Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/430867

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Legal Guardianship

A guardian is a person who is responsible for the care and welfare of another person. In the case of children, legal guardianship is automatically given to the parents at birth; however, if the parents are deceased or found unfit to care for their child, guardianship is given to another person.

Besides parents, there are two types of legal guardians for minor children: subsidized and standby.

• Subsidized guardians include foster parents, who are given financial assistance to pay for the needs of the child for whom they are caring.

• Standby guardians are chosen by the parents of a child, most often when the parents have a life-threatening illness and are expecting to be unable to care for their child in the near future.

The process of obtaining legal guardianship of a child begins with the filing of a petition. This petition lets the family court know that guardianship is being sought, and will be followed with a request for evidence regarding the filer's fitness to be a guardian. Proof that the parents are deceased or otherwise unable to care for their child will be required, along with proof of a positive and established relationship with the child. The aim of the family court is to do whatever is in the best interest of the child.

Sometimes, a person seeking guardianship will be required to put up a fiduciary bond to cover any liability expenses arising from caring for the child. While this process is taking place, a temporary guardian may be placed to care for the child and serve their interests while a more permanent situation can be established.

Once a person is granted legal guardianship of a child by the court, certified papers evidencing the decision will be sent to the new guardian. It is important to retain these papers for future reference.

There are rights and responsibilities that come with being a legal guardian. The guardian has the same responsibilities as a parent would, meaning they must care for the child, make sure the child obtains an education, and provide a safe home for the child. The guardian retains the right to discipline the child as a parent would.

A guardian is different than an adoptive parent because the parents may still have contact with their child when a legal guardian is caring for them, and the birth parents retain a financial obligation for their child.

Guardianship is not limited to the care of a child; guardians may be placed for adults that do not have the mental capacity to care for themselves. This can include an adult who is incapable of caring for themselves because of mental illness, or can be a parent who suffers from mental deterioration, causing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Guardians may even be placed for an adult who is addicted to alcohol or gambling to the point that they have seriously harmed themselves or their family. If an adult is recklessly spending their estate to the detriment of themselves or family members, a temporary guardian may be placed.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6301310

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

California DUI Expungement

Expungement of DUI Cases

If you have already been convicted of a DUI, you may become eligible for an expungement of your DUI conviction under California Penal Code Section 1203.4. An expungement results in a dismissal of your case. If you are granted an expungement, the court will set aside and dismiss the conviction. Specifically, the court will withdraw your guilty or no contest plea, or guilty verdict if you went to trial, and grant a not guilty plea.

Why should you apply for an expungement of your DUI?

There are several personal and professional reasons why someone would want to apply for an expungement. An expungement is not automatically granted, and will not be granted in the event that you have broken any law since you received your DUI conviction, so the fact that your conviction is set aside proves to you and others that you have learned from your experience and have lived a law-abiding life since your conviction.

On a professional level, you can truthfully tell private employers that you have not been convicted of a crime. What's more, California Labor Code §432.7 prevents employers from asking about any arrest that didn't result in a conviction, inquiring about it from other sources or use it in a hiring decision. Note that if you ever apply for a job with a public entity, or for a professional license, when asked if you were ever convicted of a crime, you will have to report "Yes, and my conviction was dismissed." Again, the fact that your conviction was set aside will definitely reflect more favorably on your character and indicates that you have fulfilled the requirements necessary to have your conviction set aside.

Additionally, most Licensing and Certification agencies in California will not grant a license to someone who has been convicted of a crime. The same is true for Governmental jobs. However, if your conviction has been expunged, most Governmental licensing and hiring agencies (except police agencies) are required to treat you the same as if you were never convicted of the crime.

What An Expungement Can Do For You

An expungement will reflect that your conviction has been set aside. An expunged record cannot be used by private employers as a basis to deny you employment. Also, in the State of California, Government Employers (except for the police) and Licensing Agencies such as the Department of Real Estate, Board of Nursing, etc., will treat you the same as if you have never been convicted of a crime if your record has been expunged.

What An Expungement CANNOT Do For You

An expunged record can still be reviewed by a judge for the purposes of increasing your sentence if you are ever convicted of another crime in the future. Also, an expungement does not wipe out your criminal record. Your criminal court file will not be physically destroyed, and is therefore searchable and is often discovered by private investigators and others who perform background checks. If your criminal court file is discovered, it will show that your conviction was set aside by the court. Accordingly, the Judicial Counsel of California advises that if you are asked by a private employer if you were convicted of a crime, you should answer "Yes, and the conviction was dismissed." In the case of public employers and licensing agencies, you are required to answer that you have been convicted of a crime and that your conviction has been dismissed. Additionally, an expungement will not automatically grant you the ability to possess a firearm, nor will it restore any driving privileges that were revoked by the DMV due to the conviction.

When Can You Apply For An Expungement?

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in a California state court (a 1st, 2nd or 3rd DUI with no accidents or injuries involved), and were not sentenced to prison, you are eligible to apply for an expungement at the end of your probation term. If your probation term has not ended but you have fulfilled all other terms of your probation (such as CalTrans, community service, payment of fines) your lawyer may apply for early termination probation. Once early termination of probation is granted, you will be eligible to also apply for an expungement.

If you have been convicted of a Felony DUI in California, you would first need to petition the court to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. So long as you were not sentenced to prison, and your Felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, you will be eligible to apply for an expungement.

If you served time in State Prison or otherwise were under the care of the Department of Corrections, you will not be eligible for an expungement, but may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the California Board of Prisons.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4927957

Monday, January 23, 2012

Becoming Incapacitated Without A Healthcare Power Of Attorney

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is meant to be in place to allow you to make healthcare decisions for yourself when you are no longer able to speak for yourself. You are considered to be legally incapacitated when you can no longer speak for yourself. What happens when you become incapacitated without having a healthcare power of attorney in place?

If you become incapacitated or no longer able to speak for yourself concerning medical decisions without a Healthcare Power Of Attorney in place for yourself then family members in most states might be able to step in to make decisions for you. This is put into place by the power under the Adult Health Care Consent Act of most states. The Adult Health Care Consent Act states an order of succession of who will be able to step in to speak for you in case of your incapacity. The Spouse is given priority in the order of those that can step in and speak for you. The next in line is the children. The next in line is parents. After that are siblings. In the order of succession after the spouse each group of children or parents if there is more than one must come to an agreement on a decision to be made. This situation puts an undue stress and difficult decision in the hands of family members that have within their choice the power to keep alive or let a family member die. This can lead to unnecessary fights or disagreements among family members at a difficult and stressful time.

When there are differing opinions on whether you should be allowed to stay alive or pass among family members the situation can quickly and literally become life and death. Unnecessary stress and arguments can be prevented by simply putting in writing your healthcare wishes in your advance directives. Take the choice and doubt over what you would have wanted to happen to you away from everyone else. This is a simple and selfless act that could potentially keep a family together by having a plan in place. Having a plan in place allows for everything to flow smoothly at a time when tensions and grief can be high and get even higher.

It is best to have a Healthcare Power Of Attorney in place to make your wishes clear and appoint one agent to make decisions on your behalf.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6789418

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Is A Limited Conservatorship?


Limited conservatorships are set up to assist developmentally disabled adults who are unable to provide for all their personal or financial needs.


A limited conservatorship encourages further development of the conservatee wherever possible. A limited conservator's duty is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence.


The judge gives the limited conservator authority to take care of specific aspects of the conservatee's life and no others. The limited conservator's Letters list the exact areas in which he or she is authorized to act. These areas may include: 1. Where the conservatee will live; 2. See mail, medical records, test results, reports, and all other confidential records and papers relating to the conservatee; 3. Consent or withhold consent to conservatee's marriage; 4. Be the only person who may consent to medical treatment; 5. Restrict the conservatee's social and sexual contacts and relationships; 6. Make all decisions about the conservatee's education; and 7. Restrict the conservatee's right to make contracts.


The court supervises the limited conservatorship. A court investigator will visit the limited conservatee one year after the conservator has been appointed and every two years after that.


A limited conservatorship continues until one of the following occurs: 1. The conservator dies. 2. The conservatee dies. 3. A general conservator is appointed. (or) 4. A judge ends the limited conservatorship.


The appropriate Regional Center must be notified when a court is asked to appoint a conservator for someone with a developmental disability. The Regional Center will conduct an interview and file it's report and recommendations with the court prior to the appointment of a limited conservator.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2726371

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What Is A Living Will?

What does a Living Will contain:

- it is written instructions about the level of medical treatment a person wishes if they can not state their wishes verbally themselves;
- a person can be specific as to what treatment they want depending on the condition they are it;
- can specify that extra, or heroic measures are not to be taken;
- it may state that they only be kept as comfortable as possible;
- can specify if they wish their organs donated;
- it can specify who they want to oversee their wishes when they are incapable of doing so;
- it may state that a person does not want life sustaining medical procedures done by health care providers;
- it can state their wish not to be kept alive through artificial or extraordinary means.

Living Wills deal with health and personal care and are used during a person's lifetime only. It is similar to a Power of Attorney that deals with financial matters and things relating to legal issues but different from your Last Will and Testament. It will provide guidance and will release medical practitioners from legal and ethical repercussions when cure is impossible. It also prevents guilt and disagreement among family members. There will be no second-guessing what your loved one may have wanted because it will be stated clearly what the patient wished done. A Living Will is certainly something to consider as people age.

Living Wills should be updated from time-to-time because with advances in medical science, what was once a heroic measure may later become a routine procedure. Physical disability does not render a patient incapable of making a decision. Living Wills should also be changed as a patient's health changes and should be discussed with their family doctor. A copy should be given to their doctor and closest family member.

My mother had a Living Will stating her wishes not to be kept alive by artificial means and to use no heroic measures to prolong her life. Her wishes were that she be kept as comfortable as possible. After hospital staff told me she had only a matter of days, they asked me whether I wanted her taken back to the hospital from the convalescent home. The convalescent home was a lovely place where she could look out into the beautiful garden, if she had wished, and the staff so caring, I felt it was the best place for her and said no. I gave them a copy of her Living Will and any further decisions necessary were taken from my hands.

A Living Will is a health care directive stating a patient's wishes which will legally be adhered to and respected. It ensures that care will prevail.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6553765

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grant Deed

Whenever a home is transferred whether by inheritance, probate sale, trustee sale, short sale, eminent domain, etc. a deed is involved. A deed is defined as a "written instrument by which land is conveyed." Black's Law Dictionary 8th ed. (West Group, 2004). For example, if buyer purchases Green Acre from seller, buyer will transfer ownership of Green Acre to seller by giving seller a deed to Green Acre. In the context of a modern real estate transaction, the escrow/title officer at closing will have the seller sit down and sign the deed transferring ownership of the home to buyer.

There are three types of deeds used in real property transactions: grant, warranty and quit-claim. However, due to the advent of title insurance, only grant and quitclaim deeds are used in California. A grant deed is a conveyance that includes all the implied warranties and covenants of title. CC § 1113. In non-legal speak, this means that if seller did not own the property when they transferred it to buyer, for instance seller sold the home to somebody else a few months beforehand, then buyer could turn around and sue seller for breach of covenant of title. A quitclaim deed only transfers the interest seller had at the time of the transfer. Klamath Land & Cattle Co. v Roemer (1970) 12 CA3d 613. Thus, if seller did not own the land that they transferred to buyer and buyer later learns of this, buyer would have no recourse against seller.

The reason why deeds are relevant for estate planning purposes is because a home will need to be transferred into the trust in order for the trust to own the home. Thus, the estate planning attorney will typically prepare a deed transferring the family home into the trust the attorney just created for their clients.

Most stationary stores or a county law library site have quality fill-in forms. The problem is that most people do not understand what they are filling out. For example, a deed could create gift tax, potential property tax re-assessment, the imposition of the documentary transfer or the possibility of judgment attachment, etc. Consequently, I have seen a few cases where families decided to engage in do-it-yourself estate planning by executing deeds in which ownership is transferred amongst family members. Typically the results have been disastrous because of the adverse tax consequences that followed.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5708740

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forming a California Limited Liability Company - Mistakes to Avoid

Are you an investor or entrepreneur setting up a limited liability company for a California venture? Your decision probably makes good sense. An LLC reduces your legal risks and (usually) minimizes income and payroll tax expenses. But be careful! You want to avoid three common incorporation boo-boos:

Mistake #1: Ignoring the Franchise Tax

Limited liability companies deliver big benefits in terms of minimizing legal and business risks and in terms of grinding down your business taxes.

If you own a business or investment through an LLC, for example, you're not (and other owners won't be) liable for the LLC's debts or other obligations merely because of your ownership.

Furthermore, limited liabilities companies offer huge tax accounting benefits, including the ability to elect the tax treatment you want for the LLC: sole proprietorship, partnership, c corporation, S corporation, and so on.

Unfortunately, the state of California (rather uniquely among states) reduces the attractiveness of the LLC option. The state levies an annual LLC tax on limited liability companies. At a minimum, this tax equals $800, but the hit goes up based on the business's income rises.

The LLC franchise fee is significant for many small investors and micro-businesses. Accordingly, make sure if you're thinking about forming a limited liability company that formation still makes sense once you consider the extra state taxes you pay as a result.

Many very small investments and businesses, very frankly, probably can't justify paying $1,000 or more for the benefits the LLC option delivers.

Mistake #2: Planning for Quick Setup

Another mistake related to forming an LLC in many states - including California - is this: State government offices that process LLC applications are now taking longer and longer to stamp the paperwork "approved." And that means you need to plan ahead and factor the delays into your business and investment plans.

In mid-to-late 2010, for example, the California Secretary of State says that processing the articles of organization for a limited liability company requires roughly sixty days. That's actually pretty brutal: If you want to operate your business as an LLC, you'll going to have to wait almost two months just to get the business or investment entity setup.

Mistake #3: Using a Nevada Corporation or LLC

Another blunder to avoid like the plague is incorporating in Nevada or some other "business friendly" state like Delaware.

With the massive hassle-factor of incorporating California limited liability corporation, you might wonder whether you can just go next-door to Nevada.

Another state's fees and taxes are almost always going to be lower than California's. And many states quickly process business formation documents because they realize that doing so benefits everybody.

But practically speaking, you can't simply "opt" for incorporating in another state. If you're operating your business or making an investment in California, you either need to use a California LLC or corporation... or if you've initially setup up a corporation in another state (like Nevada) you'll need to register your Nevada entity as a foreign corporation or foreign LLC operating in California.

Registering a "foreign LLC" or "foreign corporation" in California, however, puts you right back at square one: Registration of the foreign corporation takes months and triggers the annual franchise fees and taxes.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4794291

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Change Your Name

The decision to change your name may be for a number of valid reasons. Some people don't like the sound of their name, it may be too difficult for others to pronounce, or maybe you want a fresh start with a new identity for the heck of it. The courts are willing to grant a name change to any individual for any reason they specify, as long as the name change is not being used for fraud or criminal purposes.
The first step to change your name is to fill out a name change request at the county courthouse. There is a moderate filing fee attached and the short form document will ask you to list your current full name, any names you have used in the past, and what your new name will be.
Once the name change application is filled out, you will hand it in to the county clerk and the legal officials will do a background check for felonies or outstanding warrants for an arrest. If the application is free of any criminal wrong doing, the name change applicant will be issued a court date to stand before a judge.
The name change applicant will be require to buy a newspaper advertising block of four to six consecutive weeks declaring that so and so will now be known as this new name. The newspaper ads need not be in your living area, so try to get the best publication rates from a newspaper in a small town.
The judicial proceedings for a name change are fast as lightning, with the magistrate asking you to declare under oath in court that the new name is what you wish to be known as. In addition, the judge may ask you to certify that you do not intend to use the new name for fraudulent purposes. He or she may ask you your purpose for changing your name, however, your answer is simply a matter of responding to the judge's request, and he or she will make no comment or judgment as to why you wish to change your name. The court reporter takes down the transcripts, and at the bang of the gavel, you have a legally recognized new name.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5174473

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Six Ways To Avoid Probate - Save Time, Money And Headaches

Many people are worried about probate. What exactly is probate? How can I avoid the headaches, time delays and estate shrinkage that it causes? If you have ever asked any of these questions or heard your parents or friends ask them, here is a simple plan to follow.
What Is Probate? It is the formal process of proving someones Last Will and Testament. It entails filing with the county surrogate court office, appointing an executor to administer the terms of the Will and proving that the Will was properly executed if necessary. In some states there is a mandatory minimum waiting period during which the executor pays final expenses, contacts potential beneficiaries and creditors, then begins organizing the deceased's assets for distribution and/or liquidation. All these actions can cost your beneficiaries money and this is where the estate shrinkage comes into play.
How Can I Avoid Probate? The easiest way to bypass the probate process is to take steps in advance that will contractually establish a distribution plan upon death of the owner. This can take on many forms, but if an asset is left to be distributed by the Will, it will be exposed to probate. (Note: If a deceased person's estate is required to file an inheritance or estate tax return, some or all of the assets below may be included in that filing.)
Six Ways To Avoid Probate:
1. Joint Accounts With Rights Of Survivorship: Owning your accounts with someone else as a joint tenant is the first and easiest way to potentially bypass the probate process. If one tenant passes away, the other is automatically the new and sole owner of the asset. No administration is needed to pass this account on, but a problem will arise if both joint owners pass away simultaneously. Number 2 can take care of this situation.
2. Designated Beneficiary Plans: The next way to avoid probate is to use a Designated Beneficiary plan on any brokerage or bank accounts that you have. If they are already joint accounts, that is even better as the joint tenancy will take precedence over the beneficiary designation, but both will bypass probate.
3. Payable On Death Plans: If a designated beneficiary plan is not available, a payable on death plan may be offered as an alternative. It is basically the same type of instrument, but some credit unions, banks and other financial institutions prefer this option. If you have an account in question, ask about both.
4. IRA And Retirement Plans With Beneficiaries: Most retirement plans allow for a specific, primary and contingent beneficiaries to be designated. These designations are a legal and contractual way to bypass probate and administer your wishes.
5. Life Insurance Proceeds: The proceeds of a life insurance policy can avoid probate if the beneficiary designation is listed as a person, multiple persons or other legal entity. These proceeds will bypass probate if done properly and are usually income tax-free to the beneficiary.
6. Annuity Proceeds: An annuity contract can also bypass if the beneficiary designation is filled out correctly. Annuities are a contract from a life insurance or annuity company that will bypass probate, but some or all of the proceeds may be taxable to the beneficiary depending on how they were established.
Summary: Please note that having a detailed structure on each of the above beneficiary designations is vital to avoiding probate. If you designate a primary or a contingent beneficiary with the following - "As Per Estate", you will force that asset back through your Will and into the probate system. Always place specific names, addresses and percentages (or amounts) on each designation. If you need more room, prepare a notarized attachment to the form that spells it out in detail.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6314882

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Do You Need to Update Your Will?

You will often hear about the necessity to update your Will, but do you know precisely what change in circumstances would mean that you should have it amended? Our lives change regularly, often dramatically, yet often, changing our Will is the last thing on our minds. The list below is designed to give you some guidelines to prompt you when you need to contact your Will writer.

* Has your marital status changed? Many people now marry more than once, and later in life. If you have remarried since your previous Will, your old document won't be of any use unless you inserted an 'anticipation of marriage' clause. This would then allow the Will to stay valid. The same applies to a recent civil partnership ceremony.
* Are you separated or divorced from a partner? Do you realise that in the event of your demise in this current situation, your former partner will remain your principal beneficiary unless you update your Will?
* Have any of your children been married or have you had any new children, adopted or otherwise? Have your children had children? If any of these circumstances apply, you should update your Will if you'd like any of these new children to also benefit from your Estate.
* Has your actual Estate changed? Do you own more or less than originally stated? Have you perhaps sold anything that was included in your Will?
* Did you name any of your friends as beneficiaries? Are you still friends with them or are you no longer in contact?

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5797674

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is a Divorce Quick If It Is Uncontested?

The type of divorce that one seeks may ultimately determine how long the process takes. This can be an ugly and frustrating time in a person's life, so getting the process over as quickly as possible is often of the utmost importance to individuals in the state. If it is uncontested, in which the couple is able to agree on all terms of the settlement without either party contesting them, is often the fastest path to take for couples looking to blow through the process as quickly as possible.

Even with this type of divorce, however, legal counsel is often encouraged to ensure that both parties' rights are protected. In some cases, just one party may hire an attorney who handles the case for the couple, but it is important to understand that the attorney is working only for the party that has hired their services. It doesn't make much sense for an attorney to represent both parties involved in a legal case, does it?

For all of its simplicity, however, the uncontested process must last at least six months from the time in which the Respondent, who is served with papers filed by the Petitioning party, is served. The six month waiting period is mandatory in the State of California for all divorces. This may be unpopular among couples who want to get the process over with and done in the quickest manner possible, but the sooner they accept the time-frame the better off they'll be.

During an uncontested divorce, the couple will agree to the terms of their settlement. This includes the division of their property and assets, any spousal support and other matters. If children are involved, the couple must also agree on child support, visitation rights of the non-custodial party as well as child custody. The couple may choose the type of legal custody (joint or sole) as well as the type of physical custody (joint or sole).

The minute that one party contests any of the items in the settlement, the process becomes of the contested variety. When the couple is unable to agree on all terms of the settlement and if even one item is holding up the process, it may last for much longer. Cases which are more complicated have been known to last for years before the process is finalized. That's why uncontested is the preferred method for many couples because yes it is the quickest way to get a divorce.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5279090

Monday, January 9, 2012

Essentials of a Promissory Note

A promissory note is a "promise to pay" a certain amount of money borrowed. It is usually signed between a "payer" and "payee". Lenders, who are unsure of lending money to the borrowers, often attach a security as collateral.

These include auto, house or any other valuable thing which can be used in case the borrower fails to pay back the loan. Such loans are called secured loans which are often based upon the borrower's ability to repay. Many lenders also issue loans without any security i.e. collateral against loans. These loans are not safe, while the lenders can end up not being paid back at all.

A promissory note is a legal binding which specifies the details of a monetary transaction. The note must provide particular details related to the amount of the loan which is referred to as the "principal amount". It must also include the repayment schedule of the loan, applicable rates of interest, penalties for defaulting and any grace periods.

Any of the parties can bring up a promissory note. However, it is in the best interest of the lender to do it. It ensures that all the mandatory items and provisions have been included. Once both the parties i.e. the payer and payee sign the document, the terms of the contract will be applied in the future in case of any legal proceedings. A best example is when as person buys a car and is short of cash. To settle on this, the person secures the car with a lender. The lender will put forth any repayment specifications before any exchanging money. The document will be called a promissory note which is legally binding. And it is not the same as an "IOU" as many people think of. An IOU is not always taken as a legal document even if it approved through a notary seal. It acknowledges the existence of a debt; it does not include any specifications related to the note as opposed to a promissory note. IOUs are not taken as valid and important as a promissory note because they do not contain sufficient details about the financial transaction.

A properly signed promissory note is important for any legal proceedings; however, if a borrower proves extreme duress during from the lender, the note may be judged as unenforceable. To make it legally binding, a borrower should always read and then sign the completed document.

A promissory note should not be inclusive of condition that would make it an illegal document elsewhere, for example, additional penalties and high rates of interest not mentioned in writing. There can be some other specifications in this case as well; you should ask your legal advisor upon this.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6740555

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why Artists Change Their Names

Mind you, some people do go by the name they were given as a child - more power to them. But here are some reasons why you or some other artist (self-proclaimed or merited) may look for another name:


I suspect that is where Lady Gaga came from - I have never known another Lady Gaga - have you? Someone with a very common name will try to find one that stands out from the rest. People are less likely to forget a strange name.

Their given name is too hard to remember:

Some artists during the Renaissance Period in Italy had nicknames that stayed with them. For example, Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi is much better known as Donatello, Jacopo Comin is known as Tintoretto, and Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi is best known as Boticelli.

Their given name is too Common:

If your given name brings up thousands of people with the same name on Google search, you might want to stand out from all the rest by finding a name that no one else has.

Their given name is too hard to pronounce:

We have that problem in our family, because most people have difficult saying the name Kongaika (it means part fish). We always have to tell people to say it with a soft "g" like in singer, or King Kong, but most people say it with a hard "g" like in digger.


Some artists, actors or writers like to separate their private life from their public life. With social networking sites being so popular these days, many individuals like to remain anonymous so they can say what they like online.

What fits the genre of their art:

Personally, my given name does not suit the type of art that I do, but the name I have chosen to go by sounds more Polynesian. Much of my art and articles I write are Polynesian in nature - hence Elayne is a better fit.

To Switch Brain Modes:

Some artists claim they can think better with their right brain when they assume their "other" name. They can slip into a different personality to perform best. Sounds kind of weird, but I identify with this.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

If someone wants to appear on the front page of the Google results, one name would be easier to find than a longer name. Consider the name Picasso as opposed to Francis Bacon which could bring up a myriad of pages including recipes.

Other reasons: Other reasons that a performance or visual artist may change their name could include ethnicity (either wanting to be identified with or not, and also to avoid discrimination) or family connections (any skeletons in their closet?). Maybe they just feel that their name is dull, uninteresting, or sounds like a swear word in another language, or brings about an undesired image. Perhaps their name is just too long to write over and over - think of all those autographs!

Changing a name and committing to it is a very interesting process which should not be considered lightly. It is a rebirth, a commitment with confidence of marking a change in your life.

Most performance artists call it a stage name. A well-thought-out name can make a big difference to the success of their career. Using their given name may inhibit their success.

For actors in the United States and The United Kingdom there are guilds that stipulate that no two members may have the same name. So do not try being another Lady Gaga - try to come up with something different. Often times, agents choose a name for a rising star.

Writers call it a pen name.

Professional wrestlers call it a ring name.

I guess visual artists would call it their artist name or alter ego. Others feel that an artist is not authentic when they change their name. That is one way to look at it.

If someone else has the same name as you, at least you can be the BEST of them all by your reputation.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4959962

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why You Need the Personal Liability That is Afforded You by Forming an LLC

There are certain liability issues that you need to concern yourself with as a business owner that are not present if you are working for someone else. Personal asset protection should be a major concern for you in case your company is ever involved in a lawsuit. Forming an LLC for your company is a great step towards providing this personal liability protection.

When you setup a limited liability company, you have to make sure that it is properly formed. In a court of law, your LLC has to stand up so that you are not facing personal liability from the operation of your business. Ensuring that your structure is setup properly is easy when you use an incorporation service to file the paperwork correctly on your behalf.

The more your company grows, the more contact it is going to have with customers or other parties. Each personal that deals with your business could possibly sue it, so you have to be protected against personal liability issues.

Unfortunately, as a business owner you can be the subject of a lawsuit at any given time. Protecting your personal assets from lawsuits is something you need to do as the possibility of being sued is a real one.

You need to have a business structure for your company to have the necessary personal liability protection, instead of operating as a sole proprietor. There is no reason to not have a limited liability company because of the inexpensive online formation services that are available, thus giving you the personal liability protection you need.

A company that is financial successful tends to be a larger target for a lawsuit than one that is not doing as well. So as your company finances improve, you are going to find that you are a larger target for those looking to sue a business.

You have to consider the fact that someone might be less inclined to sue a company with no money than they are going to sue a company that is worth something. As your company grows, you need to make sure that you are properly protected personally from any business lawsuits.

As a business owner, you need to make sure that you are personally protected from any liability arising from your business. Forming an LLC is a great first line of defense for personal liability protection. Completely separating your business and personal financial transactions, as well as having a properly setup limited liability company is a great way to limit your own personal liability exposure.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2063002

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Power of Attorney - How They Vary

Power of attorney is a notarized legal form wherein the principal executes granting authority to another person to be his agent or attorney-in-fact to handle certain affairs on his or her behalf. Laws vary on who may be authorized to act as agent, usually; it is somebody the principal trusts completely. Powers of attorney may include everything from financial transactions, health care issues such as making medical decisions on behalf of the principal in case he or she became incapacitated to granting medical care to a child in case of an emergency. The power of attorney can be general, limited, or a combination of general and specific powers. Normally, people grant a power of attorney in situations where the principal cannot handle their affairs or they will be out of the country.

A special power of attorney grants the agent limited power. It is being executed to allow the agent to carry out a particular business for the principal such as signing of legal documents and authorize the agent to make a decision for the principal, from cashing government checks, to dealing with real estate transactions, in almost everything. When the agent's representation for the principal is no longer needed, the principal may cancel and/or revoke it any time.

A durable power of attorney allows agents to make decisions for the principal if he or she is not mentally competent. This gives the agent immediate power and is effective until it is revoked or maybe until death. It is often used as an advance directive. It does not become invalid by incapacitation and as a result is a good choice for people who are granting authority through a power of attorney in anticipation of physical or mental disabilities.

A nondurable power of attorney is executed by the principal to give the agent or his attorney-in-fact the immediate power to act on his behalf. Its validity remains until it expires unless revoked. If and when the principal decided to revoke the non durable power of attorney granted into the agent, a revocation of the power of attorney should be executed by the principal stating therein that it has been revoked on a date that the principal has specified.

Trust is the key in granting power of attorney to someone or to somebody that the principal can rely on. Somebody who is capable of making a sound decision for the delicate role the principal has bestowed upon him and can act accordingly as to what the principal entrusted to him. This is especially important, more so, if the principal is anticipating a quite long period for the agent to act on his behalf, rather than just for a mean while until the principal will be available. Sometimes, we really need to have somebody to act on our behalf, but then again, no matter whom the principal designates; the performance should be checked from time to time.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4035414

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Can a Living Trust Help With Guardianship?

Most people worry, for good reason, about the trouble of getting a court-ordered guardianship if necessary. The truth is that much of the pain can be avoided by having a Living Trust.

If you were to be incapacitated, your financial business and assets can be taken care of in three ways. The three ways are:

· With a Living Trust

· Selecting someone to have a Durable Power of Attorney, or

· Court proceeding for Legal Guardianship

We will begin with the final method. If nothing is done and you don't designate anyone to handle your finances formally and you are incapacitated, one or more family members will have to file with the court and go through public incompetency hearing. In order for your finances to be handled, a guardian or conservator will be named. This is frequently referred to as a Guardianship or Conservatorship Proceeding. It is often difficult, time-consuming; full of stress and expensive. Because there is often disagreement and considerable confusion among family members, it can be especially difficult on families as a whole.

Once you are no longer able to speak for yourself, it becomes guesswork for anyone else to determine what you would have wanted from handling your finances to who you would have wanted as your guardian. Even the simplest decisions become difficult when someone else has to make them. To complicate matters further, until the court has declared you incompetent and assigned a guardian or conservator, nothing at all can be done with your property.

If you do nothing and basically force a competency hearing to appoint a guardian or conservator, you ipso facto choose the worst of the options. This should only be considered as an option if you don't have someone you really trust with your financial and other matters in the event you become incapacitated. In that situation, it is probably best to have court supervision of your affairs.

Putting what you want in writing is the best thing you can do for yourself and even more so for your family. Giving someone you trust a document that gives him or her the authority to take care of your affairs if you are not able to take care of them yourself is something you really should give considerable importance. This could be by way of a durable power of attorney or a living trust.

Giving a friend or family member you trust a durable power of attorney that becomes effective once you are no longer able to handle your own matters is the most common method. More often than not, this works very well. However, anyone who has attempted to make decisions with only the authority of the power of attorney knows is can be very difficult. This becomes more and more so as modern society takes stronger security precautions. If you needed to access a family member's savings account with only the power of attorney to prove your authority to do so, it can prove to be a difficult task. It is not only a problem for you but for the bank personnel, too, as they have regulations they must follow.

For this reason, putting your assets in a Living Trust along with instructions as to how the trust should be managed if you should be rendered incapable of managing it is often the best way to go. You would be the primary trustee and would name a successor to take over management should you be incapacitated.

The person you name to succeed you as trustee should have very little difficulty with the management of the funds in your living trust while you are incapacitated. This is because the assets are in the name of the trust and not your name. If you should be unable to manage the trust yourself, your successor becomes the trustee. Of course, you will need to "fund" the trust so that the assets are re-titled in the name of the trust.

The bottom line is that virtually everyone needs a Durable Power of Attorney and should at least consider the advantages of a living trust as well.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6581624