Limited Scope Representation

Limited Scope Representation

What is Limited Scope Representation?  When an attorney is retained to assist a client with their legal matter in a capacity that is less than full representation then a client has limited scope representation.  For example, if a client comes in and can’t afford the flat rate fee for a full representation of a dissolution or uncontested divorce then they might pay half the price for the attorney to draft all of the necessary pleadings but the client is responsible for filing all paperwork and representing themselves at their final hearing.  Limited Scope Representation is a more affordable way to resolve some legal issues.

What sort of Legal Matters are Manageable From a Limited Scope Representation Perspective?

Not all legal matters are a good idea for clients to tackle on their own.  Custody issues and contested divorces, full administration probate estates, bankruptcy and estate planning are some examples where a client should always seek full representation.  However, if a client is dealing with a dissolution, uncontested divorce, or some simple probate matters, with the right guidance and assistance from an attorney with drafting, the client can usually complete these types of matters on their own and save a lot of money in doing so.

Limited Scope Representation Isn’t for Everyone

If you do not want to appear in Court on your own, can’t deal with the probability of asking some questions and being directed to some different places at the Court house, or simply are too busy to deal with the hassle of doing some of the work on your own, then limited scope representation is not for you.

Call Dailey Law Offices today to set up a consult to discuss all of the services we offer.

Being a Trustee is a Tough Job

I do a lot of estate planning work and often times a simple family trust is needed to appoint someone to manage finances on behalf of minor children.  The decision to appoint someone to this position should be taken very seriously, because their mismanagement of funds could cause your children a serious financial loss.  On the flip side your lack of direction to the Trustee could land them in some hot water.

Testamentary vs. Non-Testamentary Trusts

A testamentary trust is a directive by the Grantor(s)-the person or persons who ultimately die-, in their will, to someone to hold their estate in trust for their minor children.  Some of my client’s will choose this less than satisfactory option to save expenses in the drafting of a separate, or non-testamentary trust.  The problem with saving a little bit of money now is that your kids could lose a lot later.  In a testamentary trust, the grantor loses the ability to set forth those specific distribution requirements that they can make in a non-testamentary trust.  The specifications not only provide some protection of your estate for your kids, they also provide guidance to the Trustee in how to spend the money.  Without proper guidance, the Trustee could unintentionally spend money that the Court would not consider reasonable and face citations and contempt charges, removal from their position, or worse case scenario even jail time.

The bottom line is this-if you don’t have any estate planning and you have minor children or you have a testamentary trust, its worth calling Dailey Law Offices today at 614-771-6000 for a free consultation.

 

 

Playing by the Rules When Forming an LLC

Why Form an LLC?

I f you own a business, particularly a high liability business, forming an LLC is a great option to afford yourself protection from personal liability in the event of a lawsuit, but simply forming an LLC will not protect you from personal liability.  You must play by the rules.  So, what are the rules?

The Rules

In order to prevent a plaintiff from holding you personally liable for damages in a lawsuit involving your LLC or to prevent a plaintiff from attaching assets in your personal name, you must play by the following rules:

1.  You MUST draft an operating agreement.  An operating agreement sets forth the manner in which your business operates, i.e., Who are the managing members? How often do you meet? Where are the minutes located?;

2.  You MUST follow the rules.  Just drafting an operating agreement means nothing unless you follow the operations set up in the agreement.  For example you must actually take minutes when you meet and keep them accessible and meet at least the minimum number of times set forth in the operating agreement;

3.  You MUST keep your LLC assets and liabilities separate from your personal assets.  This simply means setting up a separate account in the LLC’s name where all of your income and expenses of the LLC flow through;

4.  Finally, you MUST properly title all of the LLC’s assets in the name of the LLC.

The Consequences

If you fail to follow the rules set forth above there will be consequences if your LLC gets sued.  The consequence that undermines the whole point of setting up an LLC is that the corporate veil is pierced and you are held personally liable for damages.

If you own a business and want to discuss an LLC further, call my office today at 614-771-6000 for a free consult.  Drafting an operating agreement for your LLC is relatively inexpensive, not having one could be the most expensive mistake of your life.

The Importance of Gathering Documents in a Timely Manner When Filing for Bankruptcy

Why You Need to Gather So Many Damn Documents

When a client retains me for a bankruptcy consult, they need to gather quite a bit of information in order for me to file their petition.  The bankruptcy Trustee looks at the last six months of household income in order to determine if the debtor(s) fall under the median income cap for their family size-this is called the means test.  The basic principle is that if the debtor(s) last 6 months of income is less than the cap for his family size he/she is able to file a Chapter 7 vs. a Chapter 13 which is the difference between a total discharge of all debt and a repayment plan.  The documents that you are asked to gather help support your declaration of income.

Information Needed to File for Bankruptcy

In order for the Trustee to feel satisfied that you’ve accurately reported your income they will or can review the following documents:

  • The last six months of paystubs for all wage earners in your household;
  • The last three years of tax returns;
  • The last six months of bank statements for all checking and savings accounts.

While there are more documents that need to be gathered in order to file, the ones listed above cause the most heartache.  What makes the process even more aggravating is that the aforementioned documents must always reflect the six month period preceding the filing of your petition.  So if you fail to gather all of the documents and we go into a new month, you now have to gather all of the documents for the new month as well as the ones you were missing.

The main point to take away from this post is that when filing for bankruptcy, your timely response to my request for documents is extremely important!  As always, I can help guide you through the process and make is as painless as possible.

Mediation and Divorce-Why it’s a great idea.

The majority of clients who walk through my front door want an amicable divorce.  They have been communicating effectively with their spouse and both parties have been able to compromise on most issues.  However, there is always that one issue-usually involving children if there are any-or some sort of financial obligation, like spousal support, that the parties just can’t seem to work through.  Should you just throw in the towel and roll up your sleeves and prepare for a long legal battle-usually the answer to that is no!  Try mediation.  It can work with agreeable, reasonable, rational people-that sums up most of my clients.  I offer mediation services to couples who aren’t my client, but I can also set up mediation with a third party for couples where I do represent a client.  If you don’t want to spend the money and time involved in the divorce process call me today at 614-771-6000 to talk about how mediation can help you with an amicable termination to your marriage.

Navigating the Divorce Process Amicably-With Small Children

Divorce is never easy.  Typically emotions run high and more often than not there are several issues that are somewhat contentious.  If you add small children to the mix-it can really get messy.  Here’s the thing, though-you can roll up your sleeves and roll around in the dirt when it comes up to dividing up assets and debts, but you shouldn’t when it comes to making decisions regarding parenting time with your children.  I’m a divorce attorney, but I’m a parent too.  I’ve also done guardian work in the past, and let me tell you how you treat your spouse during your divorce is going to have a huge impact on your kids.  Please understand there are MANY reasons why one parent should be awarded full custody of a child:  abuse, neglect, addiction, etc., etc., but if none of this applies to your situation, here are some tips from me to you-if you are going through a divorce, or contemplating one:

*  DO NOT bad mouth your spouse in front of your children.  It will come out to a guardian or the court eventually and its just devastating to a child;

*  Do what’s fair for your children, not what you think is fair to you.  All the experts agree that a lot of time with both parents is what’s best for your child.  Make it work-rearrange your golf schedule or ladies night out.  Heck, move closer to your spouse if you need to, but foster a good relationship between your children and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.  Your children will thank you for it later;

*  Don’t try to push for a 50/50 split of time just so you don’t have to pay child support.  If you make more than your spouse you are likely going to have to pay something anyway.  While you were married more of your paycheck supported your child than your spouse’s, it shouldn’t be any different once you are divorced;

*  Don’t just NOT bad mouth your spouse, foster a good relationship between your children and your ex-spouse.  Help them make a father’s day or mother’s day card.  Help them go Christmas shopping for their other parent.  It doesn’t matter whether you hate your ex-spouse or not, your child will remember how selfless you were one day.

Some of you may read this and say wow what a pushover-she wouldn’t fight for my right to take custody of my child.  And if you don’t have a good reason to-re-read the first paragraph above-you’re exactly right-I won’t.  I care too much about your kids-you should too.

Get your post-decree agreements in writing!

For most people, getting to the end of the entire divorce or dissolution process is a huge relief. The judge has finally ordered the separation between husband and wife, the property has been divided, and all issues surrounding children have been settled.

Many times after the divorce is over and things calm down, the parties decide they want to or need to change the agreement the judge ordered. This is called a post-decree matter.

While it’s ok to change the arrangement between you and your ex-spouse, it is crucial to get the agreement in writing and signed off on by a judge.

If you don’t reduce your new agreement to writing, there are two problems that can occur: contempt and the inability to enforce the agreement.

Contempt of court is never a good thing. It means you have done something in contravention of a court order, and you will be held accountable for it. If the only agreement you and your ex-spouse have in writing is the original divorce decree, any act done in opposition to that order can be considered contempt. Agreeing to different parenting time or property division is fine, but if something happens and tensions flare, your ex-spouse can go to the court. When the judge sees you are acting in a way different that the divorce decree, you can be held in contempt.

Similarly, if you are the one wanting to enforce the new agreement against your ex-spouse, you have no grounds to do so if you only have an oral agreement. The court will only check to see that your ex-spouse is following the order in the divorce decree, and you will have no further recourse.

Divorce and post-decree matters can be tricky, so it’s best to arm yourself with an attorney to make sure you understand all of the implications involved. Dailey Law Offices has extensive experience in the domestic relations arena. We offer free initial consultations, and you can schedule yours by calling us today!

Estate planning after divorce

Going through a divorce or dissolution can be a tedious, time-consuming, and emotional process. Receiving the final decree can feel like a huge relief; however, there is another important thing to consider after your divorce is final. Planning for your future changes dramatically after your marriage ends.

For those who already have wills, powers of attorney, and living wills drafted during the marriage, it is important to update those documents and remove your ex-spouse from positions that you may not want him or her to retain. You also may want to remove your ex-spouse from receiving any money or property in your will.

Even if you don’t have estate planning documents prior to your divorce, you should create them afterwards. This is especially true if you have minor children, and you need to establish guardians for them in the event of your death. Your children will likely be the people to inherit your property, but they cannot receive your property if they are minors. There are ways you can set up your will and create a trust so as to protect those assets for the benefit of your children.

In addition to creating these documents, remember to update your beneficiary statements on any bank accounts, retirement accounts, stock profiles, etc. The more you can prepare your estate to be distributed after your death, the easier it will be for your family to accomplish.

If you’ve gone through a recent divorce, or if you would simply like to create or update your estate planning documents, call Dailey Law Offices today. We make this process as simple as possible, and we charge affordable flat-rate fees.

Representing yourself in a divorce

Believe it or not, it is actually possible to represent yourself in your divorce proceeding. This is especially true when you and your spouse are in agreement about how to split everything. This is considered an uncontested divorce or a dissolution and is easily settled with the help of the court. It’s even simpler if there are no children and only a few marital assets involved.

Representing yourself pro se in a divorce can be much cheaper than hiring an attorney. If there aren’t a lot of complicated issues surrounding your divorce, you often end up paying an attorney to fill out a couple of forms that you could easily do yourself. Being familiar with the state’s divorce laws is important when filing your own divorce, and it’s important to make sure you are seeing the situation from a “big picture” perspective.

At Dailey Law Offices, we strive to make your divorce as simple and painless as possible. We offer a range of unbundled services, which includes a free 30-minute initial consultation. During this consultation, we will discuss the facts of your divorce and outline the steps you will need to take in proceeding. Then, we will offer you some of our forms to help you file the required documents quickly. This service is ideal for clients who understand the repercussions of pro se filing and don’t want to pay a large amount of attorney’s fees. If you are interested in this service, please contact Dailey Law Offices today!

Why would a bankruptcy trustee apply to appoint legal counsel?

When you file for bankruptcy you must appear in front of a trustee, who has the responsibility of overseeing your bankruptcy. While the trustee mainly has the duty to review the bankruptcy petition, examine the debtor under oath, and oversee the payment of creditors, there are times when a trustee might actually need to hire an attorney.

If your trustee has applied to hire legal counsel, this usually means that the trustee sees a red flag somewhere in your petition or among your assets. He may need to explore a particular issue further before approving it, or the trustee may see a potential fraudulent transfer that needs to be addressed.

The trustee may also need to pursue is preference actions. Preference suits involve payments to specific creditors rather than following the payments or amounts due according to the bankruptcy process. The trustee can also file suits outside of the bankruptcy system in order to increase the source of funds for the debtor to pay off his debts with. Examples of these types of actions are personal injury or insurance coverage suits.

If your trustee has filed to appoint legal counsel, or if you are considering filing bankruptcy, contact Dailey Law Offices to set up your free initial consultation in our Delaware or Hilliard location.