Which is Best: Will, or Living Trust?

living trustPhoto by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

You spend the majority of your adult life working hard and providing for your family. You’ve scrimped and saved, and you’ve accumulated assets over time. Naturally, you want some control over what happens to those assets after you die.

Regardless of how much or how little you have, it’s important to have an estate plan. But should you have a will, or a living trust?

Will

Simply put, a will is a written document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. It also allows you to appoint guardianship of your minor-aged children if you die before they reach adulthood. In order to be valid, the document must be signed and witnessed.

Wills are revocable documents, and they can be amended at any point in your lifetime. It gives you control over how your assets will be handled upon your demise. It also gives you the power to disinherit spouses or children (who have a statutory right to inherit), although the laws for this vary from state to state.

Many countries have similar succession laws, although the nuances of these laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, Israeli Succession Law dictates that assets are bequeathed in one of two ways: by will, or by law. If there is no will in place, heirs will be stipulated by law and according to the order of inheritance. Succession laws in the U.S. are very similar in this way.

Several things need to be considered when creating a will, such as:

  • Debts and taxes: These will need to be paid by the estate.
  • Executor: The person in charge of distributing your estate.
  • Assets: All personal property and real property, including homes, vehicles, bank accounts, family heirlooms, etc.
  • Guardian: The person(s) you choose to take care of your minor children and their property in the event that both parents die. An alternative choice should also be provided in case that first person is unable to assume responsibility.
  • Beneficiaries: The people you want to receive your assets.
  • Pet care: The person you would like to take care of your pets as well as funds set aside for the pet’s care.

Laws concerning wills vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to understand your local requirements.

One disadvantage to having a will is that it must pass through probate. This means that the court will have to oversee the will’s administration and ensure that the document is valid. Probate lawyers can be costly, and there’s no way to avoid this expense with the exception of a few jurisdictions.

Wills must also become part of public record, so it’s important to keep this in mind when deciding whether a will or trust is the right choice for you.

Living Trust

Unlike with a will, which only goes into effect after you die, a living trust will go into effect as soon as it’s created. A living trust allows for lifetime and after-death management of your property.

If you choose to serve as your own trustee, you can appoint a successor upon your death or if you become incapacitated.

Living trusts allow you to avoid the inconvenience, cost and time of probate court. Court intervention is not required, and trusts do not have to be public record. Families can avoid probate court and hiring a probate attorney.

When properly written and funded, a living trust can:

  • Control what happens to your property and assets after your death.
  • Avoid probate court.
  • Plan for your own incapacity.
  • Keep your financial affairs private.

Living trusts can be used for any size estate. While trusts are very appealing, they do have a few drawbacks. For starters, it is more expensive to create a living trust than it is to create a will. This is primarily because the trust must be actively managed once it’s created.

Trusts are also useless unless they are funded. They can only control the assets that have been placed into them. Funding is necessary, and it can be tedious. If assets have not been transferred to the trust or if you die without funding it, the trust will be of no benefit to your family. Your estate will be subject to probate, and your family may have to deal with estate tax issues.

Which is the better choice: a will, or a living trust? Ultimately, it comes down to your personal situation. If you have a very modest estate and live in a state where the probate process is not complicated, a will may be a better option. But if you’d rather avoid probate and keep your financial affairs private, you may prefer a living trust. Just be aware that a living trust must be actively managed. If you’re not prepared to do this, then a trust may not be a practical solution for you.

Top 3 Pieces of Dirt bike Riding Gear

Before you go looking for motorcycle aftermarket parts online for your dirt bike, make sure that you have all the necessary riding gear to keep you safe. While there is some debate over the best dirt bike riding gear as far as brands are concerned, most riders can agree on the essentials. Do you know what those are? Sure, the most obvious answers are a helmet, boots and gloves, but what else? If you already have your head, hands and feet protected, what else should be your concern?

dirt bike riding gearPhoto by Gabriel Sanchez on Unsplash

1. Neck Brace

The top priority, after protecting your head, is to protect your neck. Dirt bike riders take more spills than most other motorcycle sports, and they can face plant, which, beyond their head and face, puts a tremendous strain on their neck and spine. With hypertension or hyperflexion of the neck being common threats to riders, it is no surprise that neck braces have become more prevalent in recent years. While these braces might not be necessary for every rider, especially those who are only interested in leisurely rides through the trails, they are incredibly important to those riders who enjoy racing with a fair bit of risk thrown in.

2. Body Armor

Body armor is often debated over because, while it offers significant protection of your vital organs, it can be somewhat cumbersome and restrictive. However, it should be noted that some restriction is the point. When riders crash or spill, they often land in peculiar positions, and they can often be thrown into areas with branches and other blunt or sharp objects, which can penetrate the flesh and puncture your organs or even sever the spine. Therefore, body armor and chest protectors help to ensure that you can walk away from most spills without life-threatening injuries. Now, depending on your style of riding, it is possible that a lightweight option might be better than the heavy-duty pieces, but just keep in mind what you are protecting before scoffing at the restrictiveness of these essential pieces of gear.

3. Elbow and Knee Guards

The last piece of gear on this list can also be considered one of the best scooter riding gear pieces as well. Elbow and knee guards are quite honestly essential elements for almost every two-wheel rider out there. However, again, since dirt bike riders are more prone to spills, protecting their elbows and knees should be paramount. Elbows are often one of the first body parts to take the impact of a spill, second only to the hands. Therefore, elbow guards are intended to prevent serious scrapes and abrasions. Knee injuries are one of the most common types of injuries in any sport, and that doesn’t change for extreme motorsports. Therefore, knee guards help to prevent weird twisting and turning while promoting stability and flexibility. When exploring the world of dirt bike riding, always protect yourself with guards.

Most riders know that a helmet, boots and gloves are essential to any style of riding, but when it comes to dirt bike specific gear, you can’t ignore the other essentials. Neck braces, body armor, and elbow and knee pads offer superior protection for a sport prone to spills and accidents, so if you are planning on hitting the mounds, get out and buy some extra protection.

Be the Boss – The 5 Best Industries to Start A Business In

best industriesPhoto by Skeeze on Pixabay

If you haven’t yet established a career for yourself, then you’ll be pleased to know there’s still time. The world’s needs are changing at a rapid pace, and new industries are becoming more relevant or short of workers. Even those who do have a career may be questioning their future in it and deciding whether something more rewarding may be on the horizon. If you want to be your own boss while looking for a career in an up-and-coming industry, then read on.

Health and Fitness

Most industries experience periods of stagnation, but the fitness industry is showing no signs of slowing down. Everyone from a personal trainer to a gym owner, or healthcare professional is in hot demand.

Technology

If you’ve been your grandma’s go-to tech guru for as long as you can remember, then doing it for a living could be worth a closer look. Not only does a job involving technology pay well, but it’s not likely to become a redundant industry. Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, web marketing, software development, the list goes on. All of these sub-sectors are paramount for businesses to operate in a modern world, and you could be in hot demand to make that happen.

Construction

Not only is affordability a problem in the urban housing sector but so too is availability. One is a direct consequence of the other, and going into business as a construction expert could mean you’re doing your part to solve the problem.

Of course, you will need to train to fill those big construction boots, but once you do, you can hit the ground running. At least a third of the world’s urban population is expected to struggle to access secure housing by 2025, and the time to try and fix that is now.

Real Estate

When you look at all the industries that have moved with the times, you will be amazed at how the real estate sector hasn’t. Realtors still rely heavily on “for sale sign” advertising methods, and not all are interested in appealing to the masses. If you have a creative mind and an eye for innovation, then you could be in your element. There is a dire need for online design services, real estate technology, and even online brokerages.

Energy

While we’re thought to be in the “twilight of plentiful oil,” that won’t last forever. That’s why more and more companies are jumping on board the electric bus, seeking out sustainable energy methods to eventually eradicate the need for oil in the future.

If you are looking to start a new business, then let your creative juices flow into the profitable energy market. Learn all there is to know about oil, gas, mining, sustainable energy, fracking, and related fields. The more heads that can come together, the quicker the world can find a solution. You never know, you could have something exceptional to offer.

The best industries to start a business in are not necessarily those that first come to mind. Think about future successes, not just fads and trends that exist now. Combat crises and use your powers for good. You can be both profitable and powerful in your new business venture.

Trade Show Trumps – 5 Secrets to Making a Huge Splash at Your Next Exhibit

trade showPhoto by Marilia Castelli on Unsplash

For many businesses, an annual appearance at a trade show will bring in a substantial portion of their annual leads – needless to say, it takes a well-planned strategy to achieve that level of success at a single event. There’s a wealth of opportunities to build new relationships and expand on your existing client base. How can you stand out from the crowd? These five secrets will distinguish your brand at your next trade show:

1. Use your booth to create a quiet sanctuary

In the past, an eye-catching booth with phenomenal banners and branding was enough. Now, it takes a little more thought to stand out. Rather than racing alongside your competitors and adding to the noise, drop out of the race. Offer visitors a comfortable sit-down lounge, free coffee, and soothing music. Basically, create a comfortable sanctuary.

Add media walls, AV displays with informative videos, talks, or demonstrations to feed visitors your information while they rest. The opportunity to build meaningful connections is tripled. People are more likely to read your pamphlet if they’re sitting down with a hot cup of joe in a perceived safe space.

2. Don’t become booth-bound

Avoid using the booth as a safe space and try something new. Try a by-invitation-only feature, rent a suite and decorate it to suit your brand. Then, invite your identified key targets.

You’ll make fewer connections, but they’ll be better quality and more likely to spend with you in the future.

3. Improve your follow-up process

Processes are the foundations of success. Fine-tune the way in which you identify your key targets, perfect the way you attract them, and most importantly, invest in the way you retain them. Your follow-up process will be the opportunity you have to build potentially life-long business relationships.

A custom follow-up branded corporate gift with a genuine message (relaying something of the conversation you shared, to personalize it) will get you a great deal further than a simple sales call. People value real connections, so take the time to record something of the conversation at the tradeshow. Use that tidbit in a handwritten invitation, card, or letter alongside a small gift once you’re back at the office, to solidify the relationship.

4. Grab a mic and get center stage

Public speaking is not for everyone, but the rewards are generous. People are naturally drawn to acquiring new knowledge that will offer tangible benefits in their day-to-day lives, so offer real advice.

Prior to the event, allocate some budget towards hiring professionals to create a mini-course that can be delivered in a speech.

If you’re not a public speaker, you can develop your public speaking skills, or hire someone to speak on your behalf. Potential buyers will naturally approach a demonstration. If you impart meaningful knowledge that is easily understood, your brand will be remembered as an authority in its field.

5. Use the givers-gain tactic for free brand awareness

There is a school of thought around a concept known as Givers Gain. It states that those who give freely, gain freely.

Spend some time building relationships with the event organizers. Try to identify ways in which you can assist them, in your professional capacity. You’ll likely be thanked and mentioned on printouts and on banners. That kind of publicity can take you far at a tradeshow event.

Incorporating tried and trusted techniques complete a portion of your trade show success strategy. Leave some room for experimentation, what works for your brand might not work for others, and vice versa. Through experimentation, you might just stumble across the ultimate success plan. It’s all about testing the boundaries!

4 Tips on How to Create a Stress Free Move for Your Business Expansion

stress free movePhoto courtesy of Stuart Miles on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When your business begins to grow, you may find that the facility that you are now occupying is getting smaller by the day. In fact, even your office staff is crammed with little room to move around and the same is true for your operations. As this expansion occurs, you should be preparing to find a place that your business can move to. Preparing for a business expansion move is not always as simple as some people may think. Therefore, when you start early by creating a plan that will factor in all that is required for a business move, you can use the following tips to your benefit.

1. Create a Budget to Cover the Expenses

The expenses for a business move can be very costly to the company’s overall budget unless you know how to control the cost in advance. Since some of the cost is directly related to the move itself and others are indirectly related to the cost of productivity, you need a plan that will take all of this and more into consideration. Therefore, you need to make sure that you can build a plan that will outline the expense of using a moving company to help with every stage of these activities. The cost of these moves will vary based on what you are actually hiring them to do. Hence, you need to know what you will be paying for prior to them arriving at your business door.

2. Consider the Benefits of Hiring a Moving Company to Pack and Unpack

A business move is not only time consuming but also time-sensitive in its overall nature. As mentioned above, you need to know what you need from your moving company when you make the appointment for them to assist with the company’s move to the new location. For instance, for some companies, it is a lot more productive for the moving company’s representatives to do a lot of the hefty work instead of the workers of the company. So, if you want to save time and money by letting the staff continue their work on core duties versus the move itself, the professional movers can arrive on-site to do all of the packing for the office and other operations. Their duties will consist of packing all of the office items in boxes and transporting the boxes into the moving trucks.

The same is true for companies that have physical furniture that needs to be moved into the trucks too. Therefore, all the moving company’s rep needs is a directive that shows them what is going to the new business location and what will need to stay back. By allowing professionals in the moving company to take on this role, it leaves less stress on the employees that will be moving to the new location. To find out more about the benefits of using moving professionals to pack and unpack, visit moving company sites like North American Van Lines.

3. Computers and Networks Need to be Moved to the New Location by Computer Technicians

If your company is run by mostly computers and computer networks, there can be a huge interruption in business activities if it is not planned strategically. To make sure that your business is covered in this area, you need the best resources available to prepare in advance for prior to, during, and after activities that will need to be done. For instance, the professional moving technicians who handle this part of the move will tell everyone when their computer systems will not be available for business use and when they are expected to be up again. The role that they play is to provide a seamless computer system that is available for their users as soon as the business move has been completed and everyone is transferred to the new business location.

4. Communicate Dates to Employees to Minimize the Adverse on Productivity

Though the moving company will be responsible for moving the companies inventory from the old business location to the new area, the employees should be instructed to box up their personal items prior to the moving date. Therefore, everyone in the office must have the right communications to effect a smooth transition to the new location so that they can remain productive.