Legal problems commonly faced by all of us
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Reviewing your legal situation on a regular basis can head off potential problems and can result in your taking action before trouble starts, enabling you to protect your family, your home, your vehicles, your valuables and your investments. It can also provide peace of mind.
The following reviews a few legal problems commonly faced by all of us. Your lawyer can help you resolve these and other legal problems. The legal work is often relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the costly disasters that could result from unanticipated problems.
Marriage, Separation, and Divorce
Couples sometimes enter in pre nuptial agreements or separation agreements to avoid disputes in the event of divorce. Such contracts can deal with property rights, support, child custody and visitation. You may be able to enter into such agreements before or during marriage. Unmarried couples living together sometimes use a contract to specify their expected rights and responsibilities, and may enter into agreements similar to the ones used by married couples.
Separation agreements routinely specify who, in the event of divorce, will have custody of children, and stipulate the frequency and duration of visits by the other spouse. Pre nuptial and separation agreements can also address various contingencies such as selling your home and valuing one anothers interest in pension plans. Such contracts might also require that a spouse pledge property to be forfeited for failure to comply with the agreement.
You should consult your lawyer if your marriage is ending. You will need sound professional advice to determine child custody, financial support and make a fair division of the property of the marriage. Your lawyer can also seek protection if your spouse threatens to assault or harass you, take your children in violation of custody or visitation rights, or hide property belonging to the marriage. For more information click here.
Wills and Estate Plans
A good start means having an estate plan with a valid will. Without a will, your property may not be distributed as you desire, extra expenses and taxes may be incurred, and some family members may inherit your property against your wishes.
Trusts are another estate planning tool. A trust is a document that allows you to transfer property to loved ones using a trustee to carry out your instructions. Trusts created in a will are called testamentary trusts. Trusts can also be created by a contract called a living trust. Living trusts can be useful estate planning tools for everyone, not just the rich. A living trust can help you avoid probate and keep your affairs private.
Review your estate planning documents whenever important life changes take place -- when you marry, have a child, move to a new jurisdiction or lose a loved one. Be sure your estate plan keeps pace with the value of your property and changes in the tax laws. Revisions can be made with a new document or an amendment to an existing one, but you should never try to make a change by writing or crossing out on your old will or trust. For more information click here.
Buying and Selling a Home
Beware of common pitfalls when buying and selling a home, most people's largest investment. For example, the home buyer should avoid unfavorable provisions in the sales contract, such as failure to provide for the return of the deposit if there are major defects in the home. The seller should watch out for onerous provisions in the listing contract and sales agreement, such as requirements to pay an agent's commission even if a sale is not completed. If you are buying or selling, check with a lawyer before you sign a contract. The lawyer can review the contract, handle negotiations and complete the sale. For more information click here.
Accidents and Injuries
Accidental injuries can occur in your home, apartment or car, at your work place or stores, offices and medical centers. You and your family members may be entitled to compensation from those who contributed to the injury -- the driver of another vehicle, the owner of an unsafe building, the provider of improper medical treatment, the manufacturer of a defective product or the employer with unsafe working conditions.
Compensation for injuries can include reimbursement of your medical expenses and money damages for disability, lost income, and pain and suffering. Whether or not compensation can be recovered from the responsible party, you may be covered under your own insurance policies.Your lawyer can explain you rights and help you recover compensation from responsible parties and insurance companies in the event of such injury. For more information click here.
Legal difficulties sometimes arise in the work place. For example, your job application may have been rejected because of your age or race, or you may have been denied a promotion because you refuse the romantic advances of a supervisor. You may have been fired illegally for refusing to break the law, failing to work on your Sabbath or because of the results of a drug test. The laws that protect employees against discrimination and unfair job actions have expanded, but frequently have strict procedures and time limits for filing claims. If you fail to take prompt action, you may lose your rights. Your lawyer can explain legal procedures, including arbitration under a labor contract, pursuing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or filing a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is unavoidable, your lawyer can evaluate your chances of winning and estimate the court costs and legal fees .
If you are having trouble paying bills, your lawyer can advise you about your options, including credit counseling, deferred payment plans and loans. You can also obtain advice about consumer protection and bankruptcy laws. If bankruptcy is the best option, your lawyer can prepare your bankruptcy forms and serve as your advocate during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Gifts, contributions, medical and business expenses, investments, and other expenditures can have important tax consequences. Also, births, deaths, marriage, divorce and other events can affect your tax situation. Your lawyer can advise you how to minimize your taxes and prepare the legal documents needed for your tax planning.
This information is presented as a service of Kahle & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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