Monday, September 30, 2013

The Importance of a Power of Attorney

Without a comprehensive power of attorney (POA), many people are unable to handle the financial affairs of their loved ones, nor make health care decisions without court intervention (conservatorship and guardianship). Unfortunately, it continues to be our experience that many people, including financial advisors, accountants and even some attorneys do not understand exactly what one is and why it is so important to have one. Clients often come into our office assuming that, just because they are married or are a joint owner of assets, they are able to sell or transfer assets. In fact, a current client is unable to sell his mother's home because she never signed a durable power of attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document where one person (the principal) authorizes another (the agent) to act on their behalf. There are durable powers of attorney which authorize your agent to make decisions for you regarding financial matters and healthcare powers of attorney which permit your agent to make decisions regarding your healthcare needs.

Yours can be broad in scope, giving your agent the ability to make any and all financial decisions for you (a General Durable POA) or you can limit your agents authority by specifying the types of financial decisions you will permit them to make (a Limited Durable POA). You may also prefer to give your agent the immediate authority to make decisions on your behalf (a Durable POA) or you can limit your agents authority to act only when you become incompetent (a Springing POA).

What is a Guardianship and Conservatorship?

Guardianship is a legal relationship where the court gives a person (the guardian) authority to make personal decisions (medical, housing, etc.) for another (the ward). A proceeding is initiated by filing a petition in the probate court. A written statement by a doctor may be necessary to establish the ward's incapacity. The court then determines whether a guardian is needed due to the ward lacking the necessary mental capacity to make personal decisions. Unless limited by the court, the guardian has the same rights as parents have over their minor children. The guardian is required to report annually to the court regarding the condition of the ward.

A conservator is a legal relationship whereby the probate court gives a person (the conservator) the power to make financial decisions for another. The court proceedings are similar to those of a guardianship except the court is determining whether the person has the capacity to manage his or her financial affairs. A conservator is also required to file an annual accounting documenting (with verification) all of the income and expenses incurred each year. A surety bond (an insurance policy) is often required by the court to protect against the conservator engaging in any improper use of the person's assets.

A power of attorney is nearly always preferred over a guardian or conservator. It does not cost nearly as much and it allows you to choose who will be your agent. If you do not have a power attorney and you suffer a stroke or debilitating disease, your loved ones will likely have to face expensive and time consuming court proceedings to handle your affairs.

Brett Howell, the founder of the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm, specializes in helping Michigan families protect their estates. Contact our office for a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns with Brett - you will be glad (and relieved) you did. Contact Brett by calling the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm at (810) 953-3846 or visit his website for more information.
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pros and Cons to Consider When You Form a Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is one of the newest types of business organization structure that combines the characteristics of other business types. It is often referred to as the hybrid of sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Due to its newness, there may be various issues that can arise when businesses in form a LLC.

When a business decides to form a LLC, its pros and cons should be considered first. This is to ensure that the owner understand what the implications this move brings. The organizational structure of the company as well as its operational processes would definitely be affected by this choice of business type.

Consider these factors when putting up a LLC:


A LLC is very famous for its flexibility. With this type of structure, one member or more can establish the business easily. It can be formed online, at the office, or at home. Also, this allows full management or control of the business with an operating agreement made by the owner and other members.The free control over the operating agreement enables the company to establish its own rules and protective provisions for all its members.

Another benefit when a business chooses to form a LLC is the informal or less complicated business process. Unlike a corporation, a LLC can operate in an informal manner. This spares the members from attending annual meetings. Also, certain documentation are not strictly required. However, it is still advisable to keep records of business transactions for audit purposes or for any other future need.

Protection of assets is one of the most important advantages of a LLC. In this type of business, the owners of the company are not individually liable for any of the company's financial obligations. Passed through taxation is also automatic and therefore lessens the amount of taxes paid by the company.


Businesses that opt to form LLC may also face some limitations. Even if this business type is very flexible, there are also restrictions to its membership and operation. First, if the LLC reaches more than 20 members, there is a definite need for a manager. A manager is needed to oversee the progress of the business and to keep it organized. Hiring a manager for the LLC presents additional expenses to the business. Also, the LLC may be dissolved if one member quits. However, there are provisions in the state laws which can address this problem.

The LLC can also restrict the flow of the business profits and stocks. The LLC is not authorized to split the overall profit and loss to its members. Aside from that, raising capital in a limited liability business is difficult. This limitation results in the investors' preference for a corporation instead of a LLC. Additionally, the members cannot sell and issue stock certificates.

Lastly, the LLC may pose some fee and taxation issues. This involves payment of taxes for the limited liability benefit of a LLC business. Also, the annual fee of LLC in some states is higher compared to other structures of business.

If you are looking for information on Tennessee limited liability company, click on the link. Or you can visit
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Roadblocks to Surpass When Starting an LLC Business

Some folks have a lot more excuses than reasons to start an LLC business. Some optimists would prefer to label them as roadblocks that serve well as challenges. Taking this perspective will help business owners persevere despite the challenges that come their way. Here are some of the roadblocks that anyone starting an LLC business in are likely to face:

- Bad economy

Even when the economy is good, you might still have reasons not to take the entrepreneurial jump. It is a fact, however, that opportunities abound even on a bad economy. The challenge is how to spot these opportunities so that your LLC business can flourish.

- Financing

Money is not always enough to start an LLC business, or elsewhere for that matter. Fortunately for those who wish to put up their own LLC, there are banks that offer financing instruments that could provide the necessary operating capital.

- Location

There will be no shortage of business-worthy locations as long as you are offering the right products and services in the right place where your customers are likely to be at. School fairs and carnivals would be ideal for a food kiosk or a novelty shop. Just be where your potential customers could possibly hanging out.

- Marketing plan

Of course, a big factor to consider in setting up your LLC business is your marketing plan. How are you going to promote your products and services to your customers? What messages would be compelling enough for them to buy your products or avail of your services? These are just a couple of questions you should ask yourself. The answers to these questions should be factored in when you draft your marketing plan.

- Suppliers

Most small businesses do not exist on their own. In most cases, you will have to rely on suppliers whether for your raw materials or for the products that you are going to distribute. Your partners in your LLC business are your suppliers. Make sure that you find those that can match your customer demand. If necessary, you should be able to find several suppliers to ensure that you will not run out of the products and services that you intend to sell to your customers.

- Number of employees to hire

Hire only based on what you can afford. Some new start ups would hire more employees than what they could afford on their budget. They hire people so they don't have to do all of the work themselves. If there are some tasks that you can do yourself, do it yourself for the meantime and keep whatever money you could instead of paying an additional employee who might not exactly be critical for the operations of your LLC business.

If you are looking for information on LLC business in Tennessee, click on the link. Or you can visit
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Friday, September 20, 2013

What is Estate Planning?

Learn more about what estate planning is in this video.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Choose an LLC Registered Agent

It is a must for your LLC to appoint a registered agent. That is because this person is responsible for sending and receiving documents on behalf of your company. And like any person you want to work with during the course of your business, you must choose your agent carefully.

Consider Your Capabilities and Resources

You can be your own LLC registered agent, but it's not advisable unless processing LLC papers is your specialty. Also, avoid choosing agents on the sole basis of fees; as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Don't forget to consult with the other LLC members during your search.

Gather Recommendations

Don't know where to start looking? Use your business network and ask for feedback from others who have experience hiring a LLC registered agent. Narrow down your recommendations to those who look like they suit your purposes. You should have three to five prospects on your "to interview" list by the time you're done with this step.

Visit your Agent's Physical Office

LLC registered agents who are worth their salt should have a website where you can learn everything there is to know about them. If you have spare time, though, it wouldn't hurt to pay your prospect a visit. That way, you'll get an idea how your agent operates based on the general "feel" of their office. For example, an agent with a messy, disorganized table is likely to treat business transactions the same way as well.

Ask Questions

Quiz your prospective agent on the process of organizing LLCs. A good one must be able to provide satisfactory answers regarding the theoretical and practical aspects of LLCs. Keep in mind that you'll never know when you'll need your agent's services, so inquire about operating hours and contact information as well.

Make Your Decision

All registered agents have their respective pros and cons. It's up to you to decide what strengths you need from your agent, and what weaknesses you can put up with. You can change your agent if you wish, but you'll have to contend with additional paperwork and fees.

Search for an agent the way employers screen employees: Let the right people know that you're searching, analyze your prospects carefully, and narrow your choices down to those who can gel with your LLC's culture. The steps outlined above are applicable not only for LLC registered agents, but also for other professionals you'll need aboard your boat too.

If you are looking for information on Tennessee LLC registered agent, click on the link. Or you can visit
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Living Wills

A last will and testament is something no one wants to have to use until they're old and ready to die, but having a last will and testament when you're married and have children is an important decision to make. If you were to pass away early and leave your children and inheritance, who would you want to care for your children? This is a decision to make before writing your last will and testament.
Even as a married couple a last will and testament would state your legal wishes for your estate, property, etc. Your last will and testament would state what would happen to your estate, property, and everything upon the chance of your death. Also, if you are in a medical condition where you couldn't speak for yourself, a last will and testament would speak for your legal rights and wishes. If you want medical equipment to keep you alive or if you don't want medical equipment to keep you alive, this can be stated in your last will and testament.
If you have a preference of where to be buried or if you want to be cremated, how you want your funeral to unfold, all of these things that deal with death and how your family will take care of your body after death, this is all included in your last will and testament. Having a last will and testament can help make decisions for your family instead of having them guess what you wanted. Or having a last will and testament can make decisions for your family easier because they won't have to hold a council or whatever needs to be done to make decisions on your behalf between all of your children or your surviving relatives. With your last will and testament the decisions are already made for them.
Having a last will and testament is especially important for seniors to write so that their children can know what their medical wishes are and how their property should be taken care of, and what wishes they have for their funeral and burial, etc. We often hear about a last will and testament in movies when children find out they're a beneficiary of their parent's or relative's estate, property, and riches. However, a last will and testament is very important for a senior to have even if a senior doesn't have a lot of property and riches to leave.
A last will and testament will have to be signed by legal witnesses and have self proving identity, just to ensure that you are legal in writing a last will and testament under the name you write it for.
Living wills as well as a last will and testament can include a proving affidavit, estate planning, an advance decision or advance directives. Living wills and a last will and testament can name a health care proxy and preferred health care providers or state a health care agent. Living wills and a last will and testament can include instructions on health care decisions and who to give health care power to. A last will and testament can include instructions and decisions on tangible personal property.
There are many things you can include in a last will and testament. Contact Living Will Salt Lake City to start your last will and testament.
Having a last will and testament is especially important for seniors to write so that their children can know what their medical wishes are and how their property should be taken care.... Learn more at last will and testament and children
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Advantages of an LLC | What is an LLC?

Are you wondering what the advantages of an LLC are? Wondering what is an LLC, an S-Corp, Partnership or Sole Proprietorship? Learn why you might consider the advantages of an LLC as your choice for choosing the entity of your company structure.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Should You Include Your Spouse When Forming a Small Business LLC?

In this video it talks about a couple of reasons why you may not want to have your spouse included in your LLC. But every situation is different.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Overview on LLC Taxation

Calculating and paying for taxes is never easy. It's especially tricky if you are a member of a limited liability company, since this business structure allows for a wide range of tax treatment options. Lucky for you, there's this guide to help you navigate the murky waters of LLC taxation.

General Rules

How your LLC will be taxed depends on whether the IRS views your company as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an S corporation, or a C corporation. The IRS may tax the individual members, the LLC as a whole, or both. Remember that the LLC is legally considered a different business entity from the members comprising it. Understanding this distinction will make the concept of LLC taxation less confusing.

Sole Proprietorship

LLC taxation for one-member companies is straightforward: the lone owner pays the LLC's taxes based on the company's net income. There is no need to file separate returns for the owner and the company.You can choose to have your company treated as a corporation-provided that you also allow it to be taxed as such.

Partnerships/Multi-Owner LLCs

Multi-owner LLCs file two separate tax returns: the 1065 partnership tax return for its business income, and the Schedule SE tax form for the self-employment taxes of each member. Self-employment taxes depend on the agreed profit-loss sharing between the members.

C Corporation

LLC taxation rules for this business structure work like that of a standard corporation. Essentially, the aggregate profits of the C corporation are taxed according to the prevailing corporate tax rate, and any profits distributed as dividends among members are taxed according to the dividend rate. Though the members don't need to file individual returns, they still need to pay payroll taxes in behalf of their employees.

S Corporation

The LLC taxation system for S corps is unusual. A return is filed in behalf of the LLC (i.e. Form 1120S), but the company's profits aren't taxed as a whole. Instead, tax money comes straight out of the individual members' pockets, again according to their operating agreement. The members declare these taxes via individual returns.

The LLC taxation system is only one of several considerations you have to bear in mind when choosing an LLC structure. All of these have their pros and cons, and it's important that you do your research on which structure is in the best interest of your company. Always take time to consult the experts, like your lawyer, accountant, or even registered agent.

If you are looking for information on Tennessee LLC taxation, click on the link. Or you can visit
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Monday, September 2, 2013

What is an Advanced Directive?

It is not mandatory to have an advanced directive. No one can force you to prepare one.

There are two types of advance directives - living wills and durable power of attorney for health care.

Living wills are a legal document that you prepare to make your wishes known regarding health care issues and specifically end of life issues. They are implemented when you can no longer make decisions on your own.

A durable power of attorney for health care is when you appoint someone (a spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc.) to make decisions (relating to health care) when you can no longer make decisions for yourself.

The person you appoint to make decisions for you is your "patient advocate". Your patient advocate can be any competent person over the age of 18. Before you appoint someone to be your advocate you should ask if they are willing to serve in this capacity.

Being a patient advocate is a very great responsibility. They will be able to make decisions for you concerning all medical treatments (and the right to refuse medical treatments on your behalf). They can also make decisions related to donation of your organs after you die.

It is important to appoint a back up person should your original appointee be unable or unwilling to make your decisions should the time come.

It is not necessary to use a lawyer to prepare either of these documents, but to be legal they must be witnessed by persons other than your relatives (spouses or heirs).

Once prepared you should make several copies. You should give a copy to your physician (or other health care provider). And should you be admitted to the hospital, you should take a copy with you. This is one document that should not keep secret.

Can I Change My Mind?

Yes, you certainly can. It is simply a matter of tearing up the document and notifying anyone that has a copy to tear it up.

You can prepare a new living will or durable power of attorney for health care at any time.

Who Should Prepare An Advanced Directive?

Everyone. No one can tell when a major life upset will occur. Everyone should have these documents prepared.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Advantages of a California LLC Business Structure

As a business owner, deciding on the structure of your company is one of the most important decisions you can make. Limited liability companies are a relatively new hybrid business entity. California passed The Beverly-Killea Limited Liability Company Act which allowed for LLCs to be created in California in 1996. Since their start, they have become increasing popular with business owners and for good reason.

An LLC is an interesting hybrid that has the best of different business structures rolled into one. It is a business structure where, as with a sole proprietorship or partnership, the losses of the company are reported on the business owner's personal tax returns. Sole proprietorships and partnerships however, do not provide the owner any limited liability protection. With an LLC, as with a corporation, the owners are protected from personal liability.

Easier to Create and Maintain

An LLC has many advantages to the business owner. LLCs have all the advantages of a corporation (protection from personal liability), without the red tape and administrative costs in creating and maintaining a corporation. Because of this, they are a good option for the small business owner. Complying with corporate formation rules and the yearly maintenance that is needed is time-consuming and costly. There are statements and reports that need to be filed with the Secretary of State, and corporate books to be maintained. The stakes to maintaining a corporation are high, failure to do so means that a creditor of the corporation could theoretically "pierce the corporate veil" and come after the shareholder's assets.

In contrast, the creation of an LLC is simple. All that is required to form an LLC in California is to file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee. California also requires that LLCs create an Operating Agreement. The Operating Agreement is a written agreement between the members setting the guidelines and procedures of how the LLC will function. While there are no set criteria as to what the document should contain, typically it would include subjects as how the company will be managed, the amount of capital contributions from each member, and how profits and losses will be handled.

Favorable Tax Treatment

The IRS has different ways of viewing an LLC for tax purposes. For instance, an LLC with only one member is taxed as a sole proprietorship. If the LLC has two or more members it will be taxed as a partnership (unless the LLC has been elected to be treated as a corporation). Either way, the tax treatment for an LLC is preferable to that of a corporation. In contrast, C-Corporations are subject to double taxation. The corporation is required to pay a corporate tax, and then the money is taxed again as income to the individual shareholders. With an LLC, all the business losses, profits and expenses flow through the company to the individual shareholders. This also holds true with a corporation that files for S-election status. The drawback however, is S-corporations are complicated and costly to create and maintain. Further, Section 1361 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes significant restrictions on the ownership of S-corporations.

Owner's Assets are Better Protected

Just as with shareholders of a corporation, LLC owners are protected from personal liability for business debts and claims. They are not individually liable for any debts or liabilities incurred while doing business for the company. Owner's assets cannot be seized or sold to pay other liabilities for the company. This is not the case with a sole proprietorship or partnership, where the owner is responsible for any loss or debt, even if it means settling this debt with their personal assets.

For these reasons, the LLC can be a great option for some, by combining the best features of different business structures. While the LLC is a great option for some, choosing the right business entity is a complicated process. When in doubt consult legal counsel.

James Vignione, administrator of Orion Systems specializes in business protection contracts for business owners looking to protect their business and avoid employment related lawsuits. For more information, visit
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