Benefits of Revocable Living Trust

When it comes to your estate plan, you should also consider whether or not to set up a Revocable Living Trust to be a part of it. You need to know and be open-minded about the benefits  of a Revocable Living Trust to a Last will and testament. Consider the following:

  1. Keep your estate plan private. The filing of all probate documents with the local probate court is one of the requirements of a probate. Each probate pleads a part of the public court records that anybody can read, including your Last Will and Testament, the list of beneficiaries and assets and a summary of who’s getting what, how and when they can get it.

revocable living trust

  1. Plan for Mental Disability. Another main benefits of a Revocable Living Trust is the ability to establish mental disability planning right into the trust. The trust can detail how your mental inability should be determined, how you should be taken care of when you cannot physically function well anymore, and who will you authorize to manage your property as your Disability Trustee.
  1. Avoid probate. The most acknowledged benefit of a Revocable Living Trust is the avoiding of probate. It is also usually the one that convinces the majority of people to put one up. A Revocable Living Trust helps you avoid probate if your assets are titled in the name of your trust at the time of your death. As simple as that. On the contrary, assets left out of your trust at the time of your death will be probated.  Although in some states probate may be necessary even with a fully funded Revocable Living Trust in order to limit creditors’ entitlements and/or challenges to the validity of the trust or choice of the successor Trustee.

Are Fired Employees Eligible for a Severance Package?

are-fired-employees-eligible-for-a-severance-packageSeverance usually takes the form of pay and/or benefits that an employee receives once s/he leaves a company. Often severance takes the form of pay for unused vacation time, compensation for a late notice period, and some form of retirement benefit.

Severance Pay in California.  Are employers in California, though, required to make severance payments? Well, California calls severance pay “separation pay” or “termination pay” and typically doesn’t require it from employers.

By whichever name it takes, severance pay is not completely guaranteed in California, but you could receive some compensation if you were, for instance, involved in a mass layoff or signed a contract guaranteeing you severance pay.

Who’s Entitled to Severance?  Severance compensation is sometimes given to employees in California who have been terminated or who have decided to leave a company after years of gainful employment.

In many cases severance pay acts as a life raft to keep California’s recently unemployed afloat financially. The additional months of income can help someone recently unemployed make utility, mortgage and other kinds of basic payments.

As a general rule of thumb, though, an employer in California is not legally obligated to give his or her employees severance packages. The exception to this rule would be an employer-employee contract that stipulated a severance package.

Likelihood of Receiving Severance.  More often than not, severance packages are given to employees based on the employer’s capacity to make future severance payments.

Many employers, especially those running small businesses, simply cannot make severance payments and, therefore, omit severance packages from employment contracts.

Two other factors that may determine your likelihood of receiving a severance package in California are employment history and the way in which you left the company.

If you’ve been with the company for fifteen years, as opposed to two years, you’re more likely to receive a severance package.

Additionally, if you left the company and your employer on good terms – as opposed to a termination because of some workplace negligence – then you’re also more likely to get a severance package from your employer.

That said, employers in California are usually not legally obligated to make severance payments.

When Will You Receive Severance?  If your employer worked in a severance package into the employment contract that you signed with your employer, perhaps as an incentive to take the job in the first place, then you are legally entitled to receive severance.

In California, as in other states, severance payments could be much more than simply the employer thanking the employee for years of hard work.

Severance can, in some instances, preclude an employee from working with a company’s economic competitor or prevent a terminated employee from receiving unemployment compensation.

WARN and Compensation in California.  The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a labor law in the United States that helps to protect terminated employees and their families from mass layoffs.

Specifically, an employer must provide 60 calendar days or more of advance notice to employees before mass terminations or disruption of plant operations, provided the employer employs more than 100 individuals.

In the state of California, if certain employers fail to give 60 calendar days of advanced notice, then California ex-employees may actually be legally entitled to receive severance payments for months after employment.

Summing Up California Severance.  In most cases severance is determined by how long the employer has been with the company and the employers financial ability to make severance payments.

An employer in California is usually not required to provide severance. Exceptions are mass layoffs protected under WARN and employment contracts that stipulate severance payments upfront.


Starting a Business the Easy Way

To start a business, you have to plan and make key financial decisions and complete a series of legal activities. Here is how to start a business the easiest way to you plan, prepare and manage your business.

  1. Write a Business Plan. Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
  2. Seek for Business Assistance and Effective Training. Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
  3. Look for the Most Ideal Business Location. Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
  4. Capitalization. Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
  5. Know what Legal Structure your Business is in. Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
  6. Register a “catchy” Business Name. Register your business name with your state government.
  7. Have a Tax Identification Number issued. Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
  8. Register for State and Local Taxes. Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
  9. Secure Licenses and Permits. Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
  10. Consider and Learn More about Employer Responsibilities. Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

These are simple yet very powerful ways that you may follow in order to start a business the positive way. Key into this and know your business are growing and becoming more efficient.


Why Would a Business Need an Employee Handbook?

why-would-a-business-need-an-employee-handbookDoes Your Business Need An Employee Handbook?

In today’s society, it is important to understand that any dispute can lead to potential litigation. Employers and employees are ending up in litigation procedures at an ever increasing rate, meaning it should be in the utmost of interest to employers that they protect themselves by using every resource and tool possible to their advantage.

A well-defined employee handbook is one of these resources that can aid an employer against any claims brought against them. An employee handbook is not just a company policy overview; it can be used as a tool to prevent litigation issues that may arise. This manual is your handwritten policy of procedures and it serves to give employees a better understanding of your company policies by:

• Giving employees a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities
• Providing consistent employment relationships
• Setting forth a philosophy on the employers part by maintaining a union free environment
• Giving your employees the comfort and peace of mind knowing that they are working in a professional environment

What Exactly Is An Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is your written documentation which provides an overview and explanation of your company policies and procedures. This document is for both existing employees and new ones hired over time. They do not need to be long and over-explained, but they should contain certain information, such as:

• Equal employer opportunity statement
• At-will employment disclaimer
• Benefits information
• Anti-harassment policies

Your company’s employee handbook is a human resources tool that essentially sets all the standards that your employees must follow. Management can also refer to this guide when situations arise with employees who violate workplace policies and guidelines set forth in the manual. Management must be trained properly in the manuals contents so that they are able to deal with any situations that may come from workplace related issues.

Is Your Business Too Small To Have An Employee Handbook?

Some employers think that just because they only have a handful of employees, that they don’t need to institute an employee handbook. They think that simply telling everyone the rules will be enough. This could not be further from the truth. Without written documentation of expectations, you could put yourself in a situation where you have nothing to back up your enforcement rules. Many states require that an employer have a handbook in place if they even have only one employee. This is to protect the rights of an employer in the event a litigation battle comes about.

You can protect yourself legally when it comes to intellectual property, copyright issues and trademarks associated with your company. An employee handbook is not just a pamphlet on company rules, it is an invaluable tool used to protect everyone involved within the organization.

What Should You Put In Your Employee Handbook?

As mentioned above, there are a few key elements that you will want to make sure are included when you write your own handbook. A very well written and thought out manual will make sure you have all bases covered to protect yourself, while giving your employees a better understanding of what is expected of them. A poorly written and quickly thrown together manual, however, could have devastating consequences to you and your company should any case ever be brought to litigation. If you do not choose your words carefully, your handbook could be misconstrued, which could leave you vulnerable when trying to defend yourself against accusations. Arm yourself with the best resource of all and implement a well-crafted employee handbook.


What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

what-is-the-family-and-medical-leave-actThe Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives you up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to help an immediate family member with a serious health condition. The Act, which became law in 1993, also allows you to use that time to take 12 weeks from work to:

  • Resolve your own serious health condition
  • Give birth
  • Bond with your newborn
  • Bond with your adopted child
  • Bond with your new foster child

You are allowed to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month time frame when your family member is in the military. This gives you the right to care for a covered service member who has a serious health problem. The service member must be in the following category:

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Immediate blood relative
  • Child

What is an Immediate Family Member under FMLA?

The term “immediate family member” is defined by each state. Federal law defines a family member in this category as a spouse, parent or child. However, some states include a domestic partner, grandparent, sibling and mother or father-in-law.

Required Proof Needed to Take Leave under FMLA

Proof of a serious medical condition is not included in the law. In other words, you are not required to show proof that you have to take medical leave. However, your employer is allowed to ask you for proof such as certification from your or your family member’s health care provider. Your employer may do so either when you make the request or five business days after the request.

If your employer does ask you for proof, you have 15 calendar days to provide the documentation. Your employer may also contact the health care provider to obtain any clarification or authentication. You employer is not allow to ask any personal questions regarding your medical leave. They may only obtain the needed documentation.

Should You Use Your Paid or FMLA Unpaid Leave First?

The answer to that question can only be answered by your employer. Many employers require workers to use their paid leave prior to requesting FMLA leave. If your employer does not, it may still make sense to use paid time off first. After all, losing income can create a financial burden. If you decide to take your paid leave first, you are still entitled to take FMLA leave after that.

Are You Considered an Eligible Employee?

Only eligible employees are allowed to use FMLA unpaid leave. The law defines an eligible employee as one who:

  • Works at least 1,200 hours in a 12-month period.
  • Has worked for his or her employer at least 12 months prior to asking for the unpaid leave.

If you want to know whether you are included in this category or not, you will need to check with your company’s human resource department. You want to make sure you are an eligible employee before making the request.

The purpose of the FMLA is to ensure that an employee does not have to choose between work and family. You can receive unpaid time off from work when you have a medical emergency in your family or need to bond with a child. Before requesting time off under the FMLA, you want to check with your employer to make sure that you are an eligible employee.

If you feel you’ve met the criteria, but are still having issues getting your benefits, you may wish to retain the support of an employment attorney.


Government and Business

Businesses in the United States are directed by government regulation although they can set their own set of styles, procedure, models and type of growth. There are a variety of laws that handle businesses which may affect the latter in some ways and can define illegality or misconduct over setting the financial status and operational codes for a certain business to follow. Business laws are then divided into several primary groups which have to do with the type or the aspect of what business they affect.

Regulatory laws are standards that go with the operation of businesses in different situations. Most business laws are regulatory although there are several categories of legislation that apply more to growing and competitive industries than others. The environmental laws and building code laws for example, are formulated by state governments and the federal government as well. Moreover, there are also certain regulatory laws that must be applied for international trade and the procedures complied for business licensing.

Labor laws are regulations that have much to do with the workers or the employees. It pertains straightly to how business sources treat their employees who are responsible for the production and circulation of growth. These laws are what we can classify to minimum wage regulations, wage garnishment rules and worker protection rules. An example of this is the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. The older laws just like the Child Labor Protection Acts and Occupational Safety and Health rules are also among these so-called Labor laws. The approval and implementation of many other insurance and benefit programs for employees are still ongoing and developing.

It is mandatory to have an updated report of a business’ financial status to the government. That’s what makes Tax laws essential to businesses. There are various methods that businesses can use when reporting its income and expenses. Say for example, the accrual method of accounting is applied for businesses over a certain size. On the other hand, the depreciation schedules can also be chosen from a limited number of choices. Additional methods can have their own set of regulations.

There should be a law that reports the up to date finances to investors and the government. That is what we call the Reporting laws. These laws are done for transparency purposes and also to set standards, incorporating the business or businesses. Reporting laws are likely same with the function of tax laws, only that it is more concerned over possible emergence of fraud and misconduct which are cases that should be avoided at firsthand.




Employment, Uncategorized

Should I be Paid by My Employer While on Jury Duty?

should-i-be-paid-by-my-employer-while-on-jury-dutyOne of the most important parts of our judicial system in the United States is the right to be tried by a jury of your peers. Those peers are selected from a pool of eligible jurors, usually from the area that the case is being heard. At one time they were selected from the list of registered voters. However, today the list is compiled from people who file taxes, have driver’s licenses, bought a house, and many other ways. If you are a citizen in the US, you can be called to serve jury duty. Juries are usually made up of six to twelve jurors.

The jurors who are called upon to serve jury duty are required by law to serve for however long the trial takes. While this is one of most important civic duties a person can participate in, it can be difficult for a juror to put their life on hold while participating. Their families and their jobs can suffer. There are many people who try to avoid serving on jury due to this disruption. One of the biggest concerns is loss of pay. While the Federal government does not have any specific law handling pay during jury duty, jury duty is somewhat covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensuring that an employee cannot be fired for serving jury duty. The matter of pay during that service is covered by State law and each state has different laws for handling this issue.

There are currently seven states that require employers to pay employees – Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee. There are also eleven states who do not allow employers to require employees to take any kind of paid leave, such as sick leave or paid vacation time, while serving jury duty. But each state has different specifics for jury duty. Some of these laws include:

  • Payment of up to a specific amount for a set number of days
  • Payment of full time wages during absence
  • Requires unpaid leave for the duration of jury duty
  • Prohibits penalizing an employee for time spent in jury duty
  • Employee must retain the same position as when they left for jury duty

While the laws vary from state to state, most protect the employee from being penalized for participating. However, the majority of states do not require the employer to provide any type of financial compensation for time spent on jury duty. The states that do require employer payment to the juror, put limitations on it. Most only pay for three to five days of jury duty participation. Also, the amount is limited, such as no more than $50.00 per day. These requirements are also usually limited only to full time employees. So, a part time employee who gets called to jury duty would not be eligible for this benefit.

Serving jury duty is an important civic service, the small amount that the courts pay to those who participate on the jury does not usually make up the loss in pay. With so few states requiring employers to pay wages to employees on jury duty, it is no wonder so many are hesitant to take part in jury duty. It is not unheard of for cases to drag on for much longer than the jury members can afford to lose. While they are assured of having their jobs when they return, the financial burden may be tougher to overcome.