Thursday, February 21, 2019

Understanding Probate in California


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

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

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

The Probate Process

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

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

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


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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Three Types Of Trusts


A brief White Board Animation explaining 3 different types of Trusts.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Estate Planning Tools: Durable Power Of Attorney - Seven Factors To Consider


If something happens while you are alive, that makes it impossible for you to handle your financial affairs, sign legal documents or communicate your wishes to others, you could have trouble in many ways. Without a properly executed Power of Attorney, your family may need to get a court order just to handle your affairs. These can cost plenty and waste months of time.

Even though a power of attorney is a relatively simple document and is readily available from many sources, I am still amazed at how many families and individuals do not have one in force. Follow these simple guidelines and make sure that you are protected should anything ever happen that would cause you to need one.

Seven Factors To Consider:

1. Your Agents: One of the most important decisions with a power of attorney is your selection of agents. Will you use a single agent or appoint co-agents? Who will be your successor agent(s) if someone is unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties? These are the questions you need to answer before you are ready. Your agent(s) should be organized, good with numbers and possess great common sense.

2. Access Medical Records: Will you allow your agents to have access to your medical records? They may need this information to keep track of, or to dispute medical bills. But if you want or do not want them to have access to this information, you will need to specify inside your power of attorney.

3. General or Specific Powers: Will your power of attorney provide your agent with broad general powers or very specific powers? You can decide on either, but the more specific you get, the more limited the powers your agent will be allowed. Most people will choose to provide a general power that will include handling most financial, business and personal matters.

4. Beneficiary Changes: You can empower your agents with the ability to change your beneficiaries if you would like, but this can be a risky proposition. In most instances, you will not allow for this provision. You can also provide for the power to refuse potential inheritances. I think this can be helpful in situations where, if someone passes and is leaving you an inheritance, but you refuse it (or are deceased), it would go directly to your children instead.

5. Effective Dates: When will your power of attorney take effect? When will it terminate? You can have it take effect immediately upon execution, you can have it take effect upon the certification of some medical condition or you can specify a certain time period. You might use this if you were going to be out of the country for 3 months or in a rehabilitation program for a certain length of time. All powers of attorney terminate immediately upon the death of the individual, but you can set other dates or events as previously outlined.

6. Hire Professionals: Will your agent have the power to hire professionals such as accountants, financial advisers, lawyers, etc? If you want them to be able to handle these on your behalf, you have to specifically allow them by including this power within your document. If not, you may want to specify who you are already working with and require their services if needed.

7. Receive Compensation: Will your agent be allowed to receive reasonable compensation for time and efforts spent acting as your agent? Will they also be allowed to receive reimbursement for any expenses that they incur while acting on your behalf? In most cases, you should allow both of these. Taking care of someone's affairs can be time-consuming and there should be reasonable remuneration for these services. While you can specify, either way, your agents may be unwilling to participate without it and this could cause a bigger problem down the road.

Summary: Having a power of attorney drafted is a fairly simple and inexpensive process. You can hire an attorney, use online legal services or purchase a legal software package to assist you with the preparation. It is very important to follow the execution and filing recommendations for your state and county. Having proper witnesses and notarization of all signatures is a great safeguard for any legal documents, so make sure to get them done right.


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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Executor Of Will, Probate And Much More-You Need To Be Attentive About All These Legal Terms



There are many legal terms that are known to us, but only by name. We do not understand the proper meaning of them. The reason may be; everywhere they are explained in a hard legal language. In the lack of this knowledge, one can be struck into drastic situations. In today's world forgery and fraud-related crimes cases are increasing like nothing. To avoid them we have to be attentive about our property and belongings. The money, assets, and property belong to us and we have to take care of them. By understanding these terms you are giving value to your property. And, I will feel happy if I can help you in understanding these terms. If you really feel it difficult to understand these terms in a legal way, then here, I'm interested to explain all these terms in a very simple and common language.
Let's start with "Will".
-Will: You must be aware that will is a legal document. In it, the distribution of the property of a person is explained. The distribution of all belongings is done according to the owner's wish. The age category for applying a will is 18 or above 18 years.
-Testament: A testament is also a legal document. It also includes the distribution of owner's property. And, it also follows the owner's wish.
Then what makes a difference?
A "will" is a document which includes the distribution of owner's real property. Whereas, a "testament" is a document which includes the distribution of owner's personal property.
You might not understand that, what is the difference between real property and a personal property?
There are two categories in property. One is Real and the other is Personal. A real property can be replaced by the term real estate. That means land or the things permanently attached with land that can be a house or a building, the things under the land, anything which can't be separated from the land. And, the personal property can be of two types. One is Tangible and the other is Intangible. Tangible personal property is something you can touch. And, it includes jewelry, home accessories like: sofa, bed, locker and other items. The intangible personal property is a non-materialistic property. That includes patents, copyrights, bonds and stocks etc.
-Testator: The owner of the property and the person who is going to sign the will and testament is called testator. He must be mentally stable at the time of creating and signing the will and testament. He must be at least 18 years old at the time of signing the will and testament.
-Beneficiaries: The people who are going to be the owners of the testator's real and personal property are called the beneficiaries. A beneficiary has to be 18 or above 18 years. If a beneficiary is less than 18 years old then he and his part of the property will be under the care of a caretaker.
-Executor: An Executor is a person who is responsible for the distribution of the property. This distribution must be according to the will and testament. The person who is going to be the executor can also refuse to be so. And, if he accepts it then the court dispatches a document which is called "letters testamentary". It is issued to legally allow the person to be the executor.
Note: Don't get confused between the executor of the will and the beneficiaries. In a simple language, an executor is the caretaker of will and the beneficiaries are the (would be) owner of the property.
-Probate: It is a legal process, which is held at the probate courts. Some matters are cleared in this process, like who is going to be the executor of the will, who are going to be the legal beneficiaries etc.
Keep these terms in mind. Don't get cheated and do value your property, this is really very important.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7806338

Friday, February 15, 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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Naming Of Guardianship In Wills



When there are minor children, a Will should always be used to name a guardian(s) of their persons and property. This guardian is who will be taking care of them in your absence and will also have control over their finances, both from you and for their well being. This guardian that you appoint, needless to say, is someone that you must be able to trust completely with your children and someone who will make sure that they are cared for in the way that you have planned. This person "can" of course be someone other than your X.

Alternate guardians should also be named in the event that the original guardian is for whatever reason unable to assume responsibility. Naming of guardians and alternates should not be done any other way but in a Will. This will relieve any hint of confusion after you are not able to take care of your kids yourself. Of course, if there is a surviving parent that person will be automatically named guardian if living in the same household; but, if your will specifies a different person to control the money, then this can fit your goals quite nicely.

This situation can and often gets tricky in divorce cases. Since you are divorced, the parent with legal custody of the child(ren) should designate a guardian. If you are the legal guardian, then you have the authority to designate who will care for your children after you die. Understand, however, that if somebody besides the other biological parent is named, this decision might not be binding.

When a custodial parent dies, the non-custodial parent always has priority in seeking guardianship and custody, unless that person is deemed unfit to perform the duties necessary or is unsafe to leave with children. If you are set against your "X" getting custody of your children if you were to die, you need to make sure that you or your appointed guardian will be able to prove that your "X" is unfit or unable to perform the job.

However, be aware that the court will probably have to approve who you have proposed to be the legal guardian eventually even if named in your Will. The purpose of your Will in this regard, though, is to guide the court in its judgment. It will also help avoid family arguments over who is better qualified to raise your children and will give the person you choose the authority over all others.


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

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Tuesday, February 12, 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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Monday, February 11, 2019

Limited Liability Company (LLC) - Definition and Explanation


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

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

Flexibility and Default Rules

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

Income Taxation

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

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

Advantages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disadvantages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mark_A._Thomas/703016

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Giving Someone the Power of Attorney


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

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

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

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


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

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sunday, February 3, 2019

How Much Does Probate Cost and How Long Does It Take?


The answer depends on the complexity of the estate and the required probate procedures in your state.

Saturday, February 2, 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.