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Protect Your Family And Assets With Proper Estate Planning

By Winston Dunbar

A healthy, hard working male will work at least for a minimum of 30-35 years over his entire lifetime. During this time, if he earned an average of $1-2 million, then he would have bought several assets during this working life. These assets could be in the form of:

— Personal property

— Life insurance

— Stocks and bonds

— Jewelry

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— Cars

— Boat

These are some of the common fixed and movable assets that people invest in. Apart from this he could also have liquid cash in a savings bank account.

Estate planning involves the accumulation of such assets during a lifetime and the disposal of the same when the person dies. Estate planning involves more than just writing a will and bequeathing the assets to different beneficiaries. It also involves the process of preserving these assets, protecting family members and preparing them for the eventuality of your death. Here are some common things you need to do for estate planning.

Estate planning can commence as soon as a person gets a good job. If he does and starts off earning around $50,000 a year, this could only increase as the years go by. Now, his ‘human life value’ will be calculated based on the number of years he can work and the average salary he will earn during this period. The money thus earned will be an asset and an estate planner will start by ensuring his client will take a good life insurance policy to protect the worker’s family in case he dies prematurely.

There are several tools that can be employed when preparing an estate plan. As already mentioned, life insurance and other forms of investment of liquid cash like stocks and bonds will guarantee there is some estate to be left to one’s heirs. The will is the most complete of estate planning tools. This legal document is written by an individual with the help of a lawyer and with the necessary witnesses. It can make a complete list of all the items a person dies possessed of. He or she can distribute these assets as they see fit.

The assets need not necessarily be given completely to one’s legal heirs like spouse or children. Some assets, especially cash or a special memorabilia can be given to a friend, charitable organization, a faithful helper and so on. The will comes into effect when a person dies and virtually any type of distribution can be accomplished through a will. Of course, if the legal heirs feel the will does not benefit them, they can contest the will in a court of law.

Another estate planning tool is the trust fund that can be set up by a parent for his child. For example, if a father has a lot of money and fixed assets with only a son to inherit, and the son is a reckless wastrel, he can set up a trust fund with certain clauses that will prevent his son from wasting the money. This could be giving him a small allowance every month until he reaches a certain age and becomes a responsible adult.

Estate taxes in most countries are very high. These are usually paid on assets inherited after a person’s death. In order to avoid paying high estate taxes, some people could ‘gift’ (another estate planning tool) a part of their assets during their lifetime to their loved ones. This will reduce the estate sized and automatically reduce estate taxes. So, estate planning involves simply evaluating your financial assets and deciding how and to whom you wish to distribute said assets. There are a few mistakes that one can avoid with estate planning.

Not making plans to distribute your assets could lead to in-fighting among your heirs and in some cases, the government stepping in to distribute the assets in a fair manner. This could involve your heirs only getting a small percentage of your assets with the rest being swallowed up in taxes. So, avoid the common mistake of leaving estate planning for too long. Remember that you need not be wealthy to make estate plans. Estate planning is also protecting yourself and having sufficient for medical bills and funeral expenses. Keep your will up-to-date to take care of changes in family situations like divorce and death of family members mentioned in the will. Planning your estate carefully will ensure protecting your hard-earned assets and distributing them in the way you wish to.

About the Author: Article by Dunbar Winston of FuneralesReforma, who is a specialist in hispanic estate planning. For more information on

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Oral Roberts University accountant claims he was ordered to “cook the books”

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 

A former accountant for Oral Roberts University (ORU) has filed a lawsuit against ORU and its Board of Regents claiming he was told by Richard Roberts and his wife Lindsay to “cook the books”, hiding financial wrongdoing from authorities and the public. Trent Huddleston, the accountant, has filed suit against the school and the Robertses claiming he “was improperly and unlawfully directed to perform functions and duties in violation of state and federal law in an effort by the defendants to ‘cook the books’ and hide from the appropriate authorities and the public the continued wrongdoing, improper and illegal conduct of the defendants, and in particular, of Richard and Lindsay Roberts.”

Huddleston said that nearly $123,000 in remodeling fees for their home was paid by Oral Roberts University and Oral Roberts Ministries. In addition the lawsuit alleges $4,000 was spent on a pool table for the Robertses. Previously the Roberts were accused of illegal political and financial wrongdoing, which forced the president to step down from his positison.

Last week at a meeting called by Oral Roberts, founder of the University and former faith healer, a majority of the faculty voted against allowing Richard to serve as president.

An ORU spokesman declined to comment on latest lawsuit and the faculty meeting.

In other news, Tulsa World released emails between Richard and his political adviser and sister-in-law, Stephanie Cantees. The emails given by an anonymous source, show the two plan to gain political influence using ORU students.

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California judge disqualified from predatory lending case

Thursday, December 27, 2012 

Judge James A. Stoelker of Santa Clara County, California Superior Court was disqualified from hearing a case on predatory lending practices the day before Christmas, on a technicality. The case was filed by David and Salma Merritt of Santa Clara County against multiple defendants, including Countrywide, Bank of America, and First American Title, among others.

The Merritts had challenged Judge Stoelker’s involvement in the case, claiming many of his rulings had favored his former clients even when law would have indicated otherwise. Some of the defendants are Judge Stoelker’s former clients.

The events leading to this case began in 2006 when the Merritts accepted a home loan from Countrywide. At that time, Countrywide was advertising 30-year mortgages at between 1 and 3 percent interest. The Merritts received a “good faith estimate” consistent with those advertisements. They claim that Countrywide representatives tricked them into signing loan documents that were subsequently altered to appear to commit them to an obligation they had not agreed to.

A review of similar predatory lending cases filed by individuals in California found that all had been settled in at most 9 months, usually in favor of the banks. Merritt v. Mozilo has continued in the courts for much longer, celebrating its third anniversary last Saturday. The Merritts’ claims are consistent with published statements by Eileen Foster, former Executive Vice President of Fraud Risk Management at Countrywide, that fraud was endemic to certain parts of Countrywide.

Theirs was the only case heard in Department 9 that morning in recognition of Christmas. That hearing was scheduled, because the Sixth District of the California Court of Appeals (case number H038883) required the Santa Clara County Superior Court to (a) give all parties an opportunity to be heard regarding the possible disqualification of Judge Stoelker and (b) reply to the appellate court by December 26. This appellate ruling was only issued on November 26, and Judge Mark H. Pierce did not schedule the required hearing until December 12. The notice for this hearing required parties to file responses ten days before, which meant that the parties only had two days to prepare their replies.

On August 16, the Merritts learned Judge Stoelker had represented defendants in this case on numerous occasions before he was appointed to the bench in December 2010 and had not disclosed this fact to the Merritts. The next day they filed a Verified Statement of Disqualification asking Stoekler to recuse himself. The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 170.3(c)(3) and (4) [confirmed in the 1988 appellate decision in Lewis v. Superior Court] give a judge ten days to respond to to such a motion. Stoelker replied on the eleventh day.

“All Rise” was heard at 9:04 AM local time Monday morning, whereupon Judge Pierce entered the courtroom. Attending by phone were attorneys James Goldberg representing Bank of America and Brian Craft representing First American Title. David Merritt was present representing himself. Goldberg had filed a brief asserting that the Merritts’ Verified Statement of Disqualification was served upon Judge Stoelker on August 17 but was not filed, as witnessed by the fact that it was not listed on the docket. Judge Pierce reported that he had checked the files and found that this Statement had indeed been filed, and he didn’t know why it was not on the docket. Attorney Goldberg suggested that the fact that the Statement was not on the docket may have contributed to Judge Stoelker’s failure to respond within the ten day limit. Judge Pierce replied, “That’s a stretch.”

Attorney Craft asked about next steps, since all action in this case had been stayed by the appellate court pending resolution of this issue. Judge Pierce then replied that Judge Manoukian would be handling discovery in this case, replacing Judge Stoelker in that capacity. He further stated that a reply to the appellate court had been prepared concurring with the appellate court’s disqualification of Judge Stoelker and asked Mr. Merritt to retrieve that order from the clerk in the courtroom and file it as usual with the clerk’s office. He also noted that this action would lift the stay. Other actions in this case could now proceed with the next steps being scheduled January 22, 2013, or later.

This is the second appellate reversal of decisions by this superior court in this case. The first reversal came on December 19, 2011, when the appellate court reinstated Wells Fargo as a defendant.

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U.S. Supreme Court overturns Arthur Andersen conviction

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a witness tampering conviction against accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP for destroying documents related to now-bankrupt energy giant Enron Corp. The verdict virtually put Andersen, once one of the largest accounting firms in the world and the fifth-largest in the United States, out of business.

In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the court threw out the verdict due to serious flaws in the jury instructions. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld Andersen’s June 15, 2002 conviction in Houston.

In the court’s view, the instructions allowed the jury to convict Andersen without proving that the firm knew it broke the law or that there was a link to any official proceeding that prohibited the destruction of documents. “The jury instructions at issue simply failed to convey the requisite consciousness of wrongdoing,” Rehnquist wrote. “Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the instructions required.” Rehnquist’s opinion also expressed grave skepticism at the government’s definition of “corrupt persuasion”–persuasion with an improper purpose even without knowing an act is unlawful. “Only persons conscious of wrongdoing can be said to ‘knowingly corruptly persuade,’ ” he wrote.

The ruling came very quickly, as oral arguments in the case had taken place on April 27. Justice Department attorneys claimed Andersen employees were instructed “undertake an unprecedented campaign of document destruction” in order to impede a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Enron’s conduct. Deputy Solicitor General David Dreeben likened Andersen’s behavior to “shredding its smoking guns.”

However, Maureen Mahoney, arguing for Andersen, countered that the employees involved merely followed the company’s policy on destroying unneeded documents, and that the shredding occurred before Andersen received a subpoena on November 8, 2001. She also claimed that under the government’s legal definition of “corrupt persuasion,” acquittal was virtually impossible.

The justices seemed to indicate which way they were leaning very early in oral arguments, as they peppered the government lawyers with hostile remarks.

Justice Antonin Scalia called the government’s theory of prosecution “weird.” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was particularly troubled by the trouble the jury initially had sifting the evidence. “If this thing is so confusing,” she asked, “how is a businessperson supposed to know? How is a lawyer supposed to know?”

Andersen’s appeal was backed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In a friend-of-the-court brief, the association claimed that the government’s broad definition of “corrupt persuasion” put defense lawyers at risk for prosecution simply for advising clients of their rights to assert legal privileges or review document retention policies.

Despite the ruling, which returns the case to the Fifth Circuit, it is highly unlikely Andersen will ever return as a viable business. It lost nearly all of its clients after its indictment, and was forced to shut down its American accounting practice due to federal laws that forbid convicted felons from auditing public companies. The firm still faces more than 100 civil suits related to its audits of Enron and other companies. Once 28,000 employees strong, the Chicago-based Andersen is now down to around 200 employees who are largely occupied with handling the civil suits and other details of winding down the partnership.

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Leighton Meester, who is known to us all, has attracted vast numbers of Chinese people s attentions, especially teens, since she played a leading role called Blair Waldorf in the series Gossip Girl . This is an American teen drama series which is based on the book series of the same name by Cecily Ziegesar. In this TV show, Leighton Meester acts as a gossip girl in a high school. She has even been treated as a gossip queen by the girls in her school. However, she is also a Reebok girl during these days.

As we all know, the TV series tells us a story about a group of boys and girls. Their stories and relationships are so confused. The story always focus on a question Who is the fashion queen on earth? . In this way, the girls always fight with each other to get the status of fashion queen. But mostly every time Blair has got the title.

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At one time, Blair Waldorf had been regarded as the fashion Queen just because she had worn a pair of Reebok EasyTone. This style showed us a new Blair, with youth and vigor. Then the Reebok shoes has became a new sport trend among the boys and girls in their school.

As her boyfriend, Chuck also worn a pair of Reebok zigtech boys shoes to match with her. They are just such a couple to be admired by other youngsters.

In the real world, Leighton Meester is also a best spokesperson for Reebok. Nowadays, she has been busy in Reebok s brand ambassador activities in her spare time.

As a young girl, I know large numbers of youngsters favor this kind of shoes. We can put on them when we are running, playing basketball, even when shopping. It can be taken as a new trend instead of just a pair of sport shoes.

Blair was a fashion queen after she had worn Reebok zigtech girls shoes. It is no exaggeration to say, when you are a Rebok girl, even more you are the fashion queen.

When you are a Reebok girl, you are also the fashion queen.

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Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

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Iraqi journalist throws shoes at US president George Bush

Sunday, December 14, 2008 

An Iraqi journalist for an Egyptian Newspaper named Muntazer al-Zaidi was tackled by authorities after he threw his shoes at United States president George W. Bush during a press conference on Sunday in Baghdad. Bush had made a surprise last visit to Iraq to sign a new security pact brokered by Iraq and the U.S.

Before throwing his shoes at Bush, the reporter, Muntader al-Zaidi of Al-Baghdadia, a local television station, stood up and said, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, dog!” The words were followed by the reporter’s two shoes being thrown at Bush, who had to duck in order to avoid being hit with them. Shortly after each shoe flew within a few inches of Bush, authorities quickly neutralized the reporter and took him out of the room.

In Arabic culture, hitting or throwing shoes at someone so the soles hit them is considered a great insult. In 2003, when Iraqi citizens tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad, they began to smack it with the soles of their shoes.

Despite the incident, the press conference continued with some reporters apologizing for the man’s actions. It even appeared that Bush was smiling, as the shoes flew past his head.

“Thanks for apologizing on behalf of the Iraqi people. It doesn’t bother me. If you want the facts, it was a size 10 shoe that he threw,” said Bush in regards to the incident who also said that he didn’t feel threatened.

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Wikinews Shorts: December 6, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, December 6, 2008 .

The global monthly sales of German car maker BMW have fallen by more than a quarter, as consumers are spending less due to the economic slowdown.

According to the company, BMW sales have fallen 26.2% in November from a year ago, whilst sales of its Mini subsidiary, which is based in the United Kingdom, were 20.8% lower. Sales in November for BMW’s luxury Rolls-Royce branch were also down 18.5%.

From the period of January to November, the company sold 1.32 million cars, 1.8 percent fewer than last year, when it sold 1.34 million vehicles.

Sources

The United States space agency NASA has put off the launch of Mars Science Laboratory rover mission. It was scheduled to fly next year, but the mission has been delayed by testing and hardware problems.

According to agency officials, the launch of the rover would be postponed until 2011. The delay could add US$400 million to the cost of the mission, which is likely to be higher than $2 billion.

“We will not lessen our standards for testing the mission’s complex flight systems, so we are choosing the more responsible option of changing the launch date,” said Dough McCuistion, the director NASA’s Mars program.

Sources

Three Canadian soldiers were killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan Friday, bringing the number of Canadian military casualties in the war to 100.

Canada’s top commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Denis Thompson, said that his troops were bringing “peace and stability” to the country. 2,500 Canadian troops are based in southern Afghanistan as part of NATO’s mission to defeat the Taliban.

Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan is due to end in 2011.

Sources

Armed robbers pulled off a record jewelery heist in Paris, France when they on Thursday robbed the Harry Winston store near Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Four male thieves, two of whom where dressed as women, stole most of the inventory of the high-profile boutique. The loot has been valued at €85 million (US$107 million).

The robbers brandished firearms and forced fifteen customers and staff into a corner of the store. No shots were fired and no one is reported hurt. Police have no immediate leads.

Sources

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Iraqi journalist throws shoes at US president George Bush

Sunday, December 14, 2008 

An Iraqi journalist for an Egyptian Newspaper named Muntazer al-Zaidi was tackled by authorities after he threw his shoes at United States president George W. Bush during a press conference on Sunday in Baghdad. Bush had made a surprise last visit to Iraq to sign a new security pact brokered by Iraq and the U.S.

Before throwing his shoes at Bush, the reporter, Muntader al-Zaidi of Al-Baghdadia, a local television station, stood up and said, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, dog!” The words were followed by the reporter’s two shoes being thrown at Bush, who had to duck in order to avoid being hit with them. Shortly after each shoe flew within a few inches of Bush, authorities quickly neutralized the reporter and took him out of the room.

In Arabic culture, hitting or throwing shoes at someone so the soles hit them is considered a great insult. In 2003, when Iraqi citizens tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad, they began to smack it with the soles of their shoes.

Despite the incident, the press conference continued with some reporters apologizing for the man’s actions. It even appeared that Bush was smiling, as the shoes flew past his head.

“Thanks for apologizing on behalf of the Iraqi people. It doesn’t bother me. If you want the facts, it was a size 10 shoe that he threw,” said Bush in regards to the incident who also said that he didn’t feel threatened.

Arts

Why Doesn\’t Current Poetry Rhyme? A Report On Poetry As Serious Art

Why Doesn\’t Current Poetry Rhyme? A Report on Poetry as Serious Art

by

Matt Kondalski

Although it\’s not as common as it was previously, everyone still likes a great poem. It might be cheerful, gloomy, amusing, serious, passionate, terrifying or even silly, but everyone has a couple of poems they really connect to.

But for a lot of people, these poems rhyme. In fact, most people think that a poem isn\’t a poem if it doesn\’t rhyme.

So why is it that so many present day poems don\’t seem to rhyme? The response may surprise you.

To answer the question, we must begin with the historical past of poetry. Poems were first utilized thousands of years ago to tell tales and document crucial events. They weren\’t written down. They were proclaimed out loud. People would remember the poem and then replicate it later on. This made poems a very crucial part of history and tradition.

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Rhyme is very helpful for reading anything out loud. It makes a poem less difficult to keep in mind, because it gives the poem a kind of structure. If you remember a single line, you have a clue to the next. This is the same reason that traditional poems have a rhythmic structure.

In other words, long ago poems were like songs without music. They were almost always stated out loud, and the tempo and rhyme helped men and women remember them and say them out loud in the right way.

Later on, poems rhyming allowed the poet to demonstrate how skilled they were with vocabulary. How normal a rhyming couplet appeared showed the audience how good the poem was.

But over the 100s and 1000\’s years of poetry existed, men and women tried all sorts of things. Some people formulated new types of structure, like the sonnet and the villanelle. Other people played around with with daring new themes, such as intimacy and law-breaking. And some people played around with with poems which didn\’t rhyme. When ever there is a rule, like poems must rhyme\’, some people will want to break it and see what happens.

In the last one hundred years or so, individuals tried breaking all forms of rules with poetry, novels, plays, fine art, music and so on. People began to understand that regulations could get in the way of what a poet or author or vocalist wanted to express with a particular piece of work. At the same time, culture became more free. Lots of rules about what you could and couldn\’t state were gotten rid of, so people could try things out more without being concerned about being put in jail.

This is the reason why there was such a significant change in all sorts of art in the twentieth century. For example, modern art questioned the idea that a painting had to present a specific scene as realistically as possible. Everyone has looked at a modern day painting that looks like a large chaos of fresh paint and pondered what it means. Part of the reason art like that exist is that artists celebrated and investigated their new freedom.

In the area of poetry, most lecturers now think that rhyming poetry is dated, because it restricts what a poem can say and what words it can use. If you want a *** you should try older poems. Although many people think rhyming poetry sounds pleasant, serious poets view poems as works of art and want them to be more than nice to listen to. That\’s why lots of modern day poems don\’t rhyme, don\’t have a musical construction, and seem very complicated and hard to understand.

There are some modern day poets who still produce rhyming poetry, but they are typically not taken seriously in educational circles. Rhyming poetry is okay for specific events or taking pleasure in as a member of the general public, but it is not likely to be published in a well respected poetry publication or magazine.

Sadly, because of this most contemporary poetry is only read by a handful of well-informed people who can enjoy it despite it being hard to understand. Most normal folks will never even see this kind of poetry. That\’s because, unlike in the past, there are now so many forms of activity competing for our attention that there\’s not a lot of room for poetry anymore. Most individuals are too busy watching Tv, listening to songs and surfing the web to worry about something as old-fashioned as poetry.

This is a true shame, because poems were once a vital part of our shared culture and historical past. Famous poets like Wordsworth, Byron and Shakespeare were appreciated by all sorts of people when they were still living, not only elite experts.

Sadly, this is a tendency in all sorts of forms of art. Most modern art, avant garde theatre, art house cinema and even modern classical music is too cerebral, difficult and alienating for most of the public to genuinely engage with. Rather, the majority of of this kind of art is consumed by the exact same people who make it, in small communities of men and women who have the time and money to become involved with that certain scene.

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Ozzy Osbourne’s personal possessions fetch $800,000 for charity

Sunday, December 2, 2007 

American heavy metal performer Ozzy Osbourne, who became famous as the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath and later as a solo act, has raised more than US$800,000 for The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program, founded by his spouse Sharon Osbourne at the Cedars Sinai Hospital, by auctioning off personal items.

A number of the items that he auctioned off over the two day period have been seen on his reality TV show The Osbournes, which featured home life with Sharon, Ozzy and their two children. Amongst some of the higher-priced items were a carved walnut Victorian-style custom built pool table which raised $11,250, a painting from Edourad Drouot which fetched $10,500, a pair of Ozzy’s famous round glasses which raised $5,250 and a dog bed given to Sharon by Elton John which sold for $2,375.

Some more famous items were also amongst the 500 lots offered. Ozzy’s black satin coat, complete with bat-wing cape, raised $3,300 and a hand-painted floral cup used regularly on The Osbournes made $1,625. A bronze plaque of a demon’s head that was regularly seen in its position adorning the front door of their house had been expected to go for $800 to $1,200instead raised $8,750. A wire model of the Eiffel Tower from on the kitchen table sold for $10,000, while skull-covered trainers Ozzy had worn reached $2,625. Bidders came from as far away as Germany to buy what they could from his mansion in Beverly Hills, California.

However, three cars included in the auction failed to attract bidders and did not sell. They were a 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, estimated at $160,000 to $180,000, a 2005 Cadillac CTS-V sedan estimated at $30,000 to $40,000 and a 1950 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 Club Coupe previously owned by author Danielle Steel estimated at $40,000 to $50,000. Sharon had earlier said of the cars “We’re not great car people. They really don’t do a lot for us.

Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, which organised the two-day sale, said “It did very well. It raised some good money for a very worthy cause.”

“For a celebrity garage sale, it was pretty spectacular.,” he went on. He also commented on the fact that there was fierce competition for the many artworks included. “We had Ozzy fans bidding against these sophisticated fine art buyers, which you don’t see every day. For the most part the metalheads were outbidding the art crowd.”