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Learn from Aretha Franklin: Get a Will

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While the Queen of Soul is known for her timeless songs, she also struggled with one of the common things many people forget to do before they die – have a will. Aretha Franklin wasn’t alone. Prince also didn’t have a will when he died.

No one wants to think of death, but not having a will means your assets from property, cars, and bank accounts can get locked up in the courts for many years if there are multiple people claiming rights to it. According to an AARP survey, 2 out of 5 Americans over the age of 45 don’t have a will.

This AARP story says there are 10 Things You Should Know About Writing a Will:

What is a will?

A will is simply a legal document in which you, declare who will manage your estate after you die. Your estate can consist of big, expensive things such as a vacation home but also small items that might hold sentimental value such as photographs. The person named in the will to manage your estate is called the executor because he or she executes your stated wishes.

A will can also serve to declare who you wish to become the guardian for any minor children or dependents, and who you want to receive specific items that you own.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a valid will, your estate will be settled based on the laws of your state that outline who inherits what. Probate is the legal process of transferring the property of a deceased person to the rightful heirs.

Do I need an attorney to prepare my will?

No, you aren’t required to hire a lawyer to prepare your will, though an experienced lawyer can provide useful advice on estate-planning strategies such as living trusts. But as long as your will meets the legal requirements of your state, it’s valid whether a lawyer drafted it or you wrote it yourself on the back of a napkin.

Do-it-yourself will kits are widely available. Conduct an Internet search for “online wills” or “estate planning software” to find options.

Should my spouse and I have a joint will or separate wills?

Odds are you and your spouse won’t die at the same time, and there’s probably property that’s not jointly held. That’s why separate wills make better sense.

Who should act as a witness to a will?

Any person can act as a witness to your will, but you should select someone who isn’t a beneficiary. Otherwise there’s the potential for a conflict of interest. Some states require two or more witnesses. If a lawyer drafts your will, he or she shouldn’t serve as a witness.

Not all states require a will to be notarized, but some do. You may also want to have your witnesses sign what’s called a self-proving affidavit in the presence of a notary. This affidavit can speed up the probate process because your witnesses likely won’t be called into court by a judge to validate their signatures and the authenticity of the will.

Who should I name as my executor?

You can name your spouse, an adult child, or another trusted friend or relative as your executor. If your affairs are complicated, it might make more sense to name an attorney or someone with legal and financial expertise. You can also name joint executors, such as your spouse or partner and your attorney.

One of the most important things your will can do is empower your executor to pay your bills and deal with debt collectors. Make sure the wording of your will allows for this, and also gives your executor leeway to take care of any related issues that aren’t specifically outlined in your will.

How do I leave specific items to specific heirs?

If you wish to leave certain personal property to certain heirs, indicate as much in your will. In addition, you can create a separate document called a letter of instruction that you should keep with your will.

A letter of instruction, which isn’t legally binding in some states, can be written more informally than a will and can go into detail about which items go to whom. You can also include specifics about items that will help your executor settle your estate including account numbers, passwords and even burial instructions.

Where should I keep my will?

If you put the will in a bank safe deposit box that only you can get into, your family might need to seek a court order to gain access. A waterproof and fireproof safe in your house is a good alternative.

Your attorney or someone you trust should keep signed copies in case the original is destroyed. Signed copies can be used to establish your intentions. However, the absence of an original will can complicate matters, and without it there’s no guarantee that your estate will be settled as you’d hoped.

How often does a will need to be updated?

It’s possible that your will may never need to be updated — or you may choose to update it regularly. The decision is yours. Remember, the only version of your will that matters is the most current valid one in existence at the time of your death.

Who has the right to contest my will?

Contesting a will refers to challenging the legal validity of all or part of the document. A beneficiary who feels slighted by the terms of a will might choose to contest it. Depending on which state you live in, so too might a spouse, ex-spouse or child who believes your stated wishes go against local probate laws.

A will can be contested for any number of other reasons: it wasn’t properly witnessed; you weren’t competent when you signed it; or it’s the result of coercion or fraud. It’s usually up to a probate judge to settle the dispute. The key to successfully contesting a will is finding legitimate legal fault with it. A clearly drafted and validly executed will is the best defense.

To read the full story, go to the link.

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Sleepiness a Common Occurrence Among Employees

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Drained at your desk? You’re not alone. Recent research from staffing firm Accountemps suggests feeling worn out at work is a common occurrence among U.S. employees. Seventy-four percent of professionals reported they operate while tired at least somewhat often.

  • Very often –31%
  • Somewhat often – 43%
  • Not very often – 24%
  • Never – 2%

According to the research, the sleepiest city is Nashville, followed by Austin, Denver and Indianapolis. View an infographic of the 15 cities that have the highest percentages of professionals who are exhausted on the job. Texas had two cities in the top 10 – Austin at No. 2 and Dallas tied at No. 8.

“Though often overlooked, sleep is a critical component of producing good work. Errors and ineffectiveness can occur when team members are running on empty,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Consider the underlying causes of why employees are sleepy. If it’s because they’re stretched too thin, retention issues could soon follow.”

Accountemps offers the following tips to minimize working tired:

For Employers:

For Employees:

1.      Set a good example by working reasonable hours. Come to the office with adequate sleep and encourage your team to unplug after they leave the office.

1.      Ask for help before you burn out; your manager may be able to assist you with prioritizing or delegating tasks.

2.      Meet with your employees regularly to discuss their current projects and where they may need support.

2.      Leave work at the office door so you can recharge. Try going for a walk or attending a yoga class to clear your mind.

3.      Bring in temporary professionals to ensure staff aren’t overloaded or feel they need to put in overtime.

3.      Don’t bring your phone or laptop to bed. This can help ensure you get a restful night’s sleep and wake up refreshed.

 

 

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San Antonio Welcomes New Air Force Mission

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The U.S. Air Force decision to locate the Special Warfare Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is a big win for the city, according to city officials.

“San Antonio was one of eight locations competing for this crucial mission, and the selection of JBSA is a huge vote of confidence for Military City, USA,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a press release.

The city of San Antonio’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs led the effort to advocate San Antonio as the location for the consolidation of Battlefield Airman Training at JBSA – now called Special Warfare Training Wing. Battlefield Airman Training began in 2016.

The new wing headquarters will consist of approximately 135 personnel. Special Warfare Airmen are trained to solve on-ground problems with air power; often embedding with conventional and special operations forces. This special force has grown substantially since 2001, and consists of positions, such as combat rescue officer, special tactics officer, and special operations weather team.

San Antonio’s Congressional delegation and state officials also advocated for the new mission.

“San Antonio is known as Military City, USA for good reason,” said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. “The military is the number one employer in the region and Joint Base San Antonio has a significant impact on the local economy with more than 180,000 military and civilian employees.”

Major General Juan G. Ayala (USMC ret), director of the city’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, said this announcement is yet another example of the city’s importance to our national defense.

The wing will also focus on increasing retention rates and improving training through the Human Performance Support Group. This is a one-of-a-kind unit that integrates specialists from a variety of sports and medical fields into warfare training to improve physical and mental performance, reduce injury and speed rehabilitation.

 

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#FightFor15 Taking on McDonald’s

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The fight for higher wages among restaurant workers is ramping up across America with protestors recently arrested on Oct. 4 for standing their ground against food giant McDonald’s.

It’s reported that more than 50 protestors, under the theme #Fightfor15, were arrested at the McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago. Protestors are fighting that wages increase to $15 an hour and the right to unionize. Among the arrested were Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry.

Senator Bernie Sanders recently tweeted, “If Amazon and Disney can pay $15 an hour, so can McDonald’s, which made $5.1 billion in profits last year. My message to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook: No one in America, especially those working for a profitable corporation like McDonald’s, should be living in poverty.”

Amazon’s Oct. 2 announcement that it was raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour could put the pressure on other companies to increase pay, especially as retailers ramp up hiring for the holiday season.

A U.C. Berkeley Labor Center study in 2015 said that many restaurant workers could qualify for food stamps, Medicaid or other similar programs because they don’t make enough to cover basic living expenses. The study also said in addition to the food industry, other jobs that typically qualify for public assistance are child care workers and home health care workers.

In addition to McDonald’s, workers from TGI Fridays, UberEats and Wal-Mart have taken part in various protests across the nation.

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