Saturday, October 19, 2019

Estate Planning : Have You Been Named in the Will?



If you are a beneficiary in a will, you will most likely receive notice after the will is entered in probate court. Learn what to do if you have been named in a will from an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Five Types of Power of Attorney Privileges


Establishing power of attorney privileges is an essential element of estate planning. POA authorizes another person to make decisions related to finances and healthcare for someone else in the event they are unable to make decisions on their own.

Before bestowing power of attorney privileges it is crucial to understand how the process works and the rights the person will be given. The person appointed to this position ought to be capable of making difficult decisions that might go against what other family members want.

Individuals who are granted authority to make decisions must be at least 18 years of age. It's important to choose a person who will remain true to decisions pertaining to medical and financial transactions.

There are five different types of power of attorney rights and responsibilities differ based on powers authorized. Each consists of two individuals that include the 'Principal' and 'Attorney-in-Fact.' The Principal is the person that sets up the contract and the attorney-in-fact is the person who carries out the duties on their behalf.

Durable Power of Attorney is the most common type of contract. This legal document authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make financial and medical decisions based on directives provided by the Principal. Powers remain in effect until the Principal dies or until powers are revoked.

The next most common document is the Non-Durable Power of Attorney which authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make decisions for specific types of transactions. Non-durable POA is generally used when the Principal must undergo surgery or some type of medical treatment that might prevent them from being able to make decisions. Powers are granted for a specific transaction and expire once the transaction is completed.

A Limited Power of Attorney is typically used to grant authorization to the attorney-in-fact to sell or transfer real estate owned by the Principal. This document revokes privileges when the transaction is completed.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is needed to authorize a person to make medical decisions on behalf of the Principal It is vital to discuss the types of medical procedures wanted or not wanted with the person who will be in charge of making decisions to ensure they will abide by your desires.

People often feel uncomfortable discussing these topics, but it's best to openly talk about what kind of treatments should be given or avoided if the unthinkable happens. If a person is adamant about not being placed on life support if declared brain dead, they need to make their decisions known in a healthcare POA. Otherwise, medical personnel must abide by state laws and provide life-saving treatment.

A Springing Power of Attorney is required to authorize a release of medical records and information. The attorney-in-fact is required to obtain court authorization before they can make decisions on behalf of the Principal.

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

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Annulment Versus Divorce



There are various ground upon which an annulment or a divorce could be granted by a court. The legal consequences could be very important, since an annulment basically erases a marriage, whereas a divorce simply terminates it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Estate Planning - More Than Just A Legal Will


When people think of Estate Planning, they generally think of legal wills. Estate planning is not just a will, although it does involve writing one. Rather, it's a series of legal steps that involves allowing your beneficiaries to avoid probate and minimize the taxes incurred, and for you to write a living will in which you nominate trusted associates who would assume power of attorney and executor status should you be incapacitated or die. Estate planning also allows you more direct control over how your assets will be treated when you're gone.

One of the most important parts of any estate plan are measures to avoid too much of the estate's worth being lost to taxes. In the United State and abroad, dying can attract a number of specific taxes from both State and Federal governments, like death tax and estate tax. The simplest way to minimize estate tax is to name recipients of funds or assets from your estate in your legal will, specifying that a certain amount should be given as a gift. Provided your lifetime tax-free gift threshold of $1 million is not exceeded, these portions cannot attract any taxation.

An important part of any estate plan is the inclusion of a living will. A living will is not usually considered a legally binding document, however, it is given consideration if you are ever incapacitated and left unable to carry out your legal rights, or make decisions. While the living will itself may not carry much weight, you can nominate someone to assume your enduring power of attorney (EPA). If you are unable to exercise the living will as a legally binding decision, your enduring power of attorney can only be challenged by a court.

The will itself is the most important part of any estate plan. If you should die without writing a will, the specific laws of your state will determine how your assets will be divided following probate. Additionally, with no prior planning of where the assets should go on the event of your death, your estate is likely to be taxed the maximum possible amount. Where no will is present, the spouse is likely to keep one third of the value of the estate with the remainder to be distributed evenly among children.

An estate plan enables you to stipulate, for instance, that if your children receive an inheritance, the property is given to them personally and not, for example, to the child's spouse. Should your child ever divorce, then the value of any inheritance received would not have to be shared in any divorce settlement, as it would not be a shared asset of that marriage.

One of the more important aspects of estate planning is the protection it can provide your assets. Typically, after a person passes away their family sells the assets that were left to them and divides the proceeds among themselves. If, however, you have a company or significant property holdings, you may wish to prevent the breakup of any of these assets, judging them to have more value whole compared with their value after being broken up.

Estate planning allows very specific instructions for how such assets should be treated if you wish to prevent this asset division from happening. For example, you can specify in your will that you require that your business be run by a family trust whose members and membership requirements you specify. It is not uncommon for people to wish to leave behind some legacy when they've gone, and the establishment of a family trust to ensure your assets are managed properly by a family member is a good way of ensuring it.

Another common request made is for a trust fund to be established as a scholarship fund or similar. Again, with a proper estate plan, it is possible for a benefactor to specify who a scholarship fund is for, and who is allowed to sit on any board or committee it relies on to pick a recipient.

Estate planning is the method by which specific instructions may be given in advance on how to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated or die. Estate planning represents the best way of protecting your assets from the whims of financially irresponsible relatives, excessive government taxation, and dissolution of your assets by the normal laws of succession in the state or country concerned.


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

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Advance Medical Directive: The Basics


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

Advanced directives typically fall into three categories:

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

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

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

When Should a Directive be Created?

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

How to Obtain an Advance Medical Directive

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

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


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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Power of Attorney



Rene at By the People in Fairfield CA talks about just some of the reasons for a need for a Power of Attorney. These documents can be really important aids in helping loved ones.

For any questions about the types of Power of Attorney, and what may be beneficial for your individual needs, call Rene or Tammy at 707-428-9871 and visit the website at http://www.bythepeopleca.com

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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 the 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.

A 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 named 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.


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

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

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 a 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 a registered agent service in the new state. The agent's address can also be where the state sends 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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Monday, October 7, 2019

Living Trust and Wills - By the People


Living Trust or a will? Rene talks about some of the differences and what sets one apart from the other to help you make the best decision for your needs. Call Rene or Tammy at 707-428-9871 with any questions you may have, and see their website at http://www.bythepeopleca.com

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Estate Planning : The Probate Process Explained



The probate process can be a headache when estates are not planned well. Uncover the probate process with an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Who is Entitled to a Copy of a Will?


When a person dies and leaves a will, who gets a copy of that will? Watch this video and learn more about who is entitled to a copy of a will.

Friday, October 4, 2019

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


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

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

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

• Correct Structure

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

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

• Tax Implications

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

• Will Execution

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

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tony_M_Mason/1175640

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Probate and Administrative Process, Know Your Rights


Probate is the system in which the court's system's method of processing the estates of a dead person. It is a legal document that enables the administration of the estate of the deceased. It allows for the resolving of claims and distribution of the deceased's will. Any grievances surrounding a deceased person's estate are filed in the probate court also known as the surrogate court. Once probated, the will becomes a legal instrument that can be enforced by the executor.

Administration process

Administration process of an estate on the other hand is the process by which the deceased person's assets are collected, maintained and distributed. An estate administrator sees to the proper administration of the will.

The Probate process

The probate process begins after the death of a person. An interested person files an application to administer the estate; a fiduciary is then appointed who is to administer the estate and at times may be required to pay a bond to safeguard and to insure the estate. Creditors are notified and legal notices published. There may be filed a petition to appoint a personal representative may need to be filed and letters of administration obtained. All these processes must be done in accordance with the limitation clause.

Property that avoids probate

Property that passes to another person contractually upon the death of a person does not enter probate for example a jointly owned property with rights of survivorship. Property held in a revocable or irrevocable trust that was created when the grantor's was still alive does not also enter probate. In most of these cases the property is distributed privately and without many issues thus no court action is required.

What happens in the probate and administrative process?

After a probate case has been filed in court, an inventory is entered and the deceased's property collected. The debts and taxes are paid first then the remaining property distributed to the beneficiaries. The probate and administrative process may be challenged at any time as a whole or part of it. The issues that arise during such hearings include will contests and paternity issues and these have to be solved before the matter is decided.

The need for the appointment of an administrator arises where the deceased left no will, some assets are not disposed of by the will, in cases where there is a will however, the case goes to probate directly. The estate administrators act like will executors but where the will does not state how to distribute of property, they follow the laid down laws.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Reasons Why Making a Will Is Important


Most people tend to procrastinate about making their last will and testament, primarily because it is a harsh reminder of our mortality and as such, we prefer not to have anything to do with it until the time comes when it is too late to do something about it. In most funerals you attend, you often hear people ask if the deceased left any will and the most common answer being "no" or "none."

While making a will is certainly no one's favorite thing to do, what many people don't realize is that it can alleviate your fears of death because once you decide to make it, you will be assured that the loved ones you leave behind will be taken care of properly and that your estate won't be spent on legal expenses from contests initiated by your heirs.

However, that's not to say you can't die without ever making a will. In fact, there are two ways by which you can die without a will, the first being because you never wrote one and the second being, the will you wrote was declared invalid by probate court. In both cases, this is referred to as dying intestate or dying without a valid will.

When you die intestate, that means the control of your property and the distribution of your assets will be done under the laws of intestacy. If for example you co-owned a property with two other people, the laws of intestacy dictate that the ownership will not transfer to the other co-owners but your heirs, which is one situation that the remaining co-owners may contest.

There are four types of assets where these laws don't apply and they are as follows:

  • Life insurance and retirement plan proceeds
  • Properties that are jointly owned with a right of survivorship
  • Properties held in a living trust
  • Properties under the community property system

The entire purpose of making a will is to make sure your property and assets are distributed to people and organizations as you intended. To make sure this happens you can elect an executor of your will to make sure every condition in your will is fulfilled. Choosing an executor means you should choose someone you trust like a relative or a close friend. If you don't have neither to choose from, then it should be someone who is dependable, trustworthy, well-organized, good with paperwork and diligent about meeting deadlines.

And lastly, making a will doesn't have to follow a strict guideline because what will matter is not how the will was written but the conditions written within. There are many ways these days to write your own will, such as software that you can use just by asking you a few questions where your answers will be inserted into a ready-made will. Having a will ready will also save you from having to hire a lawyer to help you write one - not only is it time-consuming to find a good lawyer, it is also quite expensive to have one draft your will for you.

Monday, September 30, 2019

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 of 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 the 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, September 29, 2019

Features of a Revocable Living Trust


Financial advisor Ric Edelman discusses why a revocable living trust is a key part in the estate planning process.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Uncontested Divorce - Do You Know How It Works?


An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both parties can agree to the terms of the divorce. With an uncontested divorce, both parties negotiate the terms of the divorce without court proceedings. One lawyer represents one of the parties and prepares the divorce documents. Generally speaking, the lawyer will meet with the party they are representing and start the divorce proceedings. The parties negotiate the terms until both parties are satisfied. There are advantages and disadvantages to an uncontested divorce.

An uncontested divorce is considerably cheaper than going to court. If you can negotiate the terms of the divorce agreement before contacting a lawyer to begin the divorce proceedings, the cost is minimal. It saves time for everyone involved. When facing a divorce, saving money is a huge benefit. This is money that can be used for making necessary changes and for living expenses.

An uncontested divorce can also help maintain a level of civility between the parties. If the parties to the divorce have an amiable relationship, it is best to try to protect that mutual respect, especially if there are children involved. Another advantage is the privacy that an uncontested divorce offers in contrast to court proceedings. The divorce will be a matter of public record, but the visibility of the negotiations and the actions taken is potentially private and limited by what the parties disclose in the documents.

Just because the parties do not immediately agree to terms of the divorce doesn't mean that they should put the decisions in the hands of a judge. It may just mean that more negotiations are needed. However, there are times when an uncontested divorce is not necessarily the best route. There are some disadvantages to uncontested divorces.

If one party is exerting power and control over the negotiations or if there is a history of domestic violence, then an uncontested divorce is usually a bad idea. The victimized party is not in a position to look out for their own best interest. An uncontested divorce does not ensure that the agreement will be fair and just. Therefore, if one party is unable to do this for themselves, an uncontested divorce is not for them.

An uncontested divorce will not work if the parties cannot tolerate each other enough to negotiate the terms of the divorce. If they can't have reasonably civil discussions and come to an agreement, then attempting an uncontested divorce is a waste of time. Sometimes, this hostility will lessen with time and an uncontested divorce will become a viable option.

Friday, September 27, 2019

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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Monday, September 23, 2019

Easily Misused Estate Planning Terms


Wills and Living Wills

Wills and Living Wills are key parts of any good estate plan. However, though the two sound similar they serve very different purposes. A Living Will states your choices for the kind of medical care you want to receive if you become sick or injured and are unable to talk. A Last Will and Testament, often referred to as just a Will, deals with your property and how you want it distributed if you should die. Therefore, a will is only effective after you die and a living will is only effective before you die and when you incapacitated.

Advance Directive vs Advanced Directive

A Living Will is a type of advance directive. All advance directives are documents a person creates that state what his or her choices are in the event he or she becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate with other people. Advance directives, such as Living Wills or health care powers of attorney, typically address financial or medical situations and can state specific choices as well as nominate someone else to make decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf.

These documents are referred to as "advance" directives because you make them in advance or in preparation for the possibility that you become incapacitated. Some people mistakenly use the term "advanced" directive, implying that the documents are somehow more complicated or important than others. This is not true, and anyone can make advance directives fairly easily as long as they ensure the documents comply with state law.

Probate Estate vs Trust Estate vs Taxable Estate

An estate is a general term used to describe an area or amount of property. It is sometimes used when referring to assets that are part of the probate estate at someone's death, or assets that are not payable to another person at the owner's death or not part of a trust estate. If an asset is part of a trust estate, then generally the asset will not be part of the probate estate. Further, when considering the taxable estate of an individual for estate tax purposes the IRS will consider the gross estate of the decedent to include the value at the time of his death of all property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, wherever situated. If the property is part of a trust estate, it may or may not be part of the gross estate for federal estate tax purposes depending on certain facts about the trust.

Medicare vs Medicaid

Medicare is a federal program attached to Social Security. It is available to all U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older and it also covers people with certain disabilities. It is available regardless of income.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps low-income individuals and families pay for the costs associated with medical and long-term custodial care. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid has strict eligibility requirements.

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

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

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.

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

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Uncontested Divorce - Definition, Terms and Conditions


An Uncontested Divorce is a legal procedure in which the spouses mutually agree on certain terms and conditions, in order to adjourn their marriage. An uncontested divorce can be executed successfully if the spouses comply to a shared agreement in the matters related to the property partition, financial matters, any kind of support activities related to their children, and other litigious affairs.

A major benefit of consenting with an uncontested divorce is that unlike contested divorce, it doesn't have to deal with emotional and financial issues, is relatively inexpensive and quick, since most of the times the spouses may not find any need of an attorney or a court case for the divorce, if they are in good terms with each other, and plan to go with proper understanding. This is quite helpful essentially when the couple has much fewer assets to deal with and no children.

There are many "Do it yourself" forms available at concerned regulatory agencies, which can assist you in going ahead with the uncontested divorce activity yourself, without the need of any outside legal authority or attorney. But, in case of the issues for child support or the partition of community property, one must follow up with attorney related to divorce, before they proceed with signing off any legal documents.

Divorce is a quite tedious and sometimes displeasing procedure. Despite having mutual consent on many of the terms, there still exist loads of matters that need to be taken care of, before ending up the marriage. The couple needs to be capable enough to distinguish these issues and resolve them as soon as they can. To decide whether it is appropriate for a couple to go ahead with an uncontested divorce rather than a contested one, there are certain points that can be used as reference:

1) Are both the spouses agreeing to go for a divorce, or one of them still wants to re-establish the relationship?

2) Are all the financial issues, modes of income and other related assets properly understood by both the spouses, so that they can divide and decide on them accordingly?

3) In case, there are children, are all the issues regarding the child care and support, custody, periodic meetings and visits decided yet?

4) Are all the issues getting settled with mutual consent, and are devoid of any hard feelings?

5) Are both the partners in accord with the honesty or authenticity of the other partner's notions, regarding the resolution of these issues?

If either of the above-mentioned questions has an answer as "yes", then it is appropriate to go for an uncontested divorce.

An uncontested divorce can be carried on easily and without much hassles, but they can be derogatory to certain individuals in case the people involved in the divorce, do not know much about their appropriate rights with respect to the alimony amount, partition of pension, earnings from real estate, and other modes of income.

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

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Friday, September 20, 2019

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

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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 http://bythepeopleca.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Do I Need a Will?


You can't take it with you. Unless you plan on living forever, there will eventually be a need to divide your property amongst the relatives and loved ones you leave behind. By having a will, you determine who gets what. Without one, the law will do it for you by the operation of statutes. Many people believe that they are not wealthy enough to need a Will. But if you own property that is titled (a car or house), after your death, those items cannot be transferred without opening an estate. If you don't have a Will, the cost of processing your estate goes up significantly.

When a person dies and leaves property behind, that property is known as an estate. In order to transfer ownership of the property in the estate from the deceased to surviving heirs, the estate must go through the probate process. A Will not only identifies who will inherit the property but names an executor to administer the estate. Without a Will, not only will statutes determine who gets your property, but the court will have to appoint an administrator to handle the estate. This is a costly process.

The most obvious benefit to having a Will is controlling what property passes to which heir. This is important if there are pieces of personal property that you want to go to a specific loved one for sentimental or other reasons. A Will also allows you to place conditions on the bequest, such as that the heir completes higher education or attain a certain age, before receiving his or her inheritance.

If these benefits of having a Will are not enough to convince you to take action, then consider those who you are leaving behind. A Will invariably makes the probate process smoother and easier for the survivors. In addition to controlling exactly where the property goes, a Will names the person or persons who will "execute" the estate, meaning the person who will gather the property and distribute it to the named heirs. This is often no small undertaking - it can involve selling stock, closing and consolidating bank accounts, liquidating assets, and more. In drafting a will, you should be sure to select an executor who has knowledge of the property in your estate and the competence and willingness to perform the job, all of which makes for a more efficient probate process. Without a Will, the court must appoint an administrator (obviously not of your choosing) to perform these tasks. Unfortunately, this is more costly and can lead to disagreements amongst family members.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

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 of 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.

Partnerships

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 an 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.

Corporations

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)

Summary

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).

Friday, September 13, 2019

DUI Expungement Process - Steps to Clear Your DUI Record


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

DUI expungement process:

1. Where to file a petition for expungement?

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

2. What are the grounds for denial of expungement?

You can be denied for expungement:

- if you haven't completed probation.

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

- if you are convicted of severe felony.

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

3. What are the grounds for acceptance of expungement?

You are allowed to expunge:

- if this is the only conviction on your record.

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

- if you have rehabilitated yourself.

4. How to file for an expungement?

- Do you need a lawyer?

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

- How long does it take?

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

- What is the filing fee? 

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

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

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

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

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

6. The Court hearing and decision:

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What Is Estate Planning and Is It Useful?


Estate planning creates a plan for the distribution of your assets after you die. Most of us are familiar with a common product of estate planning: the will. Featured in TV shows and in everyday conversations, sometimes, the discussion surrounding this popular topic is not favorable.

We've seen people contesting wills, challenging their family members, feeling cheated by the administrators of wills and by the law and we've seen them arguing through lawyers about what wills mean how they should be executed. Other forms of estate planning exist to reduce the amount of conflict surrounding decisions.

Health care decisions can be included in estate planning; a health care proxy exists so that a chosen person can act out the desires of an incapacitated person still under medical care.

When it comes to the distribution of their wealth and medical decisions, multiple measures exist to enable the dead and the severely injured a means of executing their own desires. However, even in the case where no formal plans are made, heirs do receive some forethought in terms of the law.

The law of intestacy communicates that even if no measures are taken to distribute assets by a deceased party, those assets will still go to the deceased person's heirs. The law of intestacy has the most staying power in situations where it is least likely to be challenged by those wanting more. For insurance, according to Attorney Sean W. Scott of Virtual Law Office, this law works with a small number of assets and a with a small number of heirs.

In each of these cases, one can imagine there would be less conflict involved. With less to fight over, fewer fights can ensue. The same is likely true with fewer beneficiaries; as heirs likely know one another well when smaller in number, less family tension can arise. Fewer instances of certain heirs feeling more worthy than others to certain possessions may exist. The likelihood that an individual or set of siblings would usurp others' belongings may be reduced. And general confusion arising from miscommunication and a lack of cemented durable relationships may possibly decrease with a smaller set of heirs. None of these suggestions are set in stone, yet corresponding data would be a more than interesting dinner topic.

Scott emphasizes the financial advantages of estate planning, sharing that taking certain precautions can save money for heirs receiving portions of estates. As lawyers stay on the job, working to settle issues between family members or between the state and family members, their tabs continue running. Evaluating the multiple options may familiarize you with the best decisions for your situation, reducing stress and increasing savings for your loved ones after you pass.


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

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Monday, September 9, 2019

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 http://www.bythepeopleca.com

Sunday, September 8, 2019

4 Things You Need To Know About Advanced Directives


It is a sad truth that death is an inevitable part of life. And, even though many of us are reluctant to face this fact, it is no excuse to fail to plan for your end-of-life healthcare, particularly if you are past retirement age. Although it may be scary to think about your end-of-life decisions, it can greatly improve the quality of life for your family after you are gone, and will reduce the chance your passing is a burden on your family. Advanced directives offer you the assurance that your last wishes will be fulfilled. Here are four things to know about them.

1. What is an Advanced Health Care Directive?

An advanced directive is a generic term for a legal document that describes to and instructs others about your medical care, in the event you are unable to make your decisions known. A directive only becomes effective under circumstances described in the document, but in general, allow you to do two things. The first is to appoint a health care agent or power of attorney. This person will make decisions on your behalf. Secondly, the directive will provide instructions about exactly what forms of health care you want and do not want.

2. Why Are Advanced Directives Important?

According to recent surveys, the majority of people would prefer to die in their own homes. However, many terminally-ill patients meet the end of their life while in the hospital, typically while receiving ineffective treatments that they may or may not really want. Occasionally, this confusion can cause conflict between the surviving members of the family, leading to fights and arguments. Meanwhile, the dying person's thoughts and wishes remain unexpressed. An advanced care directive prevents all of this. From documenting the treatments you want to describing your wishes for your remains and personal effects, advanced care planning is highly beneficial.

3. Creating an Advanced Care Directive

An advanced care directive and living will do not have to be complicated, however, the content may be complex and should be considered carefully. In general, it will consist of short, simple statements about what types of treatments you would accept or deny, given particular circumstances where you are unable to speak for yourself. It is important to create this document with the help and guidance of your family, legal, health, and financial professionals for maximum effectiveness.

4. Talking With Your Loved Ones About Your Choices

A vital step in advanced care planning is to clearly communicate your wishes to your loved ones and family about your decisions, and why you are making them. For most of us, this conversation can seem like a daunting task. You may be uncomfortable bringing up your own death with your loved ones, or it may seem like poor timing to have that conversation, but it is much better to have this conversation now, before there's a problem, so that everyone can remain calm and relaxed.


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Saturday, September 7, 2019

How to Get an Annulment


Divorces are often easier to get than annulments because annulments require proof that the marriage was procured or initiated through fraud. Get a marriage annulment and understand misconceptions about annulments with advice from a certified family mediator in this free video on legal self-help.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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.

Liability

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.

Taxes

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 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 an 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 guide 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 spearheading 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 an 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.

Licensing

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.

Conclusion

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.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/TJ_Mollahan/289985

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Living Wills and Advance Directives for Medical Decisions


Living wills and other advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you're terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life.

Advance directives aren't just for older adults. Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it's important for all adults to prepare these documents.

By planning ahead, you can get the medical care you want, avoid unnecessary suffering and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief. You also help reduce confusion or disagreement about the choices you would want people to make on your behalf.

Power of attorney

A medical or health care power of attorney is a type of advance directive in which you name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. In some states this directive may also be called a durable power of attorney for health care or a health care proxy.

Depending on where you live, the person you choose to make decisions on your behalf may be called one of the following:

  • Health care agent
  • Health care proxy
  • Health care surrogate
  • Health care representative
  • Health care attorney-in-fact
  • Patient advocate

Choosing a person to act as your health care agent is important. Even if you have other legal documents regarding your care, not all situations can be anticipated and some situations will require someone to make a judgment about your likely care wishes. You should choose a person who meets the following criteria:

  • Meets your state's requirements for a health care agent
  • Is not your doctor or a part of your medical care team
  • Is willing and able to discuss medical care and end-of-life issues with you
  • Can be trusted to make decisions that adhere to your wishes and values
  • Can be trusted to be your advocate if there are disagreements about your care

The person you name may be a spouse, other family member, friend or member of a faith community. You may also choose one or more alternates in case the person you chose is unable to fulfill the role.

Living will

A living will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation.

In determining your wishes, think about your values. Consider how important it is to you to be independent and self-sufficient, and identify what circumstances might make you feel like your life is not worth living. Would you want treatment to extend your life in any situation? All situations? Would you want treatment only if a cure is possible?

You should address a number of possible end-of-life care decisions in your living will. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about any of the following medical decisions:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) restarts the heart when it has stopped beating. Determine if and when you would want to be resuscitated by CPR or by a device that delivers an electric shock to stimulate the heart.
  • Mechanical ventilation takes over your breathing if you're unable to breathe on your own. Consider if, when and for how long you would want to be placed on a mechanical ventilator.
  • Tube feeding supplies the body with nutrients and fluids intravenously or via a tube in the stomach. Decide if, when and for how long you would want to be fed in this manner.
  • Dialysis removes waste from your blood and manages fluid levels if your kidneys no longer function. Determine if, when and for how long you would want to receive this treatment.
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medications can be used to treat many infections. If you were near the end of life, would you want infections to be treated aggressively or would you rather let infections run their course?
  • Comfort care (palliative care) includes any number of interventions that may be used to keep you comfortable and manage pain while abiding by your other treatment wishes. This may include being allowed to die at home, getting pain medications, being fed ice chips to soothe mouth dryness, and avoiding invasive tests or treatments.
  • Organ and tissue donations for transplantation can be specified in your living will. If your organs are removed for donation, you will be kept on life-sustaining treatment temporarily until the procedure is complete. To help your health care agent avoid any confusion, you may want to state in your living will that you understand the need for this temporary intervention.
  • Donating your body for scientific study also can be specified. Contact a local medical school, university or donation program for information on how to register for a planned donation for research.

Do not resuscitate and do not intubate orders

You don't need to have an advance directive or living will to have do not resuscitate (DNR) and do not intubate (DNI) orders. To establish DNR or DNI orders, tell your doctor about your preferences. He or she will write the orders and put them in your medical record.

Even if you already have a living will that includes your preferences regarding resuscitation and intubation, it is still a good idea to establish DNR or DNI orders each time you are admitted to a new hospital or health care facility.

Creating advance directives

Advance directives need to be in writing. Each state has different forms and requirements for creating legal documents. Depending on where you live, a form may need to be signed by a witness or notarized. You can ask a lawyer to help you with the process, but it is generally not necessary.

Links to state-specific forms can be found on the websites of various organizations such as the American Bar Association, AARP and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Review your advance directives with your doctor and your health care agent to be sure you have filled out forms correctly. When you have completed your documents, you need to do the following:

  • Keep the originals in a safe but easily accessible place.
  • Give a copy to your doctor.
  • Give a copy to your health care agent and any alternate agents.
  • Keep a record of who has your advance directives.
  • Talk to family members and other important people in your life about your advance directives and your health care wishes. By having these conversations now, you help ensure that your family members clearly understand your wishes. Having a clear understanding of your preferences can help your family members avoid conflict and feelings of guilt.
  • Carry a wallet-sized card that indicates you have advance directives, identifies your health care agent and states where a copy of your directives can be found.
  • Keep a copy with you when you are traveling.

Reviewing and changing advance directives

You can change your directives at any time. If you want to make changes, you must create a new form, distribute new copies and destroy all old copies. Specific requirements for changing directives may vary by state.

You should discuss changes with your primary care doctor and make sure a new directive replaces an old directive in your medical file. New directives must also be added to medical charts in a hospital or nursing home. Also, talk to your health care agent, family and friends about changes you have made.

Consider reviewing your directives and creating new ones in the following situations:

  • New diagnosis. A diagnosis of a disease that is terminal or that significantly alters your life may lead you to make changes in your living will. Discuss with your doctor the kind of treatment and care decisions that might be made during the expected course of the disease.
  • Change of marital status. When you marry, divorce, become separated or are widowed, you may need to select a new health care agent.
  • About every 10 years. Over time your thoughts about end-of-life care may change. Review your directives from time to time to be sure they reflect your current values and wishes.

Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST)

In some states, advance health care planning includes a document called physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST). The document may also be called provider orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) or medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST).

A POLST is intended for people who have already been diagnosed with a serious illness. This form does not replace your other directives. Instead, it serves as doctor-ordered instructions — not unlike a prescription — to ensure that, in case of an emergency, you receive the treatment you prefer. Your doctor will fill out the form based on the contents of your advance directives, the discussions you have with your doctor about the likely course of your illness and your treatment preferences.

A POLST stays with you. If you are in a hospital or nursing home, the document is posted near your bed. If you are living at home or in a hospice care facility, the document is prominently displayed where emergency personnel or other medical team members can easily find it.

Forms vary by state, but essentially a POLST enables your doctor to include details about what treatments not to use, under what conditions certain treatments can be used, how long treatments may be used and when treatments should be withdrawn. Issues covered in a POLST may include:

  • Resuscitation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Tube feeding
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Requests not to transfer to an emergency room
  • Requests not to be admitted to the hospital
  • Pain management

A POLST also indicates what advance directives you have created and who serves as your health care agent. Like advance directives, POLSTs can be canceled or updated.

Article Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/living-wills/art-20046303