5 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Lawyer

Real estate law varies by state. Some states require that an attorney be involved in real estate transactions while others allow agents, title companies, private escrow companies, and lenders to perform various tasks involved in the buying and selling of property while others require that both parties be represented by a professional real estate lawyer. Even if your state doesn’t have this requirement, there may be circumstances where the services of a real estate lawyer will be in your best interests. Following are five situations where a real estate lawyer can be instrumental in smoothing transactions.

You’re Buying a Home in Another State

These transactions can be tricky because laws that are specific to your current state of residence may not be applicable to the state in which you are buying property. Depending on the state, you may be legally required to have an attorney for the transaction even if the laws in your current state don’t have that stipulation.

You’re Buying a Home Directly From the Seller

Because you won’t have an agent or title company working with you on this type of transaction, it’s advisable to hire a good real estate attorney to help ensure that the title is clear, that the proper inspections have been performed and that they have either been passed or the price of the property has been adjusted accordingly

You’re Selling Your Own Home

Selling your home without the assistance of a licensed real estate agent may save you substantial sums in commissions and fees, but it could also be more hassle than its worth if you don’t hire a real estate lawyer to help with some of the paperwork. For instance, a lawyer can write up a binding purchase agreement, arrange for transfer of title, receive the initial trust payment and hold it in a private escrow account, receive the final payment, and transfer the keys.

You’re Buying a Foreclosed Property

You can frequently get amazing deals on foreclosed properties, but navigating the requirements involved in their purchase is frustrating and time consuming. Availing yourself of the services of a  legal expert can mean the difference between a seamless transaction and an anxiety-producing tangle of red tape.

You’re Buying Commercial Property

Purchasing commercial property is generally more complex than buying a residential home. A competent real estate attorney with significant experience in handling commercial transactions works with customers throughout the entire process — from the initial negotiations to the final closing.

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Pipe Dreams: What You Should Know About The Law Before Investing In Cannabis Products

What sort of business grosses $1.7 million and pays $866,000 in taxes? Hint: It’s an old business that was once a thriving trade in the US. Search for images of this product and you’ll see just how common it was to find some form of it in American households until it was banned in 1937.

If you guessed cannabis, and you aren’t turned off to the idea of starting a cannabis company by the ridiculous tax rate, you should know about some of the other limitations of a cannabis-related business before making any investments.

Cannabis-related enterprises must make security their top priority.

There is one glaring concern in the requirements of the communities that allow cannabis sales and in the the demands of the US Justice and Treasury Departments. Security is the primary goal you will have to meet before obtaining final approval for any type of cannabis dispensary or other operation. This means lengthy waits between the initial application process and your grand opening, turning off any investors looking for quick returns.

Banks are reluctant to handle any cannabis-related cash or provide loans until the federal government makes up its mind about re-scheduling cannabis or legalizing it altogether. The huge amounts of cash generated by many cannabis businesses then create a massive security risk. You must prove you can provide a locked-down, monitored location before you open your doors.

The taxes on cannabis proceeds are exorbitant owing to an old drug law.

US Code 280E prohibits normal business deductions for income on sales of any controlled substances that are federally-classified as Schedule I or Schedule II products. This means that federal tax rates can be outrageous, even if state tax rates on cannabis businesses are progressive and fair.

There are efforts to change the Schedule I designation for marijuana and hemp products for tax purposes. Sales are through the roof in states where medical and recreational cannabis are legal, adding to the tax bases in those states and creating jobs and investment opportunities. Politicians want campaign donations and cannabis businesses are flush with cash, so more politicians will be getting on the pro-cannabis bandwagon. Still, until the IRS and the Feds get on the same tax page as the states, consult a knowledgeable tax attorney before buying any potential cannabis cash cows.

The laws are evolving and there are no experts.

There are no standard cannabis-business law specialties as of yet, although many attorneys have bravely jumped into the circus ring that is cannabis law. It may be difficult to locate a lawyer who understands all of the complex legal loose ends inherent in running a cannabis enterprise. You may have to contact corporate lawyers in other states who’ve handled similar issues as the ones you’re having, then pay to have them coach a local attorney on the nuances of your marijuana or hemp product company.

The good news is that more attorneys are showing interest in cannabis business law. One specialty is concerned with workplace cannabis policy. If an epileptic employee uses cannabis to control seizures, is it legal for the company to terminate him for failing a cannabis drug screen? Is that a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act? These and many other cannabis-fueled questions await business owners, employers and lawyers in the years to come. 

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Weigh The Disadvantages And Advantages Of An Uncontested Divorce To Determine If It Is Right For You

For most people, divorce is both a huge and tragic event. For this reason, many people want to begin the process and end it as quickly as possible. This desire often leads to an uncontested divorce, a divorce in which you and your spouse are in full agreement. The most important thing to understand about this type of divorce is that it is not for everyone. Take some time to familiarize yourself with both the disadvantages and advantages of this type of divorce to determine if this method is right for your situation.

Disadvantages

Complicated for business owners. If you and your ex owned a business, uncontested divorces are often just as complicated as contested divorces. Even if you and your spouse come to an agreement on the way you will split up your business ownership, many of these agreements must be reviewed in separate hearings that can prolong the length of the proceedings. You might find that your uncontested divorce is just as long and as expensive as a contested divorce.

Jurisdictional restraints. It’s also important to consider that uncontested divorces are not granted within every jurisdiction. Additionally, even if they are legal within your area, there are often additional requirements that come along with qualification. Simply stating that you and your ex agree on the divorce terms is not always enough to satisfy this requirement. Your attorney can inform you of the local requirements within your area.

Advantages

Increased privacy. All information from divorce proceedings ultimately makes its way into public records. With an uncontested, you don’t have to divulge as much background information and you don’t have to hand over as much of your personal information to the courts. With a contested divorce, you have to provide a substantial amount of information. The less information shared with the courts also means the less information disclosed in public records, protecting your privacy.

Less emotional turmoil. For some people, the feelings and sadness of divorce are prolonged when they have to go back and forth during a long and bitter divorce trying to agree on every single line item. With an uncontested divorce, all agreements have already been made. Compared to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is much shorter. Being able to come to a resolve faster can help reduce much of the emotional turmoil.

Divorce is both a sensitive and large step, an attorney can help you make the right decision. Don’t hesitate to ask your attorney questions to help lead you in the right direction. To find out more about divorce, speak with someone like Madison Law Firm PLLC.

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What Happens Before Trials In An Auto Accident Lawsuit

If you have been hurt in a car accident, you may have to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you’re entitled to. When you decide to file a lawsuit, this puts several things in motion. Your vehicle accident attorney is an essential part of this process, but you will be contributing a significant amount to the case as well. Below, you can read about the four things that happen in auto accident lawsuits prior to trial.

Meeting With Your Vehicle Accident Attorney

The first part of the process is a meeting with your vehicle accident attorney. At this meeting, your lawyer will ask you questions about how the accident happened. It is also important that you tell your lawyer about any and all contact that you’ve had with the other person or persons involved in the accident.

If you have heard from the other party’s insurance company, you need to relay this information to the attorney as well. At this meeting, your attorney will normally tell you not to have any further contact with the insurance company or the other driver. If you hear from them in the future, refer them directly to your lawyer.

Filing the Lawsuit

Your lawyer will file a petition with the court on your behalf. This petition, also known as a complaint, explains the basics of the case, including any injuries that you may have suffered.

The petition also states that you are requesting compensation for those injuries. Since a complaint is only a basic explanation of the case for the court, your injuries don’t have to be exhaustively detailed at this point.

The Discovery Process

The discovery process happens after the petition is filed. This process allows time for your attorney to collect information about the case. Similarly, the other person involved in the case (or their legal representation) will collect information during this period. 

During the discovery process, attorneys involved in the case can submit interrogatories. The interrogatory is basically a question, or series of questions, about the accident. These questions must be answered under oath. Your lawyer can use the interrogatory to get evidence that supports your case by questioning the other driver under oath.

The Negotiation Period

While you are awaiting your court date, the attorney will typically negotiate for you. Normally, the insurance company (or the lawyer representing the insurance company) will send you a settlement offer first. This first offer is rarely a large one, but it is only a starting point. Your attorney will send a counteroffer after the initial offer. The other side can then respond with a new offer, continuing the negotiation process.

Your lawyer will discuss every offer with you, and you have the power to decide whether to accept at any time. However, it is always best to take the attorney’s advice on offers. Your lawyer knows how much a case is really worth, and they usually know what they can get in your case.

The vast majority of auto accident cases are settled during this negotiation phase. 95 to 96 percent of personal injury cases end prior to trial today. Therefore, this is almost always the last step in an auto accident lawsuit. In the event that your attorney is unable to negotiate a fair settlement, they will proceed to prove your case in court. Your lawyer is your best friend in an auto accident lawsuit, so make sure that you contact a skilled lawyer (such as one from Armstrong & Surin) as soon as you’ve been injured!

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Reasons To Seek Guardianship Over Your Grandchild

If your child has a child of their own, it’s a blessing like no other. Watching their style of parenting can bring pure joy to your heart or in some cases, the complete opposite. If your child is practicing unsafe or questionable parenting practices because of their lifestyle choices, it’s important to make sure that your grandchild is not witnessing this behavior. One way you can ensure the safety of your grandchild is to file a petition with the court to seek legal guardianship. This can be very difficult, because it can strain the relationship you have with your adult child. Here are just a few reasons to seek legal counsel in order to file for guardianship.

Their Partner Is A Registered Sex Offender

If you’re the grandparent of a child under the age of 18, knowing who is around your grandchild and who cares for their needs is a major concern. If you find out that your child’s new boyfriend happens to be a registered sex offender in your state, he legally should not be around any minor child. Whether your grandchild lives with the sex offender or not, they are still being exposed to someone convicted of a sexual crime. If your adult child refuses to end this relationship, you may have grounds to seek legal guardianship until the situation is resolved.

There Are Signs Of Abuse Or Neglect

If you’ve noticed that your grandchild’s needs are not being met by their parents, this is an immediate cause for concern. Abuse of a child can fall under many terms, including:

  • Visible signs of physical abuse
  • Signs of neglect that include poor hygiene or malnutrition
  • Acting out sexual behaviors or making sexual references
  • Physically being left alone at home or being left unattended in a public place
  • Mental abuse and name calling
  • Verbal abuse from the parent or caregiver

Neglect can involve one or more things that lead to your grandchild’s life being in immediate physical danger.

Substance Abuse Issues

If your adult child has had or currently has problems with drugs or alcohol, it can drastically affect the environment your grandchild is being raised in. The first step should be getting your adult child to admit to a substance abuse issue and that they need to seek immediate help. Whether it’s an inpatient treatment facility to help with detoxification or attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, taking the first step will help save their life. At this point, you should request temporary guardianship from the court system to ensure that your grandchild will be placed with you in a safe and nourishing home environment.

Your Child Has A Criminal Record

If your adult child is in trouble with the law, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t affect your grandchild. If their criminal record involves any jail or prison time, you should request legal guardianship to be able to raise your grandchild while their parent is incarcerated. Seeking advice from a qualified family law attorney like Haslam & Perri LLP will help guide you in the right direction so you can work at keeping your grandchild safe and thriving in their home environment.

Seeking legal guardianship can be challenging, especially if your adult child is struggling with daily life. The immediate goal is to do what is best for the minor child in their situation.

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How To Ensure Your Children Are Taken Care Of Through Estate Planning

What is an estate plan and how will it help you secure your family’s financial future? An estate plan is a set of documents, including wills and trusts, that ensures that your family’s finances are distributed correctly, protected from taxes and controlled responsibly. An estate planning attorney will help you set up a variety of ways to ensure that your children continue to be taken care of after you pass, regardless of what happens in the future. 

Create Trust Accounts

Trust accounts aren’t only used to dole out funds in a controlled way to your kids — though that’s important, too. One of the major components of a trust fund is that it can remain under your control. If you simply gave your money to your child, their spouse might be able to take some of it during a divorce. If they have a trust established, this will not happen. Trust accounts also help you reduce the amount of taxes your child will have to pay, thereby ensuring they get the most use out of the money.

Take a Look at Your Debts

Estate planning isn’t just about wills and trusts. It’s also about creating a realistic plan for your family’s inheritance — which includes debt planning. Your attorney and your accountant can both help you create a plan to eliminate debts or at least ensure that your debts do not overshadow your assets. Remember, though your children will not inherit your debts, the inheritance will be used to pay off the debt before being distributed. 

Craft an Official Will With Your Spouse

Too often individuals create their own wills or create their wills independently — this isn’t a good idea. You should always be on the same page as your spouse with wills because they can become conflicting, especially if one or both of you forgets to update it. To make sure that your children are taken care of, you should have both your wills drafted professionally and witnessed by at least two people. A will should also be notarized if you want to protect it from being successfully contested. 

Proper estate planning is the only way to be absolutely certain that your family is taken care of — and it’s usually fairly affordable, too. Even setting up a trust generally only costs a few thousand dollars, so it’s a good idea to get an estate plan completed early and update it as necessary.

Work with an estate planning lawyer, like Linn Schisel & DeMarco Attorneys At Law, to take care of your children now and in the future. 

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Fighting Back Against The Physical Evidence In Your DWI Case

There are two types of physical evidence that are typically relied on heavily when prosecuting a DWI case. These two pieces of evidence are the results from your field sobriety test and the results of your breathalyzer test. It is this physical evidence that is used to prove that you were in fact intoxicated at the time of your arrest. It is also this physical evidence which many people fear they cannot overcome when defending themselves against a DWI charge. However, this is not always the case. In fact, there are several defense strategies that an experienced DWI attorney may use to help discredit this physical evidence or even have it thrown out all together.

Fighting The Results Of Your Field Sobriety Test

A field sobriety test is designed to test your motor skills since these skills are typically impaired when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, it is important to note that intoxication is just one of many reasons why a person may perform badly on a field sobriety test. For instance, stress, nerves, heavy traffic, bad weather conditions, a physical injury, or poor lighting can all cause you to perform badly on this test. In order to discredit the results of your field sobriety test, your attorney will need to demonstrate for the court that there was another reasonable excuse for your poor performance.

Fighting The Results Of Your Breathalyzer Test

Fighting the results of a breathalyzer test can be a bit more complex than challenging the results of a field sobriety test. This is because most courts openly recognize the science behind these tests as being legitimate. However, this does not mean that a failed breathalyzer test will automatically result in a conviction. This is because, while the science behind these tests may be sound, there are some major flaws in the way a breathalyzer works. If your attorney can prove that the results of your test are unreliable due to these flaws, they may be able to have this physical evidence thrown out.

The most notable flaw in the breathalyzer is that there is no way for this machine to differentiate between the alcohol content in your deep lung air (the alcohol content it is supposed to be measuring) and any residual alcohol that is left in the mouth. Since residual mouth alcohol levels can spike dramatically after belching, vomiting, or suffering acid reflux, it is quite possible for a breathalyzer to return a result that is much higher than your actual blood alcohol content. Demonstrating that your breathalyzer results are inaccurate or unreliable due to the presence of mouth alcohol is one of the most effective ways for your DWI defense attorney, such as David A. Mansfield, to discredit this often vital evidence.

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