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May 2016 Archives

Why Online DIY Divorce Is Not a Good Idea

As someone carefully considering your legal options in seeking a divorce in California, you should also be wary of DIY divorce. Particularly, online DIY divorce services that claim they can handle your divorce with expert advice. More and more sites are popping up on the Internet that claim you can get a divorce practically overnight and for practically nothing. However, there are dangers and pitfalls in getting your divorce through these types of sites and services.

Will online estate planning companies remain secure?

Though the following story doesn't necessarily relate to the Sacramento, California area, the geographic location isn't the defining trait of this story. A man in Phoenix has developed a company that digitally stores estate planning documents on your behalf -- and then the site's algorithm searches the web for information about you to confirm or deny if you are alive. If you aren't, the company will forward your critical estate planning documents to your loved ones and family members.

Why guardians and conservators are crucial to estate plans

Imagine that you suffer a horrible injury or medical condition that prevents you from functioning like you have your whole life. How would your financial matters and personal responsibilities be handled? Or what if you had a child, but you and your spouse passed away unexpectedly. How would your child be cared for? What if you are responsible for taking care of someone -- but you unexpectedly are disabled or unable to fulfill your duties?

Succession plans: prepare your estate for your company's sake

Owning a business and estate planning go hand in hand. There are so many things that can happen over the course of your ownership that you need to prepare for, and one of those many factors is your own health and capabilities. You need to make sure that your company can still function even when you cannot, or, in the worst case scenario, you pass away. There needs to be a succession plan to ensure your company's continued survival and prosperity.

Make sure your employment contracts are secure and compliant

When you start your own business, one of the most important factors that you need to figure out is employment. How many employees do you need? What processes do you have in place to train them? How much will you pay them? What benefits will you offer? What clauses will be tied to their employment with your company to ensure your business is protected?

When should you update your will?

Updating a will is a critical part to your estate plan. It ensures that all of the provisions are correct and that your assets would be passed on to the correct people and entities when you die. Under this context, the mere passage of time is a reason to check your will to make sure that everything is correct and that if certain aspects are incorrect, that they are corrected and updated quickly.

How Mediation Can Benefit Your Divorce

Mediation: you have probably heard of this process before. Either from a friend who has gone through a divorce before or a family member who recommends utilizing this process. In any event, most attorneys will advise you to at least consider using mediation for your divorce. This is because there are many potential benefits to using this ADR ("Alternative Dispute Resolution") method. Some of them include saving you substantial time and money.

What information should I include in my estate plan?

Estate plans are a comprehensive collection of documents and information that make up your assets, your property, your promises and, indeed, your whole life. As such, it is absolutely vital that anyone who is planning an estate collects all of the relevant information that is necessary to construct their estate plan.

The help you need when forming your own business

So you've decided to start your own business? Congratulations! This is a big step for you, both personally and professionally. While it can be euphoric to make such a decision, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that your business is a success and that it is legally protected.

Talking about your estate plan, and remaining calm while doing so

Given the vast amount of financial information that estate plans contain, and given that estate plans require the grantor to make a lot of personal decisions about how that wealth is distributed and why, it is only natural for someone to feel uncomfortable about discussing their estate plan -- even with family members. Hanging over the entire topic is the prospect of the death of the grantor, which only makes it more difficult to talk about.

Establishing a trust on a budget

As with anything that involves legal help and your financial record, trusts require a financial commitment from the grantor to establish and make proper. As such, it was common for many people who were not particularly wealthy to skip over a trust and not even utilize what could be a critical part of their estate plan. Over the years, this notion has crumbled but there is still a financial commitment to make when establishing a trust.

How can you reduce the amount of taxes your estate faces?

Taxes will be one of the biggest challenges that your estate faces. This is why avoiding probate is such a big piece of the estate planning puzzle. This can help with many financial costs and taxes that are applied to an estate. But avoiding probate isn't the only thing that you can do to protect your estate.

Putting assets into a trust: how is it done?

As we have talked about many times before, establishing a trust is a great way to protect your assets and pass on your estate to your heirs and beneficiaries. There are a lot of steps you have to take to establish a trust, and you should be as well-informed on this topic before you try to implement a trust.

How you could change your irrevocable trust

As the name implies, once an irrevocable trust is created, the trustmaker can't revoke the trust or remove the property or asset from the trust. However, just because an irrevocable trust has been created doesn't mean that the terms and conditions of the trust can't be changed. Before we proceed down this path, though, you need to realize that not every situation is suited for changing an irrevocable trust -- and, in fact, depending on the circumstances, you may not even be able to change your irrevocable trust.

What are some common estate planning mistakes?

Estate planning is an important process, not only because of what it protects but because of the possible mistakes that can be made. Anyone who is new to estate planning would be prone to making a mistake here and there, and those mistakes can be major factors in the way your estate is handled.

How Stepparent Adoption Works

Stepparent adoption is one of the legal processes that can bring a family together. This is an often joyous occasion as a stepparent has decided to legally take on the role of parent to his or her stepchild. However, there is still red tape that has to be crossed as California has certain requirements that must be met and approved through the family court system.

What Happens If a Child Custody Agreement Needs to Be Changed?

You and your former spouse have been complying with a child custody agreement finalized with the court a little over a year ago. However, you may have to relocate for your job. What now? Can you change your child custody agreement? The answer is yes, the laws in California allow you to seek a modification. While the modification may or may not be granted, you are at least are afforded the process to seek this change in your child custody order.

Prince Died Without a Will: What Happens Now?

Over ten days has passed since the death of the legendary singer, Prince. The cause of death will not be released for weeks or even months. Yet one key detail has surfaced: the singer has very likely passed without a will. The keyword "likely" as a will has not yet been found. While there is still a small possibility a will could be discovered, it does not look likely. And if Prince did in fact die without a will, the legal battles are just beginning.

According to a report, Prince didn't have a will

It hasn't even been two weeks since the death of one of the greatest musicians of all time, Prince, and we're already hearing rumors of a major estate planning mistake on his part. Keep in mind that this isn't necessarily confirmed yet, though it seems like that it is true, given court statements made by Prince's sister.

Why avoiding probate is such a tremendous step

Imagine that you have a number of very important objects and you want to see them handled in a certain way. In your head, you know exactly how this process will play out, but since no on else knows this plan, it would be difficult for anyone to correctly guess what you would have wanted for those important objects if you weren't around to tell them. In fact, you would probably be upset if someone else made the decision for you, wouldn't you?

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