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This is not our first rant about online DIY legal planning. Here are some good reasons why generic legal documents are no good. This post, specifically, is about generic operating agreements for your business. If you own an LLC, you should have an operating agreement for your company.
We hear the term “non-profit” bandied about a lot in the news and in the community. I believe that most people have a very specific thing in mind when they hear non-profit, but it can actually be used to refer to a few different types of organizations.
There are a few different types of tax-exempt statuses with the IRS. [Read more…] about Legacy Planning: Private Foundation vs. Public Charity
As an asset protection attorney I get a lot of questions about how to protect home equity. For a lot of people that is one of their most valuable assets. And its no surprise that home owners are building more equity and are concerned about keeping it safe and sound. Reading some recent news headlines you’ll see home prices are rising faster in Washington than any other state and Seattle home prices continue to rocket up and break record prices. [Read more…] about How to protect your home equity
A Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) provides one of the highest levels of asset protection planning without going “offshore” (planning in a foreign country). The DAPT is an irrevocable trust with spendthrift provisions. In regular English, this is a legal fiction (the trust) allowing a person to shield their assets from lawsuits and creditors. Unlike most irrevocable trusts, you are not completely giving up the use or benefit of the assets in the trust. [Read more…] about Asset Protection Attorney Definitions: Domestic Asset Protection Trust
Many people don’t understand why they need a Personal Representative AND a Financial Power of Attorney. However, let’s first start with the definitions of the two:
Personal Representative (sometimes an Executor or Administrator) – this is when an individual has the right and responsibility to manage the finances, property, and other assets of the deceased; the individual is appointed by the Court during the probate process, having been designated in a last will, or the individual is chosen by the court if there is no will.
An aside: If the deceased has chosen to avoid probate, then there is a Trustee instead of Personal Representative and is the person in charge of administering the trust.
Financial Power of Attorney (a.k.a. Durable Power of Attorney) – this is when you give another person legal authority to act on your behalf, by making financial or legal decisions for you, when you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to.
They sound similar and they kind of are BUT the Personal Representative comes into play after death and the Power of Attorney is in effect any time that you are alive, but unable to communicate for yourself. So, a person designated as your agent with Financial Power of Attorney would be able to act on your behalf if you are in a coma, in the hospital, or out in the woods outside of cell phone reception and there’s an emergency in your family or business.
You can give your agent with Financial Power of Attorney as much or as little power as you’d like. One example is that Colin was able to fill out legal banking documents on my behalf while I was out of town because he is designated as my agent with Financial Power of Attorney.
(My debit card number got stolen. Colin and I were adamant about working with and supporting a more local bank and although they win at customer service most of the time, it *can* be inconvenient if you have a jet-setting lifestyle)
The Personal Representative duties can also be divided up. For instance, we have known people who have designated a separate Administrator or Personal Representative for their business and for their personal estate.
An estate planning attorney can help you decide what structure is right for you.
Colin Ley is a Seattle estate planning attorney. He is also the co-founder of LayRoots along with his wife, Shreya.