Posts tagged: attorney

Is Bankruptcy The End… Or a New Beginning?

are you bankruptShakespeare once said “Neither a lender nor a borrower be”. That’s a nice sentiment, but the bard didn’t live in an era of subprime mortgages, negative equity and business insolvency. In his day, all you had to do was write a few sonnets for a wealthy patron and you were golden. In the 21st century, however, lending and borrowing are not only essential in a realistic business climate, they’re the basis of our entire global economy.

In both personal and business finances, peaks and troughs are inevitable, and even the most successful among us have our rough times. From hip hop icon 50 Cent to Mark Twain, many of successful business and creative types face stared down bankruptcy and come through it stronger than ever. Even the billionaire president Donald Trump has been declared bankrupt four times.

Myriad circumstances may result in individuals and businesses filing for bankruptcy. While it’s undeniably a stressful and upsetting experience, it’s important to remember that though there are certainly repercussions following bankruptcy, by no means is it the end.

If bankruptcy is looking like a possibility, or even an inevitability here are some tips that will help you to make an informed decision whether or not to file:

Remember… You are not alone

Facing bankruptcy and feel like an isolating experience, but you are most assuredly not alone. In fact, over 800,000 people applied for bankruptcy in federal court last year. Filing will neither make you a social pariah nor mark you out as a failure. It is, however, important that you do it right, so hiring a bankruptcy attorney should be one of your highest priorities. Your spouse or partner doesn’t even need to file alongside you.

There are different kinds of bankruptcy

In the US there are two forms of bankruptcy; Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 and which you file for will depend on your circumstances. A Chapter 7 requires the business or individual’s assets to be liquidated, using them to pay creditors as much of the outstanding debt as possible. A trustee will be appointed to facilitate the liquidation and ensure that creditors are paid in proportion to the debt. A Chapter 11, on the other hand, reorganizes the debts and adjusts them in terms of repayment amounts and interest rates (much like consolidation).

You may still be able to get credit

You may feel that it’s the end for you and your business, but lines of credit will still be open to you. Remember, however, that over-reliance on credit is what leads many to bankruptcy in the first place. Bankruptcy is a highly instructive tool for many as it teaches them to really appreciate the importance of budgeting and financial planning. That said, the bankruptcy is not quite as prohibitive in terms of credit as many believe.

But it’s important to be realistic

Bankruptcy is intended to wipe the slate clean. It’s a fresh start for businesses and individuals, but it’s not without financial consequences. Credit gets harder to come by (but not impossible) and it could have repercussions on your business borrowing. Bankruptcy can help you but it should also be considered a last resort. You should first consider an alternative such as a consolidation plan before filing for bankruptcy.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Hiring A Lawyer

business financial lawyerThere are many times in your life when you might require a lawyer. But, how do you hire the best one for the job? In today’s piece, I’ve written you a short guide on hiring legal representation:

Check Their Track Record

It can be hard to figure out whether or not you’re hiring the best lawyer possible. One easy way to determine this is if you check their track record. See how many cases they’ve won and lost over the years. Typically, the best lawyers will brag about their record. If they win more than they lose, you can bet they’ll let everyone know about it. It will be plastered all over their website to show off how good they are at their job. If you can’t find anything about their track record, then you should enquire. To put yourself in the best possible situation, you want a lawyer that wins the majority of their cases. It’s also important that you take their experience into account as well. You need someone with years of experience behind them, as this can help them get the result you need.

Look For Specialists

Different legal cases require a different type of legal representation. There are many types of lawyer that are best suited for particular legal needs. If you need help with a personal injury claim, then you should go to a personal injury lawyer. Should you require help with a will, then there are firms like Ronald Fletcher and Co. that specialise in this area. Different people have different legal needs; it’s important you find a specialist lawyer that fits your requirements. It doesn’t make sense to hire someone that rarely ventures into the legal field you need help in. When looking for lawyers, check what services they offer and whether or not they fit your case.

Always Check For ‘No Win No Fee’ Offers

I find it’s crucial that you look for a law firm that offers no win no fee on some of their cases. This means that if they don’t win, you won’t have to pay them a penny. You find these offers in most personal injury and negligence cases. I think it’s essential to look for this, as it can save you lots of money. No one wants to pay for a lawyer that ends up losing their case. By hiring someone on a no win no fee basis, you give yourself a bit of security.

Understand Your Budget

The final piece of advice I can give you is arguably the most important. It’s key that you understand your budget and don’t pay for more than you can afford. You must recognise that legal disputes can go on for a very long time. Overpaying for a lawyer can mean that you end up struggling for money.

There are many problems in life that can be solved with the help of a lawyer. It’s important you realise how to hire one correctly. Hire the wrong lawyer, and you could end up in a very bad financial situation.

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4 Scenarios When You MUST Hire A Lawyer

law & attorneyThere is no doubt that there are negatives to hiring a lawyer. For one thing, they are very expensive. It is issues like this that make people believe they don’t need help when they are facing legal trouble. However, it is also this kind of thinking that gets those people into even more trouble. Lawyers are an essential part of your defense if you are going through legal proceedings because of their skill and knowledge. Below are the four scenarios when you need the more than most. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, make your first call to your attorney.

1. A Messy Divorce

If the divorce is amicable, there might not be any need for a lawyer. Although some people would disagree, you can see the logic. But, when the divorce is a messy and contracted affair, legal representation is essential. For starters, law firms like Manassa, Stassen & Vaclavek, P.C. know where to look to find any loopholes. Divorces are like wars, and some people will go to any lengths to get what they want. Remember that when the deal is finalized, it is legally binding. Plus, they also act as your go between. Talking or mediating may be impossible if you don’t have a lawyer to pass on messages and communicate.

2. Wrongful Termination Suit

Thousands of people go to court every year to fight a suit of wrongful termination. The sad fact is that employers will take advantage of your lack of knowledge. They will do things that they know they shouldn’t if they can get away with them. Obviously, your lack of knowledge is a hindrance. But, that is where an attorney comes in handy. A specialist should know the legal terms inside and out, so they should be able to build a good case. Without them, it is unlikely that you will get your job back or get compensation.

3. A Criminal Charge

No one likes to think about going through criminal proceedings. But, if you have to, you need to know where to turn. The first and only place is a top lawyer. Again, there knowledge and experience are vital to building a good case and getting you off. However, there are other issues where they excel. They also take the stress off your shoulders and help you through the process unscarred. The main reason you need one, though, is because this is the biggest moment of your life. Do you want that hanging on your shoulders for the rest of your life?

4. Wills & Trusts

It is a sad state of affairs, but wills and trusts bring out the worst in people. There are numerous instances where people have manipulated dying victims into changing their wills, and it still goes on today. All you want is to make sure that the will is legitimate and that it goes to the right people. If you have a third-party lawyer on the case, you can be pretty pleased with the outcome whatever happens.

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Ways to Improve Your Chances of Winning a Lawsuit

financial legal mattersWinning a lawsuit is a huge challenge, but it can be done as long as you have a good plan of action in place. It’s all about making sure that you are prepared for the challenge ahead before you even get started. Here are some top ways that will improve your chances of success.

Consider the Costs

Fighting a lawsuit is certainly not cheap, no matter which side of the court you’re on. So, you need to consider the costs beforehand. If you don’t think that you can afford to go ahead, don’t quit just yet. There are many charitable organisations and governments that can help people on low incomes to get justice. No one should have to accept not getting justice just because they’re not rich. And if you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, you might be able to get pre-settlement funding. This helps you to stay on top of the costs while the court case is still ongoing. It can be a huge help.

Get the Best Lawyer

There is always a temptation to not hire a lawyer. Many people think that they can represent themselves and succeed. But this is not the movies where the little guy beats the big guy. The chances are the person with the better lawyer will win the case. This is not always how it plays out, but it’s a bigger factor than most people realise. The best lawyer will be able to give you the expertise, experience and skills they have. When you have those things behind your case pushing it forward, your chances of success increase greatly. So, hire a lawyer that has dealt with cases that are similar to yours in the past. Look at their success rate too.

Get Evidence

If your case relies on you having to prove that another person did something, you need to have evidence to back up what you’re claiming. This is how many civil disputes work. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim because someone was responsible for an injury you sustained, evidence is vital. You need to have independent witnesses who can back up your claims. And you also need the testimony of the doctor who treated your injuries. If you don’t have those things, then it is simply your word vs your opponent’s. And that is always a risky gamble when you’re in court.

Prepare for Court

There are many things that can be daunting about appearing in court. Having to speak in front of a judge and present your case is not always the easiest thing in the world. That’s why preparation is so vitally important. You can never prepare too much. But you can definitely prepare too little. If you walk into the court without knowing exactly what the plan is and how you’re going to present your case, you’ll be in trouble. You don’t want to do this because it could jeopardise your entire case, and that’s not what you want. So, remain calm, and listen to all the advice that your lawyer gives you.

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Determining the Cost of Your Divorce

divorce costMarriage and divorce are both expensive. Online services like Divorce are in high demand as the national average cost for a divorce hovers around $27,000.

There are factors that influence the cost and knowing them will help determine where a divorce lands on the cost scale. Review your situation considering the following four areas that affect divorce costs.

1. Your Location

Your location determines the market for attorney fees. Divorce is more expensive in New York City than in a small Arkansas town.

Divorce is handled by hourly fee arrangements. Small town attorneys commonly charge $150 to $200 an hour, but in large cities, those fees may spike up to $500 an hour. Fees are always disclosed in your initial consultation so you will not go into an attorney-client relationship unaware.

2. Amount of Conflict

Couples proceeding amicably with more agreement demand less from attorneys. This leads to a less expensive divorce. Making some agreements before filing can shorten the lifespan of the divorce process and conclude it with less expense.

When disagreement arises, consider mediation over litigation. Courtroom battles require extensive divorce lawyer preparation time and demand more of your money. Mediation allows for discussion and negotiation with assistance to help you see where you and your partner agree. While a litigation battle can cost close to $50,000, people who decide to mediate pay much less, normally no more than $7,000.

Conflict is likely even with the most agreeable of people. While reducing it will save costs, managing it effectively will offer the same effect.

3. Presence of a Prenuptial Agreement

Having a prenuptial agreement can help and hinder divorce costs. If it is well-drafted and fair to both parties, it will smooth out divorce proceedings, end them sooner, and reduce costs. However, an unfair or poorly drafted prenuptial agreement can draw out a divorce and make it more expensive.

If considering a prenuptial agreement, be honest and disclose all assets. Arrange for both of you to meet with separate attorneys. A fully informed and fair agreement is enforceable, but if there is evidence of fraud, coercion, or unconscionable provisions, you will waste money defending it and likely have it considered unenforceable anyway.

4. Extent of Assets

This is another common sense factor. A divorce involving two people with no real estate and separate debt will always be easier than those that include a family home, a closely-held business, investment income, or other substantial assets. The more you own, the more you can expect to pay in attorney’s fees for a divorce.

Although these factors offer clear guidelines, there is no guarantee on the cost of a divorce. You could have more or less conflict than anticipated or run into unforeseen legal barriers. The best way to control the costs of your divorce is to set realistic expectations and keep clear communication with your attorney. The fewer items that complicate the process, the less you will have to pay to complete it.

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