When traveling to any destination in the world, the basic desire for any traveler is it a business traveler or a budget traveler is to find the best deal possible. Before the advent of the internet and the online travel agent people were limited to their own personal travel agent, or at best the travel agents in their particular city. This was tedious process and to find the best deals they would have to travel from one to another. Nowadays though, the phenomenon of online travel agents gives you the chance to find the best deal possible from the comfort of your own home.Earlier you would have to sit for hours on end at your travel agents desk while he found the best possible way to get to your destination. Then you would have to discuss hours on end about your itinerary. Nowadays you can do this at home sitting in front of your computer. People are apprehensive initially about this since they are not sure they will be able to navigate themselves around the internet, but the truth is that some of these online travel agents offer very user friendly interfaces which even your grandmother could use. You simply input your destination and dates of departure and arrival, the search engine of the web site then searches its database as well as hundreds of other databases to find you the cheapest fares available for the particular roundtrip. Moreover it gives you whole host of other options as well. They can even alert you via e-mail if something that you desire or in your price range frees up.The advantage of arranging your travel plans online, are numerous. These travel agents also offer you possibilities of making hotel and airport pick up as well as rental car reservations too. These reservations are generally combined. That gives the traveler the convenience of knowing exactly who he is going to be dealing with, and is an invaluable way of saving time while traveling. You will be asking yourselves but what about the ticket? The answer is that nowadays all airlines in the world offer e-tickets, these are automatic online reservations made in your name and you don’t actually need a paper ticket you simply show your identification at the check in counter and walk in to the airplane. They do offer services such as online check in as well as via telephone.Some might be skeptical about the entire online booking as that are not sure how they can make such important travel decision without consulting with a travel agent. But remember that all this is authentic and in today’s wired world you have ways of following your reservations as well re-confirming online. Plus the benefit far outweighs any skepticism you might have, as refunds and confirmations are all done online. Hence in today’s world you should be willing to make use of these speedy, efficient technologies for making efficient and fruit full travel plans.
Online Travel Agent
Online Finance Services – Power To The People
In this day and age, every second, new ways of empowering the common-folk are being discovered. The most sought-after mechanisms are being seen in the financial sector, especially in internet finance. With banking getting more and more complicatedly cumbersome, easier methods are being designed to provide the public with “money” as and when they need it and wherever they need it.Trending today is the very well-known concept of digital currency. Though there are still apprehensions about its use, it has taken the world with a sweep and gained popularity because of the convenience it has to offer. An example of digital currency would be the popular Bitcoin. Many online merchant websites have accepted bitcoin as the form of payment for making purchases from their website.This type of currency does not require any identification on the part of a purchaser; therefore animosity is one chief benefit that it has to offer. In the form of investment, Bitcoins have proven to be profitable. This is because of the reason that its price in Dollar equivalents has been on the rise ever since its conception. If you own two Bitcoins that have a net present worth of $800, by the end of the year this price has all the possibility of rising up to $1000 for two Bitcoins. Thus, you can either use your Bitcoins for online transactions or keep them safe as an investment for your rainy days.Another convenience in this box has the name of mobile payment systems. You must have heard of Google Wallet, or something similar from other global corporations. With the advent of payment systems such as these, it has become highly probable to enter a cashless future very soon. Currency has undergone drastic changes in this era – morphing from cash to cheques, from cheques to debit and credits, from that to finally online wallets. This wallet is the online phone-app version of your bank account. In every sense, it is a wallet, only it exists digitally. Whatever purchases you make through your phone or over the Internet, this wallet enables you to pay for those purchases, removing from the loop all the banking-paperwork otherwise required. These payments are not just limited to Internet. The NFC technology enables you to check-out of physical counters by a touch of your smartphones, although this method has attracted scepticism. Either way, convenience is convenience. It is safer for you if you don’t carry much cash around. Just use your smartphone.Finance over the internet has plunged into another very fascinating service – the crowdfunder. This concept is by far the most useful of all, because it enables entrepreneurs to gather online and share funds for their business. Elaborating it further, it means that if five people are interested in setting up a, say, online shopping business, but are short on funds individually – they can come together on a crowdfunding website and combine their money in a partnership. This way, they all get what they want, including the money to start their business. These people can also decide to share their funds with some other entrepreneur to help him get started. The internet has thus changed the scene of financing sector.To get more crowdfunding news, visit Moneysedge.com
Best Online Finance Degree
Finance is one of the flourishing sectors in recent times. With the increase in the management and professionalism, the development of business has developed a sudden urge for the finance graduates with the increasing professionals in the field. Acquiring a degree through distance learning provides the students with an opportunity to develop an option to learn and earn. Best Online Finance Degree provides the students with an opportunity to opt for some of the best program and learn unlike the usual traditional format of education. The degree facilitates a wide array of options for the students to choose amongst the financial degrees available with the best institutes that suits you appropriately.It is seen that the finance professionals are gaining larger scope with the passing time with the fast paced world of commerce and business. The fields like banking, economics, insurance, trading, brokering, currency, etc finance professionals are seen to have a major role play in the economic situation of the nation. Including the corporate leaders as well as the business activist, everyone requires ace finance professionals for the development of the capital.Best Online Finance Degree provides you an opportunity to generate a lucrative career in the finance field. It is noticed that not only students but many working adults have chosen online finance degree in order to run along with the advancements taking place in the modern dynamic industry. Due to the rising demand for the finance professionals wide range of universities and institutes offer online finance degree. The options for these degrees include bachelor, master and PhD. With the selection for the level of degree you can opt for any of the program.As the career provides lucrative options, the investment offered for the program is equally expensive. However there are wide range of educational loans and scholarships in the market that can help you financially in acquiring the degree. Yet another prominent point to be kept in mind while acquiring the degree includes the selection of institute or university. As there are wide range of institutes and universities offering this course, however the deciding factors like popularity of the institute, accreditation, cost, etc in order to select best online finance degree. You also need to employ some of your time in generating the budget for your full-time course. Plan and executive all your expenses in the due process and generate a proper financial plan for the long-term.
Local Business Online Marketing: Increase Your Exposure Today
Are you searching for local business online marketing tips? You’re in luck.In the business world, your exposure means everything. It’s actually a pretty simple concept to understand. The more people that are aware of what your business has to offer, the better.Assuming your business offers a quality product line or service, marketing is essentially a numbers game. What is your current marketing strategy?If you haven’t yet implemented internet marketing into your strategy, now is the time.Can the Internet Help?You’re here today because you’re interested in learning a few local business online marketing strategies. First of all, congratulations on your entrepreneurial drive. This rare trait will assuredly help you build your business efficiently.Billionaire Microsoft mogul Bill Gates recently made an interesting comment regarding internet marketing. And considering this man’s success, his remarks may be worth listening to.Bill Gates said, if your business is not on the internet, your business will be out of business. This is an incredibly interesting quote that will continue to ring true. So how do you go about implementing local business online marketing strategy?Setting up ShopWhen looking to jump into the internet marketing realm, first thing is first; set up shop. Like your office or store in the real world, a website/blog on the internet is your home base and work shop.This is where you will house all of the necessary information regarding your company. Efficiently maintaining a website or blog will allow your business to establish an online presence and garner a following.But how?When the modern consumer, locally or globally, is interested in making a purchase of some kind, they consult the internet. Through the power of search engines, such as Google or Bing, these consumers locate the products/services they need.This a major reason as to why the internet is so incredibly useful. When an internet surfer types in a given search query, Google’s predetermined algorithm does its best to produce the most appropriate results. Because of this, you can do some local business online marketing by creating web content that targets popular search terms in your industry.As an example, let’s say I own a local Pizza shop and I live in San Diego. A popular search term in your area might be ‘San Diego Pizza Delivery’.If I write a blog post using that search term, the odds of my website ranking on the first page of Google increase dramatically. This strategy is referred to as SEO; or search engine optimization.Expedite the ProcessWhile running a website/blog and SEO can be efficient local business online marketing strategies, getting started can take some time. In order to rank on the first page of Google, you have to post your content on an authority website.A new domain name is not aged enough to be considered an authority. As you can see, starting from scratch can be tough.Luckily for local business owners, there are some programs allows you to promote your business on their aged domain/authority blog for a relatively low price. Alternatively, if you’re looking to implement a local business online marketing strategy fast you can purchase an aged domain. This will cost you more than buying a new one but you’ll have the advantage of being able to rank in the search engine more quickly.
Use Homeowner Personal Loans to Finance Your Needs the Secured Way
Personal loans taken by homeowners need not necessarily be secured. It is true that more and more homeowners are lured into taking secured loans. Several advantages that only secured loans can let them enjoy are recounted by the loan providers. Nevertheless, homeowners now form an important customer base employing unsecured personal loans to their financial needs. Though the homeowner does not part with the lien on his home, loan providers are not complaining. Being a homeowner connotes credibility, a prerequisite to unsecured personal loans.Whatever be the form in which personal loans are lent, homeowners continue to enjoy the preferential status. As mentioned above, by the fact that one is a homeowner, the individual becomes credible enough to be lent. Come what may, borrowers will not endanger their home through inappropriate financial decisions. Loans and mortgages, either directly (secured loans) or indirectly (unsecured loans), affect the home through liquidation or by transferring possession of house. This happens in the event of non-payment of the unpaid dues. Consequently, borrowers will be regular in repaying the monthly or quarterly instalments on the Homeowner personal loans [http://www.easyfinance4u.com/secured_personal_loan.html]. Isn’t this what the loan providers desire? Getting back the amount lent without much hassles will be termed as lower risk. The preferential treatment allowed to the homeowners is the result of this very reduction in risk. The following article illustrates the benefits available only to the homeowners borrowing through personal loans.First is the number of loan providers that are prepared to lend personal loans to the homeowners. Almost every lender vies for the business of the homeowners. The deals offered include unsecured loans as well. Convenience rules the market. Borrowers will find it easier to locate the loan providers online. An online loan provider has his financial products advertised on its website. Applications listing the loan details can also be submitted online. This is relatively easier for borrowers since they do not have to run every time loan documentations have to be undertaken.Homeowners conventionally use secured personal loans. A secured personal loan makes use of the equity present in home. Equity is the market value that a home fetches after deducting any unpaid loan, for which home has been pledged. The maximum loan amount can be had on secured personal loan. Up to 80% of the equity present in the home can be raised as loan. Some loan providers are ready to lend up to 125%. The amount lent on unsecured personal loans to homeowners, though not equivalent to secured loans, will be higher than what the non-homeowners get.Homeowners are also benefited with a cheaper rate of interest. The reduction in risk is adequately compensated through a lowered interest rate. Borrowers must beware loan providers who claim to be awarding homeowner personal loans at the cheapest rates, but are actually adding several costs to the loan repayable. The appropriate method to compare interest rate will be through APRs. APR allows interest rate comparison on a more common base. Loan calculator lists the APR being offered by a multitude of lenders. This can be used to learn about the interest rate that homeowners get personal loans on. However, loan calculator only suggests the interest rate and does not give the exact measure that loan providers ought to charge. Many a times the details in the loan calculator are obsolete. Therefore, the loan calculator must be used with caution.Still another method of comparing interest rate (which does not involve time consuming calculations as in loan calculator) is a personal loan quote. The short-listed lenders may be requested to send a personal loan quote with the terms of homeowner personal loan specified. This gives the perfect measures for comparison. Personal loan quote puts no obligation on the borrower.Repayment terms are no different from those offered to the non-homeowners. Since interest rate is lower on homeowner personal loans, the amount repayable may not be higher. Since the repayment is to be made through monthly or quarterly installments, borrowers will not find the task as Herculean a task as it is for the non-homeowners. The differences are noticeable when the installments are not paid regularly. While the loan providers easily lose patience with the non-homeowners, they do not with the homeowners. Homeowners get payment holidays and discounted rates of interest during periods of financial depression.Homeowner personal loans, despite the advantages that it allows its borrowers to have, do have to be used with prudence. You surely wouldn’t like to lose your home for a repayment not made on time. Proper advice will go a long way in keeping the bad-effects of homeowner personal loans at bay.
Attention Bad Credit Car Buyers! Here’s How You Can Get an Auto Loan!
Buying a car is everyone’s sweetest dream. But for bad credit car buyers, the auto financing part is more of a nightmare. Bad credit might have occurred due to a variety of reasons. Late payments, missed payments and past financial behavior may lead to a poor credit score. But fret not. Bad credit individuals can avail an auto loan, although a little hard work is required. Applying for a loan involves many factors which finally lead to a ‘yes’ from the lender. Understanding the different factors of a bad credit auto loan will help you to get a grip on your current situation and throw light on areas that need your attention.Important Factors to consider for a Bad Credit Auto Loan The following factors are of prime importance in the process of getting loan approval.1. Credit ScoreChecking your credit score before applying for car financing is a wise decision. If you suffer from bad credit, you should check your credit score a couple of months before you start car shopping. This will ensure that you have enough time to rebuild it. A few ways to improve your score include reducing your debt to income ratio, clearing old debts and checking for any fallacies in the report. While lenders judge your creditworthiness primarily through your credit score, do not worry about your bad credit. Your focus should be on improving it. You must also consider other factors that will help you get a loan.2. Down PaymentAnother factor in getting an auto loan with bad credit is the down payment. Car buyers with a bad credit history and limited time to rebuild credit scores should be prepared to put a hefty amount of money down. With a big down payment amount, you borrow less. This will eventually lead to more savings. Without a down payment, the dealer will narrow down the car options available to you and your financing options will also be limited. This is because the lender will consider you a risky buyer. Therefore, making a down payment can instill a sense of creditworthiness in the lender and you can avail such a loan easily.3. Apply for a Pre-approved Auto LoanA pre-approved auto loan is an easy way to have an upper limit of the car that you wish to purchase. Additionally, a pre-approved car loan helps you to be prepared for the automobile purchasing process. The process helps you to understand the amount that you can qualify for a car loan depending on your credit score, income and expenses. Thinking one step ahead and submitting your documentation in advance for a pre-approved auto loan will help you to identify any fallacies and save you a lot of time in case you have to apply for a loan again.Do Not Limit Yourself to the Credit ScoreCredit scores make an important component of the auto loan process. However, it is not the only way to obtain financing for a new car. While a bad credit history may be difficult to erase, you can start by following the above-mentioned steps and work on getting auto loan approval easily. Remember to focus on different aspects of the deal and you will get approved at the click of a mouse.
Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector
If and when planning to purchase a commercial property, the question often arises, ‘How Can I Find a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector for Conducting a Commercial Building Inspection?’ While one could easily write an eBook on this subject matter, this article offers several tips to help you hire a reliable and competent inspector for the purpose of obtaining a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. So without further ado, let me begin by telling you ‘What Not to Do’.Never hire a commercial building inspector who was referred to you by the real estate agent or any other outside party who has a vested interest in and stands to gain from the sale of the property. Although this statement goes without saying, it’s worth mentioning simply because many of those looking to purchase commercial real estate believe it is standard protocol to rely upon the realtor’s recommendation for hiring an inspector. In reality, this practice poses a conflict of interest that can have dire consequences for the party purchasing the property. Unfortunately, real estate agents who knowingly partake in this practice along with inspectors who continue to burn the candle from both ends know exactly what they’re doing and how to get away with it. While there may be a few exceptions to what I am telling you, I can assure you that the majority of inspectors who rely heavily upon referrals from real estate agents for their business are not going to rock the boat by disclosing any information to the client during the course of an inspection that may later serve to jeopardize their relationship with the broker or real estate company who referred them in the first place.Never hire a Home Inspector to conduct a Commercial Property Inspection.As for hiring a home inspector to conduct a commercial building inspection, suffice it to say that in most cases, conducting a commercial building inspection is altogether different from performing a home inspection for reasons too numerous to list in this article. However, the proliferation of home inspectors over the past twenty years (everyone wants to be one, especially in those States where home inspection licensing has become mandatory making it relatively easy for anyone to become licensed), hasn’t helped either as this has spawned an increasing number of home inspectors who are still unable to properly inspect a home, much less a commercial building, even if their life depended upon it. Moreover, given the number of significant and distinct differences between residential and commercial property, while experience in inspecting homes may well serve as a prerequisite, it is by no means a substitute for the vast amount of knowledge and experience required and yet to be learned by most home inspectors before they can even begin thinking about conducting a diligent and thorough building inspection.Aside from ‘What Not to Do’, there are also other criteria you need to consider or at least be aware of in your quest to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector. namely:Know the fundamental difference between a Commercial Building Inspection and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).Although this topic warrants a separate discussion, it’s important to note that the terms ‘PCA’ and ‘Commercial Building Inspection’ are often used interchangeably in the commercial sector. This in turn has resulted in a lot of confusion not only among real estate investors and others looking to purchase commercial property but real estate agents as well who more often than not simply do not know much less understand the difference. To make matters worse, the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) has also gotten in on the act by promulgating their ASTM Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA. What this means is that since they happen to be a nationally recognized organization in the construction industry, in certain respects they’re similar to the AMA in the medical profession meaning anything and everything they write on a particular subject happens to bear a lot of weight. The problem arises in that the Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA are often misunderstood by many in the profession and seldom if ever read by those buying and selling real estate.To simplify things, all one really has to know is that the difference between a commercial building inspection and a Baseline PCA is like night and day since the later can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to conduct a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple in that a PCA is essentially a cursory walk-through of the property that relies heavily upon second hand information obtained through interviews and documentation (that may/may not be readily available let alone veritable) normally obtained through the owner and/or occupants of the property. Hence, my advice to anyone who is seriously considering having a PCA in deciding whether or not to purchase a commercial property is to forget it since in most cases a PCA is a total waste of time and money in providing information contained in a property condition report that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.Try to obtain as much information as you can about the company and the inspector beforehandThis is another statement that goes without saying but I mention it because many people feel uncomfortable in asking questions of this nature especially when speaking with someone they don’t already know. However, if you reflect upon what I’ve just said for a moment, the fact you don’t know anything about the company or the inspector should be reason enough to ask all the questions you can to solicit answers without being embarrassed.Be sure to ask the company or building inspector for referencesLast but not least, do not be embarrassed to ask for bonafide references regarding recent clients for whom they have conducted similar commercial building inspections. If the company or inspector is reputable and if they have confidence in the service they provide, they normally will not have any reservations whatsoever in providing you with this information.My next article will provide tips as to what questions you need to ask and what else you need to be aware of in looking to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector.
How Mutual Fund Distributor Is Different From an Investment Advisor?
When it’s about differentiating both of them it’s quite difficult to do, as both assist in making investment decisions. That involves choosing MF schemes as well. Both are the enrolled entities and managed by the different regulatory body. As the Mutual Fund Distributor is under and controlled by AMFI ( The Association of Mutual Funds in India). And the Investment Advisors are controlled by SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).Before moving on first understand a difference lets discuss that who are mutual fund distributor and investment advisor is?Investment Advisor- A Investment Advisor is an individual or group who give financing and investment advice. Even manages securities analysis in return for a fee, whether by direct administration of client assets or by written publications. If he has sufficient assets to be enrolled with the SEC is recognised as a Registered Investment Advisor or RIA. Investment Advisors are also known as “Financial Advisors”. He/she do an evaluation of the investor’s assets, liabilities, income and expenses and advise investment plan.Mutual Fund Distributor – They be person or entity facilitating in buying and selling of MF units to the investors. They earn income in the form of commission for bringing leads(investors) for investing in MF schemes. He/she is expected to know the investor’s situation, risk profile and suggest suitable investment plan to meet the investor’s demands.Getting a commission never means that a Mutual Fund distributor is allowed to trade the MF scheme to the investors just to get a commission. Well, the regulations are very severe in this respect.Now let’s discuss 8 points which help in differentiating between a Mutual fund distributor from Investment Advisor.
Paying mode for advice
We all know that mutual fund distributor is enrolled with AMFI, they are usually the executors of your investments. The investor asks the mutual fund distributor to buy/sell MF plans for them. From doing so the AMC gives commission to the MFD. To avoid mis-selling of MF plans the SEBI has directed AMCs. To pay only trail commission by utilising the trail-only model. Also, not to give any upfront commissions or upfronting of any trail commissions straight or secondhand. Even the contests or sponsorships would be recognised as an upfront payment. These investment advisors normally charge a fee rather than get commissions from AMC. So with this change in the industry investors.
Distributors differ from advisors in the sense that advisors are bound by depositary duty. That implies they are committed to giving investors with honest advice, while distributors are bound by no such promise.
Examination and Certification
The examination exam for both mutual fund distributor and investment advisor are different. For MFD get a valid certification by the National Institute of Securities Market(NISM). By clearing their certification examination NISM Series V-A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination. For Investment Advisor a person needs to clear both the levels 2 levels:
NISM-Series-X-A: Investment Adviser -Level 1
NISM-Series-X-B: Investment Adviser -Level 2
The mutual fund advisor must have a certification in financial planning.
Advisers can advise but not distribute
An MFD has a plus point that they can advise for the best MF schemes. They assist an investor to understand the benefits of mutual funds, types of MF and risk factor. They also guide the investor about the MF investment and meet the investors demands. After that, they ask the investor to invest money in mutual funds. They keep distributing the mutual fund’s plan. The Investment advisors give advice on which MF to invest but cannot work as a distributor. Their duty is just to advise. After that its investors choice but distributor make sure that investor does invest in mutual funds.
Apart from this, the central focus of a mutual fund distributor is the distribution of the funds. Whereas the job of a MF, the advisor involves various other duties.
Helping the investor change his/her portfolio
Evaluating risk-taking capacity funds
Choosing the right investment option
Direct plan vs Regular planA Mutual fund distributor will give Investor regular plan and ask them to invest in the same. But the Investment Advisors advice an investor to invest in direct plans. In past the MF had to be purchased under the guidance of distributors, there wasn’t any different option. But in January 2013, SEBI mandated the AMCs to begin direct plans of the mutual funds. This enables the advisors to not only advise investors but also assist them to invest in direct MF plans. Direct plans have a more economical expense ratio than the regular plans. So while distributors may fascinate you towards the regular plans for their commissions, advisors will not.
Take into outline their level of gathering relevant information differs
Recognizing the necessity to find general information about your financial profile, is the base of good financial planning. It is consequently necessary to guarantee that the person you’re trusting with for finances, is interested to ask important questions. Like about your goals, income, expenses, long and short-term goals, assets, liabilities, tax status etc. They must also offer need-based plans to reach your financial goals, rather of product-based advice. While MFD is likely to discuss your demands with products they are commissioned to market. A financial advisor is expected to offer unbiased advice to fit your necessities.
Discussing the factor of risk and returns
This factor is usually discussed by the advisor in a great manner than the Investment advisor. He/she will discuss the risk factors for MF I.e high, low, moderate etc. Then he will look out for MF scheme performance in past years. After that will suggest you invest in the plan. The investment advisor will ask the distributor to convenience the investor to invest in plan particular MF plan they are looking for just to meet their financial need. An advisor would be more interested in evaluating your risk appetite. Also, setting the proper expectation with concerns to returns on investment.ConclusionIt’s quite difficult to say that a mutual fund distributor is necessary or adviser. Both are an important source for the right investment in mutual funds. From the MF regulation view- all persons including companies, who get AMFI certification number (ARN), are mutual fund distributors, from the highest to the smallest. In the way of distributing the MF schemes of different AMCs, they also need advice in many ways – scheme selection, asset allocation, tax planning etc, all in the scope of MF schemes. So its all investor choice that he directly wants to contact a distributor or want advice for mutual funds.’Invest today – Enjoy tomorrow’!
Yours, Mine and Ours: How Spouses Share and Transfer Property
For most married couples, the cornerstone of estate planning is the transfer of their biggest asset: their home. So it’s important that couples be aware of the many roads this process can take.Married couples who own real property together have many options when deciding how to share the asset. Traditional approaches include joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety and community property. All have advantages and disadvantages.Joint tenancy is a form of concurrent ownership where each owner has an equal interest in the property. It is available to unmarried couples as well, though I will focus on married couples in this article.Arguably, the most useful feature of a joint tenancy arrangement is the “right of survivorship.” When the first spouse dies, his or her stake in the property passes directly to the surviving spouse, without the need for probate administration. During probate, a court determines the validity of the decedent’s estate documents and helps to settle any claims against the estate before the property is distributed to the heirs. Avoiding this process can save the beneficiary of an estate substantial costs and time. By foregoing probate, the surviving spouse also gains additional privacy, since the probate process is a matter of public record.Tenancy in common usually does not have the right of survivorship. However, it allows other customizations, and offers greater flexibility. As in joint tenancy, tenants in common do not have to be married; unlike in joint tenancy, tenants in common may hold unequal interests in the property. Tenancy in common is not dissolved when one of the tenants dies, either. If John and Jane are tenants in common, each with a 50 percent interest in their property, John can bequeath his 50 percent to their son John Jr., and Jane’s interest will remain unaffected.Tenancy by the entirety is available only to married couples, though Hawaii and Vermont offer options for domestic partners and those in civil unions, respectively. For legal purposes, it is as if the property is owned by a single entity (the couple) instead of two parties. Neither party can dissolve the tenancy without the other’s consent, except in cases of divorce or annulment. Like joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety offers a right of survivorship, allowing the surviving spouse to avoid probate. It can also shield the property from creditors of one spouse only, though not from creditors to whom the couple is jointly in debt. Not all U.S. jurisdictions recognize tenancy by the entirety.Community property laws exist in only nine states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In Alaska, couples may enter into community property arrangements, but must do so by signing agreements or forming a trust. The validity of such arrangements is still untried on a federal level, though, and it is not clear whether the Internal Revenue Service will honor them for federal tax purposes.Although the specifics of community property laws vary from state to state, the basic idea is the same. Like tenancy by the entirety, community property is an option only for married couples. Generally, any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage becomes community property, unless it is a gift or an inheritance. Property owned prior to the marriage is also excluded. Spouses may enter into agreements, such as prenuptial or postnuptial arrangements, that preclude otherwise eligible property from being subject to community property laws, or which convert separate property to community property.Community property has no right of survivorship. Each owner can dispose of his or her interest individually. As a result, without additional estate planning, most transfers will be subject to probate, even if one spouse simply leaves the entirety of their interest to the other. Creditors can also generally reach the deceased spouse’s interest through normal estate administration rules. Community property offers the advantage of allowing a full step-up in basis upon the death of either spouse, which typically allows the survivor to pay taxes on a smaller capital gain should the property be sold.This is illustrated in the example below, contrasting joint tenancy with community property:John and Jane purchased a home for $1 million, and it is now worth $2.5 million. Jane has died and John inherited the home. If they owned the property as joint tenants with right of survivorship, John’s basis in the property is $1.75 million. This is because only Jane’s half of the interest is stepped up to the current market value ($1.25 million). The cost basis of John’s half of the interest continues to be based on the $1 million purchase price ($500,000). In contrast, both John’s and Jane’s interests would be stepped up to the current market value of the home if they had owned it as community property, and John would inherit the home with a cost basis of $2.5 million. This could mean a significant reduction in taxable capital gains if John were to sell the property after Jane’s death, even allowing for a potential reduction due to the home-sale exclusion rule. This would also be the case for other property, such as investment assets, owned by the couple.All of these arrangements offer benefits and drawbacks, which may weigh differently depending on a couple’s situation. Joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety allow the surviving spouse to avoid probate, but do not offer community property’s generous terms for a full step-up in basis in the property. Community property risks giving creditors access to the decedent’s portion of the property, but also allows more flexibility in the way that property is distributed. Tenancy in common offers the option of unequal interests in the property, but does not have a right of survivorship.In certain states, couples have yet another option that is relatively new: community property with right of survivorship. In several states, the law has been on the books for less than 15 years. California – the state that has arguably received the most attention on the topic – first implemented these ownership rights in 2001. Of the nine community property states, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin currently offer the right of survivorship option. Laws also vary by state regarding which property is eligible to be titled as community property with right of survivorship. For example, only real property may be titled this way in Idaho.The states that offer community property with right of survivorship seek to make it easier for couples that have relatively simple estates to transfer property to a surviving spouse. Before the advent of community property with right of survivorship, married couples had to draft special agreements or use trusts to convert joint property into community property. Community property with right of survivorship allows married couples to take advantage of the full step-up in basis while avoiding probate administration, all without the need for more complex estate planning.Like any estate planning method, community property with right of survivorship is not a cure-all. For example, should bankruptcy be a concern, joint tenancy or (in some cases) tenancy by the entirety would leave the non-debtor’s property out of the bankruptcy proceedings, while property held as community property, with or without the right of survivorship, would move entirely to the bankruptcy trustee’s control until proceedings were complete. Couples should carefully examine their situations before deciding which arrangement is likely to carry the most benefits.Though this option is not prevalent nationwide, financial advisors should be aware of both its benefits and its potential drawbacks. Even if a couple does not currently live in a community property state, they may have once lived in such a state, or they may move to one in the future. If a client lived and purchased real estate in a state that offered community property with right of survivorship, the property may continue to be characterized that way, even if the owners have since moved elsewhere.Most couples and, too often, the advisors with whom they work tend to overlook important consequences and planning opportunities when deciding how to take or maintain title to property. It is a big decision. Approach it carefully, and consider seeking qualified professional advice to guide you.
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