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10 Important Tips to Successful Real Estate Investing

Be a Real Estate Investor – 10 Important Secrets

When it comes to investing, everybody has certain goals and aspirations. However, we have found that there are certain guidelines every aspiring real estate investor needs to know:

1. Compare Property Values and Rents

Financial statistics only go so far; the best measure of a property’s market value is often the sale prices of nearby properties. The same holds true for area rents. A low price can often be justified by a reasonable rent; renters who can afford a high rent can afford to buy instead, so reasonably priced rent is a need.

2. Be Careful – Tax Laws May Change

Don’t base your tax investment on current tax laws. The tax code is constantly changing, and a good investment is a good investment regardless of the tax code. The right property with the right financing is what you should look for as an investor.

3. Specialize In Something You Know

Start in a market segment you know. Whether you focus on fixer-uppers, foreclosures, starter homes, low-down payment properties, condominiums, or small apartment buildings, you’ll benefit from experience by specializing in one aspect of investment real estate properties.

4. Know The Costs Going In!

Know the financial statements inside out. What are operating expenses?

What are loan payments? Vacancy costs? Taxes? What does the cash flow statement look like? These are key issues that must be addressed before making a solid investment.

5. Know Where Your Tenants Are Coming From

If the last rent increase was recent, your tenants may be considering a move. If tenants have a short-term lease, they may be living there simply to attract unsuspecting buyers. It is also important to collect the tenants’ security deposits at closing.

6. Assess The Tax Situation

Taxes are an integral part of successful real estate investing, and they often make the difference between a positive cash flow and a negative one. Know the tax situation, and see how it can be
manipulated to your advantage. It may be a good idea to consult a tax advisor.

7. Investigate Insurance Coverage

If seller’s coverage is based on lower-than-current replacement value, your insurance cost may increase when you pay a higher purchase price.

8. Confirm Utility Costs

Ask the local utilities to verify recent utility expenses, especially if any of these costs are included in your tenant’s rent.

9. Consult Your Accountant

Taxation is a key element of successful real estate investing, so be sure to find an accountant who is well-versed with the constantly evolving tax code.

10. Inspect!

Make sure that you always perform a thorough inspection of the property before buying it. Never, ever buy any property without at least examining the site. In some cases, hiring professional inspectors to examine the structural mechanical system may be a sound investment.

Government Housing Links You Need

Federal Agency Housing Links

Homeless Information and Resources in California

Statewide

Regional

click here!Click here for more information from the HUD Shelters and Emergency Housing page.

Resources for Home Buyers/Owners

If you have a complaint against a bank or lending institution, click on the links available below:

Resources for Renters

Important Of Probate Services

If the person who has died leaves a will ; In this case one or more ‘executors’ may be named in the will to deal with the person’s affairs after their death. The executor applies for a ‘grant of probate’ from the probate court”s registry. It is a legal document giving the executor the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets (property, savings, investments and other possessions). The executor can use the grant of probate to sort out the assets of the deceased, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the will.
If the person who has died didn’t leave a will ; If someone dies without making a will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. If this happens, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their estate (property, personal possessions and money).
If there is no will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. If the grant is given, they are known as ‘administrators’ of the estate. The grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms the administrator’s authority to deal with the assets of the deceased, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out under the intestacy rules.
When a grant is needed
A grant is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:

  • property or land held in their sole name or held as ‘tenants in common’
  • stocks or shares
  • certain insurance policies
  • Large amounts of cash in banks/building societies
In the majority of cases the bank or financial institution will need to see the grant of probate or letter of administration before transferring control of the assets. However if the estate is small, some organisations, such as insurance companies and building societies, may release money to you at their discretion.
A grant of representation may not be needed where:

  • the person who died left less than 5,000
  • they owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner (as opposed to a tenancy in common)
Money in joint accounts
The deceased person may have held money with another person in a joint bank or building society account. Normally this means that the surviving joint owner automatically owns the money. The money does not form part of the deceased person’s estate for the purpose of administration and therefore does not need to be dealt with by the executor or administrator. However, a deceased’s person’s share in joint property is treated as part of their estate for inheritance tax purposes, both on death and on gifts made during their lifetime
Probate and Inheritance Tax
The executor or personal representative will not be granted probate until some or all of any Inheritance Tax that is due on the estate has been paid.

Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
Easylawyers can avoid the difficulty involved if obtaining a grant of

$18 Billion for Struggling California Homeowners

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced an historic commitment to California of up to $18 billion that will benefit hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the state hardest hit by the mortgage crisis.

“California families will finally see substantial relief after experiencing so much pain from the mortgage crisis,” said Attorney General Harris. “Hundreds of thousands of homeowners will directly benefit from this California commitment.”

“This outcome is the result of an insistence that California receive a fair deal commensurate with the harm done here. We insisted on homeowner relief for Californians and demanded enforceability so homeowners actually see a benefit that will allow them to stay in their homes, and preserved our ability to investigate banker crime and predatory lending,” continued Harris.

California secured the $18 billion agreement as part of a national multistate settlement to penalize robo-signing and other bank servicing and foreclosure misconduct. The agreement comes after California departed from the multistate negotiations last September when the estimated relief to California was $4 billion. Attorney General Harris insisted on more relief for the most distressed homeowners, meaningful enforcement, and the ability of California and other states to pursue investigations into misconduct.

California’s participation in the settlement also increased the amount of relief other states will receive by approximately $6 billion.

Attorney General Harris also obtained separate, enforceable guarantees to ensure that banks will be accountable for their commitments to California. As part of the separate California guarantee, banks must enact a minimum of $12 billion in principal reductions for California homeowners. Failure to achieve this minimum level of reductions will result in substantial cash payments of up to $800 million that the banks will have to pay to the state. Unlike the larger multistate agreement, which is enforceable in a federal court in Washington, D.C., this payment provision empowers the Attorney General to summon the banks to California state court.

California’s separate guarantee also creates important incentives to ensure that banks will reduce the principal mortgage balance of underwater homeowners in California’s hardest-hit counties and that the principal reductions in these communities will occur within the first year of the settlement.

To speed investigations and strengthen prosecutions of these mortgage cases, California will expand its Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, adding to the more than 42 members already working on the team. The state will continue its investigative alliance with Nevada, that allows the sharing of resources, information and strategies, and will look to collaborate with additional states focused on a law enforcement response to the wave of mortgage fraud.

The national multistate agreement and California commitment will provide substantial relief for thousands of Californians whose mortgages are owned by the five banks in the settlement, but thousands more will still need help as they struggle to stay in their homes.

“I will continue to fight for principal reductions for the approximately 60 percent of California homeowners whose loans are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Attorney General Harris added.

Attorney General Harris will propose a comprehensive legislative agenda to protect homeowners in the mortgage market. This legislation will build on the three-year reforms agreed to as part of the California commitment, including a single point of contact for mortgage-holders and an end to the unfair and confusing system of dual-track foreclosures.

“This is an historic amount of relief for California homeowners, but it is one piece of a broader focus. We will continue our crackdown on mortgage fraud and quickly move to pass legislation that will simplify, reform and upgrade our broken mortgage system,” Harris added.

The financial benefits of this historic agreement extend to homeowners whose loans are owned or serviced by one of the five largest mortgage lenders. Benefits include:

  • More than $12 billion is guaranteed to reduce the principal on loans or offer short sales to approximately 250,000 California homeowners who are underwater on their loans and behind or almost behind in their payments.
  • $849 million is estimated to be dedicated to refinancing the loans of 28,000 homeowners who are current on their payments but underwater on their loans.
  • $279 million will be dedicated to offering restitution to approximately 140,000 California homeowners who were foreclosed upon between 2008 and December 31, 2011.
  • $1.1 billion is estimated to be distributed to homeowners for unemployed payment forbearance and transition assistance as well as to communities to repair the blight and devastation left by waves of foreclosures, targeted at 16,000 recent foreclosures.
  • $3.5 billion will be dedicated to relieving 32,000 homeowners of unpaid balances remaining when their homes are foreclosed.
  • $430 million in costs, fees and penalty payments.

County-specific payments are based on the number of homeowners and the depth of the foreclosure crisis. It is estimated that homeowners in the following counties will accrue the following level of benefits over the three-year life of the commitment.

  • Los Angeles: $3.92 billion
  • Riverside: $1.59 billion
  • San Bernardino: $1.13 billion
  • Sacramento: $820 million
  • Stanislaus County: $368 million

Additional details on the settlement, including how homeowners can apply for relief, can be found at www.oag.ca.gov.

Eligible homeowners should be contacted by the five participating banks.  However, individuals who are interested or concerned may wish to initiate the process by contacting the banks for more information.

Ally / GMAC…………………….. 800-766-4622

Bank of America……………….. 877-488-7814 (M-F 7:00 am to 9:00 pm Central Time and Saturday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm)

Citi………………………………… 866-272-4749

JPMorgan Chase……………….. 866-372-6901

Wells Fargo……………………… 800-288-3212 (M-F, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Central Time)

Q-A Series – HUD and FHA

Q. WHAT IS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Also known as HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was established in 1965 to develop national policies and programs to address housing needs in the U.S. One of HUD’s primary missions is to create a suitable living environment for all Americans by developing and improving the country’s communities and enforcing fair housing laws

Q. HOW DOES HUD HELP HOMEBUYERS AND HOMEOWNERS

HUD helps people by administering a variety of programs that develop and support affordable housing. Specifically, HUD plays a large role in homeownership by making loans available for lower- and moderate-income families through its FHA mortgage insurance program and its HUD Homes program. HUD owns homes in many communities throughout the U.S. and offers them for sale at attractive prices and economical terms. HUD also seeks to protect consumers through education, Fair Housing Laws, and housing rehabilitation initiatives.

Q. WHAT IS THE FHA

Now an agency within HUD, the Federal Housing Administration was established in 1934 to advance opportunities for Americans to own homes. By providing private lenders with mortgage insurance, the FHA gives them the security they need to lend to first-time buyers who might not be able to qualify for conventional loans. The FHA has helped more than 26 million Americans buy a home.

Q. HOW CAN THE FHA ASSIST ME IN BUYING A HOME

The FHA works to make homeownership a possibility for more Americans. With the FHA, you don’t need perfect credit or a high-paying job to qualify for a loan. The FHA also makes loans more accessible by requiring smaller down payments than conventional loans. In fact, an FHA down payment could be as little as a few months rent. And your monthly payments may not be much more than rent.

Q. HOW IS THE FHA FUNDED

Lender claims paid by the FHA mortgage insurance program are drawn from the Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund. This fund is made up of premiums paid by FHA-insured loan borrowers. No tax dollars are used to fund the program.

Q. WHO CAN QUALIFY FOR FHA LOANS

anyone who meets the credit requirements, can afford the mortgage payments and cash investment, and who plans to use the mortgaged property as a primary residence may apply for an FHA-insured loan.

Q. WHAT IS THE FHA LOAN LIMIT

FHA loan limits vary throughout the country, from $115,200 in low-cost areas to $208,800 in high-cost areas. The loan maximums for multi-unit homes are higher than those for single units and also vary by area.

Because these maximums are linked to the conforming loan limit and average area home prices, FHA loan limits are periodically subject to change. Ask your lender for details and confirmation of current limits.

Q. WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN THE FHA LOAN PROCESS

With the exception of a few additional forms, the FHA loan application process is similar to that of a conventional loan (see Question 47). With new automation measures, FHA loans may be originated more quickly than before. And, if you don’t prefer a face-to-face meeting, you can apply for an FHA loan via mail, telephone, the Internet, or video conference.

Q. HOW MUCH INCOME DO I NEED TO HAVE TO QUALIFY FOR AN FHA LOAN

There is no minimum income requirement. But you must prove steady income for at least three years, and demonstrate that you’ve consistently paid your bills on time.

Q. WHAT QUALIFIES AS AN INCOME SOURCE FOR THE FHA

Seasonal pay, child support, retirement pension payments, unemployment compensation, VA benefits, military pay, Social Security income, alimony, and rent paid by family all qualify as income sources. Part-time pay, overtime, and bonus pay also count as long as they are steady. Special savings plans-such as those set up by a church or community association – qualify, too. Income type is not as important as income steadiness with the FHA.

Q. CAN I CARRY DEBT AND STILL QUALIFY FOR FHA LOANS

Yes. Short-term debt doesn’t count as long as it can be paid off within 10 months. And some regular expenses, like child care costs, are not considered debt. Talk to your lender or real estate agent about meeting the FHA debt-to-income ratio.

Q. WHAT IS THE DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO FOR FHA LOANS

The FHA allows you to use 29% of your income towards housing costs and 41% towards housing expenses and other long-term debt. With a conventional loan, this qualifying ratio allows only 28% toward housing and 36% towards housing and other debt

Q. CAN I EXCEED THIS RATIO

You may qualify to exceed if you have:
– a large down payment
– a demonstrated ability to pay more toward your housing expenses
– substantial cash reserves
– net worth enough to repay the mortgage regardless of income
– evidence of acceptable credit history or limited credit use
– less-than-maximum mortgage terms
– funds provided by an organization
– a decrease in monthly housing expenses

Q. HOW LARGE A DOWN PAYMENT DO I NEED WITH AN FHA LOAN

You must have a down payment of at least 3% of the purchase price of the home. Most affordable loan programs offered by private lenders require between a 3%-5% down payment, with a minimum of 3% coming directly from the borrower’s own funds.

Q. WHAT CAN I USE TO PAY THE DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS OF AN FHA LOAN

Besides your own funds, you may use cash gifts or money from a private savings club. If you can do certain repairs and improvements yourself, your labor may be used as part of a down 8 payment (called -sweat equity”). If you are doing a lease purchase, paying extra rent to the seller may also be considered the same as accumulating cash.

Q. HOW DOES MY CREDIT HISTORY IMPACT MY ABILITY TO QUALIFY

The FHA is generally more flexible than conventional lenders in its qualifying guidelines. In fact, the FHA allows you to re-establish credit if:
– two years have passed since a bankruptcy has been discharged
– all judgments have been paid
– any outstanding tax liens have been satisfied or appropriate arrangements have been made to establish a repayment plan with the IRS or state Department of Revenue
– three years have passed since a foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu has been resolved

Q. CAN I QUALIFY FOR AN FHA LOAN WITHOUT A CREDIT HISTORY

Yes. If you prefer to pay debts in cash or are too young to have established credit, there are other ways to prove your eligibility. Talk to your lender for details.

Q. WHAT TYPES OF CLOSING COSTS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH FHA-INSURED LOANS

Except for the addition of an FHA mortgage insurance premium, FHA closing costs are similar to those of a conventional loan outlined in Question 63. The FHA requires a single, upfront mortgage insurance premium equal to 2.25% of the mortgage to be paid at closing (or 1.75% if you complete the HELP program- see Question 91). This initial premium may be partially refunded if the loan is paid in full during the first seven years of the loan term. After closing, you will then be responsible for an annual premium – paid monthly – if your mortgage is over 15 years or if you have a 15-year loan with an LTV greater than 90%.

Q. CAN I ROLL CLOSING COSTS INTO my FHA LOAN

No. Though you can’t roll closing costs into your FHA loan, you may be able to use the amount you pay for them to help satisfy the down payment requirement. Ask your lender for details.

Q. ARE FHA LOANS ASSUMABLE

Yes. You can assume an existing FHA-insured loan, or, if you are the one deciding to sell, allow a buyer to assume yours. Assuming a loan can be very beneficial, since the process is streamlined and less expensive compared to that for a new loan. Also, assuming a loan can often result in a lower interest rate. The application process consists basically of a credit check and no property appraisal is required. And you must demonstrate that you have enough income to support the mortgage loan. In this way, qualifying to assume a loan is similar to the qualification requirements for a new one.

Q. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CAN’T MAKE A PAYMENT ON LOAN

Call or, write to your lender as soon as possible. Clearly explain the situation and be prepared to provide him or her with financial information.

Q. ARE THERE ANY OPTIONS IF I FALL BEHIND ON MY LOAN PAYMENTS

Yes. Talk to your lender or a HUD-approved counseling agency for details. Listed below are a few options that may help you get back on track.

For FHA loans:
– Keep living in your home to qualify for assistance.
– Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency (1-800-569-4287 or TDD: 1-800-483-2209) and cooperate with the counselor/lender trying to help you.
– HUD has a number of special loss mitigation programs available to help you:
– Special Forbearance: Your lender will arrange for a revised repayment plan which may Include temporary reduction or suspension of payments; you can qualify by having an Involuntary reduction in your Income or Increase In living expenses.
– Mortgage Modification: Allows refinance debt and/or extend the term of the your mortgage loan which may reduce your monthly payments; you can qualify if you have recovered from financial problems, but net Income Is less than before.
– Partial Claim: Your lender maybe able to help you obtain an interest-free loan from HUD to bring your mortgage current.
– Pre-foreclosure Sale: Allows you to sell your property and pay off your mortgage loan ,to avoid foreclosure.
– Deed-in lieu of Foreclosure: Lets you voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender; it won’t save your house but will help you avoid the costs, time, and effort of the foreclosure process.
– If you are having difficulty with an-uncooperative lender or feel your loan servicer is not providing you with the most effective loss mitigation options, call the FHA Loss Mitigation Center at 1-888-297-8685 for additional help.

For Conventional Loans:

Talk to your lender about specific loss mitigation options. Work directly with him or her to request a “workout packet.” A secondary lender, like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, may have purchased your loan. Your lender can follow the appropriate guidelines set by Fannie or Freddie to determine the best option for your situation.

Fannie Mae does not deal directly with the borrower. They work with the lender to determine the loss mitigation program that best fits your needs.

Freddie Mac, like Fannie Mae, will usually only work with the loan servicer. However, if you encounter problems with your lender during the loss mitigation process, you can coil customer service for help at 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343).

In any loss mitigation situation, it is important to remember a few helpful hints:
– Explore every reasonable alternative to avoid losing your home, but beware of scams. For example, watch out for:

Equity skimming: a buyer offers to repay the mortgage or sell the property if you sign over the deed and move out.
Phony counseling agencies: offer counseling for a fee when it is often given at no charge.

– Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.

Q. WHAT IS A 203(b) LOAN

This is the most commonly used FHA program. It offers a low down payment, flexible qualifying guidelines, limited lender’s fees, and a maximum loan amount.

Q. WHAT IS A 203(k) LOAN

This is a loan that enables the homebuyer to finance both the purchase and rehabilitation of a home through a single mortgage. A portion of the loan is used to pay off the seller’s existing mortgage and the remainder is placed in an escrow account and released as rehabilitation is completed. Basic guidelines for 203(k) loans are as follows:
– The home must be at least one year old.
– The cost of rehabilitation must be at least $5,000, but the total property value – including the cost of repairs – must fall within the FHA maximum mortgage limit.
– The 203(k) loan must follow many of the 203(b) eligibility requirements.
– Talk to your lender about specific improvement, energy efficiency, and structural guidelines.

Q. WHAT IS AN ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGE (EEM)

The Energy Efficient Mortgage allows a homebuyer to save future money on utility bills. This is done by financing the cost of adding energy-efficiency features to a new or existing home as part of an FHA-insured home purchase. The EEM can be used with both 203(b) and 203(k) loans. Basic guidelines for EEMs are as follows:
– The cost of improvements must be determined by a Home Energy Rating System or by an energy consultant. This cost must be less than the anticipated savings from the improvements.
– One- and two-unit new or existing homes are eligible; condos are not.
– The improvements financed may be 5% of property value or $4,000, whichever is greater. The total must fall within the FHA loan limit.

Q. WHAT IS A TITLE I LOAN

Given by a Lender and insured by the FHA, a Title I loan is used to make non-luxury renovations and repairs to a home. It offers a manageable interest rate and repayment schedule. Loans are limited to between $5,000 and 20,000. If the loan amount is under 7,500, no lien is required against your home. Ask your lender for details.

Q. WHAT OTHER LOAN PRODUCTS OR PROGRAMS DOES THE FHA OFFER

The FHA also insures loans for the purchase or rehabilitation of manufactured housing, condominiums, and cooperatives. It also has special programs for urban areas, disaster victims, and members of the armed forces. Insurance for ARMS is also available from the FHA.

Q. HOW CAN I OBTAIN AN FHA-INSURED LOAN

Contact an FHA-approved lender such as a participating mortgage company, bank, savings and loan association, or thrift. For more information on the FHA and how you can obtain an FHA loan, visit the HUD web site at http://www.hud.gov or call a HUD-approved counseling agency at 1-800-569-4287 or TDD: 1-800-877-8339.

Q. HOW CAN I CONTACT HUD

Visit the web site at http://www.hud.gov or look in the phone book “blue pages” for a listing of the HUD office near you.

The Wonderful World Of Probate (and Why To Avoid It)

When a decedent dies with a valid will, but without a Living Trust, their estate is subject to Probate. Probate translated literally means “to prove the will.” The probate process, in it’s origin, was designed to prove that the decedent actually had died, and that the will in question was the actual will belonging to the deceased.

Today, probate is best described as a court-supervised process by which a decedent’s assets are gathered, valued, and distributed according to the decedent’s last wishes, as stated in his or her will.

In addition, the probate process also requires a formal process by which all creditors (or potential creditors) of the deceased, known and unknown, are notified of the death, and given the opportunity to make a claim on the decedent’s estate.

Due to the formal, court-supervised nature of the Probate process, the average length of a probate case can be anywhere from 6 months to a year and a half, depending on the complexity of the case and a variety of issues.

Some important issues when considering whether or not to avoid probate include:

Disadvantages of Probate

  1. Cost- The probate process as a whole can get quite expensive (see Probate Fees, below).
  2. Time – As indicated, the average length of time for a probate is anywhere from 6 to 18 months
  3. Lack of Privacy – Probate is a public procedure. Therefore, all of your financial and personal records become public documents. Anybody can walk into the Probate Clerk’s office, pay a fee, and access all of your personal and financial information.
  4. Restricted Distribution of Assets Because of the court-controlled process, getting money in the hands of your beneficiaries may be slower and more complicated than you would like. Family allowances are often granted, but only after petitioning the Court. Likewise, paying family members back for funeral and other costs can be slow, and subject to Court Approval.

Probate Fees

Currently, California Probate Code 10800 sets the compensation for the Personal Representative and for the Attorney for the Personal Representative of an Estate that is subject to Probate as follows:

  • Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000).
  • One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000).
  • One-half of one percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000).
  • Above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount to bedetermined by the Court.

According to this schedule, the Probate fee on an estate of $1,000,000 is equal to $23,000.

Please bear in mind, that this is the fee to be paid to both the attorney and the personal representative.

While many personal representatives forgo their share of the fee, not all will do so. Therefore, it is possible that the full probate fee on an estate of $1,000,000 is equal to $46,000! And that is not including court filing fees!

It’s no small wonder why people are anxious to avoid the Probate process whenever possible.

Assets Not Ordinarily Subject to Probate

The primary way to avoid Probate is through the use of a properly funded Living Trust.

However, certain assets are not normally subject to Probate, and may pass outside of the Probate process.

Some of these assets include:

  • Assets held in Joint Tenancy
  • Designated Beneficiary Accounts
    • 401(k)’s
    • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s)
    • Corporate Pensions
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Accounts Payable on Death (i.e. Totten trust bank accounts)
  • Lifetime Gifts (subject to Annual Exclusion limits)

Conclusion

Through careful planning of your estate, which may include a properly-funded Living Trust, you may be able to spare your family members and loved ones from having to slog through the Probate process for months on end.

In every estate that we have worked on, the primary concern of the beneficiaries is that the whole estate administration process is wrapped up as quickly and efficiently as possible – while minimizing costs and taxes.

Proper Estate Planning can help you and your family achieve these objectives.

We welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss your Estate Planning needs.

Copyright (c) 2007 John Fraker


Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
John Erik Fraker, attorney and founding partner in the Law Firm of Ainer and Fraker, LLP, is committed to helping people fulfill their estate planning goals through education, research, and implementation. Mr. Fraker is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law (J.D.). For additional information, visit http://www.estatesattorney.com .

Read more: http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/The-Wonderful-World-Of-Probate–and-Why-To-Avoid-It-/176285#ixzz1imwH5Ib2
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives

How High Tech Home is Your Home

If the latest technology or entertainment options are important in your new home, add the following questions to your buyer s checklist.

1. Are there enough jacks in every room for cable TV and high-speed Internet hookups

2. Are there ample telephone extensions or jacks

3. Is the home pre-wired for home theater or multi room audio and video Does it have in-wall speakers

4. Does the home have a local area network (LAN) for linking computers

5. Does the home already have wiring for DSL or another high-speed Internet connection

6. Does the home have multi zoning heating and cooling controls with programmable thermostats

7. Does the home have multi room lighting controls, window-covering controls, or other home automation features

8. Is the home wired with multipurpose in-wall wiring that allows for reconfigurations to update services as technology changes

To rate the home on its technological sophistication, fill out the Consumer Electronics Association s TechHome checklist at www.ce.org/techhomerating.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

What A Wills And Probate Lawyer Help A With?

Having a life plan is more important these days than it ever seems to have been. And with so many aspects that can ‘go wrong’ it’s no surprise there is a growing need for wills and probate lawyers. The sensitive nature of living in a big city can also underline the need for wills and probate lawyers London
So you have decided you want to take a look at your life plan, but what can you expect from a wills and probate lawyer?
Wills: If a mistake is left in these documents, it may cause an amount of distress to family, so an experienced lawyer should be hired to over this. Without a will, distributing assets and estate in the event of your death can be a long process as well as causing family conflicts. In addition to helping avoid this conflict, wills and probate lawyers can make you aware of other challenges that could arise in the future.
Guardianship for children: It is nigh on unthinkable to imagine losing your life before your children are grown up. Wills and probate lawyers are experienced with guardianship issues, meaning that you can be safe in the knowledge that the future of children is secure.
IHT Planning: Proper inheritance tax planning can help side step the complexity of tax law and work in the favour of your beneficiaries. With a damaged economy and fragile housing market, wills and probate lawyers know how to advise on gift giving in terms of inheritance tax planning.
Court of protection: If a family member becomes incapacitated, someone must be able to take charge of their affairs. Specialist lawyers are able to examine your loved one’s financial affairs and advise on how best to protect their assets.
Rights of cohabiting couples: Couples that live together are unable to get state financial benefits. Recent legislation proposals however mean that you can consult a specialist lawyer about protecting your estate should one parter lose their life.

Care of older people: A lot of us worry about the care of an ageing parent or other family member. From nursing home fees to protecting their finances, there is a lot to think about. Wills and probate lawyers are experienced with guiding people through legal issues that can arise with regards to parents health.

A high level of professionalism is a must in your wills and probate lawyer. They will be experienced in handling sensitive topics and potentially distressing situations ensuring that you are as supported as possible. If you want assistance with securing your future and planning ahead, wills and probate lawyers are the specialists that you require.

About the Author:
Lewis Nedas can assist you with your wills and probate lawyers requirements – see how they can help with your issues. Not sure if you need wills and probate lawyers London? See what aspects they cover

Short Sale Law To Help Eliminate Foreclosures Inevitably

The Short Sale Law in California is helping a lot of people. The law is giving people the opportunity to keep their homes and not have to suffer foreclosure. Many people are a tad bit confused on how this law can benefit them, and cause these excellent results. It helps to gain a better understanding of what the law truly is.The Short sale law in California is a law that was enforced to help during the economic recession. Many people are struggling during these hard times; unemployment seems to be consistently rising, as well as expenses for pertinent things that we stand in need of. A few things that seem to be consistently rising in price are food, and gasoline.

People ultimately need food in order to survive, and they need gasoline as a means to get them to and from their place of employment. With the recession in full swing and prices for necessities at an all time high, people were losing their homes left and right.

The short sale law allows people the opportunity to negotiate a price that they can afford to pay on their mortgage. Everyone knows that a big chunk of mortgage payments are simply going towards excess fees and finance charges, they are not being applied to the overall home that you are trying to buy.

You can seek help from a specialist that knows a thing or two about short sales to assist you with the process. What you basically need to do, is sit down with your mortgage lender, and let them know your current financial obligations are exceedingly too much to continue paying the large amount on your mortgage every month.

Many companies are hesitant at first to apply with your demands, but the fact of the matter is Short sales take up a lot less time then a foreclosure would, and they are seen less expensive. Mortgage companies lose out on a lot when a home goes up for foreclosure. Most of the funds will never be returned.

So, when the company and you reach an agreement that suits the both of you, this is a turning point in your current financial arrangement. The amount that is taken off of your home does not need to be repaid. However, since such a substantial amount was removed in order to assist you with the burdens of life. You will be required to file the amount that was taken off of your mortgage as taxable income.

You will receive a 1099 form at the end of the year, you are to record the exact amount that was taken off of your mortgage during the short sale. You will still be held responsible for paying taxes on that amount, so the smart thing to do, is save up as much money as you can throughout the year to be able to pay your taxes on the amount.

You don’t want to be blessed with being able to do a Short Sale, just to wind up in a different boat with the IRS because you can’t pay the taxes on the amount due.


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Short Sale Law in California, helping you gain advantage before foreclosure comes knocking at your door. Have a quick peek at http://www.nphsrealestate.org/short-sale/law-tax before you make up your mind.

Know When To Hold Em Know When to Fold Em

So you ve arrived at what you and your agent think is a fair price. Next, your agent will help you submit an offer. In a typical real estate transaction, negotiation is the name of the game. Know this: price, closing dates, financing, appliances, repairs, cost and more are all negotiable items in the sale of a home.

Once an offer has been submitted  typically with a clause that dictates a response time, say 24 or 48 hours  the owner of a home can choose to do one of three things. They can accept the offer outright, ignore the offer until it expires or make a counteroffer or multiple counteroffers (to more than one person).

If your offer is accepted, that s great! Get ready to go into escrow. If your offer is left to expire, you may want to have your real estate agent contact the owner s agent and get a feel for the seriousness of the sellers. If you get a counteroffer, know that the seller is looking to deal. If you like the terms of the counteroffer, accept them. If things are still not to your liking, make your own counteroffer.

It is common to go back and forth several times in the purchase of a home, so don t let it get you down! However, if the counteroffers are not falling within your parameters, then you may want to pack up and walk away. In the time you re spending on needless dithering, you could be finding the home of your dreams! A good real estate agent will help you understand when it s the right time to walk away from a deal!

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Daniel Andrade, REALTOR® DRE #: 01849983
Century 21 My Real Estate Co
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