Thursday, 20 September 2018

Why Use a Lawyer?

Why Use a Lawyer

You may have just been in an accident. It may have been a dog bite, car accident or motorcycle accident. Many people wonder if using a lawyer is necessary to get the compensation they use. Here are a few ways decide if hiring representation is the best option for you.

Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is where you measure the cost of hiring a lawyer versus the possible benefit of having one. An example of this is if you suffer a dog bite. The dog owner’s insurance company is willing to offer you $5,000, but your hospital bills and physical therapy are going to cost over $10,000. The lawyer you are considering charges $1,000 retainer and $50 per hour. He/she expects that it is going to take eight hours of work on your case. That brings your total to $1,4000. This means that you could gain $5,000 by using a lawyer with a cost of $1,400. In this instance, it is a good idea to hire a professional for your dog bite case.

How Complicated Is the Law?

Legal practitioners spend their whole careers studying the law. Probably you, like most other non-lawyers, spend almost no time studying the law. If you are involved in a complicated dispute such as a divorce, a difficult loss of a loved one or at risk of losing your license for a car or other accident, you should hire representation. They will know the best course to take to offer you the best chance of success.

There are many other reasons to consider hiring a lawyer. If you are in Salt Lake City and in need of representation, there are many great options that will get you the results you deserve. Don’t miss the opportunity for you to get the compensation you’re due. You don’t have to fight alone when you’ve suffered a loss.

HELPFUL TIPS FOR DRIVING SAFELY ON RURAL ROADS

From the outskirts of Salt Lake City to other, more remote parts of the United States, living in a rural area comes with its own unique set of perks. Familial privacy, spacious properties and a more intimate connection with Mother Nature generally atop the list of benefits for those who forego the convenience of living in a city for the family farm, ranch, cabin or distant home.

That said, while an escape from the hustle and bustle of an urban environment in Salt Lake City or elsewhere might be seen as a definite positive, it can be hard for new residents to adjust to the poor road conditions which often frequent rural settings, thus causing many an auto accident.

As is the case with just about anything in life, practice make perfect. In the meantime, however, if you’re still adjusting, there are a few things you can do to keep both you and your family safe from uneven rural roads.

First and foremost, it’s important that a motorist’s eyes always be on the lookout for danger, so as to avoid the need for a personal injury lawyer later on. Blind turns, sudden dips, potholes, muddy conditions and nearby farm equipment should always raise the level of caution a driver uses while out and about.

Furthermore, assume the worst will take place and prepare accordingly. This isn’t limited to an auto accident, mind you. Tire punctures, engine damages and even getting lost in the middle of nowhere happen more often than you’d think. Unfortunately, a cell phone or helpful lawyer won’t always be enough to get you out of trouble.

Just in case, always have extra gas, a spare tire, first-aid kit and spending money on-hand. Though not every auto accident is avoidable and a lawyer might very well be needed to help set the record straight, making a conscious effort to drive safely while on rural roads just outside of Salt Lake City—or any other removed location, for that matter—can do a wealth of good for rural motorists.

Free Initial Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured and need legal help, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

West Jordan Utah Adoption Lawyer

West Jordan Utah Adoption Lawyer

Whether you’re a step parent already helping to raise a child or a couple hoping for a new family member, the Utah adoption attorneys can help. We take the time to get to know each client and their situation personally, and will work with determination to get your adoption approved.

In Utah, adoption cases go through family court, which also handles divorces, custody issues and more. In most situations, the case begins with filing the correct documents. Then, a hearing is scheduled and a judge asks the adopting parent questions. Next, adoption documents are signed by the new parents and the judge signs an adoption decree. Finally, a new birth certificate will be issued by the Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

EXPERIENCED UTAH ADOPTION ATTORNEYS

Lawyers have extensive experience helping families adopt and arrange custody agreements for all kinds of married couples, including same-sex spouses and people in traditional marriages. We can help you navigate the ins and outs of Utah’s complicated adoption system, and we get to know you personally to help the process go smoothly for you and your family.

CHILD ADOPTION OPTIONS IN UTAH

There are numerous situations that lead couples to seek adoption in Utah, and the reasons range from wanting to share insurance benefits with the whole family to wanting to raise a child of your own when you and your partner are unable to conceive. Each kind of adoption comes with special rules and procedures, so we urge you to contact us at the beginning of the process. That way, you can avoid the missteps and confusion that can make adoption so difficult for some people. The types of adoption are:

  • Step-parent adoption: In this situation, notice must be given to the noncustodial parent and he or she must consent, as must the married partner of the adopting parent and, in some cases, a legal guardian. Furthermore, the child must have been living with the adoptive parent for at least one year and must be at least 10 years younger than the adoptive parent. If the adoptee is 12 years old or older, he or she must consent to the adoption.
  • Infant adoption: In these cases, the biological parents are entitled to receive counseling sessions and must be made aware of this right before adoption can occur. Often, these adoptions go through child placement agencies. The biological mother and, if he can be located, the biological father have to sign papers relinquishing parental rights.
  • Out of state adoption: This is for a child 6 months old or younger, and it can occur only after the birth mother has properly notified the biological father. She must not have lived in Utah for at least 90 days.
  • Foster child adoption: For either adoption or placement of a child in state custody, the new parents must be fingerprinted by the FBI and undergo a background check by the Dept. of Human Services for any history of child abuse or neglect, unless the child is being placed with a noncustodial parent or relative. For an adoption decree to go through, the court must find that adoption is in the best interest of the child.
  • Immigrant adoption: Also known as alien child adoption, this is when a family wants to adopt a child aged 16 or younger who is not a naturalized citizen. The adoptive parents must have permanent residence in the United States and must provide evidence from the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service approving the process. The process for birth parents who live here but are not legal residents requires working with the FBI as well.
  • International adoption: In these cases, a document from the foreign country is treated as if it were an adoption decree rendered by the Utah courts. The adoptive parents must register with the state and file for a new birth certificate.
  • Adult adoption: This occurs for people who are 65 years of age or older or people aged 18 or older who have mental or physical impairments.

Free Initial Consultation with an Adoption Lawyer in West Jordan Utah

We love adoption cases. They are our favorite. When you need help with an adoption, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Resolve Your Divorce with a Level Head

Resolve Your Divorce with a Level Head

Even if you and your spouse both agree to dissolve your marriage and move on, divorce is never an easy process. There are many emotions and tough issues to resolve, and it can be difficult to keep a clear head when finalizing the terms of your divorce.

During this time, it’s extremely important to approach these issues rationally and to avoid getting overly emotional. After all, a great deal of your future rests on the decisions you make when negotiating with your former partner on matters involving child custody, child support and the division of marital property.

The following are several steps you should take to prepare for divorce in Salt Lake City:

  • Gather financial records: Before a divorce, get organized and prepare all of your financial documents and store them in a safe place — such as a friend or relative’s house.
  • Start saving money: Divorce can be expensive, especially if you need to engage in litigation. Start saving moving as early as possible to make sure you can cover the fees and costs involved.
  • Open new checking/savings accounts: You likely have joint accounts with your spouse, so you should open new checking and savings accounts as a place to store and save your own money.
  • Change your beneficiaries: If your spouse is listed as a beneficiary in your will or life insurance policy, you might want to name someone else.
  • Inventory marital and non-marital property: The division of marital assets can be a difficult process, and it helps to be organized. Make sure you know which key assets you share versus which ones you own separately.

Second Time Around: Four Tips for Success

Love makes the world go ‘round. Even after a lengthy or high-conflict divorce experience, many of my clients remarry. At any age, the opportunity to build a life with a person with whom you share abiding love and companionship is a blessing.

If considering a second marriage, or if you just started into your first relationship since divorce, take a look at these tips for making a second marriage or relationship last:

  • Once bitten, twice shy: You have been divorced — think about why. While you should not let ghosts of the past derail a future relationship, try to gain perspective on why a first marriage failed, and what you might do to avoid a split the second time around.
  • Prenuptial contracts: Anyone who goes through divorce is not likely to be squeamish about discussing assets and financial responsibility. Our firm regularly drafts clear, concise prenuptial agreements for clients entering a second marriage. Hard-earned assets or property are clearly identified as separate, so that they will remain free from equitable distribution, should the second marriage fail.
  • Stepparents: The role of a new spouse is complicated. If an earlier divorce was traumatic, there are a few clues as to how children will handle a second marriage. Maintaining a stable household, and keeping boundaries clear and lines of communication open, are respectful ways to address the anxiety of children in a new parenting situation.
  • Location, location, location: Second marriages often involve one partner moving into the home of another. While this makes sound economic sense, a residence owned by one spouse will always be their house. Talk to your partner about ways to keep separately- owned property, while finding a new residence both can call home.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Corporate Attorney

Corporate Attorney

Oftentimes people wonder whether they need a corporate attorney to help them with a case.  If you have a corporation, limited liability company (“LLC”), partnership, or other entity, you may need corporate counsel.

Corporation

A corporation is a legal entity apart from its owners (shareholders).  Corporations can establish credit, acquire assets, and enter into contractual engagements. Potential liabilities are incurred by the corporation, not by the owners themselves.  This means that the personal assets of officers and shareholders are usually safe from the corporation’s creditors.  However, if shareholders fail to follow corporate formalities, a court may “pierce the corporate veil”, allowing creditors access to personal property. Owners of corporations don’t pay tax on the corporation’s earnings unless they actually receive the money as dividends or as compensation for services (e.g. salaries and bonuses).  The corporation itself pays taxes on all profits left in the business.

Benefits of a Corporation

  • First and foremost, there is limited liability for shareholders.  This perk attracts investors, as an investor’s liability and exposure is limited to the amount of his or her investment – less risk! This makes raising capital for your corporation less challenging.
  • Forming a corporation also increases the credibility of your company, and provides an opportunity for prestige among business and corporate officers.
  • Finally, corporations have several tax, compensation and wage benefits.

Detriments of a Corporation

  • You have to observe corporate formalities.  These are the basic operating rules that are necessary to ensure that the corporation maintains its status as a separate legal entity.  Some of the formalities include appointing officer positions, electing a board of directors, proper documentation of the corporation’s activity, annual meetings, etc.
  • Reaching corporate status is not a monumental task, but one must be sure to ensure the process is done correctly.
  • Another downfall is that a corporation goes through double taxation.  A traditional corporation must pay tax on all corporate income, followed by individual shareholders paying income taxagain on whatever distributions they received. One way to avoid the double taxation dilemma is to establish the corporation as a “pass through” entity.  This way all corporate profits pass through to the individual shareholders, so they alone will be responsible for the tax burden.  When a corporation elects to be treated this way, it becomes known as an “S” Corporation, which is discussed below.

Nonprofit Corporation

Nonprofit organizations are formed in the state where they intend to do business. Unlike a standard corporation, nonprofits do not conduct activities for the financial gain of shareholders.  Preventing the distribution of profits to members/shareholders is what distinguishes the nonprofit from a commercial enterprise; yet nonprofits still provide asset protection and limited liability.  A nonprofit corporation is not forbidden from making a profit — but if it does, that profit can only be used to further the overarching goal or mission of the organization.  Nonprofits can also trade at a profit and accept, hold and disburse money; but all profit and things of value are to be used to further the nonprofit’s quest.   Nonprofits are organized in many different ways: charities, service organizations, trusts, hospitals, universities, foundations, endowments and cooperatives can all operate as nonprofits.  Nonprofits can have “members”, although many do not.  They may have employees, and can compensate their directors reasonably, but only if compensation is documented ever-so-carefully.

Benefits of a Nonprofit

  • Nonprofit corporations generally have tax exempt status.
  • Once the recognized nonprofit entity has been formed at the state level, the nonprofit corporation can seek tax exempt status by applying to the IRS.  The IRS, after reviewing the application to ensure the purpose of the organization meets certain conditions, will issue an authorization letter granting it tax exempt status for income tax purposes. The exemption does not apply to other federal taxes such as employment taxes. Charitable contributions made to nonprofit organizations by individuals and corporations are also deductible.

Detriments of a Nonprofit

  • The reliability by which a non-profit organization can hire and retain staff, sustain facilities, or create programs is an ongoing problem.  Because nonprofits generally rely on external funding, they do not have much say over their precious sources of revenue.  This leads to reliance on government funds such as grants, contracts, vouchers or tax credits to support their operations.

Free Consultation with a Utah Corporate Attorney

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

5 Reasons to Get a Prenuptial Agreement

5 Reasons to Get a Prenuptial Agreement

Many people see prenuptial agreements as a poor way to start a marriage because they seem to anticipate its failure. But with nearly 50,000 New York marriages ending in divorce in 2009, getting married without a prenuptial agreement—also called an antenuptial agreement or prenup—can be a risky proposition.

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract a couple enters prior to marriage that establishes in advance what will occur in case of divorce. It may make provisions for property division, clearly establish marital and personal property, set forth maintenance or alimony payments from one spouse to the other, and plan out the care and custody of minor children.

Prenuptial agreements can be especially useful in marriages where the spouses have unequal economic capabilities. In essence, such agreements limit the risk of loss to the economically advantaged spouse while still providing a guaranteed settlement to the economically disadvantaged spouse. But regardless, a prenuptial agreement can simplify the process of divorce and limit the necessity of settlement negotiations or litigation.

In fact, a prenuptial agreement can even help foster and preserve a happy marriage. While people regard a prenup primarily as divorce planning, it can also contain provisions for during the course of the marriage. A good prenuptial agreement can establish or clarify the rights and duties of each spouse during the duration of the marriage. It can help avoid common sources of marital discord—such as financial disagreements or disputes over child rearing—by resolving them before they occur.

Why Staying Together Is Not Always in a Family’s Best Interests

Rather than face their fears, many unhappily married people justify staying trapped in a dysfunctional situation. They let fears about money, the children, and changing the family dynamic paralyze them into inaction.

But there can also be costs to staying put, such as the following:

  • Marital bickering and fighting creates a tense atmosphere affecting the whole household
  • A miserable marital relationship erodes self-esteem and causes depression
  • A stressful marriage can hurt your health, leading to hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes
  • Poor work performance

Staying in a bad marriage can have a negative impact on the children[CK1], especially those in their formative years. Children from unhappy homes can exhibit behavioral issues, including the following:

  • Insecurity
  • Social withdrawal
  • Poor grades
  • Acting out in anger

Filing for divorce and embarking on a new life will seem less scary if you develop an action plan and then take steps to ensure a smooth transition. Consider options that help you become self-sufficient, such as getting a job, arranging for childcare, and finding affordable housing.

Build a support network of family, friends, and counselors. Also, look for an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and fight for your interests, such as equitable child custody, child support, and property distribution.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Monday, 17 September 2018

Navigating a Gray Divorce

Navigating a Gray Divorce

Our law firm represents people going through divorce on their way to a new future. Some have been married four years or less, and some forty years or more. In the United States, while the average divorce rate is leveling off, the divorce rate for couples over 50 doubled between 1990 and 2009.

Consider these facts from a National Center for Family and Marriage Research study focused on divorce at midlife:

  • In 2009, one in four divorces involved persons 50 years of age or older.
  • Marital biography affects the divorce rate. Remarriages are more likely to end in divorce.
  • Increased life expectancy may fuel a desire for greater satisfaction in intimate and personal relationships.

While issues of divorce are similar for all couples, the impact of divorce at 55 is different than it is at 25. If you are over age 50, it is critical that your divorce lawyer achieves financial results that enable you to maintain your quality of life through retirement.

Here are tips for navigating later-life divorce:

  • Retaining wealth is key. Our skilled mediation lawyers help you and your spouse make equitable agreements that will help you keep money in your pockets. Alternatively, when we represent you individually, we have the resources and tenacity to discover, and properly value, complicated or hidden assets, in order to ensure your fair share.
  • Later in life, children are older, and child custody and child support disputes may be over — but different child-related issues arise. We craft fair and clear prenuptial agreements, to ensure the proper transfer of property or possessions to your children, in the case of remarriage.

Important Things to Know About Residency Requirements for Divorce

When you begin the divorce process, you must understand the rules about where you can file your papers and which court has jurisdiction over your case. These are known as residency requirements.

Before you can file, you must satisfy the basic legal requirement that either you or your spouse have a residence or domicile in that state. The concept of “residence” is simple — it just means that either you or your spouse have been present in the state for a certain amount of time.

“Domicile” is slightly more complicated. More than just being present in the state for a certain period, either you or your spouse must have a permanent, single home in the filing state. To establish domicile, courts consider factors such as where an individual works, votes, banks, has a registered vehicle and where his or her children attend school (if applicable)

Even if you are not able to establish domicile, there is a good chance you will still be able to file for divorce if you meet the residency requirements of the state.

Filing Divorce Paperwork

When you are ready to file, you will submit the required paperwork in the state where either one or both of you can establish residency or domicile. If you can establish residency or domicile in multiple states, then you have the option to file for divorce in any of them. In this scenario, it is important to consult with a divorce lawyer about where you are most likely to get a favorable outcome.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Leave a Legacy

Leave a Legacy

A will is no longer just for distributing your worldly possessions. With so much of life being handled online, it’s likely you have digital assets that need to be addressed in your estate plan. From your Paypal account to your music library, this digital footprint can live on for years, even decades after you pass away.

A digital will may be just what you need to protect your privacy rights and ensure your property is properly transferred. It doesn’t need to be a legal document like your official will. A digital will can simply be a list of all your digital property, where it’s stored, and the user name and email address associated with each account. Here’s what you need to know when planning for your digital estate.

Creating a Digital Will

A digital will can be an informal document that allows family members to close down your online accounts. If you want to transfer rights to things such as a domain name or a website, it’s advisable to account for these in your formal will. Here are a few steps to create your digital plan:

  1. Inventory Your Digital Footprint

Create a list of all the sites where you have accounts, including social media, photo storage, email accounts, online brokerage accounts, blogs and accounts that automatically withdraw from your bank account.

  1. Draft Detailed Instructions

Let people know what you’d like to see happen with each account. For example, you may not want your Facebook page memorialized, but you do want your photo albums shared with loved ones.

  1. Select a Digital Executor

Select a mature person to carry out your wishes after you’re gone. Let the executor know about your digital will in advance. Let them know how they will find the document when the time comes. Be sure to name your executor in your digital will. You should also name an alternate executor in case your executor is unable to serve.

  1. Store Your Document in a Safe Place

A will is only useful if it can be found. If you store the will on a password-protected device, make sure for that device can be accessed when you die. Consider printing and signing your digital will, and storing it with your other important personal documents.

Digital Assets in Your Formal Will

You’ve spent years creating a digital archive filled with your favorite photos. You also have an extensive music collection you’d like to pass on to friends. The law regarding the transferability of your digital assets are vary widely.

For example, your iTunes purchases are only for a license to use the content, whether it’s books, music, or video. You don’t own the media, even if it’s downloaded. The Apple license is non-transferable so it can’t be left in your will. To avoid this problem, a few sites have policies, such as Apple Home Sharing, which allows people in the same household to access a common library.

All property that you own can be distributed in your formal will or trust. You’ll need to check with each site or service provider to understand if your purchase is an ownership right that is transferable or simply a license to use the product.

Using Legacy Policies

Many popular websites have legacy policies in their Terms of Service Agreement to address what will become of your digital footprint after you die. Policies vary from allowing a named executor to close an account, to authoring your account be deleted after a period of inactivity. It’s a good idea to review a site’s legacy policy before drafting your digital will. The following are a few examples from popular businesses:

  • PayPal has a process to allow an estate’s executor to close a user’s account. Remaining funds will be liquidated by check made out to the estate.
  • Twitter allows family members to deactivate a deceased member’s account. Twitter does not provide log-in information to the executor.
  • Ebay’s user agreement doesn’t allow transfer of accounts to others. If you need to close an account due to death, you should contact their support team.
  • Google’s “Inactive Account Manager” allows you to decide how your account is handled if it’s inactive for a specified length of time. For example, if you have not logged into your email in one year, the account will be deleted. You can designate up to 10 people to handle your accounts as digital executors.
  • Facebook lets family members convert the deceased’s account to a “memorized” status. Upon receiving proof of death, sensitive personal information is deleted and the status of the account is changed.

Uniform Digital Assets Law

A growing number of states introduced legislation to address access issues to a deceased’s digital property. The personal representative of your estate has a legal duty to protect your assets. But they can be blocked by on-line provider polices about when or if they will grant access to legally appointed fiduciaries.

The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act is a model law designed to work with a state’s existing laws on probate, guardianship, trusts, and powers of attorney. The law gives your estate’s representative power over your traditional assets, including digital ones. The act allows your representative to manage digital property like computer files, web domains, and virtual currency, but restricts their access to electronic communications such as email, text messages, and social media accounts unless the original user consented in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other record.

Free Consultation with a Utah Legacy Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506