So, as you may have heard, Equifax (one of the three credit monitoring companies that we never agreed to let collect our data but have made a small fortune aggregating it and gatekeeping it), suffered a massive data breach in 2017. The breach effected 147 million people. The United States has a population of 325 million (248 million of which are adults), so a little bit under half of all people and well over half of the adult population.
I've been handling car accident cases for a long time and one way I've seen insurance adjusters make things difficult for my clients is by accepting fault for an accident out of pure, unadulterated laziness. In a lot of cases, while working out property damage claims, the adjusters will come to some consensus where one person is 15% liable and the other is 85% liable. The adjusters will pay the property claims based on their fantastical liability attribution.
They shouldn’t. Those numbers are nonsense.
Believe it or not, I don’t get asked about pet estate planning very often. But you know what, it’s a damn good question to ask.
Ok, so first and foremost, pets are considered property in most (if not all) states in the union. That means that when you die, they get handled in roughly the same manner as your sofa. They aren’t treated like children, there is no guardian, and goddammit the court does not care about what happens to ol’ Fuzzybutt when you pass away.
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.