Category Archives: Legal

Real Estate Attorneys

Real estate transactions may call for a real estate attorney. But, what should you look for when choosing someone that will represent your best interests and needs to the fullest? Some states mandate the use of a lawyer in a real estate transaction. Such states include Georgia, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

Not all real estate issues are the same so when narrowing down the search for a real estate attorney pay attention to the specialized focus of a practice. For instance, one attorney may specialize in residential where another one may work exclusively with commercial or landlord-tenants. It’s also a good idea to distinguish what type of lawyer you need. An attorney who focuses on contracts and transactions is known as a transactional lawyer. Whereas an attorney who specializes in handling lawsuits is referred to as a litigator. Just because a real estate attorney may advertise that they specialize in real estate law, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best person for the job. Just as you would interview a real estate professional before listing your home, it’s important to vet carefully an attorney before hiring them.

Here are the top 5 questions to ask when interviewing real estate attorneys:

How long have you been practicing? If the transaction is complicated, then you will most likely want someone who has a great deal of experience.

What experience do you have in the real estate law field? The answers to this will vary. But ideally, you want to know where they graduated from, how many similar cases they have handled, etc.

How will my case be handled? The worst thing to do is enlist the services of an attorney only to find out that they aren’t the ones actually working on your case. Watch for other individuals that may help in the case that may not be licensed. Alternatively, a paralegal or junior attorney could also be assigned to the case.

What costs are involved? Fee schedules will vary from one lawyer to the next and it’s best to know a ballpark figure going in rather than being surprised with a massive bill later on. On average, an hourly fee may range anywhere between $150 to $500+. Some firms may also require a retainer up front before taking the case. This is not that uncommon.

Can you provide me with references? In the interview process, it never hurts to ask for references to see what others thought of the lawyer.

Doing your homework on an attorney before hiring can save you headaches in the end as a good lawyer is worth their weight in gold. Aside from a personal interview, you can also turn to online resources to find additional information on attorneys. You can find attorney’s listed under the state bar association and there are also a wide variety of lawyer referral services. A Google search will also turn up some results as well. Researching online will involve checking out the attorney websites to learn more about their credentials and specialties.

When conducting your search for a real estate attorney make sure that there is no conflict of interest with them representing you. Once you have narrowed down the field to just one attorney, then a retainer agreement or engagement letter is typically provided to you which will outline in writing what to expect regarding fees and services to be provided. It’s important that you fully understand the terms of this document as ‘lawyer language’ can be confusing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them as the only dumb question is one not asked.

Real estate can be high stakes, so it’s important to find a trusted professional to assist your needs the best.

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Important Services Offered By Your Local Real Estate Attorney

Whether you are interested in residential or commercial property, there may come a time when you need legal representation. Of course, a real estate attorney will represent you in a land or housing claims; however, the experience of this professional is useful in more than just property disputes.

Divorce Settlements

The end of any marriage arrangement hurts. Sometimes there is no clear-cut answer as to what should happen with any home, land, or business properties that are registered under both parties. A lawyer can help sort out these ownership claims.

Tenant Disputes

If you are renting, a real estate attorney can determine if the lease is in accordance with the law. These lawyers have studied the rights and duties of both the tenants and the landlord. With their assistance, you can better determine if you have a right to sue because of a breach of contract. Before signing any paperwork, seeking counsel from a professional can also help you understand all of your responsibilities as a renter and the overall legality of the lease.

Consultants

Frequently, lawyers specializing in property law work as consultants. While they might not work for individuals purchasing just one home, they do work with investment groups. These professionals aid in the creation and implementation of final contracts. Working with an investment group that utilizes real estate attorneys will result in a smoother, easier transaction.

Property Disputes

One of the main reasons someone would hire a real estate attorney is to help resolve a property dispute. They can help arrange a settlement or take the claim to court. During a trail, they will use evidence to build an argument that proves their client is the owner. Additionally, this lawyer may also work as the agent, helping to sell the disputed property. This is typically done at the request of the courts. The courts then distribute the profit earned from the sale. Often, the money is redirected to parties that were involved in the initial trial.

Broker

Some real estate attorneys also have broker certifications. Requirements vary between states, but typically, brokers have to display extensive knowledge of the transaction process as well as market trends. They should be strong negotiators who are up-to-date on pricing information in your region. Brokers should also be very familiar with proper contract proceedings. Finding a real estate attorney with a brokerage license will help streamline the transaction process and reduce costs.

The services of a real estate attorney are not limited to the courtroom. In fact, seeking counsel before finalizing the deal can help avoid future problems.

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Tips For Hiring a Private Investigator

You never know when you will require the services of a Private Investigator. In this article we will provide you with 5 tips for hiring the very best. The ‘P.I.’ as they are sometimes referred to offer multi-functional support for a variety of problems and situations. When most people think about private investigators they think about the many characters they have come to love on television like Jim Rockford from the old series “Rockford Files”, and Tom Selleck in the series, “Magnum P.I.”

Of course there is more to being a private eye than what Hollywood has presented. It takes skilled professionals to perform the job of private detectives. It takes hours of training and an abundance of experience to deliver upon the needs of an investigator in today’s high tech world. The investigator is typically associated with following around a spouse to see if their cheating in a marriage but that is only a small glimpse of the private investigators capabilities. There are so many missions a private investigator can perform so it is vital that you know how to hire one so that you can choose the right one for your situation. Here are those 5 tips for hiring a private investigator:

#1. Make sure the private investigator you are hiring is licensed. Licensing is required in most states (with the exceptions of Colorado, Minnesota and Idaho to name a few) this requirement is for a good reason, to protect the consumer. This stops people from waking up one day and saying” Today, I think I will be a Private Investigator” and jumping into a critical case and jeopardizing the results. Most people will only need a private investigator once in their life and this one time will be the most important.

In the state of Florida for example, one must be an intern for two years, that is two solid years of 40-hour workweeks. That equals about 4000 hours of supervised training. This intern/training program is under the direct supervision of a C licensed private investigator. Thus insuring that a competent, trained private investigator is taking on your case.

#2. Make sure the private investigator agency has insurance or they are bonded. The agency requirements vary from state to state but regardless of the state you are in they usually require their investigation agencies to be insured. A properly insured or bonded agency will insure and protect you in case anything happens. Whether it be negligence, errors or omissions or even damage to one’s property, a properly insured or bonded agency will protect both you the consumer from lawsuits and the agency from liability.

#3. Ask about the agencies/investigators experienced on your type of case. A lot of Private Investigation Agencies specialize in a certain aspect of investigations, while others specialize in many different segments of private Investigations. Make sure the PI you are hiring is well versed the type of investigation you require. Having your case become “Training Day” is likely to have aspects of the case overlooked.

#4. Understand the charges and payment arrangements before you hire the investigator. A private investigation agency should be able to give you a close estimate to the charges that will be involved with your case. Just as with a painter giving an estimate on your house a PI firm should give you an estimate on your case. The painter already knows how long it will take him to paint the house. How does he know? He knows because he has done it before. The same holds true with private investigations. They know that the average spouse cheating case takes about xx days and that a background check takes xx hours to complete.

Once you understand the charges involved you can understand the billing involved. The billing varies greatly with every investigation agency from an upfront retainer, to a fixed hourly rate, to progressive payments. Knowing the payment arrangement upfront will help you determine if this is the right private investigator for your budget or not.

#5. What equipment does the PI have? In today’s ever-changing high tech world, having the latest technology can mean the difference in winning and losing a case. The technology that the private investigator and/or private investigation agency has at there disposal can vary greatly. Are they a low tech, old-fashioned PI that relies on his handy dandy notebook and “street smarts”? Or, is the investigator you are going to hire equipped with the latest laptops with mobile broadband, satellite photography software, and members of large Internet databases? Having the right equipment to do the job is important when your case is on the line.

As you can see there are many, many tips for hiring a PI. The important thing is finding the one that can satisfy your expectations. With so many to choose from it is vital that you follow these tips and put in the research time required to make a comfortable choice. In today’s world the private investigator wears many hats. They can assist attorneys with case investigation, companies with security/information gathering and the individual with an assortment of possible problems. In addition, the investigator can help insurance companies as well. If you have a situation that calls for the services of a private investigator do not hesitate to seek out a professional that will fulfill your expectations.

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Five Questions to Ask a Prospective Divorce Lawyer

It is nobody’s wish to end up facing a divorce case after walking down the aisle, but the truth of the matter is that couples break up due to a number of issues, such as infidelity and financial constraints. If you have decided to end your marriage through the legal process, it is recommended that you hire a divorce lawyer to represent you in court.

However, to get the best outcome at the end of the case, you need to hire the best attorney. Here are some of the crucial questions that you should ask a prospective lawyer before signing the agreement.

1. How long have you been practicing family law?

This is the first question that you should consider asking at the start of your conversation to steer the whole process in the right direction. You should hire a professional who has vast hands-on experience in this facet of law. An experienced attorney has an in-depth understanding of the legal process.

2. What is your personal take on mediation, settlement, and negotiation?

Divorce cases often tend to take months and even years to resolve if neither party is willing to arrive at an agreement. To be on the safe side, it is wise to choose a lawyer who is committed to finding ways of resolving the problems amicably, not escalating the disagreement. That is, your selected law expert should be willing to try all avenues of resolving the divorce case to save you time, money, and emotional turmoil.

3. Who will be working on my case and how will you be involved?

A renowned divorce lawyer usually has a team that helps him or her gather all the necessary information and come up with an airtight defense strategy. Knowing who will be working on the case and how you will be involved will help you to get a clear perspective of what to expect as the case progresses.

4. How does your retainer work?

A retainer is an expected fee to pay to in advance for the legal services to be rendered. Hence, it is important to know the specific amount of money that you will pay to make the necessary financial plans. In addition, you should request information about what will happen to the unused portion of the retainer after you reconcile or if you decide to change attorneys. All this information will help you to project the amount of money that you will spend on the case.

5. How long will the case take to resolve?

Do not be surprised if your lawyer does not give you a straight answer for this question. This is because the amount of time and the cost is dependent on the level of cooperation of each party and the set legal structures. More often than not, cases that are linked to property or complicated business issues take longer than the less complicated cases.

Finally, you need to know if your divorce lawyer is legally accredited and a member of a professional body. Evaluate your answers to help you determine if this is the right attorney for you.

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Legalities That Lie In Wait For Accident Victims Today

When you have been hurt through no fault of your own, you may quickly come to realize the unfairness that comes by trying to recoup your losses. Systems are in place to protect employers or parties that cause accidents. However, at first glance it would appear that few of the same courtesies exist to help victims who are left to focus on their recoveries and the rebuilding of their lives. Trying to navigate the loopholes found in these protective systems could also be overwhelming when you are in pain and suffering from your injuries. Rather than go it alone, you might find it better to retain the help of a legal advocate.

An advocate who practices in this area of law may know the mandates in place that pertain to your particular matter. For example, you may have a certain time frame by which you must take action in court. The time frame could expire if you choose to represent or handle the matter by yourself.

You also might miss out on opportunities to file claims or actions against the person or entity who caused the accident to happen. You may have to file certain paperwork or appear in certain courts to start the process of recouping your monetary and judicial losses. Once the opportunities pass, you may never be able to have access to them again.

By partnering with an attorney, however, you could experience the relief that comes from entrusting the matter to someone who is trained and has practiced in this aspect of law. Your representative may know how and when to file paperwork to help you regain a steady source of income and to have your medical expenses covered by the responsible party. Your counsel likewise could decide to build a case to take to trial if the settlement offer is not in your favor.

Getting More Details

Forming a decision may require that you get as much information before you actually schedule a consultation with an attorney. You could do much of your research on the legal practitioner’s website. The site exists to provide you with content that you need about your case.

You also could decide to chat with a representative from the firm itself. The chat option is available throughout the day for people’s convenience. The person chatting with you might have details that you would like to have before you meet with counsel.

The consultation itself likewise typically is provided at no cost to you. This initial session gives you the chance to ask questions, find out if your injury or illness qualifies for such action, and whether or not you would be a good fit with the person who has offered to represent you. You may come away from the meeting with more confidence about your future.

An injury or illness caused by no fault of yours might alter your life and cause you to have no way to earn an income. You likewise might incur expenses beyond your budget. A personal injury lawyer may be someone with whom you would wish to speak to find out your legal avenues for justice.

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Patent an Invention to Best Protect Your Intellectual Property

Anyone who wants to secure exclusive rights to sell, produce, and use an invention that he created for a certain number of years must first secure a patent. A patent is a very specific type of document that contains the complete details of the terms and conditions set by the government so that the inventor can take full possession of the invention. The contents of the document also offer the holder of the patent the right to be compensated should other people or organizations infringe on the patent in any way. In this case, the patent holder has the right to pursue legal action against the offender. The terms of possession are also known collectively as the inventor’s “intellectual property rights.”

Applying for a patent is beneficial in many ways. First, you have a powerful instrument to defend and safeguard your ideas and creations. Second, you hold a legal document that clearly states companies and individuals need to pay a certain amount if they choose to use your original ideas. Here are a few helpful guidelines on how you can secure a patent for your inventions.

What you need to prepare for

Before you take the first step towards securing a patent, you must realize that the process takes time, effort, and a considerable amount of resources. Based on existing regulations, the acquisition of a basic patent takes an average of six years. You must be prepared to spend a considerable amount of money on attorney fees. Moreover, the patent industry deals with products differently. For instance, requirements and agreements for telecommunications and biotech products are different from consumer devices.

What you must decide on

It is also important to study the product or idea that you have created. You have to determine what kind of patent is most appropriate. Perhaps a trademark is the better option instead of a full patent. If you eventually decide to patent your idea, you can also develop and file it yourself. Experts warn those who decide on taking this road that it requires around 150 hours spread in a course of a few months in order to get started. The work continues for many years thereafter. Someone who has the patience and the attention to detail to come up the necessary paperwork can produce a DIY patent. Do you have these qualities? If so, you need to prepare yourself for the work involved.

What you need to know

You also need to know whether your invention qualifies for a patent. Is your idea or creation eligible for patent protection? This entails having an understanding of the patent laws in your country. There are specifications under existing laws that you must learn. In addition, do a patent search so that you can be sure that your invention is singular, unique, and different from anyone else’s offering. If someone already has a patent for a similar idea, and there are insufficient differences so that your invention can be considered original, they your application will definitely be turned down.

Do you have an idea or product that can become an asset and a possible source of income for you? Learn about patent laws and the process of securing one, and you are on your way to turning your brilliant concept into money.

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Family Law Services

Practice-AreasFamily law tends to be quite complex. In addition to that, the cases related to it tend to be extremely emotional. In case you are financially unable to get a good attorney for such a case, consider getting pro bono or free representation or at least an attorney who charges a smaller fee. Family law services are a must in case you are dealing with such a matter.

There are some special types of law organizations that have proven that they can provide quality, experience and effectiveness when it comes to representation of members of families in difficult cases. Moreover, some of them work for a symbolic fee. Therefore, limited financial means do not equal lack of representation options.

Legal organizations are created in order to provide legal assistance in cases related to families that can be quite diverse. These might include child custody, divorce and child visitations. The typical legal organizations surely provide these fundamental types of representations at a fee that is based on the income of the client.

A very common type of organization that provides legal aid is the not-for-profit agency. It provides a very wide range of legal services for cases of all types. Such a legal aid agency does not take a fee or takes a very small fee based on the income. Another type of program for legal aid is the one offered in some law schools.

Almost all such schools located in the US offer clinical programs that help economically disadvantaged clients get the legal services they need. This way such citizens get the legal representation they deserve in court. A not-for-profit organization provides a lawyer for you to represent you during your case.

In the case of a law school legal clinic, you are provided with a last year student to represent you instead of a real attorney. The student chosen for this task is qualified to provide legal assistance of the required type. A licensed attorney supervises the work of the student on the case.

The benefits of taking part in one of those not-for-profit programs are that you get represented and that you have a bigger chance to win the case. You need not deal with the court issues on your own and wonder whether the decisions you are making are right. Family law services can be obtained even for free and are always the best option when it comes to solving any family matter in court.

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