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September 5, 2017

Why property investment should be a key part of Estate Planning?

plan for your estatePeople underestimate the importance of property investments within estate planning until it’s too late. Estate planning is your declaration after you pass away. You may not want your family to receive money and other assets you intended for your wife and children. Molly McCollough found out how essential property investment within estate planning is the hard way.

Meet Molly

Molly McCollough is a 54 year old woman who is the founder of Theature Company. Molly thought she and her husband has everything figured out. They never thought they needed life insurance or a strategy for financial planning because they were married and didn’t have children, so everything would be left to Molly. After her husband, Joe died, Molly found out being his wife didn’t carry much weight in collecting his estate.

The Issue

Molly’s husband didn’t have a will, and the money he left behind was in a foreign bank account that did not have her name on it. Because Molly’s name was not on any of the accounts, she didn’t have access to anything.

Molly was afraid and mourning the death of her husband. Molly needed to figure out a way to gain access to his estate before his family tried to claim any part of the estate. Molly felt her husband was hiding secrets, and she didn’t know where to turn or who she could trust.

Molly said, “There’s just something about death and greed and money and long-buried resentment that bubbles to the surface when there’s any substantial inheritance. It tears families apart. People lie and steal and cheat.” In her situation, she was right. Joe’s family did just what Molly hoped they wouldn’t. They came and took all of his estate and left her with nothing. Inheritance drama is something no one wants to deal with and it can cause years of frustration, and put a rift between families.

Life insurance, financial planning, and estate planning are things you need to discuss with your partner before it’s too late. Make sure you and your partner have a will whether you have children or not. If these things are not in place before you pass away, the state will do what they see fit, and most of the time, it’s not what you wanted.

The Solution

At Unified Lawyers, we work tirelessly to help people who don’t understand wills, trusts, estate planning, and similar assets. We understand the urgency in these situations and always put our best foot forward. We are not a traditional law firm. We believe in helping people instead of collecting a check. All our fees and costs are straightforward so each of our clients know how every cent of their money was spent. We are here to help you get your situation resolved.

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June 29, 2017

7 Tips on How to Buy a Luxury Home

luxury home buyingLooking for a luxury home or condo? Don’t know how to find the best deal. The following 7 tips can help you buy your dream home.

1. Get familiar with the search process

Many luxury homes do not protect the privacy of their sellers. Those properties are quite often found later through the personal connections of Realtors. The large search engines don’t always cover everything you need. So, you may need to check a lot of online sources when searching for a real estate.

2. Go beyond the photos

Do not dismiss a real estate based on its front elevation photographs. The large homes and condos are often not photogenic. Your best bet would be to see a property in person. It’s also a good idea to do some search on Google Earth. This computer program can help you explore the property itself and its vicinity as well. This way you will be able to see what is around the home you’re looking for. You can also use the online search tools when searching for the luxurious properties. If you’re looking for a real estate within Hilton Head Island, make use of such a tool to find the best sea pines real estate.

3. Contact a local expert and reliable adviser

Once you’ve determined the location of your property, you should contact a buyer agent. A local expert can provide you with important info about the property you want to buy. Some high-end areas have a controlled access with the fewer open houses. Sometimes, you will have to make a few appointments to get access. Besides a local buyer agent, you should also hire a reliable Realtor for some suggestions.

4. Gather your financial documents

It is critical to document everything before heading to the high-end market. Pay attention to financial documentation in particular. People who are making a lot of money have an accountant or a manager to shelter their money.

5. Bank on your relationship

The banks keep the portfolios of their clients for many years. So make sure to go to the bank(s) you have the relationships with. It’s good to know the difference between the prequalification letter and pre-approval letter.

6. Don’t forget your title insurance

The title insurances ensure that you’re protected against possible issues that may occur. Before closing time, you need to take a look at the exceptions page. This page is included in the title insurance, but many people are not aware of it.

7. Get familiar with co-ops and condos

You need to know in advance what to expect with condominiums and cooperatives. Your attorney should represent you for condos and co-ops when you enter the field. The attorney should also do a thorough research on the financial viability of the real estate you are interested in. There is always a room to negotiate before you make an offer. Let your agent investigate the comparable real estates that have recently sold in that area. That will help you get the more affordable closing price.

Look into the future. Try to find out what buildings are planned around your property in the near future. And be aware of the timeline. Don’t tie your money up for an extended period of time. You may miss a good opportunity due to the construction delays.

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June 10, 2017

Time to Honor your Parents by gifting them a House

property to giftNo matter who you are and where you are, you can never fully repay your parents for all the care, love and sacrifices that they have made. Isn’t it?

But increasingly, many people who have already taken care off their financial responsibilities (like buying a house, paying for children’s education, etc.), are honoring their parents by gifting them a house. Also, father’s day is around the corner.

This is indeed a great gesture that shouldn’t be only evaluated from the financial angle.

Gift or not, there is no doubt that house purchases are major decisions. And they cost a lot of money. But if you too are planning to gift your parents a house, then it shouldn’t be a problem as home loans are easily available at very low rates. Ofcourse you need to have a good credit history and a reasonably good repayment capacity to avail home loans.

But even before getting into the financial aspect of the house purchase, you need to be careful before selecting a house for your parents. More so if they would be living in that house.

Any house that is to be occupied by senior people should be built keeping in mind the ease-of-use from seniors’ angle. Like if you are looking to buy a flat, then it should have the lift facility or it should be on the ground floor. To ensure proper ventilation and lighting, its better to opt for a house/flat that has more open windows/balconies.

Security is another factor while selecting a property for parents. If the flat being considered is in a residential society, then security aspect is taken care off. But if it’s a standalone house, then you need to think about how secure would the property be, if the parents were to live there alone. Of course all these factors will reduce the number of options (properties) that fit all your criteria. But that is necessary considering the limitations that seniors have.

So all in all, once you have taken care of most of your financial responsibilities, go ahead and surprise your parents with the biggest gift of their lives.

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November 8, 2015

How to Exit a Commercial Property Lease without Making Mistakes

Property lease agreementThe business environment in most cases is extremely dynamic and fiercely competitive. It is not unusual for business to fold up even after making a great start. Many retail businesses need to keep on experimenting with location, and hence may be found to be closing down one store only to open up another one somewhere else. The reason for wanting to terminate commercial property leases can be varied; the business at that location could be bleeding money, or the demographics may have changed substantially, or the competition may have been too hot. Businesses need to enter into commercial leases for property all the time and may also need to foreclose them a lot many times too. Before walking out of the lease, you should carefully consider a number of things:

What Do You Really Want?

Closing a business at a particular location could often be the solution that is obvious but one that is not necessarily always right. Before even attempting to discuss the lease termination, be sure that you have considered every option available to you. If the reason for moving out is a need for more space, then your landlord could come to your rescue with offer for a fresh space and facilitate the lease termination. It is also important to evaluate if the necessity of terminating the lease is born out of personal circumstances rather than commercial ones. It is important for you to understand the real reasons for the change as this will give you a platform for effectively negotiating with the landlord.

Quantify Lease Termination Benefits

The option of terminating your lease can only be beneficial if the savings you get out of it is more than the compensation required to be paid to the landlord. The only way you can arrive at a rational decision is if you can quantify the value accruing to you so that you do not end up paying more than what you are benefiting by. One way of calculating the benefit is by finding the difference between the net profits expected to be delivered by the new location over the old one. If the reason for lease termination is to get time to attend to personal issues, then you would need to establish if the monetary loss on account of the termination is more than offset by what you are trying to achieve after you close down your business.

Identify the Landlord’s Financial Impact

To ensure that you are able to negotiate to good lease termination it is also necessary for you to establish the impact of the termination on the landlord. The most obvious is that he would lose out on the lease rentals till such time he can get a new tenant to occupy the space and start paying the rentals. If the business environment is down, then he may not get the same rental as what you had been paying, however the opposite could be equally true if the space is commercially attractive. Lease termination negotiation goes better of you can get an idea of the redeployment opportunities available to the landlord.

Compensate Your Landlord

Among the ways you can add value to the solving the landlord’s predicament is find creative solutions to what the landlord could do with the space becoming available. If you have been able to assess the location constraints that led to your business failing and how other business can thrive in the same property, you may be able to convince the landlord to change the usage of the space and get a better income stream. You could also tap the local real estate brokers for market information, including the duration that the landlord is likely to take to find a new tenant and the sort of rentals he can expect to derive out of his property. You could also try and identify a prospective tenant for him who can take over your lease. There are a number of internet resources that you can take the assistance of to locate a prospective lessee.

Nancy Mulligan is the senior business reporter at one of the top financial dailies. She periodically writes on trends in commercial real estate and financing. She also consults for leasequit.com.

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August 27, 2013

5 Tips for Saving a Home Loan Deposit – Fast!

for home loansSaving your home loan deposit can seem like a difficult task, especially if you are a first home buyer. Luckily, there are a range of things you can do that will help to make it happen sooner than you might think. Here are 5 top tips for saving a home loan deposit efficiently and effectively.

Cut Your Unnecessary Spending

The first step to boosting your savings is to immediately start cutting down on your unnecessary spending. If you want to get a home loan deposit together as fast as possible, it’s worthwhile scaling back what you spend on other things. Every little bit counts, and it can be as small as bringing your own coffee to work, eating at home instead of dinner out, and cutting out impulse spending on luxury items.

Analyse Your Budget

Now that you’ve made a start, it’s time to take a good look at your budget. Analysing your income and expenses will help you to ascertain where your money is going, and how it can be optimised to create a more effective savings plan. Ensure that your budget is clear and comprehensive, and use it to help you maximise your income.

Dedicated Savings

To get the best results, consider opening a new savings account specifically dedicated to your home loan deposit. Look for something that is high interest with low fees to ensure that your savings continue to grow. Divert a set amount of your weekly wage directly into this account, and be sure to add extra contributions whenever you can afford it.

Consider a Professional’s Input

If you feel like you have tried all of the above and still haven’t seen a great boost to your savings, it might be time to call in some expert assistance. Talking to a financial professional can give you new ideas and strategies on the smartest ways to save, helping you to own your dream home sooner. You may even be able to get great advice from a lender, particularly those with a history of helping people to achieve their financial goals. Agencies such as Fox Symes are famous for their quality debt solutions, and have also become specialised in offering great value home loans. By choosing a lender like this, you are truly getting the best of both worlds, and will have all the help you need to effectively save your deposit, fast!

Stick to It!

Now that you have a great savings plan in place and your finances are working efficiently, it’s essential that you focus on the long term. It’s easy to feel discouraged if you get caught up in day to day expenses, and the trick to success is to have a positive attitude and always remember your end goal. Never forget that all of your hard work now is allowing you to achieve the incredible goal of owning your dream home in the future.

With these top tips, you will be able to start a quality savings strategy to help you buy your own home sooner than you might think. Time is of the essence, and when you’re looking at saving a home loan deposit fast, every day counts. Get started today and enjoy the reward of seeing your savings grow!

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