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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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Getting Blacks Back To Work

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Unemployed African Americans Can Upload Their Resumes to BlackJobs.com

The global COVID-19 pandemic has all Americans feeling financially burdened, but more African Americans are being affected as there are currently more than 20 million unemployment claims across the country. Experts say that Black unemployment could eventually be as high as 30%, but one web site, BlackJobs.com, is helping to solve the problem.

The web site easily allows qualified job seekers to connect with employers who are committed to diversity hiring. The site allows users to easily upload the resumes for free, and even link their resume with their existing LinkedIn account.

But are there really jobs available?

Yes! Although there has been an exponential loss of jobs in the past month, there are still new job opportunities being created daily. In fact, the demand for work-from-home professionals has skyrocketed due to social distancing mandates. There are also many new customer support-related positions on the rise, as well as jobs in healthcare, higher education, off-site IT, delivery services, etc.

BlackJobs.com, which is free to use for those who are unemployed, is an immediate solution to the drastic loss of jobs and Black unemployment in general.

Other job boards for African Americans to consider using include HBCUConnect.com and Diversity Job Board

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Microsoft to Partner With Huge HBCU Hiring Event For Software and IT Professionals

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Nationwide — HBCU Connect and Microsoft have partnered to offer an amazing opportunity to  software engineering professionals. On February 13th, the two companies will host a special Recruitment and Networking Reception in Dallas, Texas for HBCU grads turned tech professionals interested in working for Microsoft.

At the event, participants will learn more about Microsoft and converse with Microsoft recruiters and hiring managers with the unique opportunity for candidates to land next day interviews on the 14th followed by same day job offers!

Event Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2020 – with next day interviews and offers on the 14th
Event Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Event Location: Dallas, Texas – Exact location provided with confirmed registration

Microsoft has hundreds of openings for software engineers and technical program managers, so whether you are a coder or have progressed into program management with a background in software engineering, you really need to make it to this event! Microsoft offers a great work atmosphere, great pay and benefits, crazy room for advancement, and a progressive work environment.

The team behind the event is Microsoft “COSINE”, which stands for Core Operating System and Intelligent Edge technology. As a part of the Microsoft Cloud + AI division, the COSINE organization delivers technologies and solutions that establish the OS platform foundation across Microsoft’s everchanging product lines.

The COSINE organization within Microsoft would like to hire as many Software Engineers and Technical Program Managers as possible from the HBCU Connect hiring event. So, if you have experience developing code in C++, Java, C# or other modern programming languages, or you used to write code but now have years of experience as a program manager, you should register to attend this event.

While most of the opportunities will be at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA, Microsoft offers a very competitive salary and relocation package for potential employees. Microsoft also has a thriving community of Black professionals, many of which are part of their long-standing employee resource group called Blacks at Microsoft (BAM).

This is a very unique opportunity for software professionals to get their foot in the door at Microsoft.

How to register:
Space is limited! Submit your resume and contact information at www.hbcuconnect.com/resumes or email your resume to rsvp@hbcuconnect.com

Companies interested in discussing the execution of similar events, and/or leveraging HBCU Connect in support of their diversity hiring strategies, should contact us at events@hbcuconnect.com.

For individuals interested in attending future events hosted by HBCU Connect, register at www.hbcuconnect.com/resumes.

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Leader In Fostering Diversity

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TV ONE NAMED AMONG TOP COMPANIES FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR BY COUNTRY’S LEADING ORGANIZATION FOR DIVERSITY IN THE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY 

TV One was recently named one of the Top Companies of 2019 for People of Color by the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), the premiere organization focusing on cultural diversity, equity and inclusions in the communications industry. As announced by NAMIC, TV One was among the top five programmers and is recognized as a leader in fostering diversity and inclusion in the cable and communications industry. The findings were gleaned from the 2019 NAMIC AIM Report which ranked the top five operators and top five programmers.  “It is an honor for TV One to be recognized by NAMIC as a leading company for diversity,” said TV One General Manager Michelle Rice. “We strongly believe diversity and inclusion are key business imperatives that cultivate a positive work environment for our employees to thrive. We will continue to invest and employ programs and strategies to retain and recruit both a dynamic and diverse workforce.”

Other top programmers ranked by NAMIC include AMC Networks, CBS Corporation, NBCUniversal and Revolt Media & TV; top operators include Altice USA, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications and Mediacom Communications Corporation. 

“Building a diverse talent pool not only is the right thing to do, but also is essential for driving bottom-line results,” said NAMIC President and CEO A. Shuanise Washington. “These 10 companies are leading the way in adopting successful diversity and inclusion strategies that ensure we embrace differences and more accurately reflect the representation of our industry stakeholders as well as today’s workforce.” 

Funded by the Walter Kaitz Foundation and conducted by Mercer, the survey captured organizational workforce demographics, diversity practices, non-traditional employee benefits, and other indicators of corporate commitment to diversity and inclusion. The survey also gathered information that enabled the creation of industry-wide Internal Labor Market (ILM) maps showing the workforce dynamics – hires, promotions, and exits – of people of color in the industry. Data is being used to determine the steps the industry needs to take over the next five years to recruit and retain diverse talent. 

Twenty-one organizations participated in the survey, which represents an estimated 75.5 percent of the cable and communications industry’s workforce. 

The full report is available at http://namic.com

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