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Best Auto Accident Attorney SacramentoIn Sacramento, there are lots of vehicle-owners who are traveling from one place to another every day. Because of this fact, there is a large possibility that there are several car or auto accidents that can happen to this particular place. In case of auto accidents, there are lots of procedures and methods that you can use in order for you to get rid of different problems and disadvantages. One of the most important procedures that you should choose is by hiring lawyers. Auto accident attorney Sacramento is all over the place as they can handle accident cases without difficulties. Once you choose to have the service of these professionals, you are about to have a lot of benefits as you will win a particular case.

Auto accident attorney Sacramento is professionally-trained individuals and they are educated that they can handle auto accident cases and lead their clients to win a particular case. Although some of the attorneys in this location are the ones who are requiring a large amount of money for their service, you can still be sure that there are several affordable ones. But as advice, you should pick the one that require large payment. Even if they are requiring a large amount of money for their service, you can still be sure that there will be no possibility of losing a particular case. Auto accident attorney Sacramento is all over the place that you can look for the best one. In finding the best one, you might try searching them on the internet as they are showcasing their service in the cyber world.

Published in Blog Stuff
Sunday, 09 December 2012 22:08

Credit Restoration

Rebuild Your Credit Score



One issue in particular that we hear from customers has to deal with the stigma related to bankruptcy. A basic characteristic of human nature is that individuals are afraid of things with which they may not be familiar. Do not count out Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy as an avenue until you have taken a moment to get educated on the topic. The stigma against debtors has significantly diminished over the last 20 years, and there is certainly no indication that debtors are going to be treated much less favorably the future. The truth is that the potential to reestablish your credit immediately after Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is greater than it has ever been before. Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for as long as ten years, but it is possible to commence reestablishing your credit promptly.

First things first, let us explain what credit is. Credit is your capacity to borrow money. Numerous lenders determine whether or not to lend you funds by examining your debt to income ratio; how much outstanding debt you've when compared with your revenue. Remember that the reason that your credit is presently poor is simply because you have a lot of outstanding debt. Ask yourself, who would you rather loan revenue to; the person who has $20,000 in credit cards and could file Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy at any time, or the particular person who has currently filed Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, has no remaining debt, and could not file yet another Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy for at least eight years.

Quite a few of our customers are in a position to purchase a car on financing the day they obtain their bankruptcy discharge. Usually you will spend a percentage point or two greater than a person with unblemished credit, but ask yourself how low of a rate of interest would you be able to get in your present situation. It is likely you will be able to finance a house within two years right after receiving a bankruptcy discharge, provided that you are able to deliver a minimum down payment and show the capability to make the monthly mortgage payment. A lot of customer debtors receive credit card solicitations inside months of receiving a bankruptcy discharge. Once you are a Louis White PLC client, you might be a client for life. We'll not desert our clients as soon as they have received their discharge in the court. This really is part of our commitment to you to bring high quality legal representation for any fair fee.

We caution you against rumors on the Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy stigmas that you may perhaps hear from close friends or loved ones, who may perhaps not possess the expertise of bankruptcy law necessary to give legal guidance. They could have your best interests in mind, but little understanding is really a dangerous thing. Speak with one of the knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys at Louis White PLC to make certain what you’re hearing is the truth.

Published in Pages
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 09:23

Real Estate - Tax & Estate Planning

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is a must for any family or individual that wishes to protect assets should they become unable to manage their own affairs and estate.  If you become infirm and unable to care for yourself or if you pass away, proper estate planning will allow your assets to flow to your designated beneficiaries with the least possible negative tax consequences. 

In the case where you become unable to manage your own estate, proper estate planning determines who will assist you in the management of your estate and governs how they will be able to do so during your lifetime. It sets forth the circumstances determining how to distribute your assets during your lifetime and to whom your assets will be distributed upon your death. 
Proper estate planning doesn’t stop at the creation of a will or trust.  In fact, it often involves financial, tax, medical and business planning.

If you believe you need estate planning, to get started you should consider the following questions:

•    What are my assets and what is their approximate value?
•    Who should receive my assets upon my serious illness or death—and when?
•    Who should manage those assets if I cannot?
•    Who should be responsible for taking care of my minor children if I become unable to care for them myself?
•    Who should make decisions on my behalf concerning my care and welfare if I become unable to care for myself?
•    What do I want done with my remains after I die and where would I want them buried, scattered or otherwise laid to rest?

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

If you fail to plan ahead, your assets will have to pass through probate (a lengthy court process) and a judge will simply appoint someone to handle your assets and personal care. Your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to a set of legal rules known as intestate succession.  This means that you cannot control to whom your assets should go to.  An estate plan gives you much greater control over who will inherit your assets after your death.
What is included in my estate?

All of your assets held in your name alone or jointly with others, 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.

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 an executor 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 already have designated beneficiaries, life insurance policies, IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement plans, and some annuities. Such assets would pass directly to the designated 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.

If you need a will, it is extremely important to discuss it with a qualified lawyer to ensure you are protected and execute the requirements of the will properly.

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.

You should consult with a qualified estate planning lawyer to assist you in the preparation of a living trust, your will and other estate planning documents. Also, keep in mind that your choice of trustees is extremely important. That trustee’s management of your living trust assets will not be automatically subject to direct court supervision.

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 executor 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. In such an instance, the court would appoint an administrator to handle your estate. Personal representative is another term used to describe the administrator or executor appointed to handle an estate.

Simpler procedures are available for transferring property to a spouse or for handling estates in which the total assets amount to less than $100,000.
The probate process has advantages and disadvantages. The probate court is accustomed to resolving disputes about the distribution of assets fairly quickly through a process with defined rules. In addition, the probate court reviews the personal representative’s handling of each estate, which can help protect the beneficiaries’ interests.

One disadvantage, however, is that probates are public. Your estate plan and the value of your assets will become a public record. Also, because lawyer’s fees and executor’s commissions are based on a statutory fee schedule, a probate may cost more than the management and distribution of a comparable estate under a living trust.

Time can be a factor as well. A probate proceeding generally takes longer than the administration of a living trust. Discuss such advantages and disadvantages with an estate planning lawyer before making any decisions.

Can I name alternative beneficiaries?

Yes. You should consider alternative beneficiaries in the event that your primary beneficiary does not survive you.
And if a beneficiary is too young or too disabled to handle an inheritance, you might consider setting up a trust for his or her benefit under your will or living trust.

Once you have decided who should receive your assets, it is very important that you correctly identify those chosen individuals and charitable organizations in your will or trust. Many organizations have similar names and, in some families, individuals have similar or even identical names. An estate planning lawyer can help you clarify and appropriately identify your beneficiaries.

Who should be my executor or trustee?

That is your decision. You could name your spouse or domestic partner as your executor 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 executor or trustee does not need any special training. What is most important is that your chosen executor or trustee is organized, prudent, responsible and honest.

While the executor of a will 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).

Discuss your choice of an executor or trustee with your estate planning lawyer. There are many issues to consider. For example, will the appointment of one of your adult children hurt his or her relationship with any other siblings? What conflicts of interest would be created if you name a business associate or partner as your executor or trustee? And will the person named as executor or successor trustee have the time, organizational ability and experience to do the job effectively?

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 California 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.

You also might consider transferring assets to a custodian account under the California Uniform Transfers to Minors Act to be held for the child until he or she reaches age 18, 21 or 25. 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.

Will my beneficiaries' inheritance be taxed?

It depends on the circumstances. Assets left to your spouse (if he or she is a U.S. citizen) or any charitable organization will not be subject to estate tax. Assets left to anyone else—even your children—will be taxed if that portion of the estate totals more than $5 million. In 2013, unless Congress changes the law, the exemption will drop to $1 million. For estates that approach or exceed these amounts, significant estate taxes can be saved by proper estate planning before your death or, for couples, before one of you dies.

In addition, while you are living, you can give away as much as $13,000 a year to each of your children or to anyone else without incurring gift tax. You could also pay your grandchild’s college tuition or medical insurance premiums (or anyone’s tuition or medical bills, for that matter) free of gift tax—but only if the payments are made directly to the educational institution or medical provider.

Keep in mind that tax laws often change. And estate planning for tax purposes must take into account not only estate and gift taxes, but also income, capital gains, property and generation-skipping taxes as well. Qualified legal advice about taxes and current tax law should be obtained from a competent lawyer during the estate planning process.

Does the way in which I hold title make a difference?

Yes. The nature of your assets and how you hold title to those assets is a critical factor in the estate planning process. Before you take title (or change title) to an asset, you should understand the tax and other consequences of any proposed change. Your estate planning lawyer will be able to advise you.

•    Community property and separate property. If you are married or a registered domestic partner, assets earned by either you or your spouse or domestic partner while married or in the partnership and while a resident of California are community property. (Note: Earned income in domestic partnerships, however, may not be treated as community property for federal income tax purposes.) As a married individual or registered domestic partner, you may continue to own certain separate property as well—property which you owned prior  to the marriage or domestic partnership. A gift or inheritance received during the marriage or partnership would be considered separate property as well. Separate property can be converted to community property (and vice versa) by a written agreement (it must conform with California law) signed by both spouses. However, taking such a step can have significant tax and other consequences. Make sure that you understand such consequences before making any such change.
•    Tenants-in-common. If you own property as tenants in common and one co-tenant (co-owner) dies, that co-tenant’s interest in the property would pass to the beneficiary named in his or her will. This would apply to co-tenants who are married or in a domestic partnership as well as to those who are single.
•    Joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Co-owners (married or not) of a property can also hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship. If one tenant were to die in such a situation, the property would simply pass to the surviving joint tenant without being affected by the deceased person’s will.
•    Community property with right of survivorship. If you are married or in a registered domestic partnership, you and your spouse or partner could also hold title to property as community property with right of survivorship. Then, if your spouse or domestic partner were to die, the property would pass to you without being affected by the deceased person’s will.

Married couples and registered domestic partners also have the option of jointly holding title to property as community property. In such a situation, if one spouse or partner were to die, his or her interest would be distributed according to the instructions in his or her will.

Are there other ways of leaving property?

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

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.

A power of attorney, for example, is a written legal document that gives another person the right and authority to act on your behalf. It can be limited to special circumstances or it can be general. That authority will end if you become incapacitated—unless you have a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney will remain in effect while you are incapacitated. This means that if you were suddenly unable to handle your own affairs, someone you trust—your legal agent or attorney-in-fact—could do so for you.

Or you might choose to set up a springing power of attorney, which would only become effective at a specified future date or event (your loss of capacity, for example).
You can authorize your agent to simply pay your bills. (This is usually a safer arrangement than adding someone else’s name to your bank account.) Or you can empower your agent to handle nearly all of your affairs. Your agent, however, cannot take anything of yours as a “gift” without your specific written authorization. These powers of attorney all expire when you die.

Make sure that you understand all of the terms before signing a power of attorney. And be absolutely certain that your chosen agent is both capable and trustworthy. There are those who have lost their life savings to unscrupulous agents—even to agents who are family members.

If you set up a living trust, it is the trustee who will provide the necessary management of the assets held in trust. In such a case, you might consider setting up a durable power of attorney for property management as well to handle limited financial transactions and to deal with assets that may not have been transferred to your living trust.

With an advance health care directive, you can also designate someone to make health care decisions for you in the event that you become unable to do so for yourself. 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. (You can revoke the directive at any time, as long as you are still competent.) Give copies to your health care agent, alternate agent, doctor, health plan representatives and family. And if you are admitted to a hospital or nursing home, take a copy with you.

If you become unable to make sound decisions or care for yourself and you have not made any such arrangements in advance, 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.

Who should help me with my estate planning documents?

Can I do it myself? Yes. It is possible for a person to do his or her own estate planning with forms or books obtained at a stationery store or bookstore or from the State Bar. At the very least, a review of such forms can be helpful in preparing you for estate planning. If you review such materials and have any unanswered questions, however, you should seek professional help.

Do I need a professional’s help?

It depends. If you do seek advice, keep in mind that wills and trusts are legal documents that should only be prepared by a qualified lawyer. Many other professionals and business representatives, however, may become involved in the estate planning process. For example, certified public accountants, life insurance salespersons, bank trust officers, financial planners, personnel managers and pension consultants often participate in the estate planning process. Within their areas of expertise, these professionals can assist you in planning your estate. The State Bar urges you, however, to seek advice only from professionals who are qualified to give estate planning advice.

Many professionals must be licensed by the state. Ask the professional about his or her qualifications. Ask yourself whether the advisor might have an underlying financial incentive to sell you a particular investment, such as an annuity or life insurance policy. Such a financial incentive could bias that professional’s advice. Unfortunately, some sellers of dubious financial products gain the confidence and private financial information of their victims by posing as providers of estate or trust planning services.

Should I beware of "promoters" of financial and estate planning services?

Yes. There are many who call themselves “trust specialists,” “certified planners” or other titles that suggest the person has received advanced training in estate planning. California is experiencing an explosion of promotions by unqualified individuals and entities which only have one real goal—to gain access to your finances in order to sell insurance-based products such as annuities and other commission-based products. To better protect yourself do the following:
consult with a lawyer or other financial advisor who is knowledgeable in estate planning, and who is not trying to sell a product that may be unnecessary—before considering a living trust or any other estate or financial planning document or service.

How much does estate planning cost?

It depends on your individual circumstances and the complexity of documentation and planning required to achieve your goals and objectives. The costs may vary from lawyer to lawyer. Generally, the costs will include the lawyer’s charges for discussing your estate plan with you and for preparing your will, trust agreement, power of attorney or other necessary legal documents. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for estate planning services. Others charge on an hourly basis or use a combination of both types of fees.

How do I find a qualified lawyer?

The attorneys at Louis White have experience in estate planning, including trust and probate law. If you are in the need for representation related to estate planning, contact our office at 877-992-5291.

Published in Pages
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 09:18

Purchases

Purchases


Obtaining a residence will probably be the biggest and most substantial acquisition you will make within your life. It also requires the law of real home, which is special and raises specific difficulties of practice, and challenges not present in other transactions. A real estate attorney is trained to handle these troubles and has one of the most practical experiences to cope with them. Some states certify lawyers as "Real Property Specialists" as a result.

Within the typical home purchase, the seller enters into a brokerage contract using a real estate agent, generally in writing. When the broker finds a prospective buyer, negotiations are carried out via the broker, who often acts as an intermediary. When an informal agreement is reached, buyer and seller enter into a formal written contract for the sale, the acquire agreement. The purchaser then obtains a commitment for financing. Title is searched to satisfy; the lender as well as the purchaser. Lastly, the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer; plus the seller receives the purchase price bargained for in the contract. This appears easy, but without having an attorney, the consequences may be much more disastrous than acquiring an automobile that turns out to become a lemon, or a stock investment that was unwise.

An attorney can help you avoid some common difficulties with property buying or selling. One example is that seller may possibly sign a brokerage agreement that will not handle many legal issues. This happens rather often; realtors usually use common types, expecting that they will cover all circumstances or are going to be simply customizable for unusual circumstances.

The absence of an agreement towards the contrary, the seller may possibly be liable to pay a brokerage commission even in the event a sale does not occur, or to pay more than a single brokerage commission. When the agreement enables the seller the best to negotiate on his or her own behalf, by way of example, you might keep away from this issue. An attorney can explain the effect of several listings. He or she can negotiate the realtor's rights when the seller withdraws the home in the market place, or cannot provide good marketable title.

The seller should really possess the guidance of a lawyer with respect to a brokerage agreement. Even though the agreement is actually a common type, its terms ought to be explained to the seller and revised, if required. An attorney should also identify if the agreement was properly signed.

Even when an attorney is not necessary in the course of negotiations, the purchaser and seller might have to consult with a attorney to answer critical inquiries, which include the tax consequences from the transaction. To a seller, the tax consequences could possibly be of significance. As an example, the revenue tax consequences of a sale, especially when the seller makes a large profit, could possibly be considerable. An attorney can advise irrespective of whether the seller can make the most of tax provisions enabling for exclusion of capital gains in particular circumstances.

The buy agreement will be the single most significant document in the transaction. Although normal printed forms are useful, a attorney is helpful in explaining the form and producing changes and additions to reflect the buyer's along with the seller's desires. There are various problems that may perhaps have to be addressed in the acquire agreement; below are some prevalent examples:

  • When the house has been altered or there has been an addition for the house, was it done lawfully?
  • In the event the buyer has plans to transform the house, could what's planned for the property be accomplished lawfully?
  • What occurs if a purchaser has an engineer or architect inspect the house and termites, asbestos, radon, or lead-based paint is identified?
  • What in the event the house is identified to include hazardous waste?
  • What are the legal consequences if the closing doesn't take location, and what occurs towards the down payment? This question raises connected inquiries: Will the down payment be held in escrow by a lawyer in accordance with appropriately worded escrow instructions? How is payment to become created? Is definitely the closing appropriately conditioned upon the purchaser acquiring financing?
  • Most buyers finance a substantial portion in the acquire price for any residence with a mortgage loan from a lending institution. The purchase agreement should really contain a very carefully worded provision that it really is subject towards the buyer's obtaining a commitment for financing.


Again, it truly is vital to remember that printed contract types are generally inadequate to incorporate the genuine understanding on the buyer and seller without the need of significant alterations. In addition, there are numerous kinds of mortgages that may very well be readily available. Mortgage loan commitments and mortgage loan documents are complex. Attorneys can review and clarify the significance of those many documents.

Just after the acquire agreement is signed, it can be essential to establish the state on the seller's title towards the home for the buyer's - as well as the finance institution's - satisfaction. Typically, a title search is ordered from an abstract or title insurance enterprise. In some states, and in outlying locations of other folks, title insurance coverage will not be common. In such situations a lawyer is vital to review the status of title and render an opinion of title in lieu of a title policy.

Assuming you will be in an area where title insurance coverage is customary, an attorney can help with evaluation of the title search and explain the title exceptions as to what is not insured, and identify irrespective of whether the legal description is right and whether there are issues with adjoining owners or prior owners. He or she may also clarify the effect of easements and agreements or restrictions imposed by a prior owner, and if there are actually any legal restrictions that will impair your capacity to sell the property.

The title search doesn't inform the buyer or seller anything about existing and prospective zoning. An attorney can clarify whether zoning prohibits a two-family home, or if planned improvements violate zoning ordinances.

The closing is the most important occasion inside the purchase and sale transaction. The deed and other closing papers should be ready. Title passes from seller to buyer, who pays the balance on the purchase cost. Regularly, this balance is paid in part from the proceeds of a mortgage loan. A closing statement should be ready prior to the closing indicating the debits and credits towards the purchaser and seller. An attorney is helpful in explaining the nature, quantity, and fairness of closing costs. The deed and mortgage instruments are signed, and an attorney can assure that these documents are appropriately executed and explained to the various parties.

The closing process can be confusing and complex to the buyer and seller. These present in the closing normally incorporate the purchaser and seller, their respective attorneys, the title closer (representative of your title company), an attorney for any lending institution, and also the genuine estate broker. There may also be final minute disputes about delivering possession and personal house or the adjustment of different fees, for example fuel and taxes. When you are the only individual there without a lawyer, your rights could be at threat.

Perhaps the most significant purpose to be represented by an attorney is conflicting interests on the parties. All through the procedure, the buyer's and seller's interests are usually at odds with each other, and in some cases with these of specialists involved in the sale. The broker frequently serves the seller, and also the lender is obtained by the buyer. Each chooses to see the deal undergo, because that is how they will get paid. Neither can offer legal counsel. The respective lawyers for the purchaser and seller will serve only their very own clients' finest interests. Seeking the advice of an attorney is really a  good idea from the time you decide to sell or to buy a home until the actual closing.

Published in Pages
Monday, 31 March 2014 00:00

Auto Accident Attorney

Millions of auto accidents happen every year, but when you're involved in one, yours is so much more than a statistic. At Louis White, we understand your case is not just a claim number. With all the various components to deal with such as damage to your car, and your physical and mental well being, we provide the peace of mind to help rebuild your life -fast. After a car accident, you can feel sad, enraged ,confused, and may not know what to do. A complex legal case should be the last thing on your mind.



That’s why at Louis White Law our exceptional attorneys are by your side. We want you to focus on whats important... YOU and getting back to normal life. We handle car accidents victims in California and with over 15 years of combined experience are able to provide competent legal advice and detailed, personal attention.

The law office of Louis White  will hear  your questions, give the thoughtful responses, and fight hard for the outcome you deserve.

Learn more about auto accidents

Published in Practice Areas
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 09:19

Commercial Loans

Commercial Loans

Published in Uncategorised
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 21:59

Chapter 13

    Chapter 13 Filing

    A chapter 13 bankruptcy (wage earner’s plan) enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Here, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. If the debtor’s current monthly income is less than the applicable state median, the plan will be for three years unless the court approves a longer period “for cause.” If the debtor's current monthly income is greater than the applicable state median, the plan generally must be for five years. During these time periods, the law forbids creditors from starting or continuing collection efforts.

    Chapter 13 offers various remedies for financially distressed individuals. Chapter 13 offers debtors the opportunity to save their homes from foreclosure by creating a repayment plan to cure delinquent mortgage payments. However, the debtor must make the regular mortgage payments that come due after the chapter 13 filing commences. Chapter 13 also allows individuals to reschedule secured debts and extend them over the life of the chapter 13 plan, allowing for lower payments. Chapter 13 also has a special provision that protects third parties (co-signers) who are liable with the debtor on “consumer debts.” Finally, chapter 13 consolidates the debtor’s outstanding debt under one repayment plan, streamlining the payment process.

    A chapter 13 case begins by filing a petition with the bankruptcy court serving the area where the debtor has a residence. Any individual is eligible for chapter 13 relief as long as the individual’s unsecured debts are less than $360,475 and secured debts are less than $1,081,400. A corporation or partnership may not be a chapter 13 debtor. In addition to providing the assigned case trustee with copies of relevant tax returns or transcripts, the debtor must also file with the court:


        • Schedules of assets and liabilities;
        • Schedule of current income and expenditures;
        • Statement of financial affairs; and,
        • Schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

    Individual debtors with primarily consumer debts have additional document filing requirements, including the following:

        • A certificate of credit counseling;
        • A copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling;
        • Evidence of payment from employers if any, received 60 days before filing;
        • A statement of monthly net income;
        • Any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and,
        • A record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.

    In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must provide the following information:

        • A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
        • The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor's income;
        • A list of all of the debtor's property; and,
        • A detailed list of the debtor's monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.

    When an individual files a chapter 13 petition, an impartial trustee is appointed to administer the case. The chapter 13 trustee both evaluates the case and serves as a disbursing agent, collecting payments from the debtor and making distributions to creditors.

    Filing the petition under chapter 13 “automatically stays” (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor's property. However, filing the petition does not stay all types of actions, and may be effective only for a short time in some situations. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.

    Between 20 and 50 days after the debtor files the chapter 13 petition, the trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. During this meeting, the debtor testifies under oath regarding his or her financial affairs and the proposed terms of the plan. In order to preserve their independent judgment, bankruptcy judges are prohibited from attending the meeting of creditors. The parties typically resolve problems with the proposed repayment plan either during or shortly after the creditors’ meeting.

    The debtor must file a repayment plan with the petition or within 15 days after the petition is filed. The repayment plan must be submitted for court approval and must provide fixed payments to the trustee on a biweekly or monthly basis. If approved, the trustee then distributes the funds to creditors according to the terms of the plan. If the court declines to confirm the plan, the debtor may file a modified plan. Despite paying creditors less than full payment on their claims, the trustee pays out claims based on priority, where certain classes of claims get paid out first – priority claims, secured claims, then unsecured claims if there remains sufficient disposable income over the applicable commitment period.

    As a general rule, the discharge releases the debtor from all debts provided for by the plan or disallowed, with the exception of certain debts. Debts not discharged in chapter 13 include certain long term obligations (such as a home mortgage), debts for alimony or child support, certain taxes, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or benefit overpayments, debts arising from death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and debts for restitution or a criminal fine included in a sentence on the debtor's conviction of a crime.

    Due to the complexity of federal and state bankruptcy law, it is best that you contact an experienced attorney to guide you through the process If you feel that your bills have just become too much to bear.

Published in Uncategorised
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 21:59

Chapter 11

coming soon

Published in Uncategorised
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 21:59

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Filing

A Chapter 7 filing, otherwise known as “liquidation,” does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment as in chapter 13. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor's non-exempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay off creditors. In exchange, the debtor is entitled to a discharge of some debt. While the debtor may keep certain “exempt” property, part of the debtor's property may be subject to liens and mortgages that pledge the property to other creditors. Accordingly, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under chapter 7 may result in the loss of property.

To qualify for relief under chapter 7, the debtor is subject to the “means test.” If your current monthly income is less than the median income for a household of your size in your state, you pass the means test and qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, for those whose household income exceeds the state median, the means test computation becomes more complex and involves whether the debtor has enough disposable income to pay off at least a portion of the unsecured debts.

One of the primary purposes of bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts to give an honest individual debtor a “fresh start.” In a chapter 7 case, a discharge is only available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations. Although an individual chapter 7 case usually results in a discharge of debts, the right to a discharge is not absolute, and some types of debts are not discharged. Moreover, a bankruptcy discharge does not extinguish a lien on property.

A chapter 7 case begins with the debtor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court serving the area where the individual lives or where the business debtor is organized or has its principal place of business. In addition to providing the assigned case trustee with copies of relevant tax returns or transcripts, the debtor must also file with the court:

    • Schedules of assets and liabilities;
    • Schedule of current income and expenditures;
    • Statement of financial affairs; and,
    • Schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

Individual debtors with primarily consumer debts have additional document filing requirements, including the following:

    • A certificate of credit counseling;
    • A copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling;
    • Evidence of payment from employers; if any, received 60 days before filing;
    • A statement of monthly net income;
    • Any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and,
    • A record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.

In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must provide the following information:

    • A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
    • The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor's income;
    • A list of all of the debtor's property; and,
    • A detailed list of the debtor's monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.

Filing a petition under chapter 7 “automatically stays” (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor’s property. However, filing the petition does not stay all types of actions, and may be effective only for a short time in some situations. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.

Between 20 and 40 days after the petition is filed, the case trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. During this meeting, the debtor testifies under oath by answering questions regarding the debtor’s financial affairs and property. In order to preserve their independent judgment, bankruptcy judges are prohibited from attending the meeting of creditors. Within 10 days of the creditors’ meeting, the trustee will report whether the case is eligible under the means test.

Many debtors who file chapter 7 bankruptcies have no assets. However, for those that do, the trustee organizes the assets for liquidation in a manner that maximizes the return to the debtor's unsecured creditors. The trustee pays out claims based on priority, where certain classes of claims get paid out first. The individual debtor’s primary concern in a chapter 7 case is not how the trustee sells assets but how the debtor can retain exempt property and receive a discharge that covers as much debt as possible. Generally, unless a party in interest files a complaint objecting to the discharge or a motion to extend the time to object, the bankruptcy court will issue a discharge order 60 to 90 days after the date first set for the meeting of creditors.

Due to the complexity of federal and state bankruptcy law, it is best that you contact an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. If you feel that your bills have just become too much to bear, contact Louis | White to determine whether bankruptcy is right for you.
 

 

 

Published in Uncategorised
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 21:21

Foreclosure Defense



Although California is a non-judicial state which allows banks to foreclose without court action, for various strategic reasons, banks may still file a lawsuit against the borrower in state court, or the homeowner’s only remaining remedy is to file a lawsuit against all the parties to the loan transaction. At this point, most foreclosure victims are intimidated and simply roll over without objection, allowing the court to issue an order of foreclosure, plus costs, expenses and possibly deficiency judgments. In fact, the bank and lender attorneys count on this when initiating the proceedings, hoping for a default judgment.

However, borrowers who are represented in court by a competent attorney have a significant advantage. In addition to understanding the procedural legal aspects involved in the case, an experienced attorney can assert legal defenses which contest the lender’s right to foreclose, can attack the bank’s claims, and/or illustrate that the lender violated court rules or government predatory lending regulations which not only would completely invalidate the lender’s complaint but may enable the borrower to rescind the loan as if it were never made. For instance, if the loan originator (or assignee of the loan) materially violated the Truth In Lending Act (TILA), the borrower may have the right to rescind. Rescission of the loan is a powerful tool which causes the lender to refund any and all principal and interest payments made by the borrower over the entire course of the loan, including a refund of the down payment and closing costs. If a lender is faced with a borrower’s valid rescission right, because of its financial ramifications, the lender will bend over backwards to create a workable settlement that significantly benefits the borrower.

When an experienced attorney gets involved, the borrower gains leverage against the lender. Aside from potentially invalidating the lender’s claims outright, the lawsuit will take longer, cost much more, and may end up not being worth the lender’s time when some other informal resolution could be obtained. Simply hiring an attorney could pave the way for the settlement of your case.

Published in Uncategorised
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