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As we come face to face with another changing of the guard and our next president enjoys his inauguration, some are preparing to survive while others prepare to thrive. I can’t help but think it is all a state of mind. After all, the President of the United States has very little influence over our day-to-day activities, and whether we start the day believing it is going to be great or not, the choice is ours. We can dwell on the past election and the propaganda that motivated (or perhaps didn’t motivate) voters, or we can look ahead to the future, count our blessings and make the most of what we have been given.

      Of course there will always be those with marketing strategies that influence what we buy, sell and consume. Ultimately it is up to us to look out for our own interests. The freedoms we enjoy are great and the power we have to independently make choices of our own can result in our prosperity or our own demise.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_PastDue.JPGMany people think of the start of a new year as a great time to re-evaluate their financial goals. In fact, “spend less and save more money” came in third in a Marist poll of the top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2017, behind only “being a better person” and “exercise.” But have you ever re-evaluated your student loan payments?

You may not be sure what your options are for student loan repayment, and many not know that there are programs out there to help you reduce your monthly payment and free up some more room in your budget. These programs can also assist those who have already defaulted on their student loans.

Repayment plans allow a student loan borrower to tailor their payments to their budget and their current income—and for some people, the difference between the standard loan payment and the payment under an income based repayment plan can be thousands of dollars! Here are a few of the options for those borrowers with government-backed Direct Loans.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_new-law-ahead-2017_20170104-011928_1.jpgBeginning January 1st, California will be implementing a number of new laws—in fact, Governor Jerry Brown signed 898 bills this year. These new laws may affect you as an employee, a business owner, a gun owner, or in many other ways. Here are a few of the new laws taking effect this year, and what they mean for you.

Minimum Wage, Equal Pay, and Parental Leave

The statewide minimum wage goes from $10 to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees—a rate that will rise to $15 by 2022. Under another law, Assembly Bill 1676, an employer can’t pay a woman less than her male colleagues because of her prior salary. Assembly Bill 2393 gives up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all K-12 and community college employees, including classified workers and community college faculty.

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!

Landlords will be prohibited from showing, renting or leasing a vacant unit that they know has a bedbug infestation. This will give tenants more protection from landlords who knowingly rent out apartments that could be considered uninhabitable. Here at The Mlnarik Law Group, we’ve handled a number of rental and habitability issues on behalf of tenants. If you are a tenant seeking relief, or a landlord who wants to ensure that you’re complying with current law, please give us a call!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_will.jpgWhat Should I Ask an Attorney that Handles Probate and Estate Planning?

Ask about their experience; ask them how many probates have they handled in the last 10 years, and ask if they’ve been sued for one.

Questions to Ask

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images-3_20160802-183955_1.jpgWhen a person hires someone else to provide goods or services to him or her, the terms of the contract dictate when the work is to be performed or the goods to be provided. However, situations can occur in which the contractor is not providing timely delivery, and the customer may pursue legal action to enforce his or her rights.

Contract Provisions

Courts give wide breadth to individuals to enter into contracts in a voluntary fashion. Therefore, courts will usually hold the parties to the terms of the contract that they both willingly signed, absent certain rare exceptions. If the non-breaching party wants to enforce the contract, the court must be able to refer to clear provisions in order to effectuate the agreement as the parties intended.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images-2_20160802-183449_1.jpgThere is a common misconception that if an individual is injured on the job and pursues a Workers’ Compensation claim, they are effectively filing a lawsuit against their employer for reimbursement of medical costs and lost wages.

Workers’ Compensation benefits are not the same things as suing an employer.

Work injury benefits arise from an employer paying into Workers’ Compensation insurance.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_download-1_20160802-183137_1.jpgMany individuals who file bankruptcy file under the specific chapter that they qualify for. If they are not eligible for one filing, they explore the other. However, some people fall into multiple eligibilities and determine which bankruptcy filing will better suit their needs.

Chapter 7 Process

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy. Its main benefit is being able to eliminate unsecured debts like credit card debt and medical bills. During a Chapter 7 filing, a bankruptcy trustee is appointed to administer the case, including acquiring and selling the debtor’s property that is not exempt. The funds from these sales are then sent to creditors.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_download_20160802-182840_1.jpgBefore you hire independent contractors, consult with a qualified business attorney to be sure you will comply with IRS regulations. Your attorney can help you draft a written contract that details the duties of the contractor and keeps you on the right side of the law.

The IRS and the Department of Labor are cracking down on businesses that use contractors but treat them like real employees – or, as the IRS calls them, “common-law employees.” Before you misclassify that contractor, ask yourself these 5 questions:

Do you control the work?
If you direct how and where and at what time someone works for you, then the government says you have an employee, not a contractor.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_business-law.jpgThere are many reasons franchisees decide to sell their franchise – life changes like death, divorce or retirement comes to mind – and if you are looking at investing in a resale franchise, you should neither discount nor leap into it without careful investigation.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Reason for the sale. If a franchise owner is moving, retiring or has other family issues that require the sale, you will probably be told this right off the bat. If he or she is selling because they can’t make a go of it, you will probably be given another reason for the sale. This brings to light the importance of careful due diligence – an experienced franchise attorney is of great assistance here.

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Many probate and estate planning attorneys act as if everyone should have a trust yet most Americans don’t even have a simple hand written will. Given that trusts can easily cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, it’s a big purchase that shouldn’t be taken lightly, consider the consequences if you do not have a proper trust:

Living Trust vs. Will

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images-1_20160802-181514_1.jpgAlmost every private housing area as well as public ones prohibits undue, avoidable and excessive noise. For laws and ordinances that stipulate noise levels, law enforcement is allowed to give citations and tickets to those that violate these regulations.

Law enforcement is responsible for enforcing these laws when necessary, and tickets are to be paid within the designated time frame or offenders may face additional penalties. Each area is different based on roads, country, housing communities or city living. Each area has rules that may be reviewed at the local municipality.

Noise Explained

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images_20160802-180709_1.jpgDivorce often leads to child custody battles when both parents want the child for various reasons. These battles tend to lead to court dealings that may cause much time and money to resolve. These proceedings come about when the parents are unable to arrange times and a date to share the child or children and mediation has failed or is not considered be an option.

For the times parents are unable to agree, the court may decide which parent will have custody. Many factors are analyzed and among them, the child’s inclination may be an important consideration.

Child Preference

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b2ap3_thumbnail_bankruptcy-lawyer-newnan.jpgMillions of underwater debtors including individuals and businesses have turned to bankruptcy for relief. While bankruptcy is a powerful way to shield debtors from further debt collection efforts, it does not solve all financial problems. Additionally, there are different things that bankruptcy can accomplish based on the type of bankruptcy that is filed.

Can Do

Bankruptcy can do a lot for debtors, including:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_mediation.jpgChoosing a divorce mediator is the first agreement divorcing spouses make together at the beginning of the divorce mediation process. It will be one of the most important decisions spouses reach during their divorce.

In divorce mediation, you will discuss issues that are personal, sensitive, and emotional. There will be times when you cover financial and legal issues. There will be times you communicate about important family issues. You will consider your thoughts and feelings as you reach agreements and create your own divorce terms. All the while, the divorce mediator you choose will guide you along the way.

There are many factors to think about when choosing the right family mediator. Below are five essential mediator qualities that spouses should consider before choosing a divorce mediator.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Importance-of-Estate-Planning.jpgWhat are the advantages to estate planning?

By taking the time and effort necessary to plan your estate, you will be able to:

  1. Provide for your immediate family
    Couples want to provide enough money for the surviving spouse. Couples with children want to assure their education and upbringing. If you have children under 18, both you and your spouse should have a will nominating personal guardians for the children, in case you both should die before they grow up. Otherwise, a court will decide without your input where your kids will live and who will make important decisions about their money, education, and way of life.
  2. Get your property to beneficiaries quickly
    Options include insurance paid directly to beneficiaries, joint tenancy, and living trusts, as well as using simplified or expedited probate and taking advantage of laws that provide partial payments to beneficiaries while a will is in probate.
  3. Plan for incapacity
    During estate planning, you can also plan for possible mental or physical incapacity. Living wills and durable health-care powers of attorney enable you to decide in advance about life support and pick someone to make decisions for you about medical treatment.
  4. Minimize expenses
    Good estate planning can keep the cost of transferring property to beneficiaries as low as possible, leaving more money for your beneficiaries.
  5. Choose executors/trustees for your estate
    Choosing competent executors/trustees and giving them the necessary authority will save money, reduce the burden on your survivors, and simplify administration of your estate.
  6. Ease the strain on your family
    You can take a burden from your grieving survivors and plan your funeral arrangements when planning your estate. Or you may want to simply limit the expense of your burial or designate its place.
  7. Help a favorite cause
    Your estate plan can help support religious, educational, and other charitable causes, either during your lifetime or upon your death, and at the same time take advantage of tax laws designed to encourage private philanthropy.
  8. Reduce taxes on your estate
    Every dollar your estate has to pay in estate or inheritance taxes is a dollar that your beneficiaries won't get. A good estate plan can give the maximum allowed by law to your beneficiaries and the minimum to the government.
  9. Provide for people who need help and guidance
    Do you have an elderly parent or disabled child, or a grandchild whose education you want to assure? You could establish a special trust fund for family members who need support that you won't be there to provide.
  10. Make sure your business continues smoothly
    If you have a small business, you can provide for an orderly succession and continuation of its affairs by spelling out what will happen to your interest in the business.


Tagged in: Estate Planning
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b2ap3_thumbnail_images-3.jpgAs much as getting a divorce is an emotional decision, it is also a financial decision. Once someone has made the decision to pursue a divorce, he or she should immediately take steps to safeguard his financial and legal interests.

Gather Records

While an individual has access to records, he or she should gather anything that may be important. This includes a prenuptial agreement, will, insurance policies, proof of income, financial statements for accounts, identifying documents, mortgage documents and tax returns. This information should be kept away from the marital home and stored in a safe location.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_growth-Real-Estate-Market.jpgTo receive a highly professional legal advice based on experience in Real Estate will be vital to make sure that the land you want to purchase for starting a real estate project (horizontal or vertical condominiums, houses, gated communities or commercial) is ideal and doesn’t have any kind of building restrictions.

With the ‘Due Diligence’ lawyers make ensure that the client’s investment is not at risk.

Before a person buys a land, it takes place a study related to legal and procedure aspects, that will allow to inform the person if the property he/she is considering to purchase for the real estate project is suitable for that business.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_estateplanning.jpgA thorough estate plan should be designed to avoid probate, save on estate taxes, appoint someone to act for you if you become disabled, and protect assets if you need to move into a nursing home.

A will is only one element of a complete estate plan. All estate plans should also include a durable power of attorney. A trust is useful to avoid probate and manage your estate during your life and after. Medical directives and beneficiary designations are supplements you should consider.

Power of Attorney

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When you think about filing bankruptcy you really want to understand all your options. This is the quick overview of bankruptcy vs other other options. If you are considering whether bankruptcy is right for you, solid information is needed before making a decision. You may be considering doing nothing, debt consolidation, or even litigating with creditors. Today, we are going to compare bankruptcy with other options.b2ap3_thumbnail_home-bankruptcy.jpg Bankruptcy vs Doing Nothing

If you are in debt and it is bad enough to start research on the internet, doing nothing is not the best option for you to consider. Not really knowing about what your options is never a good idea Consider if you were sick, you would get an opinion about the outcome.The same goes for bankruptcy. At some point with money problems there is only so much you can do yourself. This applies to all of us. Money is difficult for most of us to manage. Sometimes you are going to need advice about the pros and the cons of your specific situation. If you are starting to get harassed by the creditors and debt collection agencies, you can leave yourself open to a lawsuit. If you are sued for whatever reasons you have just a few weeks to determine how you are going to respond. Doing nothing means that assets that you can protect go unprotected.Not protecting your 401k or the equity in your homes to try desperately to pay off bills has a devastating on your retirement . You need to start with getting some advice before, due to lack of information, you can make a bad thing worse.

Bankruptcy vs Debt Consolidation

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b2ap3_thumbnail_16.jpgChild custody cases can be some of the most contentious. They can also be complex, and the way that they are decided varies from each state and region. To better prepare for a custody dispute, parents may retain the services of family law lawyers to help advise them of the process entailed in a child custody case.

What Is the Difference in Sole Custody and Joint Custody?

The family court may order sole custody or joint custody. Sole custody is when one parent has nearly all of the rights and responsibilities related to raising the child. Some states differentiate between physical and legal custody. Legal custody means the right of the parent to make decisions for the child. In some cases, one parent receives physical sole custody and both may receive legal custody. In sole custody cases, the other parent may have visitation rights with the child or supervised visitation. The non-custodial parent may be responsible for financially contributing to the child’s upbringing through child support.

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Inauguration Day 2017!
As we come face to face with another changing of the guard and ...
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