets

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

No Double Taxation

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

Tax Disadvantages

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

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


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christine_Layton

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

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 http://bythepeopleca.com/

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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 straightforward, 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 to be addressed, seek professional advice...it 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.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gust_Lenglet

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Three Lessons on Durable Powers of Attorney


Durable Powers of attorney are an essential ingredient in a complete estate plan, which allow for continued financial management in the event of incapacity. Under a durable power of attorney, an attorney in fact makes financial decisions on behalf of the principal. The attorney in fact can be given broad and sweeping powers. Conversely, powers granted by a durable power of attorney can be limited to particular assets or powers. Accordingly, the level of control given to the attorney in fact should reflect the particular requirements of the estate as well as the principal's comfort with a broad grant of authority. In this article, the author teaches three lessons on effective execution and implementation of durable powers of attorney.

First Lesson: Why would I Need One Now?

The legality of durable powers of attorney stems from the law of agency. Under agency law principals, an individual with capacity may give an agent powers-to contract, to represent the principal or to revoke or amend a trust, for instance. In the case of a non-durable power, the agency terminates upon the principal's incapacity. Durable powers survive incapacity, but the principal must have capacity at the time of execution in order to effect a valid power. Accordingly, executing a durable power of attorney for financial management should be done prior to incapacity.

Waiting until one becomes unable to coherently express one's wishes with regards to financial management decisions is too late, and a court-appointed conservatorship may become necessary. What about the successor trustee designated in my trust, or the executor of my will? Would they be able to step in? Since the principal does not die at incapacity, only an attorney in fact designated under a properly executed power of attorney may step in to make financial management decisions. A last-minute durable power of attorney executed during incapacity would not survive a court challenge, however expensive or damaging the result.

Second Lesson: Consider making the Power Immediately Effective

Often, unwary estate planners will execute "springing durable powers of attorney," which only become effective upon the incapacity of the principal. Incapacity is determined according to a test set out in the power, such as a determination made by a medical doctor or a court rendered decision. But who wants to go through the expense, difficulty, and uncertainty of initiating a legal procedure to determine incapacity? Isn't one of the goals of estate planning to prevent unnecessary expense and delay? Moreover, doctors frequently hesitate to make determinations of incapacity because of liability they may face.

In most cases, a better strategy would be to execute an immediately effective durable power of attorney, which gives an attorney in fact the power to make decisions on behalf of the principal without any finding of incapacity. Many are fearful of an immediately effective power of attorney, reasoning that no one should be given such power over their financial affairs unless they are totally incompetent. If they have such a lack of trust for the attorney in fact, why are they executing a power of attorney in the first place? One would think that even more trust would be required when the principal is incompetent and has little influence over the attorney in fact. Finally, simple measures can be taken to avoid disasters before incapacity. Consider sealing a copy of the durable power of attorney in an envelope labeled "do not open until my incapacity." In addition to oral instructions, this can help to avoid the scenario of a run-away attorney in fact who uses the power of attorney to access financial accounts before incapacity.

Third Lesson: What powers should the Attorney-in-Fact be given?

The powers given to an attorney in fact depend upon the principal's desires and the particular concerns that stem from the types of assets held. The durable power of attorney should be coordinated with the will, trust and advance health care directive to ensure that they do not contradict each other. Namely, should the attorney in fact have the power to create trusts? To rescind or amend existing trusts? Should the attorney in fact have a power to make gifts to himself or to others? These powers can help ensure that preparation for long term care (medical) or tax planning can take place even after incapacity. Before executing a power of attorney, individuals should be fully informed of the powers that they are granting, and the possible consequences of such sweeping grants of power. In all cases, it's best to consult with an attorney who can advise on specific risks.

Conclusion

Durable Powers of Attorney are one of the five essential documents in estate planning discussed in this article series. Unlike a will or trust, which mostly deals with decisions that are made upon one's death, the durable power of attorney deals with life-time financial management and estate planning questions. Individuals should be aware of the risk in waiting to execute the power of attorney; the hazards of "springing" powers; the range of powers that can be given to the attorney in fact; and the risks associated with a sweeping grant of authority to the attorney in fact. --

This article is intended to provide general information about estate planning strategies and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney. Treasury regulations require a disclaimer that to the extent this article concerns tax matters, it is not intended to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_C._Martin/176675

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

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.

See more at http://www.bythepeopleca.com

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Legal Questions : How Does a Living Trust Work?



The idea of a living trust is that, while a person is still alive, they transfer their assets into a trust document that administers the assets. Avoid probate through a living trust with help from a certified civil mediator in this free video on law and legal questions.