Category: Legal

Tax Planning and Return Preparation Services

Taxes are so annoying. How awful is it that you have to save all of your documents for seven years? There almost always seems to be no point in doing taxes ever because you are always going to have to pay out and not give back no matter how hard you try to make it work. That’s why you should hire a tax planning and return preparation service like
tax planning Sun City AZ. They will help you budget out your year and be able to save for your taxes at the same time. They really work to make you save the most you can and pay out the least that you can so you can keep the money you worked hard to earn and should rightfully be able to keep.

You will be able to do your taxes and pay out less. They will find so many ways for you to make tax write-offs so you will not have to pay the government extra money they don’t deserve of yours. You can always do a little bit of planning ahead to make sure everything runs smoothly. Having a professional there with you to watch over you and guide you really helps too. They will let you know exactly how much you have to spend, what you need to save, and what you can write off.

They will teach you things such as writing off your tithing at church. Did you know that every penny you give away is eligible as a tax write-off? Did you also know that gas mileage, lunch meetings and even some vacations are considered worthy? How about if you have your roof redone on your house? Part of that is a tax deductible too. These people will explain everything to you so you have a fair chance.

There are things that are questionable if they are a write-off or not. If you make donations in cash and there is no record of this, you won’t get money back, but if you lend a small amount of cash to a friend it is considered eligible for consideration.

Tax planning services are everywhere but not everyone knows they are there to help. They really try to write for you what you deserve to be written off fairly and quickly. The purpose of these services is to save you money and save you from going to jail or getting in trouble with the law. Finding one is easy enough if you look in your local listing.

Essential Tips for Choosing Legal Services

Legal services can cover a whole range of actions, from the totally official to the sometimes unofficial. For the majority of people such services are only used occasionally, for tasks such as will writing, defence or prosecution in a court case or even obtaining a divorce.

Understandably your choice of legal services is essential. Get the choice wrong and you may be misrepresented, leaving you with a hefty bill and little to show for it. Choosing a solicitor or legal services like living trusts surprise az more generally is about making a considered decision that has taken into account a wide range of factors; the three tips below should help those searching for a legal professional to make the right choice.

The first and most important factor when considering a solicitor is to listen to friends and family that have used different services in the past. Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful weapons in the consumer’s arsenal, as it is only through effective service that it is possible for professionals to build a solid reputation that previous clients are happy to recommend. If you are going to utilise word of mouth then it is usually advisable to ensure that the solicitor being recommended was used for a similar purpose, as expertise in legal disciplines differs greatly.

As with any professional service it is fundamental that you look at the qualifications and experience of a solicitor. This once again applies to the legal discipline and the task you will be using the solicitor for; ultimately you need to find a professional that is qualified in your specific area of interest. For instance, if you are getting divorced, you would not go to a solicitor that specialises in bankruptcy. That said, there are general solicitors out there that can offer a range of different services, although in some instances they may simply refer you to a specialist anyway.

Always an important consideration is the cost of the legal services. Fees can soon mount up, particularly if you need to go to court for a case. Costs vary immensely and may even include fees calculated on a contingency basis, for instance, some injury lawyers work on a no win, no fee principle. For property related tasks or will writing most solicitors will charge a flat fee that usually works out cheaper than paying by the hour.

In conclusion, it is important to consider a range of factors when you are choosing legal services. Ultimately your choice should be based upon the costs, the reputation and experience of the solicitor and also exactly what tasks you require to be carried out.

Why Need A Prepaid Legal Services Plan?

Having a prepaid legal services plan like criminal law Phoenix AZ is important in the current scenario where one is uncertain of his/her safety and security. A prepaid legal services plan comes is use when you or your loved ones need legal help.

According to a survey conducted recently, 75% of the total population in America requires legal services every year. From issues like divorce to child custody, real estate issues to accidents, etc we all go through events in our lives that need legal help. Moreover, most people are not aware of their legal rights as the citizen of the country. An attorney helps you getting justice against the wrong done to you by providing expert advice and making you aware of your legal rights.

Getting legal assistance in US can be a costly affair and consequently, many people are apprehensive on consulting an attorney for their issue. The consultation fees that an attorney charges, range from $100 per hour and this might be more at times depending on the requirements of the case. A prepaid legal services plan lets you access legal assistance of an attorney without pay high fees.

A prepaid legal services plan is just like your medical or car insurance. You just need to pay a nominal monthly or annual fee and get legal services of the top expert attorneys for all your legal matters. A pre-paid legal services plan connects you to the best attorneys for your requirements at affordable fees.

One of the biggest advantages of opting for a prepaid legal services plan is that you get connected with the most appropriate attorney for your legal issue. Most people have no clue how to find a good attorney for their issue. With a Pre-paid legal services plan you get legal assistance of an attorney who is specialized in the area of the law you need help for without having to go through hassles of finding an attorney or settle for one who charges exorbitant fees.

When you get connected to an attorney through the prepaid legal services plan that you opt for, you get legal advice and assistance from the initial stage of filing your case to courtroom litigation at the most affordable fee.

Life is Different but Better

My ex and I had been married for 13 years before we decided to divorce. It was a very messy and bitter divorce, mainly because he was being extremely unfair. I cannot regret our marriage though because I would not have my four children otherwise. I knew that I needed to hire top family law attorneys because my husband, at that time, wanted the children, the house, our other properties, and the majority of our banking accounts. He was being gracious by allowing me to have my vehicle and all the clothes he had bought me.

While that was the kind of man he was at the time of our divorce, it certainly was not the man I had married. We had no money then, so our love was enough. (more…)

4 Reasons a 24/7 Legal Repository Is a Must

4ffHaving a 24/7 repository at your fingertips is crucial because wasted time (like waiting for a physical repository to “open”) means wasted money and potentially harm to your legal case. It’s why cloud storage has turned even major entities like the Department of Defense into a paperless office, and if it’s secure enough for the DOD and other major players like Amazon, it’s secure enough for top ranked legal firms. However, there’s no need to set up and manage a cloud yourself-dealing with maintenance, constantly changing who can view and edit what, and basically playing IT guru isn’t your job.

Instead, relying on around the clock repository access that’s managed by a crew of professionals is a much better approach. It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a law firm that only works with local personal injury clients. There will come a time when you need to access documents at 3am, and when that happens you need to be ready.

Here are the major reasons why 24/7 repositories aren’t just a good idea, but necessary in the legal field:

1. When anyone involved in the case travels

Is your partner on a business trip to Shanghai, but you both need to access documents at the same time? Not only is physical distance an issue, but it won’t be necessary for one of you to get up in the middle of the night when relying on a repository that has no business hours. It’s convenience at its best.

2. When you need to know about upcoming jobs

All your upcoming jobs and calendars are in one location, so you don’t have to worry about your smartphone syncing to your calendar or whether or not you’ve double booked. Simply check the managed online system and instantly see what’s coming up on your schedule. At the same time, you can download any documents you’ll need for this afternoon’s job.

3. When you need to take care of invoicing

Is there an outstanding balance you’re not sure about, or do you need to send an invoice that’s overdue? Take care of it all in one simple location that’s intuitive, user friendly and designed with convenience in mind.

4. When you’re in cat herding mode

Keeping track of those witnesses, dates and case names can be a nightmare. Fortunately, an online repository sorts and organizes on a case by case basis. Well before mediation, you can check in on your expenses, change proceedings as necessary and basically have a virtual personal assistant at your beck and call.

Even better, there are no additional fees, no software to install and no need for an engineering degree in order to take advantage of all these perks. From deposition to deposition, every legal professional can use a hand keeping things on track and well maintained. Don’t add another task to your agenda (like researching cloud options) when it’s already taken care of for you. Now if only connecting with witnesses and the actual depositions themselves were this easy.

Jill Smith is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more.

Judgments And Credit Reports

yOne way to increase the chances that your judgment will be paid, is when your judgment is placed on the debtor’s credit report(s).

One of many judgment articles: I am not a lawyer, and this article is my opinion based on my experience, please consult with a lawyer if you need legal advice.

In the past, the best way to increase the odds that a judgment would be included, was to send copies of the judgment to the major credit bureaus. Now, the credit bureaus no longer take action on judgments sent to them by individuals. Now, they only get and accept judgment information coming from data research companies.

Usually, judgments are not automatically put on credit reports, unless the creditor takes a certain action; and even then, it is not guaranteed that a judgment will appear on their debtor’s credit report(s). The way a creditor can increase the odds that their judgment will appear on credit reports, is to record a judgment lien or an abstract of judgment, at a county recorder’s office.

Also, record new liens in any county where the recording may impact your debtor. Examples would be where they live, where their parents live, to catch probate payments; where they own business interests or property, etc.

Most data research companies looking for judgments, search for liens at the recorder’s office. (A few look for judgments at courts.) This means that if there is no lien recorded, the credit bureaus will usually not see the judgment. It also means the older a judgment is, the less likely it will show up on a credit report.

Usually, judgments only remain on credit reports for 7 years. The only thing a creditor can do to increase the odds that their judgment will remain on the debtor’s credit report past 7 years, is to renew their judgment and record an updated property lien which references the previous lien number; so it will not lose its priority.

So, every 7 years, get an updated lien (first renew your judgment every 7 years, or long before it expires) that lists the accrued interest, and any court-approved costs; and record it at the county recorder’s office.

What if your judgment debtor changed their name or now uses an AKA, or their last name because of marriage? That means you will have to take some action with the court to reflect that new name, then record a new updated new lien with that AKA.

If your debtor moved to a location in the same state, you should record a lien in the county where they moved. If your debtor changed names or is now using an AKA, you should take a court action so that AKA will be reflected on the judgment, and then record an amended judgment lien.

Florida’s Unfinished Adoption Business

saaSame-sex marriage has finally arrived in Florida, one of the earliest and most important battlegrounds in America’s gay rights movement. But an important piece of unfinished business lies buried deep in the Sunshine State’s legal code.

It is this sentence, which is technically known as Title VI, Section 63.042(3): “No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual.” (1)

The Florida Legislature enacted this provision in 1977, the year entertainer Anita Bryant, an evangelical Christian, launched her campaign against Miami’s new gay rights ordinance under the banner of an organization she called Save the Children, Inc. To many Floridians of the time, homosexuality was indeed something from which children needed saving, even though those children were really being “saved” from loving, nurturing homes headed by adults who were committed to their welfare.

As a general principle, Florida encourages adoption. Single as well as married people can adopt, and adults as well as children can be adopted. Even gays and lesbians can actually adopt in Florida today, thanks to an appellate ruling in 2010 that overturned the gay-adoption ban. But the odious prohibition remains on the state’s law books, and until the Legislature erases it, it will continue to stain the state’s conscience and its reputation. It is as if Florida’s laws still required racial segregation in parks and classrooms.

On the marriage front, some die-hard social conservatives continue to claim that same-sex marriage somehow threatens the institution of marriage generally, a contention echoed as recently as the day same-sex marriages began by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. This argument disregards the obvious, which is that same-sex marriage has existed in this country for more than a decade with no ill effects on marriage generally. Marriage as an institution might conceivably be damaged by people abandoning marriage; it certainly is not weakened when more people get hitched. Florida now is the 36th state, along with the District of Columbia, to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Within a few months, the Supreme Court may well bring the remaining 14 into the fold.

Hardly anyone would publicly argue today that children are harmed by having homosexual parents. Even in Republican circles, where anti-gay-marriage social conservatives make their political home, this is no longer a position that can be publicly espoused. All of which is why Florida’s majority-Republican Legislature and its Republican governor, Rick Scott, ought to promptly dispatch Section 63.042(3). It is the least they can do to display decency toward their gay fellow citizens.

I am a Floridian. I am a registered Republican. As such, I get my share of solicitations from local and national Republicans seeking my support, which I am inclined to give. But I will not back any candidate for state office in Florida unless that person does everything possible to get this repugnant statute off our state’s books.

It is a law born of the hate, ignorance and fear that marked another era. Regardless of its enforcement or lack thereof, I will not accept it as the current reflection of the people in the place I call my home.

Minimum Wage Ballot Success

3fArkansas – The wage will rise from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017 (66% of the vote)

Nebraska – It will go from $7.25 to $9 per hour (59% of the vote)

Alaska – Alaska will see an increase to $9.75 per hour in 2016 (69% of the vote)

South Dakota – It will go from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour (55% of the vote)

Also, Illinois passed a non-binding referendum raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour. Every measure put before the voters on this issue passed. About 420,000 workers in these states will see an increase in their paychecks, thanks to this vote.

In his January, 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. However, Senate Republicans later blocked the legislation. Supporters had 54 votes, but 60 were needed to advance the bill. Soon after, the President signed an Executive Order raising the wage to $10.10 for individuals working on new federal service contracts.

Ironically, voters approved minimum wage increases in the same states that Republicans were swept into office. The GOP is generally opposed to such increases, viewing the action as a job killer. “When you raise the cost of something, you get less of it,” House Speaker John Boehner, said earlier this year. “We know from increases in the minimum wage in the past that hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans have lost their jobs.”

There are prominent Republicans who disagree with this position including former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Senator Susan Collins of Maine even tried to broker a compromise for a smaller minimum wage increase earlier this year.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would rise above the federal poverty threshold. But, some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated. The income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). But, the FLSA does not supersede any state or local laws that are more favorable to employees. If a state has a wage that is higher than the federal minimum, employers subject to the state wage law are obligated to pay the higher rate to their employees. Overall, about 13 states increased the wage this year and, according to estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers, about 7 million workers will benefit from these increases by the year 2017.

Proof of Claim Objections in United States Bankruptcy Court

pinA proof of claim objection in United States Bankruptcy Court is the topic of this article. The United States Bankruptcy code provides that any party in interest may file an objection to a proof of claim filed in a Bankruptcy case. All debtors in Chapter 13 cases are considered a party in interest and therefore have the right to file an objection to any proof of claim filed in their case. Debtors in other cases such as Chapter 7 may or may not be considered as a party in interest depending on the unique circumstances of their case.

It is vitally important to properly object to any claims filed in a Bankruptcy case that is not timely filed, is defective for failure to comply with Bankruptcy code requirements or is defective in any other way or relates to any debt the amount or existence of which is disputed. The reason for this is that Bankruptcy law states that unless a party in interest objects any claim filed is deemed allowed.

It is therefore critical that all proofs of claim filed in any Bankruptcy case be carefully reviewed to determine if there are valid grounds for filing an objection. The pertinent law is 11 U.S.C. § 502(a) which states in pertinent part that, any claim filed “is deemed allowed, unless a party in interest… objects.” The burden is on the party filing the objection to prove to the Court that the claim is not valid and should not be paid.

In particular a debtor or their attorney should carefully review any proof of claim filed to determine if the claim was timely filed as Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 3002(c) requires most proofs of claim to be filed no later than 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors called under § 341(a) of the Code.

It should be noted that Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 3001 contains numerous detailed requirements for each specific type of proof of claim and the proof of claim should be carefully reviewed to determine if it meets the strict requirements of Rule 3001.

Any objection to a proof of claim should be filed and served as soon as it has been determined that there are valid grounds for filing an objection.

Some of the more common grounds for objecting to a proof of claim are:

The creditor failed to attach sufficient documentation to prove that a debt is owed;

The amount of the claim is incorrect;

The same claim was filed more than once;

The claim was not filed in a timely manner;

The classification of the claim as secured or priority is incorrect, and

The claim states improper interest amounts or fees.

Claiming Costs After Entry of Judgment in California

jugClaiming costs after entry of judgment in California is the topic of this article. Claiming prejudgment costs after entry of a judgment in California is requires the filing and service of a verified memorandum of costs by the prevailing party entitled to costs.

The law in California states that a memorandum of costs must be verified by the party or their attorney and must be served and filed within a specified deadline. However I do want to emphasize that because each case is unique due to different circumstances the actual deadline for any particular case depends on a variety of factors which will be discussed below.

The deadline in California to file and serve a memorandum of costs is stated in California Rule of Court 3.1700(a)(1) which states in pertinent part that, “A prevailing party who claims costs must serve and file a memorandum of costs within 15 days after the date of mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or dismissal by the clerk under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5 or the date of service of written notice of entry of judgment or dismissal, or within 180 days after entry of judgment, whichever is first.”

Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5 sets for the specific requirements for the notice of entry of judgment and should be carefully reviewed.

However I cannot stress enough that in order for a clerk’s notice of entry of judgment to trigger the 15-day deadline it must comply with Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5. In some cases a clerk will simply mail a file-stamped copy of the judgment with something attached known as a Certificate of Mailing which does not satisfy the “service pursuant to court order” requirement of subdivision of Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5 and as a result fails to start the 15-day clock running as has been stated by the California Supreme Court in at least two published cases.

Attorneys or parties in California should carefully review any notice of entry of judgment served by the clerk to determine whether or not the clerk has served a notice of entry of judgment that fully complies with the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure § 664.5 including a statement that the document mailed by the clerk is being given upon “order of the court” or “under section 664.5”. If the clerk fails to do so and no other party serves and files a notice of entry of judgment the deadline to file and serve a memorandum of costs is 180 days after entry of judgment.