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General

Carbon, the Building Block of Everything

Carbon is one of the most widely dispersed materials on the earth, yet it is not the most abundant. Here are some more fascinating facts about this essential element. 

Nature

Carbon is found in nature, and has its proper place on the periodic table of elements. It is a nonmetal, chemical element and comes in a wide variety of forms. It is an allotrope, which means it can exist in multiple forms in the same physical state like liquid, solid, gas, or plasma. It is the 15th most abundant element on the planet and the 4th most abundant in the entire universe. It is no overstatement to say that carbon can be described as the building block for everything. It is the second only to oxygen as the most abundant element in human bodies.

It is difficult to date the actual “discovery” of carbon, since its various forms have been used as early as 2500 B.C. Diamonds have been used in ancient civilizations as jewelry, talismans to ward off evil, or cutting tools. Charcoal was produced in Ancient Rome using much the same process that is still in practice today, and farmers in the 1500s used a form of graphite to mark their sheep. However, more scientific processes were applied to the defining carbon beginning in 1722 when Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur used carbon to illustrate how iron can be turned into steel. Fifty years later, in 1772 Antoine Lavoisier demonstrated how diamonds were actually a form of carbon, and in 1779 Carl Wilhelm Scheele proved that graphite (commonly found in pencils) was not actually a form of lead, but of carbon. 

Forms

From radioactivity to writing a letter, carbon can display a myriad of remarkable properties. It is found in marble, limestone, magnesium, and calcium. It has allotropes, compounds, and other formulations that allow it to impact and influence nearly every sphere of life both on and off the planet. It is in the process of graphene manufacturing companies and in the heart of stars, it can be in organic compounds inside the bodies of animals and humans, or it can be a noxious vapour like carbon monoxide. The range and variations it displays are truly awe-inspiring. 

The rarest form of carbon is a liquid. Liquid carbon dioxide is only created through extreme manmade measures, and isn’t found in nature on its own.

Production

Although carbon is found in the elements, many of its forms are produced in factories. Graphene manufacturers, lab grown diamonds, and liquid carbon dioxide processes are just a few examples. Due to its invaluable properties carbon and its byproducts continue to serve human life on nearly every level of existence and production of its forms remains important.

From graphene manufacturing companies creating products, to diamonds found below the earth’s surface, carbon can be discovered everywhere and in nearly every thing.

Categories
General

A Primer on Structured Settlements in Divorce Cases

Divorce cases involve various decisions and obligations. Some situations require a spouse to provide monetary support through structured settlements for the other party. Here’s what people should know about this arrangement.

Applicable Cases

Structured settlements are a suitable option for the following:

Distribution of Marital Assets

Assets that are considered marital properties should be distributed between spouses. Some possessions, such as real estate, are difficult to divide. This problem can be solved by liquidating these resources to fund a structured settlement. The payee will receive a financial arrangement determined by a court to ensure that both parties will have fair shares.

Financial Support

The court may order a person to provide their spouse or children with monetary support through a structured settlement. This arrangement ensures that the receiver will have sufficient funds for major expenses, such as mortgage payments and daily living costs.

Pros and Cons

Financial arrangements have pros and cons. Here are some of them.

Pros

Structured settlements are generally beneficial for individuals who want a stable source of money for several years. They aren’t taxed as income and are given high interest rates. Financial arrangements for divorce cases, in particular, are ideal for the receiver since they don’t need to rely on their spouse’s promises, with a third party providing the payments.

Cons

These financial arrangements can’t be used to fund huge expenses immediately. Plus, their value can be affected by unfavorable economic conditions and subjected to state tax when withdrawn. Because these factors are ever-changing, some individuals choose to cash out their payments.

Cash-Outs

Selling structured settlements is recommended for those who want to get a large sum of money instantly for funding huge expenses. Individuals need to secure court approval before cashing out payments. Here are the requirements they should meet:

  • An appropriate reason for cashing out payments;
  • Fair rate and conditions; and
  • Necessary documents

If the arrangement is given to children, the court imposes stricter rules before guardians can cash out payments. Consulting a lawyer is ideal because they’re knowledgeable about these laws and can prove that the transaction will be beneficial to the rightful receiver.

Individuals can ask for their shares in marital assets or monetary support in the form of a structured settlement Brokers can give professional advice when it comes to this financial arrangement, including cashing out payments if it’s in the receiver’s best interest.

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Insurance

Common Forms of Property Fraud and Ways to Avoid Them

Many consider real estate as a safe investment. While it’s true, it can also be a breeding ground for people who want to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers.

Like con artists, they deceive others with deals that are too good to be true. And, oftentimes, unsuspecting investors take the bait. Keep yourself from getting tricked by familiarizing yourself with their usual schemes. Set up your property fraud alert, and learn some of its most common forms.

Title Fraud

A criminal will steal the title and personal information of a landowner and assume ownership of the real estate. Upon succeeding, they’ll look for buyers or get a loan against it. Once the transaction is completed, the swindler will take off with the money, leaving the victim in debt.

Foreclosure Fraud

Scammers will approach property owners with issues regarding their mortgage payments. They’ll offer a lower monthly cost schedule and amalgamation loans for the transfer of the title to the lender.

Unfortunately, these swindlers go behind the property owner’s back to contact buyers with a seemingly profitable purchase price. The title will be in their name, and they’ll advertise the estate as a foreclosed one.

Duplicated Listing

In this type of scam, criminals pose as real estate agents. They copy their target’s rental listing from the site where it was originally posted and then republish the ad under their name on another platform. Once they have a potential tenant, they’ll present fake documents, offer the rent at a lower cost, and ask for a security deposit. Some buyers will wire the money overnight only to find out that the transaction is false.

How to Avoid Them

One way to avoid these schemes is to get title insurance. This will help secure your real estate from infringement issues. It’ll also safeguard you from the financial loss due to claims, encumbrances, and problems in the actual ownership of your property.

You can keep yourself safe by protecting your identity. Be mindful of your personal data other people may gain access to like your social security number. Secure it in a deposit box or hidden compartment.

When creating listings, put a watermark on every image. You can also search your address on the internet to check whether your ads have been duplicated on other property rental websites.

Also, make sure that you work with reputable agents and lawyers. They’ll help you confirm the authenticity of the real estate you’re eyeing and may even serve as the mediator between you and the seller.

These are some of the most common schemes you may encounter as a homeowner. Remember that when it comes to property fraud prevention is necessary, so arm yourself with the tips to avoid getting duped by these swindlers.