Hi there just so you know I am not a Lawyer I am a Paralegal. So this in no way to be considered as legal advice. Let’s not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE.
Side-Note: The person you choose for your Power of Attorney is your agent. That is how they will be referred to in any other legal documents related to your power of attorney.
Okay, let’s talk about the Durable Power of Attorney or P.O.A. The deference between a durable power of attorney and the ones I talked about last week is fairly simple. Once a regular power of attorney has been ended its over you can never use it again. For example you have set up a Health Care Power of Attorney you appoint a special someone to look after you if something bad happens. Then something bad happens and your special someone does step in to look after you and you do get better great happy ending well done… However, 6 months later you are in an auto accident and if you haven’t created a new health care power of attorney. Sorry, your special friend can’t do a thing for you. You are on your own until blood relative gets there. With a durable power of attorney you can set things up so that your special friend can step in no matter how many times you get hurt or sick. But keep their limit their power to only to when you are sick and or injured.
Now, to cover the 2 types of a durable power of attorney. 1st is the medical durable power of attorney. This person is who y
you want making the medical decisions for you when you can’t. 2nd a fiscal durable power of attorney. This Solider handles your money and sees to it that your bills get paid while you are out of it. As I said before a person you give authority too in a power of attorney does not have to be a lawyer. It can be anyone you choose as long as they are of legal age.
Side-Note: Legal age means being old enough to vote, sign a contract and be responsible for you actions. In all the United States this means being at least 18 years old. Old enough to kill or be killed for your country but not old enough to drink.
Just so you know, you can choose just one person to be both your medical and a financial durable power of attorney agent at the same time. Most often though most people don’t.
The fact is a durable power of attorney is a major portion of a Living Will. I will be getting into what makes up a Living Will next week.
As I said before and I will say yet again. I am not a lawyer, I am a Paralegal. So this is in no way to be considered legal advice only legal information, let’s not forget when a lawyer of a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE.
Just so you know are four major types of Guardianship. There is a personal guardian who is responsible for medical and or money decisions. . The Estate guardian which is needed to protect your stuff when you can’t. The Personal & Estate guardian which take care of both at the same time. Last is the temporary guardianship, this is usually an emergency court order given when someone’s loved one suddenly becomes unable to take care of themselves. However it will cost about $60, when the loved one gets better, for the Guardian or the Guarded One to cancel it. It also can have a limited life span.
However guardianship do need approval from probate judge especially under a Living Will or if three are children are involved. A guardianship can also be challenged by someone who wants to take over the assigned guardianship. If the Guardianship is not challenged it usually costs about $50 to get court approval.
Okay moving onto a Power of Attorney. 1st and foremost the person you choose to be power of attorney does not have to be a lawyer. It can be anyone you choose.
There are 5 major types of power attorney. 1st is the general power of attorney, which is mostly used when you have a business or assets you want someone to look after a while you are traveling for a couple of years. Or say you don’t want anyone bothering you while contemplating the universe at a monastery.
Next is a Limited Power of Attorney this is almost identical to a general. Reasons of giving someone power over your assets is pretty much the same except like the title says, the power is limited to only one thing. For example you’re traveling somewhere overseas and you are receiving benefit check from a court case you won. You can leave someone a Limited Power of Attorney so they can take the check get it cashed, pay a few bills like your rent and get the rest deposited into your bank account. That way you can get your money and spend it while having fun in Ireland.
Then there is the Health Care Power of Attorney. Say you are not married and live a long way from anyone in your family. With a Heath Care Power of Attorney you can appoint a special friend to look after you. Your friend would be able to make the decisions’ a doctor needs to save your life after you have just been in a devastating auto accident. It is used a lot in states that can’t seem to see same-sex couples. You need to make sure your health insurance company has a copy as well as your friend.
Next week I will cover the Springing and Durable Power of Attorney.
Again, I am not a lawyer I am a paralegal. So this isn’t legal advice this is legal information. Also let us not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an issue.
All right let’s talk about Conservatorship, A Conservatorship does come under probate but a Conservator can also be appointed under Family Law. A Conservator is someone a probate court judge allows to have control over your medical, business, financial and personal affairs while you are laying there strapped into life support. Also a Conservator could be appointed if you have suffered such a severe head trauma that you, at least for the time being, have a hard time figuring out how to put your pants on. It is going to cost whoever asks for conservatorship $400 in filing fees. That doesn’t include support documentation an expert in going to have to sign off on. Most Conservators will have to hire an attorney to deal with the huge pile of legal issues that go with their job and that can really run up the legal bill. All of which is billed to and or reimbursed by your Estate. Additionally a Conservator literal has the right to sell your house and treasures without your okay. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to get your stuff back if your conservator does rip you off if don’t have a Living Will/ Testament Will. On the flip side if a loved one becomes your conservator, he or she becomes responsible for all your debts. It is their job to see that all your bills get paid. This means that they will have access to all your banks accounts, social security payments any source of income you have. However, even after your loved one has been forced to empty your bank accounts and has sold everything of value you have to pay your bills, Debtors can still come after your loved one for any money you may still owe and take their money and or assets. Now if you manage to recover thing can become really difficult. Proving to the court you no longer need a ‘conservator’. You see if your ‘conservator’ fights you this will cost you in lawyer and court fees. Under Conservatorship getting access to your money to pay for a lawyer to help you get rid of the conservator is up to the conservator and or probate court.
Having a Living Will is the best and cheapest way to avoid most of this mess. With a Living Will you can appoint someone you totally trust to become your ‘Legal Guardian’ and or ‘Conservator’ if you become too ill to take care of your needs. A Living Will fully or validated in probate courts you can make sure that the Conservator and or Guardian appointed over you is protected and double sure they are someone you trust.
Under a straight Will there are executors. Executor is someone you have appointed to make sure your last wishes are carried out.
More on Probate coming next week.
Once again, I am not a lawyer I am a paralegal. So this is not intended to be legal advice only legal information. Also let’s not forget that when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem or concern becomes an issue.
To get started there are two things I did not cover last week. Testate and Intestate. Being Testate is having a notarized Will and or a Living Will that is registered with the probate courts or at the very least left with a lawyer or a loved one. Intestate means you don’t have a Will. Let’s be honest dying without a Will will make things incredibly difficult for your loved ones.
There are some states like Colorado which accept what is commonly called Holographic Will. A Holographic Will is very easy to create and 20 times more difficult to use. To create a Holographic Will all you have to do is get a notebook write down your wishes sign it and leave it someplace where you hope that somebody you trust will find it. Once found your loved ones will have to get your Holographic Will validated in the probate courts.
In most states 2 witness signatures are needed to help validate a Will. There are some states that do require up to 3 signatures. .Someone who can give you a usable witness signature is someone who does not benefit from your Estate. The idea is these signatures will help prove that you created your Will without being forced too. Also that no one faked it, trying to rip off your Estate.
Okay, moving on the most important part of a validating your Will is getting the dumb thing registered. You can register you Will your local probate court system, Sometimes you may be asked to file your Will with the county recorder’s office. This will cost you about $67. The fee may be a little different depending where you live.
Now you do not have file your Will with the Probate Court before you leave. But, I can’t say this loud enough your Will must be somewhere it can be easily found. Like I said before you can leave your Will with your lawyer or a loved one. However after you die you’re Will must go through Probate Court to be validated.
SIDE-NOTE: Validation simply put is satisfying a judge that these are indeed your last wishes and instructions. That no one bamboozled you or forced you into creating your Will. You’d be surprised how many fools will submit phony Wills trying to rip off Estates.
Now having a Will validated proving testamentary of your Estate will cost $190 as of 2012. Oddly having your Estate proved Intestate or without a Will will cost your loved ones $150.
More Probate to come. You might be surprised how complex dying can be.
Sorry folks for being so late with this week’s article. I understand from my internet service provider that a series of sunspot created significant interference was blocking my internet connection. I have been down for 4 days.
All right then to work. Once again I am not a lawyer, I am a paralegal. Also when a layer or a paralegal becomes involved you problem becomes an issue.
Picking up from last week, in small claims court, the court clerk can help you with services of process. For a fee. They will send your opponent a certified letter of your complaint for $15. In some county’s you might even be able to get the county sheriff to make service of process or hand deliver your complaint for $80.
SIDE-NOTE: Service of Process is the methods used by the courts and lawyers to notify someone they are being sued. If you mess up notifying your opponent, your case will be terminated or to but it simply ‘thrown out on its ass’. I will get deeper into that in future posts.
Now there are ‘people’ who get to be sue happy in the small claims court system. You see technically you can file as many court cases as you like. Using the county of Los Angles small Claims rules and regulations. For example, let’s say you file up to 2 complaints asking for $2500 in each case during the same calendar year. Each case costing you $50 dollars in filing fees. However if you file a 3rd, 4th or 5th case during the same calendar year each case will cost you a whole lot more in filing fees. You see each additional case you file will cost you $100 per case. Additionally the amount you can ask for in damages reduces. In the first two cases you filed you asked for the $2500 and if you file a 3rd one you can only ask for $1500. Additionally you can only claim the standard $30 filing fee as part of your damages even though you paid $100 in a filing fee.
SIDE-NOTE: Damages is supposed to mean how much money it will take to repair or fix your problem (issue) and make you ‘whole’. Your Lawyer’s fees, court costs and filing fees do count as damages. Just remember if you file more than 2 small claims court cases in the same calendar year you cannot claim the more expensive filing fees you have been charged as damages. You can only claim the slandered filing fee
Again please forgive me for being late. I will try to make sure tech didn’t become a future issue. Next week’s article will touch on probate and court costs.
Once again I am not a Lawyer… yet. I am a Paralegal. Also lets not forget when a paralegal or a lawyer become involved your problem becomes an issue.
As promised I am now gonna talk about Small Claims court. Small claims court system is a court set up to deal with small problems/issues. For example you move and your landlord refuses to refund your security deposit. You can use the small claims court system to try to force your landlord to pay up. On the flip side your landlord can also file a counter-claim saying you trashed your apartment and you owe them money. If you have a neighbor that won’t keep their dog from pooping in your yard and won’t clean it up you can take them to small claims court to try and force your Irresponsible Owner to pay for a yard cleaning service. Another reason, you may have loaned Cousin Fred $2500 and hasn’t paid you back yet, you can take him to small claims court to try to force him to pay you back. There are hundreds of things you can take into small claims court.
There is a limit on the amount of damages you can ask in small claims court. On average the most you can ask for is $5,000. In some states and or cities you like Los Angles can ask for as much as $10,000. If you want more after then that your case gets moved over in to Civil Court where sky’s the limit.
This is a piece of friendly advice not legal advice. If you are asking for damages over $3000 strong>PLEASE GOD SEE A LAWYER!
SIDE-NOTE: A good rule of thumb the more you ask for in damages THE MORE YOU NEED A LA<wyer!!!
SIDE-NOTE: A counterclaim is when the person you are suing is telling the judge ‘Yeah but the complainant (you) caused me damage too and my damage is more important.
SIDE-NOTE: Damages is supposed to mean how much money it will take to repair or fix your problem (issue) and make you ‘whole’. Your Lawyer’s fees also count as damages.
Now we come to the actual filing fees. Filling fees can vary from city to city and by how much you are asking for in damages.
For example in the county of San Diego California you decide to file a small claims court case asking for $1500 this is going to cost you $30 in filing fee. The same case in Dallas Texas will cost you a $61. Understand though if you ask for more in damages it will mean a higher filing fee. Going back to San Diego if you ask for $5000 the cost jumps up to $50.
strong>SIDE-NOTE</wyer!!!: Service of Process is the methods used by the courts and lawyers to notify the person you are suing that there is now a law suit filed against them. If mess up notifying your opponent, your case ends. I will get deeper into that in future posts.
Next week I’ll finish with small claims, also I might do more opinion pieces
As before I am not a Lawyer I am a Paralegal. Also when a Lawyer or a Paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an issue.
WARNING! When you make your 1st, 2nd, 3rd or last filing fee payment make damn sure that check will clear. If it bounces, it is a $53 fine. Plus, neither Trustee nor your Lawyer is gonna be happy with you if it bounces. So if you run into trouble talk to your lawyer or with the bankruptcy court clerk. If you keep them in the loop, the clerk or your lawyer may be able to get a payment rescheduled. Just remember the entire fee must be paid in full 180 days after you started your Bankruptcy. Also remember, if you get into serious trouble and can’t make your payments, talk to your lawyer you may now qualify for the full fee waiver.
Now this is a piece of friendly not legal advice. If you decide to go down this road make damn sure you got every single debt you owe listed and turned over to your Lawyer. There have been cases of Clients who kept certain debts back from their lawyers because they thought could manage this debt on the sly. Unfortunately everything crashes after they receive their discharge and their lawyer is forced to go back into their bankruptcy filing and add this debt. This costs the client another $245 in court costs. Not to mention what their lawyer charges for getting the right forms filled out and convincing the Trustee that their client isn’t playing games.
Seriously amending or adding debt to a Bankruptcy Discharge is meant for unforeseeable financial emergencies. For example if you suddenly find yourself hit with several thousand in unexpected medical bills after receiving your discharge; you can get them added to your bankruptcy.
All right than moving on to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A Chap. 13, basically means, ‘ I messed up give some time to get my shit together.’ The cost of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy breaks down as follows, $235 filing fee plus a $46 miscellaneous administrative fee. Don’t worry you will have the same options to get the filing fee paid as is in a Chapter. 7. Except for the fee waiver, the waiver is for souls with absolutely no income.
The way a Chapter 13 works is once again you list all your debts and assets. Plus how much you can reasonably pay, not comfortably pay, reasonably pay. What happens is your payments are given to the Trustee and she/he will give your debtors a portion of that money. You also will have given the Trustee a workable plan to get your finances back to where they needs to be so you can handle your debt.
Side-Note: A reasonable payment is how much you can give the Trustee and still keep your family fed and housed. Plus enough for a dinner and a movie every now and then. A comfortable payment lets you go out partying every weekend.
More about the Costs of Captor 13 next week.