Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Voices Carry in the Clouds Part 2

AHPG Convenes Monthly Meeting

The Arkansas HIV Planning Group is proud to announce April 11, as it's next meeting for 2014. According to Co-Chair, Courtney Hampton, "these meetings are open to everyone from our member partners to the community at large including free telephone access." If you are planning to attend each participant is encouraged to  RSVP to 661-2961.
The meeting is from 10am - 1pm in the Arkansas Department of Health Auditorium, 4815 West Markham Street in Little Rock. The Arkansas HIV Planning Group as a collaborative entity and partner with the Arkansas Department of Health's HIV/TB/ Hep C Section is charged with the mission to decrease the number of Arkansans who become infected with HIV. The primary purpose of the AHPG is to collaborate and participate in the development of a comprehensive plan for the prevention of HIV transmission utilizing the tenants of the National HIV AIDS Strategy and guidance from the Center for Disease Control.
As a collective body, AHPG will identify precedence in HIV prevention needs based on priority targeted populations. Such populations should be approached through "high impact" prevention modes that ensure that HIV prevention resources are directed to these priority targeted populations culminating in efficient and focused outcomes. 
New Entity Emerges: Arkansans for Human and Civil Rights
In our efforts to keep our ear to the ground, COP 24/7 was made aware of a new gathering or perhaps and extended grouping of "Arkansans working together to support, promote and secure fair and equal access to Human and Civil Rights protections in Arkansas," according to a recent Facebook page established March 25. 
The new group describes itself as " Arkansans for Human and Civil Rights has been created by a diverse array of individuals and organizations from across the state with an interest in promoting human and civil rights in Arkansas in order to support these rights for all people in Arkansas including those who have had these rights denied or infringed based on race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, and class." The group's genesis is not totally revealed but most likely entails many locally known advocates, activist and or usual footman involved in such organizations. Ironically this recent group emergence echo's a early 80's effort entitled the Arkansas Human Rights Association which espoused then that "gay rights were and have always been human rights." From a historical perspective it was a entity before its time but the essence of its position is today a reality.

The group also states on the page that Arkansas is a state with a civil rights law, but no means to report civil rights violations to any state entity. Arkansas in one of only three states in the United States without a civil rights commission. In 2001 the Arkansas Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights generated a report that was then submitted to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Despite an overwhelming finding of need and a recommendation for its creation. Unfortunately, no civil rights commission for Arkansas has been created to date. From what we can glean there doesn't appear any further movement to do so.

Organizers proclaim that the group will serve as a not only a watchdog for Arkansas but will also engage in a multitude of activities to secure as well as promote equitable access to these rights.

Arkansans for Human and Civil Rights will be conducting community meetings throughout the state with locations, times and dates to be announced. COP will be among the first to bring you breaking developments. 

COP 24/7 Special     

estateplanningtabWhen Do You Need a Revocable Trust?

You may have been told that you need to protect your assets by placing them into a “trust”.  While there are many types of trusts, the most common is a revocable trust, which is also sometimes referred to as a “living trust”.  In basic terms this trust is a tool pursuant to which a person, during their lifetime, may transfer assets into a trust which will then be distributed to his or her family or lawful heirs at the time of death.

Revocable trusts are powerful tools which may accomplish a variety of goals including reduction of the Estate Tax, avoidance of probate, and the protection of assets.  Determining whether the Estate Tax may apply involves an analysis of the applicable exemption provided by Congress.   For 2013, the applicable exemption is $5,250,000.  This means, generally, that anyone who dies in 2013 can declare over $5 million in assets free from the Federal Estate Tax.

Any amount left in your estate (including proceedings from life insurance) minus the applicable exemption for the year of death, is potentially subject to the estate tax.  A trust does not avoid the estate tax, but does allow a married couple, through proper use of a Bypass Trust, to claim the exemption twice- once for each spouse.

Since the over $5 million exemption presently excludes many estates from the tax, the more popular justification for forming a revocable trust is to avoid probate – the sometimes costly and lengthy legal process generally necessary to administer the estate of a person upon death.

Some probate lawyers will charge your family a percentage of the assets which pass through the Estate, regardless of the amount of work which may be necessary to complete the probate.  A typical Probate will take 6-12 months to complete, often limiting the ability to access assets during the completion of the proceedings.  If assets are property titled in name of a Trust, then upon death those assets avoid probate entirely.  Further, since probate records are available to the public a trust provides the additional benefit of privacy.

Trusts may also provide a limited measure of asset protection for the family or heirs of the deceased person.  By including a “spendthrift provision” in the trust, creditors of the beneficiaries may be prevented from reaching the assets placed in the trust.  This might also be used to prevent a younger heir from reaching the full amount of his or her inheritance, which can also be accomplished by placing an age limit on the date of distribution.

There are other benefits to creating a revocable trust, such as avoiding potential issues which may arise upon a future physical or mental disability and the benefit associated with allowing your family to retain control over your assets upon death.  The largest advantage, however, may be the peace of mind associated with knowing that your wishes upon death are specifically, properly organized and detailed in a manner causing the least amount of potential stress and difficulty upon your family or heirs.  For additional information on how a trust may benefit you and your family, please contact Cade Cox of Cox, Sterling & McClure at 501-954-8073 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 501-954-8073 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting or at clcox@csmfirm.com

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