Posts Tagged ‘32935’

At Widerman Malek, PL, we represent debtors and creditors, giving us the perspective to anticipate and prepare for what’s next. Whether you are a lender or a borrower, we have the experience you need to collect what you are owed — or to stop harassment from abusive creditors. Do you have a judgment you can’t collect on? Accounts receivable gathering dust? Credit card companies hounding you day and night or even your wages being garnished? We can help. In order to provide efficient solutions, we often seek to resolve collection issues outside of the courtroom. Sometimes, however, litigation is your only option. At that crucial moment, we are in your corner and by your side. Without an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, many people can find themselves in the position of paying more than they owe, or receiving less than they are due. Often, we are able to negotiate with lenders and resolve your case for a fraction of the amount owed. We will use all available legal tools to help you collect your debts or defend you from paying more than you owe, including:
  • Perfection of Judgments
  • Demand Letters
  • Post-Judgment Discovery
  • Garnishment of Bank Accounts and Wages
  • Replevins
  • Seizure of Personal Property via Sheriff Levies
  • Repossessions
  • Evictions
  • Assignment of Rents
  • Forfeitures
  • Foreclosures
  Contact an experienced collections attorney at Widerman Malek, PL to schedule a meeting today by Clicking here.

WM Attorneys Who Practice Collections

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Widerman Malek, PL proudly serves as local counsel for attorneys representing clients with legal issues in the various jurisdictions of Florida. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in the State of Florida, admitted before all three of Florida’s Federal Districts, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and the Federal Circuit. WM’s home office is conveniently located in the Middle District of Florida, and only a short distance from Florida’s Southern and Northern Federal Districts.

Widerman Malek, PL can assist attorneys seeking admission Pro Hac Vice. WM can quickly complete the admission documents to be filed electronically with the Court, expediting your ability to practice. During litigation, WM can have as little or as much involvement with the case as may be required. WM respects that many clients have built a trusting relationship with their counsel and, as such, WM will provide lead counsel with assistance by offering litigation support, without imposing on any preexisting client relationship.

The attorneys at WM have experience practicing in Florida, and we understand the subtle details relating to our local jurisdictions and can provide the local touch to help obtain results as you litigate in the State of Florida.

For more information regarding our local counsel services, please contact us here.

WM Attorneys Who Practice Local Counsel

1. What is estate planning?
2. Who needs estate planning?
3. What is included in my estate?
4. What is a will?
5. What is a revocable living trust?
6. What is probate?
7. Who should be my personal representative or trustee?
8. How should I provide for my minor children?
9. Are there other ways of leaving property?
10. What happens if I become unable to care for myself?



 

1. What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges the transfer of assets in anticipation of death. An estate plan aims to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible for the intended beneficiaries and flexibility for the individual prior to death. Estate planning is a process. It involves people—your family, other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it addresses your future needs in case you ever become unable to care for yourself.

Through estate planning, you can determine:

  • How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your lifetime if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
  • When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime.
  • How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
  • How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.

Many people mistakenly think that estate planning only involves the writing of a will. Estate planning, however, can also involve financial, tax, medical and business planning. A will is part of the planning process, but you will need other documents as well to fully address your estate planning needs.

 

2. Who needs estate planning?

You do—whether your estate is large or small. Either way, you should designate someone to manage your assets and make health care and personal care decisions for you if you ever become unable to do so for yourself.

If your estate is small, you may simply focus on who will receive your assets after your death, and who should manage your estate, pay your last debts and handle the distribution of your assets.

If your estate is large, you will also want to discuss various ways of preserving your assets for your beneficiaries and reducing or postponing the amount of estate tax which otherwise might be payable after your death.

Unless you plan ahead, a judge will simply appoint someone to handle your assets and personal care, and your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to a set of rules known as intestate succession.

Contrary to popular myth, everything does not automatically go to the state if you die without a will. Your relatives, no matter how remote, and, in some cases, the relatives of your spouse will have priority in inheritance ahead of the state.

Still, they may not be your choice of heirs; an estate plan gives you much greater control over who will inherit your assets after your death.

 

3. What is included in my estate?

All of your assets. This could include assets held in your name alone or jointly with others, assets such as bank accounts, real estate, stocks and bonds, furniture, cars and jewelry.

Your assets may also include life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts and payments that are due to you (such as a tax refund, outstanding loan or inheritance).

The value of your estate is equal to the “fair market value” of all of your various types of property—after you have deducted your debts (your car loan, for example, and any mortgage on your home.)

The value of your estate is important in determining whether your estate will be subject to estate taxes after your death and whether your beneficiaries could later be subject to capital gains taxes. Ensuring that there will be sufficient resources to pay such taxes is another important part of the estate planning process.

 

4. What is a will?

A will is a traditional legal document which:

  • Names individuals (or charitable organizations) who will receive your assets after your death, either by outright gift or in a trust.
  • Nominates a personal representative who will be appointed and supervised by the probate court to manage your estate; pay your debts, expenses and taxes; and distribute your estate according to the instructions in your will.
  • Nominates guardians for your minor children.

Most assets in your name alone at your death will be subject to your will. Some exceptions include securities accounts and bank accounts that have designated beneficiaries, life insurance policies, IRAs and other tax deferred retirement plans, and some annuities. These assets would pass directly to the beneficiaries and would not be included in your will.

In addition, certain co owned assets would pass directly to the surviving co owner regardless of any instructions in your will. And assets that have been transferred to a revocable living trust would be distributed through the trust—not your will.

 

5. What is a revocable living trust?

It is a legal document that can, in some cases, partially substitute for a will. With a revocable living trust (also known as a revocable inter vivos trust or grantor trust), your assets are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime and transferred to your beneficiaries when you die—all without the need for court involvement.

Most people name themselves as the trustee in charge of managing their living trust’s assets. By naming yourself as trustee, you can remain in control of the assets during your lifetime. In addition, you can revoke or change any terms of the trust at any time as long as you are still competent. (The terms of the trust become irrevocable when you die.)

In your trust agreement, you will also name a successor trustee (a person or institution) who will take over as the trustee and manage the trust’s assets if you should ever become unable to do so. Your successor trustee would also take over the management and distribution of your assets when you die.

A living trust does not, however, remove all need for a will. Generally, you would still need a will—known as a pour-over will—to cover any assets that have not been transferred to the trust.

 

6. What is probate?

Probate is a court supervised process for transferring a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries listed in his or her will.

Typically, the personal representative named in your will would start the process after your death by filing a petition in court and seeking appointment. Your executor would then take charge of your assets, pay your debts and, after receiving court approval, distribute the rest of your estate to your beneficiaries. If you were to die intestate (that is, without a will), a relative or other interested person could start the process.

 

7. Who should be my personal representative or trustee?

That is your decision. You could name your spouse or domestic partner as your personal representative or trustee. Or you might choose an adult child, another relative, a family friend, a business associate or a professional fiduciary such as a bank. Your personal representative or trustee does not need any special training. What is most important is that your chosen personal representative or trustee is organized, prudent, responsible and honest.

While the personal representative is subject to direct court supervision and the trustee of a living trust is not, they serve almost identical functions. Both are responsible for ensuring that your written instructions are followed.

One difference is that the trustee of your living trust may assume responsibilities under the trust agreement while you are still living (if you ever become unable or unwilling to continue serving as trustee yourself).

 

8. How should I provide for my minor children?

First of all, in your will, you should nominate a guardian to supervise and care for your child (and to manage the child’s assets) until he or she is 18 years old.

Under Florida law, a minor child (a child under age 18) would not be legally qualified to care for himself or herself if both parents were to die. Nor is a minor legally qualified to manage his or her own property.

Your nomination of a guardian could avoid a “tug of war” between well meaning family members and others.

Or you might consider setting up a trust to be held, administered and distributed for the child’s benefit until the child is even older.

 

9. Are there other ways of leaving property?

Yes. Certain kinds of assets are transferred directly to the named beneficiaries. Such assets include:

  • Life insurance proceeds.
  • Qualified or non qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans and IRAs.
  • Certain “trustee” bank accounts.
  • Transfer on death (or TOD) securities accounts.
  • Pay on death (or POD) assets, a common title on U.S. savings bonds.

Keep in mind that these beneficiary designations can have significant tax benefits and consequences for your beneficiaries—and must be carefully coordinated with your overall estate plan.

 

10. What happens if I become unable to care for myself?

You can help determine what will happen by making your own arrangements in advance. Through estate planning, you can choose those who will care for you and your estate if you ever become unable to do so for yourself. Just make sure that your choices are documented in writing.

If you set up a living trust, for example, the trustee will provide the necessary management of those assets held in trust. You should also consider setting up a durable power of attorney for property management to handle limited financial transactions and to deal with assets that may not have been transferred to your living trust. By doing this, you designate an agent or attorney in fact to make financial decisions and manage your assets on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

And by setting up an advance health care directive/durable power of attorney for health care, you can also designate an attorney in fact to make health care decisions for you if you ever become unable to make such decisions.

In addition, this legal document can contain your wishes concerning such matters as life sustaining treatment and other health care issues and instructions concerning organ donation, disposition of remains and your funeral.

Both of these attorneys in fact lose the authority to make decisions on your behalf when you die.

If you have not made any such arrangements in advance and you become unable to make sound decisions or care for yourself, a court could appoint a court supervised conservator to manage your affairs and be responsible for your care.

The court’s supervision of the conservator may provide you with some added safeguards. However, conservatorships can also be more cumbersome, expensive and time consuming than the appointment of attorneys in fact under powers of attorney.

In any event, even if you appoint attorneys in fact who could manage your assets and make future health care decisions for you, you should still document your choice of conservators in case a conservatorship is ever necessary.

 


 

 

Click a link below to view one of our other FAQ category’s:

LITIGATION FAQ

PATENTS FAQ

TRADEMARKS FAQ

COPYRIGHTS FAQ

CORPORATE & BUSINESS LAW FAQ

ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE FAQ

REAL ESTATE & LAND USE FAQ

 

 

So many people are turning to the internet to start or help maximize their business potential. Many times the proprietors need content and have to get the help of others to write this content. This can create a problem if it is not spelled out in the beginning what the role of the content writer is.

If a writer is hired to write articled for example, are the articles he writes his property? Or do they belong to the website owner? That would depend on the agreement the two parties enter into in the beginning.

If the owner of the site does not get it in writing, the author of the articles is free to post and/or sell the articles to whomever he wishes.

When entering in to such as agreement, such details as taxes, employee benefits, the rights of the hiring party to control means and manner of creation, etc. must be agreed upon to avoid conflict in the future.

If you hire someone to write content for you, you don’t want to see the same content all over the internet. And if you write an article or some kind of content, you want to get paid for it, get credit for it unless otherwise agreed upon and if the owner sells it to other sites, you want to get paid. If these details are not ironed out in the beginning things could get messy later.

 

 

You’ve been getting those annoying phone calls from the people you owe money too. You don’t have the money. You’re out of work or you took a pay cut. If you had it, you’d pay it. Now you have to listen to these people threaten you? Are they allowed to do this? Well, yes and no. It all depends. There are rules they must adhere to when calling to collect a debt. Here are things they cannot do.

1. Threatening to take legal action unless you are actually intending to do so is illegal. This includes lawsuits, wage garnishment, damaging credit rating, and property repossession. So if you are being threatened with those, you probably want to take it seriously.

2. Contacting someone other than the debt holder or cosigner. This happens all the time. They call friends, relatives, co-workers, people you went to high school with, etc. If you get one of these calls from a collector looking for a friend, you may want to remind them of this.

3. Mislead the consumer about the amount of the debt.

4. Calling before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM. This is a no-no.

5. If they call the debtor at work, they may not tell his/her employer why they are calling until asked.

6. Making misleading statements claiming to be from a government agency with a court order or subpoena for example.

7. Making any type of slur or inappropriate comments either in verbal or written form.

8. Making the individual think he has committed some type of crime in not paying his debts.

9. Pretending to be conducting a survey in order to gather information.

10. Taking you to court far away from your home.

11. Charging interest or fees not allowed by the state.

12. Calling at inconvenient places the individual has asked them not to call such as work, church, school.

13. Making physical threats to harm the individual unless they pay.

14. Publishing the names of people who are in debt (other than reporting to a credit agency)

15. Using a false company name when trying to collect a debt.

16. Depositing a post dated check early in an effort to get the check to bounce.

17. Providing incorrect information about a person to someone else.

18. Contacting via a post card.

So a debt collector cannot harass you by calling you over and over, calling your family members, threatening you, or misleading you into thinking you could be in legal trouble if you do not pay. How do you get them to stop calling? Either settle the debt, or write a letter telling them to stop. At that point their only recourse is to either write it off, or sue you. Either way the thing will be settled and the phone calls will stop.