Friday, May 31, 2013

Top Reasons to Create Power of Attorney

People are often confused about power of attorney and if they need it. The simple answer is nearly everyone can benefit from these legal forms. However, it's advisable to become informed about the various types and their uses.

Power of attorney forms are needed to designate an agent to conduct business or personal transactions on your behalf. They are also required to authorize agents to be involved with healthcare decisions if you are unable to communicate.

There are laws in place that forbid unauthorized people from accessing bank accounts, using credit cards, or buying or selling titled property. The only way to give permission to others is to prepare power of attorney forms.

The type used depends upon the transactions agents are involved with. Some forms let agents perform a wide variety of tasks, while others are limited to a specific duty. Each has a unique purpose, but can be customized to address the needs of each individual. Three of the most popular are general, limited, and medical.

General power of attorney allows agents to carry out many duties. They are often used by companies to ensure business operations can continue in the absence of senior management or partners.

They can also be used to let a company or professional act as a negotiator. For example, if a person owes money to creditors or the IRS they can hire a lawyer to enter into a deal. Or, a real estate investor could authorize an agent to buy and sell properties or act as a property manager.

Power of attorney forms normally do not have to be recorded through local courts. However, if they are used in association with real estate transactions then they might need to be filed with the county clerk's office. Furthermore, whenever agent powers are revoked another POA has to be recorded to document removal of privileges.

Limited power of attorney is used when agents are responsible for performing a specific task. Once agents carry out the assigned task their privileges are automatically revoked and the form is null and void.

Duties can range from basic tasks, such as balancing a checkbook to complex tasks, such as selling an automobile or real estate. As a rule of thumb, if a transaction requires your signature a form should be created to let someone else take care of things if you're unable to do so.

Medical power of attorney is one of the more important forms. Every adult should create one to ensure they have a voice in their medical care, even if they can't speak. This form grants agents the right to be involved with medical decisions regarding your care. It is also used to define any lifesaving procedures you desire or are against.

Agents do not get involved until a person is declared incapacitated by a medical doctor. It is advisable to openly communicate your wishes regarding treatments or procedures. Doing so will assist them in making choices that are in alignment with yours.

For the most part, spouses and relatives are designated as healthcare agents, but the choice is completely up to you. The only requirement is that agents are at least 18 years of age.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do I Need a Will and Living Trust?

If you are looking for a simple, one-line answer to the question above, YES, you do need a will and living trust to divide your assets to your heirs, closest living family members, blood relatives, or whoever you fancy! If you do not leave a will written, your assets might not distributed the way you'd like, and the court will decide which of your living members get access to your properties and liquid stock. Having a will and living trust is thus, extremely important so that you are fully in control of your assets after your death.

Why are Wills and Living Trusts Important?

Wills and living trusts are the only way you can make sure your assets are passed on the ones you are related to, with the distributions you deem correct. Particularly, if you have small children, wills are great ways to establish guardianship of minors and ensure that your kids get their share of your assets and monetary accumulations left behind.

As intestacy laws change from one state to another, you do not know who gets how much access to your property if you do not leave a will behind.

The Difference Between a Will and a Trust

A will is a document that allows you to fix which parts of your assets are divided amongst your heirs and family in the event of death. After you die, all the assets you own would be divided as per the instructions in the will, and thus, you are solidly in control of your funds. The court ensures that the rightful distribution of your funds takes place after your death and there are no disputes.

A living trust is more like a legal mechanism that makes sure you draft terms and conditions for use of your assets and controls gifts and charities you are likely to keep continuing after your death. Living trusts are simply known to take care of your life insurance policies and other benefits and will not take into account the complete accrued financial holdings and amounts you have.

Thus, legally, you are recommended to have both wills and trusts put up in the event of an untimely death thus, legally, you are recommended to have both wills and trusts put up in the event of an untimely death. There are provisions for you to change the will as many times you'd want to. The last edition of the will you sign would be considered valid during the time of your death.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When Do I Need An Advance Health Care Directive?

The answer to the question is NOW... and MAKE A PLAN for all eventualities and possible emergencies, which includes not only food and water, but also "documents." In addition to trust, will, durable financial power of attorney (POA), there must be a medical power of attorney or directive (the four principal document essentials). The Advanced Health Care Directive should be on file with the primary care physician, the hospital, and in personal files. I also have a copy attached to my refrigerator with a magnet... just in case an ambulance team might need ready access to my wishes. All my personal medical files are in an A-Z system in the Estate Documents Organizer records book under Healthcare so my daughter and sole heir has immediate and legal authorization to honor my wishes in a critical moment or at the end of life. (She will also have the location of all other financial and legal documents, passwords, pet information and all bank, credit cards and property records - at her fingertips!)

A personal story inspired me to take precautionary steps to prevent stress, chaos, and time issues for my daughter and other family members. Years ago, a dear friend attempted suicide and was in a death coma for several days. Her mother and sister "discovered" an executed Directive or "Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)" form in her desk and they were able to carry out her wishes and avoid years of medical treatment with no hope of recovery. Her mother told me, with great relief, that she was able to let her daughter go with peace and dignity. She so appreciated what her daughter had done to spare her family more trauma... in the devastating circumstances of taking her own life. My friend was 35 years old at the time!

My hospital told me about this form - or I would not have known where to find the form or how to complete it. Do you know the importance of this form - or that it exists? Do you have a properly executed Advance Health Care Directive (living will) - on file, known to your family members and physican? If not, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. Go online to find the form or see your physician or hospital to obtain a copy. Be sure it is filled out and signed correctly. Give yourself and your family "the gift of order and peace of mind."

Article Source:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Forming an LLC: Incorporating Success in Your Business

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be every businessman's dream. By forming an LLC, industries ranging from real-estate to construction will reap numerous benefits and provide more opportunities for the company and its clients.

For those who do not know what an LLC is, here is a brief description. LLC is a business structure that allows your company to enjoy legal responsibility like those of a corporation while avoiding annual reports, share distributions, bylaws, and other necessities when setting up a company.

Forming an LLC is helpful especially to fledgling businesses. It merges control and tax advantages of a partnership while having the advantage of limited accountability. LLC members are also protected from liability for business debts or claims. An LLC is more flexible than a corporation because owners can be individuals, trusts, partnerships, corporations and non-resident aliens. Plus maintenance is easy; LLC has less formalities and easier than running a corporation.

Differences of forming an LLC vs. Incorporation
Corporations are owned via share of ownership or stocks that are distributed to stockholders. An LLC, like partnerships, is simply owned by the members or the managers of the company.
Unlike an LLC, corporations require holding annual meetings and keeping written minutes. There is less paperwork in LLC because they do not have those requirements.
A corporation must pay taxes for their profits at the corporate tax rate. An LLC on the other hand is a "pass-through" tax entity. Meaning the profits or losses produced by the business will appear on the personal income tax return of the owners. Double taxation of paying corporate tax and personal income tax are therefore avoided.
What to expect after filing an LLC

Once you have decided to file for an LLC, you will receive two articles with a CD explaining the documents. The two articles are the Articles of Organization and the operating agreement. They will come along with the corporate or LLC kit.

The Articles of Organization formalizes your existence under state law. Once you have filed this, you have a legitimate business up and running.

This document spells out the name, purpose, incorporators, amount and types of stock which may be issued and any other special characteristics of the business entity. The Operating Agreement on the other hand, contains the written rules for conduct of the LLC. These include meetings, elections of a board of directors and officers, notices, types and duties of officers, and other standard protocol.

You will also have a registered agent who can acknowledge official documents on your behalf. Examples of the documents you'll be receiving are tax notices, annual reports and legal-process documents such as summons, etc.

The last steps include filing for an Article of Amendment to reflect the changing of your company from a corporation to an LLC. You also need to file an Initial or Annual Report. Business filing experts can help process necessary changes in your business.

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By The People in Fairfield can help you with the paperwork when forming an llc.  We try to make each process as simple and fast as possible, as well as affordable. Our fees are a fraction of the cost that you would pay at an attorney’s office. Please call or stop in for more information. There is no cost or obligation to stop in and have an initial consultation with us. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing You and Your Family a Safe and Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Understanding the Importance of Estate Planning

The purpose of estate planning is to help you achieve your personal and family goals after you pass away. It ensures that your assets will end up in the hands of those people whom you wish them to go to, so that you can reach your personal and financial goals even after you die. You also can reduce the amount of taxes paid by planning your estate in the right way to ensure that your heirs receive a larger inheritance.

The saying that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes has existed for centuries. While no one likes to think about dying, it is a certainty and something that must be faced. An plan for your estate consists of a set of documents that help you plan for taxes and death and it is something that nearly everyone needs -- regardless if their financial and familiar affairs are complex or simple.

The documents that make up an estate plan help you avoid problems that often arise upon your death. Many of these are problems most of us never think of during our lifetimes, or are things that we simply choose not to think of. But if there is no plan in place, these issues are handled by the courts. It is therefore very important to have a plan in place so that you can decide for yourself the best choices for your family, such as who will care for minor children, who will receive your property, and who will finalize your affairs.

Estate planning can be a rather complicated matter, and it does require good judgment to ensure that you achieve the outcomes you desire. It gives you the choice while you are alive to determine who, what, when, where and how your estate will be handled. It also allows for substantial savings when dealing with tax issues, court costs and attorney fees. Planning your estate also helps your loved ones avoid the burden of having to deal with bureaucracy and confusion after you pass away.

Unfortunately, many people do not plan their estates because they believe that they don't need an estate plan or they believe that their family members can handle the task of dividing up their assets. However, if you fail to have a solid estate plan in place to handle the settlement of your affairs after you die, the laws in your state will determine what must be done.

This may result in family disagreements, assets going to the wrong people, and liability for estate taxes that could have been avoided. If you don't have an estate plan in place before you die, your assets and affairs can be tied up for months. It is therefore of the utmost importance to plan your estate with care so that everything is handled properly (and according to your wishes) upon your death.

Planning an estate can be a bit overwhelming. When you have a good plan in place, you are given the peace of mind knowing that all of your affairs will be handled as you wish after you leave this earth.

Article Source:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Smart Estate Planning: Living Trust or Last Will and Testament

Estate planning might be really complicated and intimidating to those who don't grasp the differences involving the two most typically used legal instruments: a Living Trust and a Last Will and Testament. The idea behind a Living Trust or a Last Will and Testament is to help manage the dispersal of your possessions when you pass away. Lots of people are familiar with idea of these terms but not what they entail or how they are similar or different from one another.

What Is the Purpose of the Last Will and Testament?

By prepping a Last Will and Testament, you can designate which specific assets are bequeathed to specific beneficiaries. It can be set up with the distribution being any way you like. For example, you might leave your household and automotive vehicle to a single person while your antique books go to someone else and your cash to a third party. An executor that you designate will supervise the delivery of your assets based on your Will. The document can also be used to create your selection for guardianship of any minor children.

What Is the Purpose of a Living Trust?

A Will is only used once you have passed away. A Living Trust is set up and put into effect while you are still alive. It is revocable which means you can make modifications to it as you choose. You can transfer some or all your assets to it at first and have the balance transferred to it upon your death by creating a Pour-over-Will. The Living Trust is used to control your real estate while you are alive and after you have passed away. It creates the way your investments and any earnings they generate are taken care of and dispersed after your passing. In the event you become incapable or bedridden, the Trust can still be controlled by a successor trustee you have named.

What are the big differences between the Last Will and Testament and The Living Trust?

With a Last Will and Testament, the document becomes public following your death. It undergoes probate court and allows the court to deal with any challenges made with regard to beneficiaries or arguments raised by creditors. Any assets possessed in some other state go through probate trials in that state. For the Last Will and Testament to become carried out properly, you will also will want to set up either a Power of Attorney or a Conservatorship to maintain properties.

Living Trusts stay discreet following your passing and none of the documents are declassified. They are also immune to probate court and therefore avoid any associated costs. Investments in other states also keep away from probate provided that they pertain to the trust. Living Trusts do not give automatic court guidance to settle disputes among beneficiaries or creditors.

Another major distinction between Last Wills and Testaments and Living Trusts is your ability as grantor to manage the Trust for as long as you are able or wish to do so. A Living Trust makes it possible for you to name a successor for such a period as you are not able or willing to supervise the trust.

One of the biggest factors in determining which legal instrument to use is expense. Building a Last Will and Testament normally is less than creating a Living Trust. Each provide about the equivalent tax saving provisions. Where the big difference comes into play is in the probate fees. Probate costs with a Last Will and Testament may be abundant. Considering the Living Trust is not subject to probate court, there are no probate expenses. This encompasses assets contained other states likewise. Even though it does cost more to set up the Living Trust initially, it does a greater job of helping save costs for those assets placed within the trust.


Making the choice on which of these 2 legal instruments is right for you may best be done by speaking to an attorney. However, it is clear that while both instruments give you the means for establishing how your assets will be managed right after your passing, the Living Trust brings about significantly greater rewards. It may be developed and used while you live. It provides you a lot more control over the administration of your assets and allows you to identify a successor for the Trust when you are gone. It enables your assets and beneficiaries avoid probate court and its linked costs and its contents continue to be confidential.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

What Is an Irrevocable Living Trust?

When someone decides to create an irrevocable living trust, they are making a decision that means that the trust cannot be amended, modified, changed or revoked under any circumstances. Once this type of trust has been created, it generally cannot be tweaked for any reason. However, there are extenuating circumstances in which an irrevocable living trust can be changed. Let's consider under which circumstances an irrevocable living trust can be amended:

Trustee or Beneficiary Modification or Judicial Modification.

This document can be written with instructions to the Trustees or beneficiaries to allow for the terms to be modified under specific conditions, such as changes to be made to comply with changes to Federal Law. This is accomplished by judicial modification. Also, if the terms of the trust make it expensive to administer or if the trust is out of date, the trustee or beneficiaries can request that the terms be modified or completely terminated through a judicial modification.

Trust Protector Modification.

Today's estate plans utilize a Trust Protector usually someone who is a third party appointed by the Trustee, the beneficiaries or a court. The document must contain provisions allowing for the appointment of a Trust Protector. This person will examine the facts and circumstances relating to the desired changes and make a determination as to whether the change should be made. If the decision is made to make the changes, either the Trust Protector or a court of competent jurisdiction will approve the changes.

Exercise of a Power of Appointment.

Lifetime or testamentary Power of Appointment is a way in which a trustee or the beneficiaries can change the terms of the trust to benefit the current or future beneficiaries upon exercise of the power.

Disposition of Property.

The sale or disposition of all of the property owned by the trust can cause it to be terminated. For instance, if the trust owns a life insurance policy and the insured stops paying the premiums, then the policy will either immediately or eventually laps and the trust will have no asset.

Types of Irrevocable Trusts

There are two types of Irrevocable Trusts:

Irrevocable - This is also called an Inter Vivos Irrevocable Trust, created and funded by a living Grantor. Examples:

• Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts;
• Lifetime gifting trusts such as
o Qualified Personal Residence Trusts,
o Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRAT for short), and
o Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLAT for short);
o Charitable Remainder and
o Charitable Lead.

Testamentary - This one is created after the death of a person. Therefore no one living has the authority to change the terms of this trust.

A person wishing to create any living trust, revocable or irrevocable should be aware of the circumstances around which these trusts are created. There a specific laws that must be followed when deciding which type of trust to create. Should someone wish to create a Charitable Remainder Trust or Charitable Lead Trust, these have even more important laws to consider. These are trusts which leave assets to charities. They can be very beneficial, depending on what the donor wishes to do.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Do Banks and Financial Institutions Usually Require Probate Before Releasing Funds?

Upon the demise of an individual, family members are seldom ever able to lay claim to his estate without first producing what is known as a probate certificate or document. The probate documents are those which authorize a person to look after the estate of a demised person to whom he is related, in usual cases the child of the deceased or the spouse of the deceased. It is imperative on the part of children and spouses of deceased persons to go ahead and procure probate documents from the court and to produce these before banks and financial institutions in which the deceased held accounts, in order to be able to access the money in these accounts.

Failure to produce the probate documents means that family members of the deceased person cannot lay claim to the money in his bank, unless of course he nominated a certain member of his family to access this money. The probate document cannot be secured by a person himself and he will have to hire the services of a legal officer in order to help him secure such a document in the first place.

How can you get a probate form

The probate forms are widely available online and can be downloaded on computers in a relatively easy manner. The time taken to download such a document ranges between ten to fifteen minutes depending upon the internet speed in a person's computer. Once the probate forms have been downloaded one has to take a print out and get these attested from a court of law. They have to be filled up and a time consuming legal procedure has to be followed in order to finally obtain the probate from the court. The probate is generally delivered to its recipient in person.

What after receiving a probate

Once the probate has been received the concerned person can present it to the bank or the financial institution at which the deceased held an account. Upon verification of the probate documents and a few other identification documents such as a passport, the bank will release the money in the account or open a new account in the same of the heir of the deceased or the spouse of the deceased.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just What Is Probate?

When a loved one dies, their estate will go through a process called Probate. This happens regardless of whether they have left a Last Will and Testament or not. The purpose of Probate is to verify the Will and the Estate for disbursement to beneficiaries, collect necessary final taxes, and settle any outstanding debts. There are many pros and cons involved in Probate, and in some instances there are ways to avoid it. Here I will provide you with a very brief explanation of Probate.

Verifying and transferring assets of an estate is a long and expensive process; most take about a year before they are fully settled. Probate usually takes seven months from start to finish. This allows time for creditors to submit claims for payment of debts, which may be paid for by direct funds or by selling off items or assets to meet the necessary amount. When Probate starts, heirs and beneficiaries are notified of the will so that they may contest it if they so desire. At this time, a list of all assets is prepared for the disbursement to beneficiaries. These assets are also accounted for upon disbursement, noting whether they were received by the beneficiary or used to pay debts and other expenses.

Keep in mind that only money and other items which were owned solely by the decedent are passed through Probate. Any assets owned with a successor by contract avoid Probate and immediately go to that contractual beneficiary. For example, say Mom and Dad own a house together and both of their names are on the mortgage, title, deed, etc. When Dad died, the house does not go through Probate because Mom was the co-owner. Because of Dad's passing, Mom became the sole owner and is the one responsible for payments. This means any type of property, furniture, vehicles, money, land, artwork, or business shares that are co-owned with the decedent avoids Probate.

For some people, avoiding Probate is a high priority. Believe it or not, there are ways to keep your estate from going through Probate if you plan for it well enough with a quality Elder Law Attorney. This can be done through Revocable Living Trusts, Pay-On-Death Accounts or Registrations, or through Co-Ownership of Property(as mentioned above). Very small estates tend to avoid Probate as well, because they lack the money and assets to require the Probate process. However, I highly recommend that while planning your estate, you take the time to consult with a qualified and experienced Elder Law Attorney to review your finances and assets to make sure you make the best decision for yourself and your family.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Importance of Home Ownership Papers

As with all types of investment, the one and only thing that really matters at the end of the process is that little piece of paper. The very same is true when it comes to real estate matters and the piece of paper you want to be holding when the loan or mortgage is settled are the title or deeds. This little piece of paper basically allows you to proof that you have officially paid off all outstanding debts and that you now own the house, a document of evidence we could say.

Having the title also means that even if someone else may be on the property or land, for example, as a tenant, the owner still maintains the legal rights that come with owning a property. The title acts as documentation that is matched in the records of the local authority you reside in as well as well as in the authority property itself is located in.

Deeds are similar kinds of credentials that are used in the procedure of attaining a title. More often than not, people who invest in real estate obtain a deed as a type of transaction paper to the title. This then confirms that the person or persons acquiring the property have rights to the title in addition to the rights for the property. Typically, there are a number of legal issues and conventions that are tied to this kind of document ensuring the transaction is a fair one.

If someone is about to receive a deed or a title for a house or piece of land or property, several factors have to be considered. Firstly, proof of insurance has to be shown and you'll also need duplicates to prove that you actually bought the house. The other people who are selling you the house or land will also need to have this proof of purchase. This would include invoices, receipts and a purchase agreement from the mortgage and what is known as proof of satisfaction, basically that the person who is buying the house or land/property has been able to meet all the requirements needed for purchase of the said property.

The final step in making your home is entirely yours is to ensure you have the title or the deeds in your hand. Appreciating this procedure in obtaining a title, and verifying you enter the final closing prepared to make the exchange, you will be able to own that property you have been working to.

Article Source:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Domestic Relations: "What is a QDRO?"

Domestic Relations: "What is a QDRO?"

 BY THE PEOPLE is a Document Preparation Service located in Fairfield, California available to help you represent yourself in many uncontested legal matters.
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

What Does Durable Power Of Attorney Mean?

A durable power of attorney encompasses the other four types of power of attorney. They are a general, special or health attorney. Within the document that is signed by you and the other party that will be acting as your attorney, there are provisions the have special durability. For instance, when there is a durable power of attorney and you become mentally incompetent, if the document is already in effect it will then stay in effect.

A durable power of attorney is also used to prepare for the event of something possibly happening to you. The document is so that in the event that you are physically or mentally indisposed due to an accident or illness, there will be an attorney that can then handle your affairs. However, it will not go into effect unless a doctor certifies that you are mentally incompetent or incapacitated.

Choosing who will have the power in the case of an emergency is important and should be someone you trust and who will look out for your best interests. A lawyer does not need to be the agent, it can be any family, friend or organization that you choose. Whoever is chosen will be acting on your behalf. They will be making decisions that pertain to your business, health, financial obligations and possibly many other situations. These can include the care you receive or the properties that are bought or sold. The person or organization chosen, needs to be a person or organization that will not abuse the power that has been given to them.

Any agent acting on your behalf can only be held accountable when they have knowingly and purposefully engaged in misconduct in reference to your estate, business, health care or other financial obligations or investments. If they do something wrong that is done unknowingly, they will not be held accountable since it was not intentional. Many times this type of wording is added to the legal document, so that a person or organization is willing to take the responsibility of being the agent. Also, an agent does receive compensation for being so. There is no financial incentive for taking on the agent position.

Furthermore, there may be times that a successor agent may need to be appointed. This can occur when the person or organization refuses to be the agent. A successor agent can also be appointed in the case when the original agent can not take on the responsibility. For example, you have appointed an agent and have become ill and mentally incompetent. However, the agent has also become ill and incompetent. A successor agent is then appointed in this situation. It is a good idea to name one in the case of an unexpected event.

Article Source:

Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Know Which State to Incorporate Your Business

You might not want to incorporate in a state other than the one where your company is doing business, attorney Mark Kohler says.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

3 Reasons to Incorporate Your Business

Nina Kaufman on when it makes sense to incorporate your startup company.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Estate and Retirement Planning - How Can My Estate Avoid Probate?

If you are a retiree, you likely have heard many claims made about probate problems. The word itself may even fill you with dread. If you are planning your estate, there are some things you should consider concerning probate. In this, as in all things, it is important to take a balanced approach. Let's review some of the issues pertaining to probate. Then you can decide if you need to approach your estate planning differently.
What is the purpose of probate?
You have heard this word many times, but may never have considered what it means. In legal terms, probate is the period of time during which a will is proven authentic or valid. The purpose of probate is to distribute an estate according to the decedent's wishes described in his or her will. Typically, the first step of probate is to use the person's probate assets and property to pay all debts. After that, any remaining assets and property are distributed to persons named in the will. There may be costs associated with the probate process.
Probate ensures that your wishes for the distribution of your estate are carried out upon your death. Probate is a public process. If your estate is of any size, your heirs could suddenly have new friends trying to advise them on how to manage their newly inherited assets.
People often assume all assets are subject to probate, which raises the following question.
Are all assets subject to probate?
No. Some assets are excluded from probate. An example would be assets that are held in joint ownership with rights of survivorship, such as your personal home. Other assets not subject to probate are those governed by a beneficiary designation. This would include assets such as your 401(k), IRAs, life insurance policies, and annuities. Additionally, assets held in a trust are not subject to probate. If the majority of your estate assets are held in accounts of this type, you may not have that much to be concerned about.
What about my brokerage and bank accounts?
These types of accounts can be set up to transfer on death (TOD) to a beneficiary. This designation allows you to pass securities and banking accounts directly to another person (your TOD beneficiary) upon your death without having to go through probate. By setting your accounts up this way, the executor or administrator of your estate will not have to take any action to ensure that your accounts transfer to the person you have designated. The TOD beneficiaries will have to take steps to retitle the accounts in their name, but this is not a very cumbersome process.
As you can see, probate may not be as bad as you have heard. There are many things to consider during the estate planning process. 

Article Source:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Specific Powers Of Attorney

There are specific power of attorney that can be given to a person or company to handle the principle's affairs. Within these specific powers, there are three that are very commonly used. These are special powers, durable powers and durable health care powers.
Special Powers
Special powers is when a person is appointed to follow through on a specific task. Once the task has been completed, the power is no longer in effect. The tasks that can be completed using a special agent can include, but are not limited to: 
  • Borrowing money.
  • Debt collecting.
  • Having access to safe deposit boxes.
  • Able to handle banking transactions of all natures.
  • Able to handle government issues.
  • Decisions regarding the estate including gifting.
  • Handling financial decisions.
  • Handling business affairs.
  • Managing and dealing with real estate issues.
  • Dealing with real estate mortgages.
  • Handling personal property sales.
  • Real estate sales.
Durable Powers
Durable powers let family members handle the principle's financial dealings without going through the courts. Many times there may be a spouse, however since they are incapacitated, they may have limited rights to make decisions when there is joint property and finances. The financial powers that can be granted can include, but are not limited to: 
  • The claiming of any inheritance and other property.
  • Collecting social security and medicare benefits.
  • Pay and file taxes.
  • Hiring lawyers and court representatives.
  • Handling the investing of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
  • Handling and managing the principle's business affairs.
  • Handling and managing any property.
  • Handling and managing any and all retirement accounts.
  • Handle and manage transactions at the bank and any other financial institutions.
  • Pay bills and expenses.
  • Buy and sell annuities and insurance policies.
Durable Health Powers
Durable health powers is considered an advanced medical directive, since there are instructions within the document detailing what the principle wants to have done once they become incapacitated. The durable health powers do not become active until the principle has become incapacitated. Up until that point, the principle is still in control of their own medical decisions. The majority of states do allow principles to put in the documents that they do not want life sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal illness. However, regardless of what is in the power document, the appointed agent should still clearly understand what the principle wants when it comes to medical preferences.
Keep in mind, that the principle can clearly define and specifically state exactly what powers they are granting to the agent. The more specific the document is, the better. This helps to limit any confusion or issues that could arise once the principle has become incapacitated. 

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

from By The People

"Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved."

- Erich Fromm, psychologist

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What Are the Benefits to Medical Power of Attorney?

A medical power of attorney form can be written for anyone at any point in ones life. A person does not have to be somewhat sick or dying in order to complete a form but under most circumstances, they are written when someone becomes ill. There are many benefits to having a medical power of attorney form if the form is written well.

A medical power of attorney form is a grant of authority that permits another individual to make certain medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so on your own. The most common of situations is when a patient becomes extremely ill and the question arises as to whether the person shall be kept alive or not. In most cases, the person who wishes to have their agent pull the plug may only do it if the principal specifically requested it before the signing of the form. In order for a medical power of attorney form to be carried out, it must abide to all the legal parameters and meet the standards of the law.

The most common mistake a person makes is not having the document signed by a notary. The document must have legitimate proof that it is legal and that it was actually wanted by the person whom is ill.Although a medical power of attorney form does not need an attorney for it to be valid, however when it comes to one's life, an attorney is highly advised. If the document lacks clarity, it could arise issues and even though the agent knows in his or her heart what the grantor wants, the law may deny the agent's wishes. The great thing about a medical power of attorney form is the fact that it takes the pressure off the family of making a decision.

No one wants to pull the plug on their own family member even if they know in their heart that it's the best option. If the grantor were to lack this document, it could create a lot of drama within the family especially if it is a big family because there will be many members who will have different opinions as to what to do. I believe everyone at the age of 21 should have a medical power of attorney form because up until then, a parent or legal guardian can make your medical choices and no one is guaranteed that something tragic wouldn't happen to them.

How do I get a Medical POA Form? You will have to get an authorized form that is legal in your State, get the person you would like to fill in your shoes if something should ever happen to you, and sign in front of a public notary. It's that easy!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

How to Get Your DUI Record Expunged

After you are arrested for driving under the influence, or if you have been convicted of a crime, you may qualify to have your criminal record expunged or sealed. Some legal professionals call expungement a setting aside. This means that, when a new landlord, educational institution or employer checks your criminal history, nothing shows up. When you are filling out applications for employment, admission to college or to rent a home, you don't have to include that information. For persons who were arrested or convicted of underage DUI, this can help them move forward from the actions of their youth as they work to gain a fresh start on their lives.

Just because you are able to get an arrest or conviction sealed does not mean that it will never be seen again. Law enforcement, criminal courts and some government agencies can still get a copy of your record. When this happens, your criminal history is only considered to be under seal, not completely expunged.

To be eligible to apply for an expungement of your criminal record, your situation must fall under several categories.

These factors include how much time has passed since you were arrested or convicted and your entire criminal history, including arrests or convictions in other jurisdictions. The final factor is the nature of the crime for which you are seeking expungement. If you want to get a DUI or a shoplifting conviction sealed, this will be easier than getting a sex offense or an attempted murder conviction sealed. The final category that affects your ability to get your record expunged touches on any other crimes you may have committed. Again, more serious crimes will make it harder for you to get an expungement.

The expungement procedure requires that you must actively work to get the paperwork to the district attorney. It does not happen automatically once your probation or parole has been satisfied. You may also be required to fill out the application for expungement yourself or deliver the paperwork. After all of this, you need to take the completed and signed petition to the correct court. In addition, you may be required to pay a filing fee to the court. Once all of these steps have been completed, the court where you filed the paperwork schedules an expungement hearing. Even when you have jumped through all of these hoops, you don't know whether your criminal history is going to be expunged because the judge has to take all of the above factors into consideration before he makes up his mind. The judge may consider your motivation in completing the process, but he still has to look at the nature of the crime for which you are requesting expungement.

Should you commit another crime, the court can legally look at your past criminal history and use that as a basis for sentencing you for the new crime. An immigration attorney can also pull up your past criminal history when he petitions to have you deported back to your country of birth. He is legally able to present the evidence of your past crime or crimes to the immigration judge as proof that you should not be allowed to remain in the United States.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Living Trust Definition - What is a Living Trust?

The best living trust definition is a written legal document which substitutes for a will as your primary estate planning vehicle. When you have a trust you transfer your assets such as your home, financial accounts and personal property to the trust. In addition you change the beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of retirement accounts and life insurance to the trust. These assets are then administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and either continue to be held or transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.

The creator, also called the grantor, of the trust usually names him or herself as the initial trustee in charge of managing the assets. This allows the grantor to remain in control of the assets during his or her lifetime. For all practical purposes under this living trust definition, nothing changes in the way the grantor manages or controls the assets after they are put in trust. The only difference is the named owner.

A successor trustee is named in the document, usually a family member or friend but sometimes an institution such as a bank or trust company. This successor trustee then will manage the trust assets for benefit of the grantor if the grantor becomes disabled and for the contingent beneficiaries after the grantor dies.

This living trust definition is for the revocable living trust. It is also sometimes referred to as a revocable inter vivos or a grantor trust. It may be revoked or amended at any time by the grantors as long as they are still competent.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Estate Planning and Asset Protections - Tax Advantages of a C Corporation

Asset Protections and Income Tax Advantages of a C Corporation

As a business owner, it is important that you are informed of the different benefits of each alternative when you are filing your taxes. Do you know daily expenses are "reasonable and necessary... " deductions or which insurances are deductible Are you a sole proprietorship or a C Corporation?

If you are a sole proprietorship and are filing a Schedule C on your individual income tax return, you are paying the highest taxes known to the law. You also have no asset protection. You have an 85% probability of an IRS audit. You are, possibly, paying taxes at the following rates:

Federal 35.00%

Self-employment 15.30%

California 9.55%

If you are a sole proprietor, it will, most likely, be my recommendation that we immediately establish a California sub-chapter C corporation. Your new corporation will provide you with asset protection and substantial income tax advantages. We will be able to have a fiscal year to defer all remaining 2010 income into 2011 allowing us to substantially lower your 2010 income tax liability. Your new corporation will provide you with the following tax advantages:

1. Internal Revenue Code Section 162 allows all expenses which are customary, ordinary, reasonable and necessary to be deducted via your corporation;

2. Internal Revenue Code Section 179 allows all equipment acquired in the year to be expensed rather than capitalized if under $250,000.00 of value;

3. Internal Revenue Code Section 105 allows a sub-chapter C corporation to have a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan which allows all medical insurance premiums and all medical bills, including drugs, prescriptions, doctors, dentists and co-pay, not covered by insurance for the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse and all dependents to be fully deductible via the corporate Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan;

4. Internal Revenue Code Section 105 allows a sub-chapter C corporation to establish a Wage Continuation Plan. This allows all disability insurance to be fully deductible via the sub-chapter C corporation;

5. Internal Revenue Code Section 401(k) allows taxpayers to place as much as $49,000 per year into their control as Trustee of a 401(k) Plan which is asset protected and grows on a tax-deferred basis; and

6. Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a) allows the corporation to establish a Defined Benefit Pension Plan which will allow most clients to contribute an amount equal to their salary into their name as Trustee and receive a tax deduction, asset protection and tax-deferred income.

Being informed and well educated about your business and personal taxes will help prevent you from future repercussions from audits, will help protect your assets, and can help save you money on taxes.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Distribute Funds in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) In a Divorce Without Tax Penalties

The term "Qualified Domestic Relations Order" (frequently abbreviated "QDRO") refers to a specific type of legal form that used for the purpose of dividing a retirement account or plan in connection with a judgment of divorce. QDRO's are used for the division of pensions, 401K accounts, and any other type of retirement asset that is subject to the federal law known as ERISA.

Because individual retirement accounts (IRA's) are not subject to ERISA, IRA's are generally easier to divide than pensions and other types of retirement assets. The legal forms that are used to dividing individual retirement accounts are commonly referred to as QDRO's even though, technically speaking, the written instruments needed to effectuate the division of an IRA are less technically demanding than what is normally encountered in drafting QDRO's.

When an interest in an IRA is to be transferred from one spouse to another in conjunction with divorce, the Internal Revenue Service has straightforward procedure, with the requirement that there must be a "written instrument" directing the transfer before the transfer actually occurs. Generally, the transferred interest in the IRA is viewed as the recipient-spouse's property and, therefore, this conveyance is tax-free. Sample forms (frequently referred to as QDRO forms) that may be used to satisfy the IRS's "written instrument" requirement are available for download online.

The most common method is the direct transfer. The IRA owner-spouse may order the IRA trustee to transfer the necessary IRA assets directly to the trustee of a new or existing IRA in the name of the recipient-spouse. Another option is to transfer the assets the owner-spouse is entitled to keep to another IRA, leave the necessary amount in the old IRA for the recipient-spouse and change the name on the old IRA to that of the recipient.

A transfer is not considered "incident to divorce" unless it occurs after the final judgment/decree of divorce has been entered by the court. After entry of the divorce judgment, the account owner should transfer an IRA in a timely manner.

Should an individual give IRA assets to a former spouse without receiving a court-approved divorce decree or separation agreement authorizing the change in ownership, the individual will be required to include the amount in his/her income, thus treating the transaction as a distribution to him/herself.

To protect the interests of both spouses, and clearly communicate the parties' intentions to the financial institution/IRA custodian, it is recommended that the parties prepare a domestic relations order setting forth the precise manner in which the IRA will be distributed. As noted above, a template QDRO for dividing an IRA may be found online.

In order to avoid confusion and minimize the risk of adverse tax consequences, it is advisable that parties enter into an agreement, similar to a QDRO (although, technically, not a QDRO) that specifically identifies the IRA and the manner in which it will be divided after entry of a judgment of divorce. QDRO samples, including sample forms for distributing IRA funds in divorce, may be useful for divorce litigants and attorneys alike.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Start an LLC

Setting up a limited liability company or LLC is so easy contrary to what others think. There are fewer documents that are required to be passed in order to establish the business and there are also simple processes involved. But in order to understand the process involved in starting a limited company, you should know first what the features of the company are.

What is a limited liability company?

A limited liability company is one of the business structures in which it features a combination of partnership and corporation. It has the legal protection of owners' personal assets and the creditors cannot pursue them during bankruptcy like corporations. Aside from the protection of assets, the LLC also enjoys tax and operational benefits of partnerships. This means that there is only one level of taxation unlike in corporations where the company is taxed at a business level and the shareholders are also taxed for their dividends.

What are the requirements of starting an LLC?

Although the limited liability company is a hybrid business structure, establishing one is very easy. The law only requires one document to be passed by the company but there may be other requirements depending on the state where the business will be established. The only document required is the Articles of Organization.

The Articles of Organization

This is the basic document of the company. Some states call this document "certificate of formation" or "certificate of organization". Important information about the company is stated in this document such as business name, owners or members, duration of the business, name of the registered agent and the corresponding address, purpose of the company, and managers' names and addresses, if applicable.

There is a filing fee for the Articles of Organization and the price depends on the state. The fee may range from $100 to $800. There may be other fees that the state may require so it is best to consult first the LLC filing office before processing the document. This is a disadvantage compared to partnership or sole proprietorship.

Operating Agreement

This document is not required by law but may be required by some states. This document indicates how the company will be managed and the organizational structure of the LLC. It is important to have this document before the company operates in order to avoid confusion within the organization.

The Operating Agreement sets out rules for ownership of the company. This includes members' rights and responsibilities, percentage interest in the business, management of the organization, allocation of profits and losses, and certain provisions such as "buy-sell" in case one of the members dies, becomes disabled or leaves the company. Such provisions are important because the life of the company is affected if one of the members leaves the LLC.

Publication requirements

There are some states that require the company to publish a notice in a local newspaper stating the intention of establishment. In case this is required, the notice should be published several times for several weeks, depending on what the filing office will require. After the specified period, an affidavit of publication should be passed to complete the filing of the company.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Appointment of an Executor in the Process of Probate

In American probate law, there is an executor appointed to administer the assets of a person that has passed away. Often they are referred to as a legal personal representative or personal representative of the deceased person. In cases where the person did not appoint an executor to their estate and where there was, instead, an executor appointed by a court they are often referred to as an administrator rather than an executor. The only difference between these two is that the executor must obtain the probate of the deceased persons will whilst the administrator needs to apply for letters of administration. Even sometimes when there is a will, there will need to be an administrator appointed where the will did not specify an executor or the executor died before having the opportunity to administer the estate.

There are a range of people that can potentially be appointed to administer an estate. The reason that the person is called an 'executor' is because the execute the will of the deceased person. Some wills will also have conditions on the appointment of this person depending on the applicable jurisdiction. In theory, any living person can be appointed as an executor subject to their ability to give an oath to the court which may raise questions of legal status, mental capacity and identity. In some limited cases, there may also be a question of character if it can be shown that there is some conduct by the executor which warrants their removal from the position as executor. This conduct would usually have to involve some gross abuse of position as the executor in order to warrant removal.

Once the question of who may be appointed in legal terms is resolved there is then the question of suitability for appointment which is not a questions that courts tend to involve themselves with heavily. Some states require that the person appointed must not be a minor and must not suffer other forms of incapacity such as bankruptcy, mental incapacity or dissolute habits. Once the question of whether an executor is suitable has been resolved, they may be appointed by the will or by a court upon the finding that there was a will but that it did not specify who was to be appointed or that the appointed person has died. In some cases, a person can also be unwilling to take on the responsibilities of being an executor and in these circumstances they may wish to renounce their appointment. This is also possible if the correct forms are filed with the court.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

DBA (Fictitious Business Name) Filings

Whether you're a corporation, LLC or sole proprietor, there may be advantages to filing a "Doing Business As" or "DBA" for your business. 
What is a DBA?

DBA stands for "doing business as" and is an official and public registration of a business name. DBAs are also known as Fictitious Names, Fictitious Business Names, Assumed Names, and Trade Names. Essentially, a DBA is the name of a business other than the owner's name or, in the case of a corporation, a name that is different from the corporate name as on file with the Secretary of State.

What are the benefits to filing a DBA?

A DBA makes it easy to: 
o Open a bank account and collect checks and payments under your business name 
o Look more professional, by establishing a separate business identity 
o Start marketing and advertising under a name other than your personal or corporate name

What is an example of a DBA and how it is used?

If you were a sole proprietor named Jane Brown and the name of your business was "Donuts Unlimited," you would register your business as Jane Brown, doing business as "Donuts Unlimited." 
I've already got a name for my corporation or LLC. Do I need a DBA?

If you have a corporation or LLC and want to do business under a name different from your corporate name, most states require that you file a "Doing Business As" name or "DBA."

For example, if an LLC is doing business under the name "Studio City," but the corporate name is "Pinnacle Projects, LLC," then a DBA should be filed for the name "Studio City." This DBA filing must be made in the county or state (where applicable) in which the registered office and principal address of the business are located.

What information is required for a DBA filing?

DBA filings will typically contain the name of the applicant, date of filing, name of the fictitious business and address for the business. Filings can be made by individuals or businesses. In most states, you must first file the DBA documents with the appropriate government entity, accompanied by a state or county fee. In some states, you also have to publish the name in a newspaper to give notice of the new business name.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Criminal Record Expungement - How to Get a Clean Record

Is it possible for you to expunge or clean your criminal record?
In order for you to delete any item from your criminal record, it is necessary to file a petition to the court asking them to erase or expunge information. Here is a short step by step process on how to file a petition.
  • Complete the petition for expungement and the general waiver and release form -- In order to complete the information required by the form, it is important for you to know the date of your arrest, the enforcement agency that took charge of the action, the offense that you were arrested or convicted, and the disposal date of your case.

  • Make several copies of this form and deliver them to the court where your case was handled.

  • The entire process is expected to take 90 days. However, this will depend on your petition and whether there is an objection within a month by the State's Attorney or the enforcement agency. If there are any objections, the court will hold a hearing and you will be notified to attend the session.
What is the waiting period before you can file for expungement?
It is expected that you will need to wait for three years after you are convicted before you can file for an expungement. However, these rules vary depending on the nature of the case. To learn more information about this, you can contact the Criminal Justice Information System.
Who are allowed to see my criminal record?
Aside from you, there are also other groups of individuals who are permitted to view your record.
  • The Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Agencies -- Police departments, parole, courts, probation departments, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and correction officials are given the right to review your record.

  • Potential Employers -- Public employers such as the local, federal, and state government agencies are allowed to see the records. Aside from this, owners of child care agencies, museums, hospitals, banks, schools, school bus companies, and brokerage houses are also enable to view the criminal record that you hold.

  • Occupational Licensing Agencies -- All agencies that issue licenses for professionals are allowed to view your criminal record. Some of these agencies include those that give licenses to barbers, doctors, nurses, drivers, and brokers.

  • Bonding Agencies -- If an employer takes a bond on you, which is usually an insurance policy, the agency that is tasked to issue that bond will be permitted to review your criminal record.
Because a lot of people are allowed to view your criminal records, it is very necessary to ensure that all information written is accurate.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Does a Widow Need to Probate After Her Spouse's Death?

A woman who's recently lost her husband is faced with many legal and financial issues. One such issue is whether or not she needs to Probate her husband's estate after his death. Here's how you know if you must start a Probate.

When do you need to file a Probate? If there are any assets in your husband's name only, those assets will have to be "probated" before they can be legally transferred into your name.

Here are some examples: if your name is on the asset with your husband, Probate is not necessary. If an asset passes by beneficiary designation, for example a life insurance policy, and at least one of the named beneficiaries is alive, Probate is not necessary. But if your husband holds stock in just his name, a Probate will be necessary.

What is Probate?
Probate is a court procedure that transfers ownership and title of the assets of a deceased person to his or her heirs. It involves filing the Will (if one exists), having the Will accepted by the court, listing the assets and the value of each asset, paying the deceased's debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the persons named in the Will. If there is no will, the assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state in which the probate takes place.

Determine if you have to Probate
Here's how the completed Inventory will tell you if you need to start a probate. You will notice on the Inventory Form that there is a space that asks how each particular asset is titled, i.e. your name; your husband's name; joint names (more than one name); or in the name of your husband's trust or your trust. If there is an asset or assets in your husband's name only, you will have to probate those assets.

Review the column entitled "How Asset is Titled." A probate will be necessary if:
o ANY asset listed on the Inventory is titled in your husband's name only; or
o The beneficiary of your husband's life insurance policy, annuity, retirement plan or IRA is listed as his "Estate"; or
o The primary beneficiary of your husband's life insurance policy, annuity, retirement plan or IRA is deceased and there is no secondary beneficiary named; or
o Both the primary and secondary beneficiaries of your husband's life insurance policy, annuity retirement plan or IRA are deceased.

It does not matter if your husband has a Will, a probate is necessary if any of the above situations exist.

Who Receives Assets if there is a Will?
If your husband left a Will, the assets will be transferred to the person or persons named in his Will. If you are that person the assets will be transferred to your name.

Who Receives Assets if there is no Will?
If your husband died without leaving a Will, the laws of your state will determine who receives his assets. In most states, the surviving spouse receives a portion if not all of the assets. Consult an experienced probate attorney.

Attorney Necessary?
In most states it is possible to probate an estate without an attorney. But if you live in a large metropolitan area with a busy and crowded probate court or if you don't want the frustration and the responsibility of probate, retain an attorney to probate the estate for you. If you decide to retain an attorney, find an experienced probate attorney.

Discuss fees and court costs with the attorney at your first meeting. If you are satisfied with the proposed fees, request that the attorney prepare a written" Fee Agreement" that documents your verbal agreement. You and the attorney should sign two copies of the Fee Agreement with each of you retaining a signed copy.

When to Start Probate
It takes many months to probate an estate; so the sooner you start the sooner you'll be done. Do not ignore the problem if a probate is necessary. If there are assets in your husband's name only, you will not be able to transfer them to your name nor will you be able to sell them without a probate. Act now if you determine that a probate is necessary.

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