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Don't expect transfer on death accounts to help you avoid probate

There are a million reasons that people put off creating a last will or estate plan. Many people find the idea of deciding who gets what rather stressful. There is also the fact that estate planning is a continual process, with your last will requiring updates as your family situation changes.

For some people, the stress they mentally associate with estate planning can lead them to make questionable financial decisions. A common mistake is the assumption that creating beneficiaries or secondary account holders for major financial accounts will be enough to allow your estate to avoid probate. While that may work in some cases, more often, it will leave your family vulnerable to the expense and delay of probate court.

Is your commercial property protected from premises liability?

Owning commercial property is a great investment. Whether you use it to house your own business or rent the space out to other companies, you can save money or make money. There are also fewer limits on how you can utilize a property when you own it yourself.

However, there is a downside to managing a commercial property. You incur serious risk of someone getting hurt while visiting your property. That could result in massive medical bills and even a civil lawsuit for other financial concerns, such as lost wages. This risk is known as premises liability, and it is a common concern for anyone operating a business.

Why many people find trusts important during estate planning

Estate planning is a complicated process, and some people rush through it just to get it finished. However, hurrying isn't helpful when creating something as detailed and important as an estate plan.

There are many considerations that people overlook in the initial stages of estate planning that can later come back to impact the validity of their last will or how much of their assets actually pass on to their intended heirs. Issues such as challenges and probate court, or even taxes, can impact the legacy you leave behind. Creating a trust is a great way to protect your legacy.

3 ways to avoid legal trouble as a real estate professional

As a real-estate professional, there are a few ways you can find yourself facing a lawsuit. Not disclosing important information, failing to know a property well and even disclosing client information to the wrong people can create a problem for you.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to avoid a problem. By disclosing what you know about a property, walking through it before bringing in potential buyers and keeping clients' information safe, you'll dramatically reduce the likelihood of being involved in a lawsuit in the future.

Are you overdue to update your will?

It is general knowledge for most of the public that every adult needs a will if they have any property. Too often, however, those who create a will simply "set it and forget it," leaving their estate open to numerous complications. While having some form of a will is usually better than having no will at all, it is crucial to update your will any time that you experience a significant life event that may alter the will's terms.

Even if you don't experience significant life changes after establishing your will, the laws that govern estate planning may shift significantly at both a state and federal level without much fanfare or publicity. Whether you experience any of the life changes we discuss here or not, it is still wise to review your will every three to five years to make sure that changes in the law do not affect the will and your wishes for your estate.

Watch out for these 4 business lawsuits

There are many kinds of lawsuits that small business owners should look out for if they run their own businesses. These lawsuits can quickly become a problem for a business, costing it all its profits or threatening to force the owner to shut down.

There are a few kinds of lawsuits that are common among businesses. These include employment law actions, intellectual property rights, contractual disputes and fraud. Each one of these has the potential to get your business into hot water.

How a DUI affects your business

When you're running a business, one thing that you don't want to have on your record is a DUI. A DUI is bad for business for a number of reasons. First, if you cause an accident, your name may appear in the paper or online. When that happens, your DUI could be linked to your company, which may cost you customers.

Another reason that having a DUI is bad for business is that it makes it harder for you to drive or get insurance to drive. If you lose your license, for example, you may not be able to make it to corporate meetings or to work on time, damaging the reputation of your business.

The real estate market is still feeling rumblings from 2007

The recession of 2007 may just be a bad memory for most people, but for many in the real estate market, its effects still linger.

With roughly 8 million homes lost to either short sales or foreclosures, it's understandable that there are still reverberations in the industry.

Should you settle for a handshake deal?

It is tempting to assume that a handshake deal is good enough, especially when you start entering into business with people you know and trust.

For instance, perhaps you started your own company three years ago. You made a lot of friends and really got connected in the community. You met other business owners with similar companies. Eventually, you started spending your free time with them, as well. You became friends.

Start off right: The importance of business incorporation

When you have an incredible idea for a business, service or product, it is completely natural to want to move quickly to make that idea into a money-generating reality. Many people who want to start their own business focus on the smaller details, like packaging and naming products, rather than the legal technicalities involved with forming and operating a business.

Whether you intend to own and operate the business on your own or you plan to partner with investors, you should take some time to consider your options. For many small and medium-sized business owners, a sole ownership or partnership may be all that you need to begin business operations. However, if you anticipate any kind of liability or financial risk, it may be in your best interests to seriously consider forming a corporation.

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Kenneth L. Baritz & Associates, P.C.
100 S Broad Street Suite 1205
Philadelphia, PA 19110

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