Water – Cashing in on an Environmental Issue

You’ve heard the adage that water and oil don’t mix. But don’t be surprised if they play out their role as vital assets in the same sand box.

Just look to our neighbors in the western U.S., specifically Las Vegas, Nevada, to measure just how important water is at this moment.

Water? The same valuable natural asset status as oil? Who would have thought that could ever be the case?

Actually, a hundred years ago President Theodore -Teddy- Roosevelt did. “The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

This famous quote by President Roosevelt in 1907 to the United States Congress was one of many oracle examples of a man ahead of his own generation’s individual and industrialized bad habits. His speeches unveiled an intellectual understanding of conservation and environmental stewardship. He was quite the motivator.

Paddle forward 100 years and the signs of increased water appreciation are rearing their head and peeking into your wallet.

Depending on what area of the United States you flip on the faucet determines if that is a good thing or a not-so good thing.

Let’s tackle the bad side of the issue first. One example of a not-so-good thing would be the email that landed in my inbox yesterday from a Central Florida homeowner, aghast that their water bill had jumped to $314.12 this month.

That’s more than I paid to fill my car with gasoline in the past three months.

Case In Point: Jack Daniels and Las Vegas

A quick look through your local and national news source and you’ll see a variety of water deficit indicators popping up across the US.

Tennessee’s low water table is threatening the Jack Daniel’s distillery where water conservation is in full swing.

Further out west in the sandy desert Nevada’s Hoover Dam is 107 feet below its traditional level. Higher residential populations in the Colorado region challenge as quick of a recovery experienced in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, according to Bob Walsh, the external affairs officer for the lower Colorado region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau manages the dam that includes services to southern Nevada, southern California and Arizona–the constituencies of the Lower Colorado River basin region.

Nevada, Arizona, southern California; I picture a sandbox. It’s in the desert. What did they expect?

And perhaps that sand-box scenario is why they are ahead of the curve in reshaping just how cavalier the end-user chooses to be and just how much of this valuable natural asset they consume. Would you believe a popular option is a turf-free lawn? Could you imagine?

Giving Up The Grass

Bob Walsh upgraded from his previous home of a “small” amount of grass to a home with “no grass” in Nevada. In our discussion of our vastly different cultures, Bob reminded me that in the U.S., the typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water outdoors for irrigation according to the EPA.

Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by over-watering according to the EPA.

A turf free landscape is a far cry from the theme of Michael Pollan’s book, Second Nature (Dell Publishing 1991), where “the democratic system can cope with the nonvoter far more easily than the democratic landscape can cope with the non-mower..” The popular water conservation way of life that Bob Walsh described for the western region was a vastly different model than I witness in the far southeast.

Policy on the local, state, and federal level can be crafted. But how do we truly motivate change on the user-end? Reward or punish?

Show Me The Money

Las Vegas rewards homeowners in cash for removing turf from their landscape. The Las Vegas Water Valley District website provides information on several rebates and coupons for their patrons. By upgrading existing grass to a new water-smart landscape, participants receive a rebate of $2 per square foot for the first 1,500 square feet of grass converted to xeriscape. Areas in excess of 1,500 square feet receive $1 per square foot.

Cha-ching. There’s a fine line between manipulation and motivation. Nevada has set a fine example for us to follow.

No matter where you live, it’s time to take notice of just how important water is to you and your landscape. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a reason that water has become a national priority. A recent government survey showed at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. But by using water more efficiently, we can help preserve water supplies for future generations, save money, and protect the environment.

How do you engage people who have not felt the impact of this resource?

The answer: Cash.

Depending on where you live, that might mean cashing in on a very present environmental issue.

Top 10 Spanish Experiences!

Guidebooks often provide the visitor with a list of sights to see and places to visit when venturing overseas to a brand new country, but this list of top 10 experiences to have in Spain provides the visitor or new expatriate living in Spain with some slightly more unusual alternatives!

If you consider yourself a more adventurous tourist or you’re just bored of the same old same old spouted by tired tourist guides read on for an exciting Spanish itinerary.

1) The Seville Fair – we all know that the Spanish are party people and they party well, but if you’d like to experience the biggest, liveliest and most exciting party of all consider visiting the Seville fair which is seven days of pure, unadulterated fun!

2) Surfing and Snowboarding – from riding the Biscay swell at Guernika in the Billabong Pro to snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada – whatever form of extreme sport you’re into Spain has the unique natural landscape to satisfy you!

3) Breathtaking Views – from standing atop the piste with views of Granada to driving the N340 highway with the coast of Morocco so close you can almost reach out and touch it – Spain not only has the most breathtaking natural scenery, it affords you a wealth of unique views to die for.

4) Drink Sherry & Drink Rioja – drink sherry in Jerez, drink Rioja in La Rioja – say no more!

5) Clubbing in Ibiza – take a week and visit one of the seven main clubs in Ibiza each night of the week and be prepared to party until the sun rises and your feet can dance no more! It has to be done!

6) Bull Fighting and Bull Running – bull fighting may be ritualised killing and many people’s idea of extreme cruelty, but to others the experience of a corrida is to take a breathtaking and dramatic glimpse into the Spanish psyche. The Pamplona Bull Run on the other hand is possibly the very last thing you’ll get to do in Spain! We’d advise anyone crazy enough to charge ahead of a mad bull down the narrow cobbled streets of Pamplona to get their life insurance in order before they set off – alternatively, join the crowds of spectators and simply witness this (possibly?) once in a lifetime thrill!

7) The Alhambra At Sunset – the Alhambra, the most incredible and enduring legacy of Moorish Spain is worth a hundred visits…but if you want to experience the true majesty and understand why the Alhambra was the physical manifestation of the Moorish concept of paradise, climb up to St. Nicholas Square at sunset and see how the ancient wonder glows golden against the stunning snow-capped backdrop of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada – and be prepared to feel seriously moved if not a wee bit emotional!

8) Art & Culture – The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a work of art in itself and worth visiting even if you’re not interested in the wealth of art and artefacts contained therein. The museum is an incredibly daring structure built from titanium, glass and stone, and it beats at the heart of this city of contrasts. Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum is tame in architectural comparison but it houses one of Picasso’s greatest works, in fact, possibly one of the greatest works of 20th Century namely Guernica…if you want art and culture, Spain has it in heaps and every city, town or region you visit will offer you a whole host of opportunity to experience the Spanish cultural riches.

9) World Heritage Sites – The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is dedicated to ensuring future generations inherit the treasures of the past by working to protect both cultural and natural sites of significance worldwide. Spain has over 35 sites that have been flagged as world heritage sites – we challenge you to visit them all!

10) Tomato Fighting – not fighting tomatoes (that would be silly), but fighting with tomatoes in Valencia in August. Yes, one of the strangest of all Spanish festivals and carnivals is La Tomatina where upwards of 30,000 semi-naked people gather to throw tomatoes at each other before getting washed down by the hoses of the local fire brigade…it is truly an experience worth…well…experiencing really! If only to say ‘been there, done that.’

Spain is different! It is a country which effortlessly and seamlessly combines a plethora of fiestas, indefatigable nightlife, stunning and diverse natural scenery, supposedly impossible to achieve levels of synergy between ancient and modern architecture and artistic culture, fun and fascination, beautiful people, incredible cuisine, sun, sea, sand and sangria – to create a variety and spice of life you will never experience outside of Spain.

The Kill Game

The "Kill Game" is a romp of a police novel with its primary setting in Las Vegas, Nevada with a side trip to Northern Nevada, Idaho and Utah, all of which is interesting to those familiar with these western states. The "Kill Game" is an easy summer read about a cold case Las Vegas murder that three retired Nevada police detectives accept after 22 years of no leads and closure. It is not an intense or heavy plot.

The three detectives, two male former partners and a female work well together in their effort to resolve the old Las Vegas murder case. There is the mystery of finding clues in the cold case and a romance begin to blossom between two of the detectives, but nothing racy.

Even a person not in law enforcement will notice some improbable events and serious over sights when the case was fresh and think that investigators were not trying very hard to work this. Then 22-years later, with a little bit of looking, things begin to quickly fall into place and the case is solved in a surprising twist.

The writer uses locations that those familiar with the community will recognize and be able to place themselves in some of those locations, such as the Bellagio Café, where the detectives often eat. There is also mention of professional casino poker tournaments. However, for readers who have spent very much time in Las Vegas, they will also note the lack of accuracy of some of the locations and other details related to the city. There are several mentions of the Las Vegas chief of police. Las Vegas does not have a chief of police. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Force falls under the direction of the elected sheriff.

For those who do any amount of reading, they will note that the writer, while entertaining, does not write tight. There are strings of sentences filled with unnecessary words. Because of this, the book could possibly be edited more and cut by three quarters and be a tighter less waste read. The "Kill Game" is entertaining enough that I would read the next in a series that this writer, Dean Wesley Smith, has written. But keeping in mind it is light reading and a good pick to take and read while traveling or anywhere where meaningful concentration is not available.

Lake Tahoe: Awesome Ski Resorts

It is incredible that within a one to two hour drive of a full-feature city like Reno, Nevada, there are more than a dozen world-class ski resorts. Add the attraction of gambling casinos, fabulous restaurants and showrooms and you have a winter vacation destination at Lake Tahoe that is second-to-none.

If you are in Reno for a visit to a casino or on a business trip, it is a very simple to just rent a car or hop on a shuttle bus down to Lake Tahoe and enjoy a day of awesome skiing with absolutely breathtaking views of the lake from the snow covered slopes.

In the South Lake Tahoe area you will find a little piece of skiing heaven called, appropriately, Heavenly. This beautiful and massive ski resorts’ lower slopes can be seen from the Stateline/South Lake Tahoe highways and from most of the lake itself. Many people consider Heavenly to be one of the most spectacular ski areas on the planet.

Heavenly opened in 1955 with only one chair lift and a small hut on U.S. Forest Service land. Today it covers over 4,800 acres and is literally a massive operation. The resort was purchased in the spring of 2002 by Vail Resorts Inc. who has pumped over $36 million in on-mountain capital to improve and upgrade the site. Enhanced snowmaking on 70% of all mountain trails, expanded grooming, outstanding terrain parks, new signage and access to tree skiing are just a few of the improvements that have been made.

The ski season at Heavenly runs roughly from mid-November to late April. The vertical drop is 3,500 feet and the top elevation is 10,067 feet. The mountain spans California where the base elevation is at 6,540 feet and Nevada where the base elevation is at 7,200 feet. Annual snowfall is 360 inches on average but they had 480 inches during the 2004-2005 season.

The resort has 30 lifts, 15 in California and 15 in Nevada, highlighted by an eight-person gondola and an aerial tram. As far as skiing goes, the mountain offers something for everyone. 35% of trails are rated expert/advanced; 45%are intermediate; and 20% are beginner.

Heavenly has a veritable cornucopia of additional amenities and close access to all the lodging, shopping, dining, recreational, entertainment and fitness facilities that you could possibly imagine. It is truly a fantastic resort.

At the north end of the lake we find Squaw Valley USA, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It was founded in 1949 amidst 8,000 acres of wilderness preserve in the California High Sierra. Today it boasts over 4,000 acres over six Sierra peaks.

Squaw Valley offers skiers a unique experience since there are literally thousands of acres of open bowl skiing as opposed to the trails that most people (especially Easterners) are accustomed to. Skiing in wide-open bowls in consistently deep snow allows skiers of all levels to kick their skill sets up a notch. There are 16 open bowls to choose from and over 100 runs that are serviced by 33 lifts. The terrain is rated at 25% beginner, 45% intermediate and 30% expert.

The area receives over 450 inches of snowfall annually and boasts one of the most advanced and sophisticated grooming operations around. Three terrain parks and two half pipes round out the operation to include something for everyone. The summit is 9,050 feet with a base of 6,200 feet, making the vertical an impressive 2,850 feet.

Squaw Valley, like Heavenly, offers close proximity to the Lake Tahoe area with all the added attractions and amenities. An absolutely world-class resort, you also have the additional perk of skiing down slopes once graced by Olympic athletes.

These are only two of the many world-class ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region but they clearly give an indication of the fine facilities that are available. For winter sports enthusiasts who enjoy a nice meal, a relaxing spa and terrific shopping after a day spent on some of the most awesome runs anywhere in the world, Lake Tahoe is a must visit.

Local Governments Layoffs – Property Tax Receipts, Foreclosures and Economic Slow Down Takes Toll

As predicted and expected local governments are beginning to trim the fat and that means laying off employees. In markets where housing has taken its biggest bite out of the economy, there is an air of uncertainty. Country controllers, city auditors and local government leadership is trying to find ways to keep things moving and services strong, even with the dwindling of tax receipts from lackluster retail and auto sales, plus slow pays and property tax value re-adjustments.

The City of Phoenix, Arizona is cutting 500 employees now, with more to follow. In state governments we already read about California's hiring freeze and now Arizona is following suit, they have no choice. Most cities in both California and Arizona anticipate on cutting 5-10% out of their budgets in physical year 2008. That means no new buildings, equipment, hiring and trimming budgets, which will mean laying-off employees.

The States of Nevada and Florida are in similar positions. In Nevada they are watching their receipt hurts due to less travel from California to their casinos in the Northwest part of the state and then huge foreclosure numbers in both Northwestern Nevada and Clark County (Las Vegas), affecting property tax receipts. Las Vegas has enjoyed foreign tourism increases (due to weaker US dollar) for hotels, entertainment and gambling. Although car sales are down statewide, the general retail receipts are actually up in Las Vegas, the most populated area of ​​Nevada.

South Florida is in tough shape and small businesses are failing, due to the cascading problems of the housing crisis. Economists speculate that this scenario will be repeated in other high foreclosure housing markets first as we get through the recession. The recession will most likely be announced after it is over, as that is what the Fed and Treasury did last time.

Local Governments are also watching their costs increase as fuel costs have been taking a larger and larger chunk out of their budgets. This is also effecting education due to the costs to run school buses. It appears what has happened is no real surprise, as government generally spends whatever it takes in plus some, growing the bureaucracy incrementally, now with tax receipt income down, they are going to have raise taxes, fines and fees while reducing costs too. Maybe it is time for government to go on a diet? Of course, with increased foreclosures coming more crime too.

However, the local governments are providing services to illegal aliens and those costs are mounting as well. The challenges are intense and growing, municipalities and county governments are getting hit from all sides, as their income is reduced, their costs have increased and more individuals are demanding more services, while crime is increasing too. Things are not looking too pretty right now.

A Vegas Family Vacation

It’s easy to think of Las Vegas as an adult town. There are the risque shows featuring scantily clad showgirls. There are bars with cheap drinks, clubs with heavy-duty parties, adult-themed shows featuring plenty of “blue” comedy and, of course, gambling. If you’re not twenty-one years old, you can’t roll the dice or bet on a football game. It’s easy to think of LasVegas as a grown-up getaway.

There’s no doubt about it, there’s a lot of things to do for the adult set in LasVegas. However, thinking of the city as an adults-only vacation destination overlooks the many different family-friendly activities that are available. That’s right, Las Vegas really is a great place for the whole family. Just consider a handful of the hundreds of things in Vegas that will appeal to the young and the young at heart.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel. The giant hydroelectric dam is an awe-inspiring site with a fascinating history. Hoover Dam tours are available and their guaranteed to drop the jaws of young and old alike.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Las Vegas Springs Preserve whisks visitors away from the blinking bulbs and neon of downtown and the strip, providing travelers with a great look at interactive exhibits that provide insight about the area’s ecology. Nature buffs will love the Preserve.

Las Vegas GameWorks

You may need to be twenty one to play blackjack, but there are great games available for people of any age at Las Vegas’ massive arcades. Operations like the Gameworks Arcade at Showcase Mall feature hundreds of video games and other activities suitable for all ages.

Bonnie Springs Old Nevada

Before the lights and the concerts, there were cowboys and trains. You can take a trip back in time at destinations like Bonnie Springs Old Nevada. It’s a complete old western town located within twenty miles of LasVegas featuring everything from western souvenirs to gunfight reenactments.

Rides

Many of the casino properties offer rides that would fit in at any high-end amusement park. There’s the Gondola Ride at The Venetian, roller coasters at New York/New York, and a score of different routes to the high-rises providing an unforgettable view of the well-lit city from above.

Amusement Parks

If you want to wrap yourself up completely in the amusement park experience, you can do it at places like Adventuredome at Circus Circus. It’s one of a handful of full-featured amusement parks that will keep kids happy in Las Vegas.

There’s no shortage of family-friendly things to do in LasVegas. You can see sharks in aquariums, make your way to the top of an Eiffel Tower replica, visit a wax museum, or do just about anything else you can imagine!

LasVegas is a great place for the grown-ups to cut loose, but it’s also an A-plus vacation destination for those who happen to be under twenty-one. Not everything that happens in Vegas needs to stay there for the sake of discretion-there are plenty of adventures that any kid will want to talk about for years to come.

Famous Fremont Street – Experience Casinos in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada, is the most famous city for gambling in the world. The city of Las Vegas used as a scene in several Hollywood movie productions and TV shows. Since the early 1990s the Las Vegas Boulevard, also called the Strip, has become the center of tourism and gambling. Then many hotels and wellness resorts opened their doors at the Strip. As a result, the hotel and casino managers from the city center of Nevada decided to build a new attraction in order to make their hotels and Casinos more attractive. As a result was born the idea of ​​the Fremont Street Experiment (FSE).

The Fremont Street plays an important role in the history of gambling and entertainment in Las Vegas. In 1906 the first Las Vegas hotel opened its doors- the Hotel Nevada. The Northern Club got the first gambling license. Today an association of ten Downtown Nevada Casinos and Hotels managing the Downtown attraction FSE. The largest casino and hotel resort at the FSE is the Golden Nugget. The casino area for gaming is 38,000 square foot. Originally, it was built in 1946 and it was the first building designed as a casino in Nevada. During the last few years, the Golden Nugget was renovate and recently is expanding its capacity by building a new hotel tower. In the lobby of the Golden Nugget is display the world's largest nugget of gold found by a metal detector called the Hand of Faith (27,21 kilograms). It was in 1980 established by Kevin Hillier in Australia and later was sold to the Golden Nugget Las Vegas Casino.

The oldest and the smallest hotel at the FSE is the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. It was the first hotel that was opened in Las Vegas. In 1907, one year after the opening, the first telephone of the entire city was installed at the hotel, which was called Nevada Hotel then. Thus it had the telephone number "1". Since 1959, the largest attraction of the casino was invented, the shrimp cocktail. During the last 50 years, the shrimp cocktail has become the signature attraction of this FSE casino.

The world's largest slot machine located in a 40,000 square foot gambling area is the key attraction of the Four Queens, another FSE Hotel and Casino. Since the opening in 1966, the casino has expanded several times. The latest attraction is opening the first casino club in the city center.

The Fitzgeralds is another one of the famous casinos in the city center of Las Vegas casinos. The hotel is located in 34 floors building at the FSE. The theme of the casino is "The luck of the Irish" including the famous leprechaun mascot and shamrocks. Almost 1000 slot machines and 29 gaming tables are located in the 42,000 square foot of the casino.

Frankincense Essential Oil Proves to Be Anti-Cancerous

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) trees were considered extremely valuable during ancient times and their location was often a matter of state secret. Egyptians used the incense to fumigate their homes, for ritual incense and the oil for cosmetics. It was used as a holy anointing oil and as a general cure-all for all diseases. It was also used to enhance meditation and elevate spiritual consciousness. History shows it was used for embalming and as a perfume AND formed an important part of the Sabbath day offering. Frankincense or olibanum was mentioned in the Scriptures over 50 times and is found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Chronicles, Nehemiah, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Matthew, and Revelations.

The actions of frankincense include anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoral, immune-stimulant, antidepressant and muscle relaxing. It stimulates the limbic system as well as the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. It is strongly anti-viral, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and expectorant oil. Frankincense has the ability to relax and revitalize at the same time.

Cancer Research Using Frankincense

There are a few researchers studying the effects of frankincense on various cancers with some degree of success. In vitro effects show inhibition or stimulation of cell proliferation depending on the concentration of frankincense oil in the growth media. A recent study conducted at the University of Oklahoma showed that frankincense kills bladder cancer cells without harming surrounding tissue.

Studies are showing frankincense to be a strong immune-stimulant with some claiming that frankincense has the ability to repair DNA. A Chinese study conducted in 2000 indicated that Boswellia has “anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor activities.” These boswellic acids from frankincense inhibited “a variety of malignant cells” in people suffering from leukemia and brain tumors. The Cancer Research Institute of the University of Nevada treated cervical cancer with frankincense, in which “there was 72% inhibition and growth of non-cancerous cells.” Other studies have shown that boswellic acids from frankincense exert antiprolifertive activity toward a variety of malignant cells. Another study showed that boswellic acids are potent apoptotic agents to cancer cells and another one shows that Boswellic acids from frankincense gum exhibit potent cytotoxic activity against CNS tumors.

Why Hasn’t the General Public Heard about This?It sounds incredulous but the anti-cancerous effects of frankincense has been known for thousands of years. Does it work for everyone? No, but compared to the effects of chemotherapy, frankincense DOES show great promise now and in the future. Frankincense will never be promoted for the breakthrough that it is because there is no money to be made in its promotion. Frankincense is expensive in comparison to other therapeutic grade oils but “cheap” in comparison to drugs like chemotherapy. 

Understanding Privacy of Business Ownership

You may want privacy of your ownership interest in your business. This could be for a number of different reasons, including avoiding baseless lawsuits. Perhaps someone you know that owns a business got sued last month and you believe you can avoid the same fate if people can’t find what you own. There are a number of Internet incorporation services touting certain privacy benefits, such as asset protection, by organizing your business under the laws of a certain state. Nevada and Wyoming (and even New Mexico and a few others) are usually the states being sold as “privacy and asset protection havens.” These states do not require the disclosure of the identities of the shareholders of a corporation, or members of a manager-managed LLC in the required corporate filings (public records). Usually, these “privacy” states only require that the directors (sometimes only 1) and officers of the corporation, or the managers of the LLC, be disclosed on the Articles of Incorporation (or Articles of Organization) and all annual reports.

But, there are a ton of myths out there regarding privacy and asset protection. Many new entrepreneurs get lured into believing what often amounts to false hype. I will try to dispel a few of these myths. The bottom line is that privacy does not protect your assets by itself, it is only beneficial. The single greatest benefit of a state’s privacy protections is that it can help prevent frivolous litigation. Preventing the average Joe from finding out what companies you may own by searching public records is a good thing. This can save a lot of baseless claims. If it takes longer for someone to figure out who the owners are, that is obviously beneficial. The plaintiff will have to spend more money and most lawsuits are a simple game of pure economics. So, privacy can sometimes make it very expensive for a potential plaintiff to find your assets.

Guaranteed asset protection simply through privacy of ownership is basically a myth. Specifically, whether your business should always organize under Nevada or Wyoming laws, or use nominees or even bearer shares are all common questions. The short answer is that Nevada, Wyoming (and a few other states) do offer privacy protections, but that is no guarantee you’ll protect your assets or avoid any type of liability for your conduct.

Myth #1: You can Maintain Complete Privacy by Organizing in Nevada or Wyoming (or elsewhere)

The stated advantages to organizing under Nevada or Wyoming law for privacy purposes include:

  • Privacy for stockholders by not requiring that their names become part of the public corporate records. Nevada or Wyoming do not require shareholders or the members of an LLC to be disclosed in the corporate filings, only the directors, officers and managers of the LLC need to be disclosed-I discuss this later in this article;
  • Permits use of nominee stockholders, directors and officers of corporations and nominee members and managers of LLC’s;
  • Nevada and Wyoming do not share its data with the Internal Revenue Service and is one of a handful of states that do not have a sharing arrangement in place with the IRS (33 states have an “Information Sharing Agreement” in place with the IRS). But, just because Nevada does not share information with the I.R.S. does not mean your information will be kept private. You will need to provide the I.R.S. with the name and social security number of the person responsible for all tax issues involving the company in order to obtain an EIN. Also, the company will be required to prepare a tax return (informational returns for S-Corp’s and most LLC’s), on which the names and social security numbers of the owners will be provided. Thus, the I.R.S. will end up with this information regardless.

But, you can lose this privacy in a variety of ways. Business owners may be required to disclose their identity in the following instances: 1) Registering to do business in your home state; 2) Issuing stock; 3) Obtaining any required business licenses (which the State of Nevada requires for most activities and charges an additional fee to obtain); 4) Opening a bank account; 5) Being an employee or independent contractor to the corporation or LLC; or 6) Entering into other contracts or agreements where you sign individually, such as entering into any loans. Nevada now also requires a tax payer ID number of the company and personal guarantee by you on the state’s business license.Thus, it may not make sense for the average business to organize in Nevada or Wyoming solely to take advantage of privacy for these reasons.

Also, keep in mind, you may have to personally guarantee any debt on behalf of your business and will likely enter into contracts on behalf of your business. This means providing your name and signature on certain documents. You will also need to provide a designated person along with their social security number to the IRS as the responsible party for tax matters when you obtain an FEIN for your business. These are all ways in which you could possibly disclose your identity. The average owner of an Internet business is going to operate his/her own business and really has no way to avoid these things.

Of course, if you don’t take an active role in operating the business or sign any such contracts or guarantees, these concerns may not apply. Also, using nominees (discussed more below) or even shelf corporations will generally allow you to avoid disclosing your identity in public (corporate) records. Some shelf corporations can even be purchased with established bank accounts, credit histories and tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Myth #2: Privacy Alone Protects Your Assets

The privacy afforded to those organizing in Nevada, Wyoming or any other state with similar privacy features simply will not protect your interest in a corporation or LLC from your creditors. For example, pursuant to Nevada Civil Code NRS 21.080, all real and personal property of a judgment debtor (not otherwise exempt by law) is liable to execution, including “shares and interests in any corporation or company.” If a creditor obtains a judgment against you, your interest in a Nevada or Wyoming corporation/LLC is subject to attachment in order to satisfy the debt. You can either ignore the court order to testify regarding your assets (or refuse to answer questions after appearing) and face imprisonment for contempt of court, or commit perjury by lying about the extent of your assets. Obviously not appealing choices and why the notion of privacy does not protect your assets by itself. Do not be fooled by websites that tell you otherwise.

Myth #3: Using Nominees Is a Bullet Proof Strategy

Many online services tout the use of nominees as a bullet proof method of privacy and asset protection. Nevada and Wyoming law, for instance, allows for the use of nominee directors and officers and managers of an LLC, and nominee shareholders and members. The theory is that you can use a third party to conceal your identity as an owner and corporate officer or manager. Then, you can maintain control over the entity by using a proxy or some other instrument to control the corporation or LLC over the nominee. You should generally avoid using nominees or at least understand there are holes in this “bullet proof strategy.”

While you will gain some layer of privacy from having a nominee officer, shareholder, director, etc. this privacy will be lost once the nominee is served a subpoena and asked to provide the contact information for the owners of the company. The nominee will then be legally required to provide this information and your privacy is gone. Nevada civil procedure law makes it clear that the failure to obey a subpoena shall be punished for contempt. The law leaves no room for discretion unless the records to be disclosed are privileged. I think you would be hard pressed to find a nominee who is going to want to spend some time in jail for the small fee you pay for the services.

But, some services out there do offer the use of an attorney to act as an intermediary between you and the incorporation service. That attorney can then invoke attorney-client privilege, adding a layer of privacy anytime there is an inquiry about your identity. Dealing directly with the incorporation service creates no such privilege. However, in some instances the attorney may be ordered by the court to divulge your identity in cases of fraud or criminal conduct. This practice does present some measure of privacy.

Myth #4: Using Bearer Shares Provides Asset Protection

There are many asset protection and incorporation websites touting the use of bearer shares in the state of Nevada and elsewhere. Bearer shares are now illegal under the laws of the State of Nevada as of 2007. Regardless, the bearer share strategy does not prevent creditors from recovering your stock if a judgment is obtained against you. There are far too many holes with the use of bearer shares as a way to maintain privacy and protect your assets. This “strategy” creates all kinds of fraudulent transfer issues in the first place, as well as possible income and/or gift tax ramifications. There is really no need to go into any more detail other than to say you should you avoid services/websites touting the use of bearer shares as an asset protection vehicle. Also, for most small businesses, the most negative aspect of bearer shares is the inability to make an S-election due to the limitations on the number and type of shareholders. Not to mention bearer shares are not permitted by most states.

Actually Understanding Privacy

If you feel strongly about privacy, at least on the surface, then you should understand what this really means. Privacy actually lies specifically with any initial corporate filings annual reporting requirements of the state. If you are truly concerned, you can use a state like Nevada or Wyoming that allows no disclosure of members in a manager-managed LLC or shareholders on the initial or annual corporate filings. Nevada’s privacy protection protects members and shareholders from disclosure on corporate filings, but this privacy does not apply to certain officers, directors, and in the case of LLCs, managers. Nevada requires an incorporator or organizer to appoint by name at least one initial director in a corporation’s articles or in the case of an LLC, at least one member or manager in the articles of organization. In both cases, the articles are a public record, and anyone can request copies by paying a small fee.

Nevada, as other states, requires that every corporation and LLC file an “Annual List of Officers and Directors” each year. This requires disclosure of the full names of at least some of the officers and the directors of a corporation, and the managers of an LLC. This information is then posted on the Nevada Secretary of State’s Web site, which is a searchable public database and easy for anyone to figure out who is operating the corporation or LLC. Most states will allow you to designate a manager of your LLC and designate directors of a corporation and only list the information of those persons on the organizational documents.

But, depending on state law, the shareholders or members of an LLC are required to be listed on the annual reports go forward. This is where you may run into an issue with privacy if you are concerned. Regardless of state laws, it is very difficult for a small ongoing business to maintain the privacy of all owners. Also, it can be an administrative and financial burden to establish and maintain a corporation or LLC in another jurisdiction. The fees you pay to the state and these nominee type services will add up in a hurry. But, privacy is still a consideration in avoiding frivolous lawsuits, as I mentioned. Just understand the limitations and myths.

Prenuptial Agreements – The Before Marriage Divorce Contract

A prenuptial agreement, also called a "pre-nup", or "premarital agreement", is an agreement made by couples planning to get married. The pre-nup governs how issues such as dividing financial assets, and alimony will be deal with if the marriage should end in a divorce.

Without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorced couple of property will be divided and any maintenance awarded in accordance with Nevada statutes and case law. Any couple looking to save themselves from the circus called, divorce court, should seriously consider a pre-nup. Such an agreement is especially important if one or both parties are on their second or married marriage, if they have children from a previous marriage, or have significant personal assets which they do not want to be subject to the whims of a family court judge.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Divorce Court?

Yes, unless there are defects in their negotiation or content. Originally, most states would not enforce prenuptial agreements because they felt such agreements were "in derogation of marriage", meaning the agreements work against the principle of married for life. However, in the early seventies, following other states, Nevada held prenuptial agreements to be generally enforceable in, Buettner v. Buettner, 1973. So your agreement will be enforceable if it is properly done.

Why Draft a Prenup?

The most important reason to draft a pre-nup is to save you time and money, if your marriage ends in divorce. By agreeing to terms now, when you love each other, the divorce tends to run simpler, when the bliss has worn off. With a prenuptial agreement you know how things are going to be divided. Giving you peace of mind and costing you drastically less money in divorce attorney fees.

Pre-nups are not romantic. Approaching the conversation is a buzz kill. Most couples find it difficult to discuss the ending of a marriage. You're in love, and going to be married forever. Why would you need a divorce agreement? Because like life, divorce happens. You have less of a chance of finding your home on fire, and yet you buy home insurance. Signing a pre-nup is not dooming your marriage. Many couples feel siging a pre-nup solidifies each other's marriage commitments.

What's in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In 1989, Nevada adopted the Uniform Premarral Agreements Act (UPAA), which can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes at Title 123A. Under the UPAA, parties to a prenuptial agreement are allowed to agree with regard to:

1. Rights of property which the parties already have or may acquire during the marriage;
2. Any rights to buy, sell, lease or mortgage such property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death of one of the parties;
4. Alimony; and
5. Any other rights and obligations of the parties which are allowed to be governed by private contract, ie are not governed by statute.

Separate property is the main focus of most prenuptial agreements. If you are coming into a marriage with real estate, retirement accounts, or cash, you may want to keep these assets separate from your community property. Community property is divided equally if a divorce happens. Separate property is not divided. A pre-nup often includes a waiver by both parties of any rights in property the other spouse acquired before the marriage. This is important if you who wish to reserve the assets they bring into a marriage.

Couples can also agree that property acquired by one partner after the marriage, which would ordinarily become community property, will remain the separate property of that spouse. For example, you might be halfway to earning a huge bonus, stock options, or maybe a future book deal. By agreeing these assets are to remain separate property you limit this argument in court.

A pre-nup may include language about limiting alimony (aka spousal support) in the case of a divorce. We are even seeing an increase in "fidelity clauses" being linked to spousal support. If a spouse has an affair the spousal support can be limited or increased, depending on your wishes. However, if the elimination or modification of alimony for a spouse results in that spouse requiring public assistance, a court may disregard this portion of the agreement.

Two subjects of major concern to many couples contemplating marriage can not be governed by prenuptial agreements: child custody and child support. By Nevada law, a court must decide these matters based on the standard of the best interests of the child and specific factors at the time of the decision. A premarital agreement signed before children are born would be unable to discuss the future factors. So, any private agreement between the parties on these subjects will not be binding.

When are Pre-Nups Not Enforced?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses. Like all contracts, in order to be binding, an agreement must be entered into both parties knowingly and without any coercion, duress or fraud. Because of the closeness of the relationship between engaged persons, courts scrutinize prenuptial agreements especially closely.

First, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily. This means the agreement is not valid if one of the parties executed it under "duress," a legal term meaning "pressure." Agreements are often executed under some type of pressure; therefore, not every type of pressure will institute duress.

While threats of physical violence or blackmail would clearly determine duress, time between signing the agreement and the wedding date is the largest culprit. Courts will void a pre-nup because the bride felt pressure to sign a pre-nup three days before the wedding. The typical cause being the emotional tension of having to cancel the wedding, and explain to hundreds of guests why the wedding was taken. It's not a gun to the head, but just as scary for some.

The threat of calling off the wedding is not always enough to be duress. Most courts reason that a party has a legal right to call off a wedding at any time. The courts look for other factors such as the unavailability of legal counsel for one spouse, or a one-sided agreement. For more examples of what constituents doress, see "Voluntary Consent in Prenuptial Agreements".

It is advisable for couples to allow plenty of time to negotiate and draft an agreement. To avoid the issue of duress being raised in the event of a divorce, couples should again allow several weeks, and even a month or so before the wedding date, for the process of negotiating and executing the agreement. Each side should also consult their own attorney.

Second, the agreement must be entered into "knowingly." The UPAA requires that both parties be provided a "fair and reasonable disclosure" of the property and financial obligations of the other party. This means that income, real property, bank accounts, investments and all debts must be disclosed. This requirement underscores the advisability of allowing adequate time for consideration of the agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that where the husband failed to make the disclosures necessary to permit the wife to make an informed decision with respect to the premarital agreement, the agreement is invalid, Fick v. Fick, 1993. The court held that an incomplete list of the husband's assets, given to the wife shortly before the wedding, and on the basis of which the wife signed the prenuptial agreement, did not determine full disclosure.

Third, the agreement must be entered into without the presence of fraud. Fraud occurs when a party kindly or negligently misleads the other party. Obviously, deliberately misstating or concealing one's financial information would institute fraud. However, as stated above prenuptial agreements are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than regular commercial contracts; courts require a high degree of honesty on the part of each party, called a fiduciary duty to the other party. Therefore, if the resulting agreement is excessively one-sided, courts will presume the existence of fraud, and, without this presumption is rebutted in court, will invalidate the agreement.

In Sogg v. Nevada State Bank, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a premarital agreement would have presumed fraudulent where it left a wife with no resources or means of support in the event of a divorce, and where the wife probably would have received more under the community property laws of Nevada were it not for the premarital agreement.

The presumption may be overcome by a showing that the party claiming disadvantage was not in fact disadvantaged. Factors to consider include where the disputed party (1) had ample opportunity to obtain the advice of an independent attorney, (2) was not exercised into making a rash decision by circumstances, (3) had substantive business experience and acumen, and (4) ) was aware of the financial resources of the other party and understood the rights that were being forfeited.

The court in Sogg, held that where the premarital agreement was drafted by the husband's attorney, the wife was never given an opportunity to obtain the assistance of her own counsel, was not given a copy of the agreement until the morning of the wedding, and the wife's business experience was scanty. The court held that the presumption of fraud was not overcome, and the agreement was invalid.
Fair Pre-Nups

A contract is "unconscible" if it is so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair. In some states, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld even if it is one-sided and is a bad bargain for one of the parties, as long as it is made voluntarily and with full disclosure by each party. However, the Nevada Supreme Court does not lean this way. In the Fick case, the court took into account the results of the agreement. It invalidated the agreement partly because the agreement eliminated alimony for the wife, which she would have been entitled to, andave the wife much less community property than she would have received under community property laws. This indicates that Nevada courts will look at the substantive outcome of an agreement in determining fairness and validity.

It is apparent the reasons prenuptial agreements will be rendered unenforceable tend to overlap. In practice, facts which indicate there was not adequate disclosure by a party or which indicate the presence of duress may also be used to find fraud, unconscionability, etc. The overall lesson for couples is therefore: allow sufficient time for negotiation; have separate divorce lawyers available for both parties, disclose all assets, financial information and anything else the other party may reasonably want to know, and to attempt to treat the other spouse as fairly possible.

You can learn more about pre-nups at http://www.rightlawyers.com