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What You Need to Know About Intestate Inheritance

The legal term intestate succession refers to who inherits property when a person dies without a will. Whether you don't have a will, are considering making a will, or are a relative of someone who doesn't have a will, you should understand the basics of intestate law. The legal term intestate succession refers to who inherits property when a person dies without a will. Whether you don't have a will, are considering making a will, or are a relative of someone who doesn't have a will, you should understand the basics of intestate law. A valid will determines how the decedent's estate property is distributed. If the decedent did not have a valid will, the state probate law of intestate succession determines the distribution of property. The law of intestate succession may be viewed as the will the state legislature writes for you if you don't write your own will. A valid will determines how the decedent's estate property is distributed. If the decedent did not have a valid will, the state probate law of intestate succession determines the distribution of property. The law of intestate succession may be viewed as the will the state legislature writes for you if you don't write your own will. Of course, as with just about anything to do with the law, it's not quite that simple, especially when it comes to spouses, children, grandchildren, and further descendants.

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Kongove Mathis lawyer 2020-02-08 14:20:52
Do Living Trusts Protect Assets from Creditors?

While there are several good reasons to consider a revocable living trust for your estate plan—avoiding probate, for example—keeping your assets safe from creditors is not one of those reasons. To understand why, it's helpful to discuss what a revocable trust is and what it does, as well as how it differs from an irrevocable living trust—a legal instrument that actually may help you protect assets from creditors. Aside from an irrevocable trust, there are other ways to keep creditors away from your stuff, so if you're concerned with asset protection, read on. What Is a Revocable Trust? A revocable trust, sometimes called a living trust, holds the assets of a trust creator (called a “grantor," “settlor," or “trustor") during his or her lifetime. The trustor is named as trustee. Upon the grantor's death, the “successor trustee," who had been chosen by the trustor, facilitates the distribution of assets to the trustor's chosen beneficiaries according to the provisions of the trust documents. All of this happens outside the probate process. Indeed, many people turn to trusts to avoid probate, the court-supervised process of distributing a decedent's estate, which can become costly and time-consuming. Also, generally trust documents do not become part of the public record, which means your affairs stay private, as opposed to what happens with a last will and testament, which goes on file for anyone to search. Another benefit of a living trust is that the successor trustee can step in to handle the affairs of the trustor should the trustor become incapacitated, which, again, would happen without getting a court involved. Two important notes about a revocable living trust, however: (1) The trustor is still legally considered the owner of the assets within the trust; and (2) the terms of the trust can be changed or the trust canceled by the trustor at any time. These characteristics make the assets within the trust susceptible to collection by creditors because the trustor, as far as the law is concerned, still owns and has full control over the assets. As a result, a creditor could go after the trust, seek its termination, and gain access to assets within it. So, to be absolutely clear: A revocable living trust does not protect assets from creditors. What Is an Irrevocable Trust? An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, may protect assets from creditors. In fact, you may see the term “asset protection trust" used to describe such a trust. What's the difference? With an irrevocable trust, the assets that fund the trust become the property of the trust, and the terms of the trust direct that the trustor no longer controls the assets. Also, an irrevocable trust's terms cannot be changed and the trust cannot be canceled without the approval of the grantor and the beneficiaries, or a court order. Because the assets within the trust are no longer the property of the trustor, a creditor cannot come after them to satisfy debts of the trustor. Still, it is crucial to know your state law regarding irrevocable trusts to understand exactly how well your assets are protected from creditors. Keep in mind that a court is within its power to find a transfer of assets to a trust to be fraudulent if it is done with the intent to defraud creditors. Not only could such a finding expose the trust assets to liability, but also it could mean heavy legal penalties for the trustor. Asset Protection Strategies If you are concerned with asset protection, there are several different ways to accomplish this aside from putting your property into a trust that you will no longer have control over. Depending on your state law, certain assets may already be protected from creditors, so you may choose to put your money into such assets. Many states, for instance, have a “homestead exemption" for the main home of an individual, which cannot be touched in bankruptcy. Most retirement accounts and pension plan funds are also usually off-limits. Liability insurance is one of the most common ways to protect against potential lawsuits and creditors. Another option may be to create a separate business entity such as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to shield personal assets from liability.

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Yates Hirschi lawyer 2020-01-23 12:43:06
How to Avoid Copyright Infringement

Copyright is a well-known type of intellectual property (IP) protection represented by the © symbol. Watch any film and the copyright infringement warning will appear, threatening jail time and fines. Copyright extends beyond video to songs, pictures, books, blogs, podcasts, paintings and even software. For those who are both consumers and business owners, it’s important to know how to avoid copyright infringement. How Do You Get U.S. Copyright? Once a work is expressed in a tangible medium, which is paper, electronic, recording or anything that can be seen, read or heard, you actually have copyright protection. Technically the © is not required on the work, but it’s a good idea to use the © symbol or to sign paintings. Protecting your works with a registered copyright is a simple process relative to other forms of intellectual property like patents or trademarks. More information on copyright registration is available on the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) website. Remember that any IP registration in the U.S. will only protect you in the U.S. Copyright does not have to be registered with the USCO unless you wish to bring legal action when someone else infringes on your work. Also, if you wish to give others the right to use your work but you are not sure about the different types of licenses, the Creative Commons organization has several license options. What Is Copyright Infringement? Copyright laws are designed to protect the creator of original works, which are creative expressions from others using and profiting their work, without permission. The idea is that the author or creator owns the rights to the work and can decide if and how others use his or her creation. For example, music copyright would exist for songwriters on their lyrics. When songwriters allow artists to record their words, there would be an agreement outlining how the right to record is granted, thus avoiding copyright infringement. If another artist decided to record the same song without permission, the songwriter would be able to bring legal action for copyright infringement against the artist. If you believe that the copyright infringement definition sounds like stealing, you would be correct. Other examples of copyright infringement include: Downloading movies and music without proper payment for use Recording movies in a theater Using others’ photographs for a blog without permission Copying software code without giving proper credit Creating videos with unlicensed music clips Copying books, blogs or podcasts without permission Anything where you are copying someone else’s original work without an agreement

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Kongove Mathis lawyer 2020-01-22 21:12:56
ADA Rights for On-Street Parking

The Americans with Disabilities Act is the document requiring businesses to make their facilities accessible to people with various special needs. The ADA has guidelines on the spacing and layout of parking spaces. While the ADA does not address on-street parking specifically, some general parking suggestions apply. The key to making spaces accessible for everyone who is handicapped is to make the spaces large enough to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and other equipment. ADA specifications indicate that a 96-inch aisle is needed for a full-sized handicapped space, although smaller spaces can be made available as well. With on-street parking, planners may get this clearance space by opening space on the sidewalk side of the parking spot. Angled spaces are acceptable as ADA-compliant parking; however, most city streets have parallel parking on-street. ADA guidelines recommend that people who need handicapped parking should be able to pull in forward or backward in the best possible space design. This ability to pull in either way grants the greatest flexibility for people who need to assist others in unloading from the vehicle. One in eight spots should be van accessible. These spots need to stretch the full 96-inch specification. They also should have a special sign indicating that a spot is van-accessible. Many vans come with electronic wheelchair lifts, which is why the extra space is needed. For on-street parking, van spaces may be difficult to accommodate. The ADA requires that spaces are in the location with the shortest possible route to the entrance. Because on-street parking typically is for more than one business, the shortest route is not necessarily the best benchmark. Another choice is to space the spots so that someone who needs them will have to go only a small distance to get to any place nearby.

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John Uebler lawyer 2020-01-22 21:08:15
Can I Notarize For a Family Member?

Notaries are officials licensed by state and local governments to impartially witness the signing of important documents. It can be challenging to remain impartial while dealing with family members, so how do you know if you can notarize a document for a relative? It depends on the state you’re in, your relationship to the family member and whether there’s a conflict of interest involved. Relationship to the Family Member In a few states, you are prohibited from notarizing documents for most family members. This sometimes includes even step- and half-relatives. In some other states, only close family members are off-limits. In Oregon and North Dakota, for example, you may not notarize a document for your spouse. Florida takes its rules a bit further and bans notarizing for your spouse, parents or children. The remaining states have no restrictions placed on notarizing for family members. A few, such as California and Washington, do caution against the practice. These states leave it up to you to asses the situation to ensure you’re following appropriate law. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with your state’s notary laws to avoid problems. It could save you a lot of time and trouble in the future. Be Impartial Notaries must avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Just because your state law doesn’t explicitly prohibit you from notarizing a family member's signature doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. Notary laws generally prohibit you from performing your duties if you will personally gain or benefit from notarizing a document. Similarly, if you have any involvement whatsoever in the document, it is best to refuse to notarize it. Regardless of your state's law, best practice codes often encourage you to decline notarizing for close relatives or family members. These codes ask you to avoid any situation in which you could appear to have a conflict of interest or be partial to one or more of the parties to the document. If you are planning to notarize a document for a spouse or other close family member, ask yourself if you stand to benefit from the transaction. You may benefit even if your name isn’t on the document you're notarizing. For example, let’s say your spouse is applying for a loan. Your name may not be included on the loan documents, but you still stand to materially benefit if the loan is approved. This type of situation raises the question of a potential conflict of interest and should be avoided.

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Yates Hirschi lawyer 2020-01-20 21:21:11
Top Three Benefits of a Living Trust

Having a legal document that details what should happen to your assets upon your demise is a vital part of estate planning. One way to make sure that your final wishes are met is to create a living trust. There are three distinct benefits of creating a living trust; avoiding probate, saving money and maintaining the privacy of your estate. A Living Trust Avoids Probate One of the first benefits of a living trust is that it avoids probate. With a valid will, your estate will go through probate, the court proceedings through which your assets are distributed according to your wishes by the executor. A living trust, on the other hand, does not go through probate, which often means a faster distribution of assets to your heirs—from months or years with a will down to weeks with a living trust. Your successor trustee will pay your debts and distribute your assets according to your instructions. 2. A Living Trust May Save You Money Other procedures involved in an estate plan with a living trust could also include changing the beneficiary on your life insurance policy to the trust, appropriately dealing with your IRA or 401(k) plan, and also creating a "pour-over will" that will provide for the distribution of any assets acquired after the creation of the living trust but before your death or any assets inadvertently excluded. While a will costs less to draft, a living trust can save your estate money at the time of your death as the distribution of assets in the trust will not go through probate; court costs for probating your will are taken from estate, although note that for a simple, uncontested will, costs are often nominal. 3. A Living Trust Provides Privacy One big difference between the two legal documents is the level of privacy offered with a living trust. As a living trust is not made public, upon your death, your estate will be distributed in private. A will, on the hand, is public record and so all transactions will be public as well. Another difference is the handling of out-of-state property you own upon your death. With a will, that property will have to go through probate in its own state; a living trust can help you avoid probate.

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Terrance Gwiriri lawyer 2020-01-17 20:36:37
How to Write Receipts for Nonprofit Donations

Nonprofit organizations need donors like a fish needs water. Fortunately for those who like to give, charitable donations are tax-deductible as long as they are itemized and recorded. In order to realize this benefit, the donor must receive a properly written receipt as record of the transaction. These can be given in the form of an email, a postcard or a written document from the nonprofit organization. Have the items that were donated assessed by someone who knows the item well. This need not be a complicated process. But you want to make sure that the donor can deduct the full amount of the value of the donation. Talk to a mechanic, for example, to discuss the value of a donated used car. You'll need this information for the receipt. Count any cash that was donated and make a copy of other monetary donations, such as checks or money orders. Keep the copies for the organization's records. Write down the donor's name, address and telephone number at the top of the document. Use the donor's full legal name for tax purposes. Give a brief description of what was donated to the nonprofit and list the value of it. A brief sentence and a dollar amount will suffice. State the date that the donation was made. If details are unknown, list the month and year. Mention whether or not anything was exchanged as a result of the donation. For example, if an individual donated $500 and received a stereo in exchange, this exchange must be included in the receipt. When donations are exchanged for another item or service, the donor can only deduct the amount of the difference. So, if the stereo received cost $150, the donor may claim only $350 out of the $500 donation for a tax deduction. Have the receipt printed on company letterhead. At the very least, have it signed by the director or a member of the board.

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Felix Mitzner lawyer 2020-01-17 20:29:09
How to Look Up Trademark Names

A trademark can be a single word or name, a phrase or sentence, or even a symbol or graphic that identifies a business, product or service. Registered trademarks are identified by the symbol "®." Otherwise, a trademark may be identified with the symbol "TM" or "SM" (for service mark), neither of which require registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), an online database of all registered trademarks, is a great place to search for registered trademarks, but be sure to look elsewhere on the Internet for non-registered trademarks as well. Launch an Internet search engine,in your Web browser. Enter the name of the company, product or service of the trademark you want to look up. Look for the tradmark (TM), service mark (SM) or registered trademark (®) symbol next to the name as it appears in the search results--both in the Web page title and search result snippet (if available). Search for and launch the official website of the company you believe may have a trademark. Look for the area of its Web site called "About Us," "Legal," "Media" or similar and see if it provides a list of its trademarks.

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Kongove Mathis lawyer 2020-01-15 20:56:35
What's the Legal Difference Between Annulment and Divorce?

There are two ways to legally end a marriage—annulment and divorce. An annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage. Annulling a marriage is as though it is completely erased, legally, and it declares that the marriage never technically existed and was never valid. A divorce, or legal dissolution of a marriage, is the ending of a valid marriage, returning both parties to single status with the ability to remarry. While each individual state has its own laws regarding grounds for marriage annulment or divorce, certain requirements apply nationwide. An annulment case can be initiated by either party in a marriage. The party initiating the annulment must prove that he or she has the grounds to do so and if it can be proven, the marriage will be considered null and void by the court. The following is a list of common grounds for annulment and a short explanation of each point: Bigamy - either party was already married to another person at the time of the marriage Forced Consent - one of the spouses was forced or threatened into marriage and only entered into it under duress Fraud - one of the spouses agreed to the marriage based on the lies or misrepresentation of the other Marriage Prohibited By Law - marriage between parties that based on their familial relationship is considered incestuous Mental Illness - either spouse was mentally ill or emotionally disturbed at the time of the marriage Mental Incapacity - either spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage and was unable to make informed consent Inability to Consummate Marriage - either spouse was physically incapable of having sexual relations or impotent during the marriage Underage Marriage - either spouse was too young to enter into marriage without parental consent or court approval Depending on your state of residence, a divorce can be much more complicated than an annulment. Like annulment cases, each state has its own set of laws regarding divorce. In most divorce cases, marital assets are divided and debts are settled. If the marriage has produced children, a divorce proceeding determines custody of the children, visitation rights and spousal and child support issues. Each state can have either a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. A no-fault divorce allows the dissolution of a legal marriage with neither spouse being named the "guilty party" or the cause for the marital break-up. Many states now offer the "no-fault" divorce option, a dissolution of a legal marriage in which neither party accepts blame for the marital break-up. In the absence of a "guilty party," some states require a waiting period of a legal separation before a no-fault divorce can take place. For this reason, in addition to cases where one spouse wishes to assign blame, some parties seek to expedite the legal process by pursuing a traditional, "fault" divorce. A "fault" divorce is only granted when one spouse can prove adequate grounds. Like an annulment, these grounds vary from state to state, however, there are some overarching commonalities. These guidelines often include addition to drugs, alcohol or gambling, incurable mental illness, and conviction of a crime. The major grounds for divorce that apply in every state are listed below: Adultery - one or both spouses engages in extramarital relationships with others during the marriage Desertion - one spouse abandons the other, physically and emotionally, for a lengthy period of time Physical/Emotional Abuse - one spouse subjects the other to physical or violent attacks or emotional or psychological abuse such as abusive language, and threats of physical violence.

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Terrance Gwiriri lawyer 2020-01-15 20:48:34
Why You Need to Conduct a Property Title Search

Title searches are crucial before buying or selling real property, as they might unearth an issue that could hinder the transfer of the deed. A buyer might identify a hidden debt attached to the property or a lien that might make their lender back out, while a seller might learn they don't even have the legal right to sell. Conducting a title search entails examining countless documents, including deeds, contracts, and other recorded papers, to learn whether the owner owns the property “free and clear" of any defects, such as outstanding liens or zoning violations. As the buyer, you want to make sure that you get a clear, or marketable, title so you don't have legal issues in the future. While attorneys and specialized companies can do a title search, you can also conduct one yourself. Some cities have their own websites that help prospective buyers perform some parts, but not all, of the search. Although either of these routes can be far cheaper, they may end up costing you more in the long run if you fail to identify a legal snag. Any defects in title can prevent an owner from selling the property, while those same defects can prevent a buyer from purchasing their dream home.

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Ulysses lawyer 2020-01-13 20:23:49

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