What risks are there if I do not incorporate my business?

The benefit to incorporating is that your personal assets are protected from liability. If you fail to incorporate, and wind up in litigation, your personal assets could be at risk.

What exactly is an LLC?

The acronym LLC stands for limited liability company. Many states permit the formation of an LLC and provide some flexibility in management of the LLC that does not exist with traditional companies.

I have a business name in mind but I want to know if anyone else is using the name, how do I check that?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a website where corporate names are listed and can be searched to see if a business name is already in use.

Do I need a business contract or is it ok to do business verbally?

Verbal contracts are enforceable, however, because there is not a writing, it can be more difficult to prove the terms of the contract if you wind up in a dispute. Hence, it is recommended to do business with written contracts.

What exactly is an estate administration?

This is when an executor, or an administrator (where there is no will), gather together the assets of a decedent and also the liabilities. This is done in an effort to ultimately disburse remaining funds to the beneficiaries after the creditors of the estate are paid.

What happens to my assets when I die if I did not do a will?

When a decedent does not have a will, state law through its intestacy provisions will dictate. Because there can be unforeseen results you would not be happy about with the intestacy laws, most attorneys will advise you to do a will.

Can I provide in a will for a guardian for the benefit of my children?

Yes, adults with minor children often do wills to provide for their children should something happen to the parent(s). A guardian for the property and one for the custody of the children is one option that can be spelled out in a will.

What exactly is a living trust?

A living trust is an estate planning tool that enables one to avoid probate and thereby save on legal fees and governmental fees. To get this benefit, one would transfer all assets to the trust where they will be retitled in the name of the trust.