I am theoretically on vacation right now in Lake Ozark, Missouri. But here I am, writing a blog post, because I have this idea of something to write about. And that, dear friends, is what it is like to be a solo lawyer on vacation.
The first option is both the easiest and the most difficult. If you have the money to simple pay the judgment, you can stop the garnishment almost immediately by paying the full balance owed. In reality, 99% of people who have judgments against them are not in a position to pay the judgment immediately. If you can't pay the judgment immediately (and let's be honest—most people can't pay a large judgment with spare cash), there may be other options.
If debt collectors or other businesses are calling or texting your cell phone without your permission or consent they may be violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Each phone call could be worth up to $1,500 in damages. Some companies or collection agencies will call 5 times a day for weeks at a time. The damages can add up quickly. If you are getting texts, calls, or faxes from debt collectors or other businesses, call me immediately and do not delete your call history. I might be able to help you.
Elder law is not a well known practice area in most circles. The point of these posts will be to explain what elder law is and why it is important for aging people to know what their options and needs are when it comes to elder law representation. So let's get started. Elder law is a niche law practice focused on catering to the specific needs of the elderly. The most common needs that arise are Medicaid planning, general estate planning, family law issues, guardianship, and elder abuse and neglect.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's) are great retirement vehicles. But they pose a danger to families doing estate planning. The danger is simple—if you handle it the wrong way, the income tax on an IRA can very quickly reach the highest tax bracket and deplete nearly 40% of the value. An IRA paid into an estate can also be subject to a 50% penalty under certain circumstances. If you want your IRA to go to your family without being depleted by taxes and penalties, read on.
There is a certain resistance I have noticed to using a lawyer for real estate transactions. As far as I can tell, most transactions in Decatur, Illinois are done this way. Most people use the title company for both title review and escrow and never hire a lawyer to shepherd the deal.
Yes, you should have a lawyer.
You don't have to panic.
Student loans have become an iron anchor the size of the titanic around the ankles of many young (and middle-aged) people in the United States today. Many of these folks are being sued for private student loan debt. It’s a scary thought, being sued for tens of thousands of dollars for loans taken out when you were much younger and had no real way of knowing what the cost would actually be. I'm going to give those folks a little information about student loan lawsuits, the players, and how an attorney (like me) can help you.
The acronym "FDCPA" stands for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It's a federal law that governs how debt collectors deal with consumers. As a consumer lawyer, I sue debt collectors under the FDCPA. This post will give a little insight into how an FDCPA lawsuit happens. And for giggles, I'll write it in the narrative form.
If you have ever had the misfortune of dealing with a bad debt collector, you know that they can sometimes behave like they are untouchable. They go out of their way to make hard-working people who can’t pay their debts feel like dirt. They think they are untouchable because they rarely get challenged.
First of all, don't panic. You need to be thinking clearly because what you decide to do next will have a major impact on a number of things. The first thing you should do? Write down who served you, how you were served, and where it happened. If you were served personally, write down what the person looked like. If you found the papers on your porch, write down exactly where, how they were held together, and the address where they were left. If you found them in the mail, save the envelope.
The City of Buffalo and other local cities and towns have the ability to take your property if you are delinquent on taxes, user fees, sewer fees, or water bills. They do this through an expedited foreclosure process known as an “in rem” proceeding. The City of Buffalo will file one massive lawsuit and put the owners of each property on notice.
Can a debt collector call my cell phone?
Only if you let them. If they don't have permission, they might be violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Not many people know what the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is, what it says, or why it matters if they are getting called by debt collectors. Below is a short list of questions and answers regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It is by no means exhaustive, but should provide a decent starting point for people with questions.
For people who have never filed for bankruptcy (and for lawyers that don't practice bankruptcy law), the actual mechanics of filing for bankruptcy are unknown. The goal of this post is to answer some common questions about filing from bankruptcy and to give you an idea of what a typical bankruptcy proceeding under Chapter 7 entails. We'll touch on Chapter 13 later.
There are quite a few hoops that you will have to jump through in order to get your child services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Most school districts are very accomodating and will help you with the process. Others are hell-bent on saving money and try to deny anything that will cost them extra at every possible turn. In my opinion, the worst districts are the ones that seem like they are going to be accomodating but never follow through with the actual IEP. Knowing how the process works is a key step in knowing whether you're getting where you need to be. What follows is a roadmap of the process.
Digital Estate Planning: A Brave New World
The world has changed significantly in the last ten years, but the majority of estate planning lawyers haven't changed along with it. Traditional estate planning deals with tangible things—your house, car, money, and other physical items that exist in the real world. Traditional estate planning typically does not take into account your digital assets—purchased music and movies, digital photos, rights to access social media accounts, and other non-physical things that still might have some value today. Read on to learn how to plan for the transfer of your digital assets after you pass away.