Many LLC’s, small business corporations, and condominium associations doing business in Maine do not have a Maine Registered Agent. The State of Maine requires all such for-profit and non-profit entities (foreign and domestic) to have a Maine Registered Agent, which means a person or entity with an office located in Maine available to receive court related documents during normal business hours. It is vital that you do not serve as your own Registered Agent. If your business or association is sued or subpoenaed the sheriff will appear at your place of business potentially causing an embarrassing and awkward situation. A Maine Registered Agent will also ensure that you are promptly informed about the court related documents and deadlines. Maine law also requires annual reporting and fee filing with the Maine Secretary of State’s office, which are services we also provide as part of our Maine Registered Agent services. Call today to have Ballou & Bedell serve as your Commercial Registered Agent.
If you have not properly planned, timeshares can inadvertently saddle your loved ones with headaches and needless expenses when you die. Few people realize that most timeshares are deeded real property, even if it is only a week in Sedona or two weeks in Hawaii. If you own the timeshare jointly with someone (e.g., a spouse or friend), you may be fine. But what if you and your spouse die in a common accident? Or your spouse has passed and you now own it yourself alone? Owning real property subjects you to a probate in that state when you die. If you do own a timeshare, make sure you have thought about succession planning. Some options are to place the timeshare in a trust, or to add a child or friend you wish to inherit your timeshare deed before you die (assuming they are willing to take on the annual expense after you are gone). Otherwise, you may end up costing your family far more money dealing with the timeshare than it is actually worth, not to mention the added stress!
I find many blended families avoid the topic of wills and succession planning because it can create tension between spouses. It can raise touch point issues in the relationship. Maybe you are much closer to your kids than your spouse’s kids. You may have even lost touch with children because of hurt feelings when you divorced and remarried. If you don’t confront this sensitive area you can leave behind a mess when you die. A home that has been in your family for generations could end up with step-kids or people you have no relationship with. A beloved spouse could be forced from the home when you die. The only way to ensure your wishes are carried out is to start the discussion and visit an attorney to come up with a plan.
Make sure your loved ones are protected.
Many people have not looked at the beneficiary designations on their Life Insurance, Retirement or Annuity Accounts for years. With most of these accounts, you were most likely prompted to designate a beneficiary when you first opened the account. People do not realize that any beneficiary designation made on these accounts will override their will, trust, or other estate planning documents executed. Too often, an ex-spouse is inadvertently left as a beneficiary or a later born child is omitted. Taking the extra step to add contingent beneficiaries to retirement accounts can even result in dramatic tax savings for your loved ones. A few minutes of work on your end can eliminate grief and consternation for your heirs after you pass.
So please, review all those designations to ensure they reflect your current wishes.
The answer is an unequivocal “YES!” Owning and operating your business as an LLC or S-Corporation may not only potentially shield your personal assets from business creditors and lawsuits, but the new tax law heavily favors operating as one of these types of “pass-through” entities. It is a win, win. BUT there are definitely traps for the unwary, and only a professional (not a web-site) can help you choose which form of business entity is right for you. Talk to a lawyer today.