10 Dec

Reasons – Why Estate Planning Is For Everyone

Estate planning is the process of considering and setting up a legal arrangement that may be followed in handling and distributing your estate upon your death as you have directed. Many people think that estate planning is most beneficial for the elderly or the wealthy. However, estate planning is beneficial for everyone, regardless of age, marital status or net worth.

Although an experienced estate planning lawyer can provide you with the specific reasons as to why estate planning may be right for you, below are the top 4 reasons why estate planning is for everyone.

Loss of Mental Capacity – If you become mentally incapable of making decisions as to how your estate should be handled or distributed, a properly devised living trust and durable powers of attorney for financial matters will carry out your wishes and directives.

Guardianship of Minor Children – Without a plan, the decision of who is best suited to raise your minor children will be made by the court upon your death or in the event that you become incapacitated. However, with a plan, you are able to designate the guardians who you decide are best fit to raise your children.

Avoiding Probate – If you do not have a plan, your estate may be subject to probate upon your death. Although you will not have to deal with the slow process of probate, your loved ones will. So, in order to avoid it and ensure that your estate will be distributed as smoothly as possible upon your death and according to your wishes and desires, you should seek the advice of an estate planning attorney while you are still alive.

Comfort – If you have devised a good estate plan, you will be comfortable and confident knowing that you have protected your loved ones and the distribution of your assets upon your death. A good estate plan will avoid the confusion and chaos of an unplanned distribution of your assets upon your death.

The bottom line is that planning ahead, while you are still capable of doing so, can reduce the uncertainty and confusion that may occur over the distribution of your estate and guardianship of your children upon your death.

Call An Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today!

For more information about estate planning or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an estate planning lawyer, please call Lifetime Legal at (805) 419-5290.

About The Author

Lifetime Legal is a California based estate planning attorney representing clients in a diverse range of matters pertaining to estate planning law, business law, Probate, wills and trusts and real estate law.

10 Dec

Storytelling through Architecture

By Marina Correa Photography: Philippe Ruault; courtesy the architects

The Giraffe Childcare Centre designed by Hondelatte Laporte Architects introduces a dollop of fantasy into the routine lives of suburban Parisian townsfolk-

Niched between a towering structure, next to a neighbourhood built in the 70s and a newly constructed area, it was imperative that the healthcare centre did not -get lost’ within the urban landscape – hence the building is composed of three tiers and each is identified by a unique concrete animal sculpture.

The facades of the building are made out of white corrugated iron that provides a minimal background to the animal sculptures.

Interestingly, each of the south-facing playgrounds is in continuity with the interior spaces; while the urban landscape is animated using a child’s imagination. The wild animal sculptures appropriate a space: a giraffe appears to be peacefully eating the leaves of the trees from the neighbouring park; a polar bear tries to clamber up the steps, while a family of ladybirds climbs the faade in an attempt to reach the interior patio.

Architecture turns into storytelling. The building changes its identity and becomes a landscape in its own right; a metaphor for the urban jungle. The animals and the trees link the building to nature and motion.

Besides infusing a playful and poetic element, this building has also been awarded a green, zero energy efficiency label, making it not just aesthetically appeasing but also one that respects its environment.

Becoming a prominent landmark for the nursery, the affable animal forms transport us to a make-believe world. When pondered upon, definitely a project that goes way beyond the surface to attribute human characteristics and ethos to the emotional, functional routine of a child daycare centre.

to view images click on globalhop.indiaartndesign.com

10 Dec

Loft conversions are popular with Oxford Architecture

It is the general consensus that with a loft conversion there is only one type of design, in reality though there are many types of designs for loft conversions. Architecture Oxford companies specialise in designing unique loft conversions for their clients; here are a few of the designs available.

The most simple and perhaps most common type of loft conversion is known as the roof light conversion. Basically this is where windows are installed into the roof to allow natural light so it becomes a living space and not just an attic. There are different kinds of windows you can have installed; talk to your Oxford architecture company about the different designs and if planning permission will need to be granted.

There is also the dormer conversion; this is becoming more and more popular with terraced houses. This design focuses on increasing the height of your loft so that your converted room benefits from good ceiling height; to do this the roof line will have to be extended. Your Oxford architect should research and see if planning permission will need to be granted for a dormer conversion; you do not want to start without receiving permission first.

There is a loft conversion which involves changing the side of a roof from a hipped shape to a gable end which gives more room in the loft; this is known as a “Hip to Gable” conversion. Your Oxford architects should draw up designs of how they think the new room should be used.

There are a variety of loft conversions available nowadays; however it’s important you choose a design that compliments the infrastructure of your home; consult with your Architecture Oxford Company before deciding a design. Your architects Oxford will know which loft conversion designs will work for your home and which designs will not.

After you have looked at the different loft conversion designs with your architects and chosen the most suitable one for your house you then need to decide what kind of room you’re going to have in your loft conversion. Will it be an extra living space, bedroom or bathroom; you need to consider which type of room will give the most value to your property. You should discuss this factor with both your Oxford architecture team and local estate agents in the Oxfordshire area. Loft conversions tend to add 30K value to a home but they can add as much as up to 150K in area with expensive terraced housing.

9 Dec

Paper Lanterns An Integral Part Of Feng Shui

All of us have known the beauty that can be created by the use of paper lanterns. However, very few of us have any idea about the numerous usage and effects of using paper lanterns. Chinese have been using paper lanterns from thousands of years and according to them it plays a significant role in feng shui.

Paper lanterns help in increasing fertility:
Millions of women throughout the world face difficulty in getting pregnant. This can be a devastating experience if the wait is really long. Many people do not believe solely on doctors to help them fight the problem with their fertility. Feng shui is believed to help in improving fertility by using red paper lanterns. According to the theory of feng shui, red paper lanterns if hanged on both side of bed can help in getting pregnancy. Many feng shui experts even suggest using a red paper lantern directly over the bed.

Paper lanterns help in bringing positive energy in house
Feng shui is well known as an art that brings positive energy in peoples life. Paper lanterns are believed to play a significant role in bringing a positive energy and harmonica effect in your bedroom and house. Keeping paper lanterns on both or either side of bed is helpful in bringing positive Yang energy into the bedroom and improves the already present chi energy. Bright colored paper lanterns are more effective for harnessing Yang energy.

Paper lanterns help in bringing harmony to marriage
Feng shui uses the energy of polarity and according to it using a pair of same object is very effective. Using a pair of red paper lanterns on sides of bed, both lit simultaneously signify a long and happy marriage. However, for the effect to be more it is important to lit and switch off both the lanterns at the same time so that they work in harmony. This harmony is symbol of marriage and signifies the harmony between husband and wife.
Paper lanterns are very important part of feng shui process. Those who believe in feng shui will definitely know that paper lanterns are not just decorative but a source of positive energy.

9 Dec

Interviewing Your Contractor

Before you even consider calling a contractor, you need to know exactly what you want him to do. First of all, go online and see what is available in your area. You will want a contractor that is easy to reach, and if you have to leave a message, how long will it take him to return your call.

Then make a list of the projects that youll want the contractor to tackle. If the list is long, try to narrow it down to the essentials. Then pick four or five local contractors and give them a call. Ask each one similar questions so you can judge the one that seems the most honest, qualified, and reliable.

On your list write the contractors license number, workers compensation number, and bond number. Dont hire a contractor until you have those numbers in hand and contact the agency to see if his licenses are still valid or have they expired? Does the contractor have a printed contract with his name, address, phone, and license numbers?

Is the contractor qualified and has he done a job like yours before? Does he have references, and can you contact them? How long does he estimate that the job will take to complete and when can he start? Keep definite dates in mind, but allow for a bit of leeway.

Now that youve narrowed the list down to two or three, contact the contractor again and ask for an interview and a price quote. Make a note if the contractor arrives on time, or if he runs late, does he call you to let you know he is running late. If a contractor fails to do that, forget about him, and go on to the next one.

How and when does the contractor expect payment? There are laws that state how much a contractor can collect as a down payment. Make sure you know the law and hold the contractor to it. For instance the law forbids a company from taking over 10% or $1,000 as down payment.

Before you sign on that proverbial dotted line have the due dates written on the contract. For instance, the second payment may be due when they deliver the material. There may be additional payments with the final due when the project is completed to your satisfaction.

Does the contractor hire sub-contractors? If so make sure they get paid. Otherwise if the contractor does not pay the sub, they can come back to you and demand payment or put a lien on your home.

Be cautious, but not demanding, and when they start the job stay out of their way and let them do their job.