Articles/Resources

Perfecting Mechanic Liens

The mechanics lien is a powerful legal tool that provides a security interest in the property itself. If the property owner fails to pay the amount owed, the lien gives the claimant the right to enforce the lien through a foreclosure process, whereby the property may be sold to satisfy the debt. A mechanics lien in California is a legal claim placed on a property by contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers who have provided labor, materials, or services for the construction or improvement of that property but have not been fully […]

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Simplified Probate

Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. It involves identifying and gathering the assets of the deceased person, paying any debts or taxes owed by the estate, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. In General:Probate typically begins with the filing of a petition in the probate court, usually in the county where the deceased person lived. The court will then appoint an executor or administrator to manage the estate. If the deceased person had a will, the court will generally appoint the […]

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Banking Beneficiaries

Bank account beneficiary rules govern the designation of individuals or entities who will receive the funds in a bank account upon the account holder’s death. The specific rules and procedures can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of bank account involved. Trust Account:A type of bank account held within a living trust, also known as a revocable trust or inter vivos trust. The account is established in the name of the trust, and the trustee has the authority to manage and control the funds in the account on […]

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HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, “(HIPAA”) is a federal law enacted in 1996 to provide privacy and security protections for patients’ medical information. The primary purpose of HIPAA is to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of personal health information (PHI) while allowing for the flow of health information needed to provide quality healthcare and for other important purposes, such as healthcare operations and research. Covered Entities:HIPAA sets standards for the protection of PHI and applies to covered entities, which include healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses. It […]

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RLUIPA

As a result of Congressional Hearings wherein Congress found that churches, particularly those of minority religions and start-up churches, were disproportionately affected, and often were actively discriminated against, by local land use decisions. Furthermore, it was determined that zoning authorities were frequently placing excessive burdens on the ability of congregations to exercise their faith in violation of the Constitution. This resulted in the passing of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) to protect religious institutions from unduly burdensome or discriminatory land use regulations. Purpose:RLUIPA provides that “No […]

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California Proposition 19

Effective April 1, 2021, Proposition 19 provisions potentially affect the former base year value transfers for persons age 55 and over that were added by Propositions 60 (1986) and 90 (1988). California Proposition 19, also known as the “Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment,” was a ballot measure that was passed in November 2020. Proposition 19 made several changes to property tax rules in California. Under Prop 19’s base year value transfer provision, if the transfer of taxable value is to a replacement primary […]

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Employment Discrimination and Religion

Religious employment refers to employment that is directly related to the religious activities or mission of a religious organization, such as a church, mosque, temple, or synagogue. Religious employment can include positions such as clergy, religious educators, music directors, and administrative staff. Civil Rights Act of 1964:A landmark federal law in the that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in a variety of areas including employment, education, and public accommodations. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, […]

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Incidental Use of Church Property (weddings, fairs, garage sales…)

Under federal tax law, non-profit organizations such as churches are tax-exempt because they are organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. This means that the assets of a non-profit organization, including a church, must be used exclusively for achieving its exempt purposes. Exclusive Purpose:This requirement is often referred to as the “exclusivity of purpose” rule. It means that a non-profit organization cannot use its assets to benefit individuals or private interests, or for any purpose […]

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Independent Contractors

Individuals who are “independent contractors” are not considered employees for wage and hour purposes. California Assembly Bill 5 addresses the “employment status” of workers when the hiring entity claims the worker is an independent contractor and not an employee. Additionally,  Assembly Bill 2257, enacted in 2020, intended to clarify AB 5 and provide additional exemptions to the test for determining whether an independent contractor has been misclassified as an employee. Why it Matters:California’s labor law protects employees, but not independent contractors. Additionally, employees can go to state agencies such as […]

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Group Tax Exemptions

While often used interchangeably, “nonprofit,” “tax-exempt,” and “501(c)(3)”  have distinct meanings under the law and different legal obligations.  Nonprofit organizations are created under state law but are not automatically tax-exempt from state sales and income taxes without filing for such an exemption through the Franchise Tax Board. Additionally, organizations are given tax-exempt status from federal income tax under federallaw, through the Internal Revenue Service. Group Exemption:A group exemption affords the opportunity for a nonprofit organization to share the tax-exemption of another 501(c)(3) without the need for each entity to seek […]

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