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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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As “Shop Black Week” 2020 is Primed to Make History, TikTok, Shopify, Amazon and Walmart Are Now Jumping on the Bandwagon

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ATLANTA, Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — “Shop Black Week” began years ago as a meeting of the minds that included determined Black business owners and community organizers as a campaign to promote Black economic empowerment that soon escalated and became a world-wide movement. The idea of Shop Black Week (SBW) was to encourage consumers to simply add “shopping with a Black-owned business” to their to-do-list. The Official Shop Black Week 2020 campaign has over 200 organizations involved, which represents over 1.5 million members, subscribers and followers who will share and hashtag #shopblackweek to encourage mass participation. The SBW campaign simply asks every American to make at least one purchase from a Black-owned business from November 20-27th and into the holiday season.

Systemic economic disparities are not new; however, the COVID-19 pandemic brought this to the forefront. Recently, an overwhelming amount of attention has been placed on the disparities and injustices within the Black community. Because the SBW organizers are Black business owners themselves, they were more than aware of these disparities and even more than aware that nothing short of a major movement would be necessary to address this issue knowing that many small businesses suffered and had to shut down.

As Black business-owners, the SBW campaign began as a S.O.S. (Save Our-Selves) call to action. However, it seems that others want in on the Black movement because it is in fashion these days. Recently, TikTok, Wal-Mart, Amazon and Shopify (all non-Black owned entities) have launched Black initiatives, and specifically TikTok has termed their “new initiative,” unbelievably, “Shop Black Week” too. According to the organizers of the Official Shop Black Week, in an attempt to preempt the Official Shop Black Week campaign, the corporate giant has created a new start date, one week before the official grassroots campaign launches. “Google ‘shop black week,’ to see hundreds of results displayed; visit the website to see all of our participating organizations and partners. As the true Official ‘Shop Black Week,’ we are concerned that these large corporate giants have not responded to our request for partnership, but instead, they are attempting seemingly to capitalize off Black consumers and business owners,” said Carla Tillman, PhD, Shop Black Week’s National Director.

The copycat shop-black-week promoters indicated that they have hand-picked and pre-selected some Black-owned vendors to feature. “That’s great!” says Sharon S. Gordon, media partner of SBW, “however, organizers of the Official Shop Black Week campaign welcome all types of Black-owned businesses who would be able to keep 100% of the proceeds from their products and services.” A qualified business simply has to register and pass the vetting process by signing up at shopblackweek.org. Organizers of the Official SBW forecast an average of 30,000 daily website visitors who will be searching to find quality Black-owned businesses to support.

Everyone making a purchase from a Black-owned business during Shop Black Week November 20-27th should hashtag #shopblackweek and let everyone know about any purchases including business names, locations, dates and photos.

Press Contact, Latoya Meshell, (833) 991-0911 or 258334@email4pr.com

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Greenwood Closes $3 million Seed Round To Build Online Banking Solution for Blacks and Latinx

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Venture founded by Ambassador Andrew Young, Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render and Ryan Glover

NEWS PROVIDED BYGreenwood Financial 

Michael Render, better known as “Killer Mike,” rapper turned activist, and Ambassador Andrew J. Young, civil rights legend and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Former Mayor of Atlanta, and Ryan Glover, Greenwood Chairman and founder of Bounce TV network are all founders of Greenwood, the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners. They have secured $3 million in seed money from investors

Greenwood’s initial products are savings and spending accounts that come with a stunningly designed black metal debit card for customers who sign up by the end of the year. Advanced features like Apple, Samsung, and Android pay, virtual debit cards, peer-to-peer transfers, mobile check deposits, and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations are offered with no hidden fees. Customers who invite their friends to open accounts receive cash awards as a thank you from Greenwood. All deposits are FDIC insured by a partner bank.

Additionally, Greenwood plans to work with brick and mortar minority-owned banks to provide deposits to help strengthen historically black banks.

“The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn’t just about being able to sit at the counter. It was also about being able to own the restaurant,” said Ambassador Andrew Young. “We have the skills, talent and energy to compete anywhere in the world, but to grow the economy, it has to be based on the spirit of the universe and not the greed of the universe. Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering black and brown people to have economic opportunity.”

A mere five days after the October 8 announcement of the company, Greenwood has received more than 100,000 sign-ups to the waiting list for Greenwood’s digital banking platform at www.bankgreenwood.com. This pace illustrates the demand for a modern solution for minority banking and makes Greenwood one of the most successful launches in the history of the financial services industry.

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Facebook Rolls Out #BuyBlack Friday

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(photo) La’Asia Johnson, Founder of Elle Jae Essentials

With the holiday season fast approaching and the harsh realities of COVID -19 still lingering in the world, Facebook wants to do its part to further support Black-owned businesses. Facebook recently announced its #BuyBlack Friday campaign with the hope of celebrating and supporting black-owned businesses and their communities which have been extremely impacted by the pandemic. 

It is well known that Black-owned businesses are closing at double to triple the rate of other small businesses. Facebook will be working closely with the US Black Chambers and encouraging people to #Buy Black over the holidays. Staring October 30th Facebook will be introducing features in the Facebook app. They’ll also be hosting a range of events and resources within Facebook’s Lift Black Voices Hub, and airing the #BuyBlack Friday Show that will air live every Friday from October 20 – November 27 featuring Black businesses, musical artists and entertainers, writers, etc.

Consumers and Facebook users can visit https://about.fb.com/news/2020/10/buy-black-friday/ for more information.

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