How to Save Money Handling Your Own Legal Matter

October 27th, 2020 by admin No comments »

“Sixty percent of bankruptcies and seventy-five percent of divorces in California are done without lawyers,” according to Do It Yourself Documents, a self-help legal book and kit retailer. With the availability of so many quality self-help legal resources today, it has never been easier to handle your own legal matter. I will tell you what self-help resources are available and how to use them.

Although the information I am about to give you is based on research and experience, always remember that only a lawyer is qualified to give you sound legal advice. I am not a lawyer, but I have worked extensively in this field. Use any of the products and services I mention here at your own risk.

You have several choices when trying to handle a legal matter without a lawyer. You can do the matter entirely on your own with a self-help book or kit; you can handle the matter with aid from an independent paralegal or legal assistance program; you can handle the matter through a program such as Pre-Paid Legal Services.

SELF-HELP BOOKS AND KITS

The market is saturated with self-help legal books and kits. Which ones can you trust? HALT, an organization of Americans for legal reform, has reviewed many popular self-help guides. On their website, you can find their “Do It Yourself” section, which has helpful product reviews. In general, I will save you time and tell you HALT repeatedly recommends products from Nolo Press. All of Nolo’s books and software are created by lawyers and are updated constantly. I also recommend products from Alpha Publications. I do not recommend products from Info America or similar publishers.

Kits and books you want to stay away from are those that are not updated frequently and not written by experts. Make sure the book or kit has a help-line from the publisher you can call if you need assistance. Also, does the kit/book include the forms you need? Does the kit/book have a CD-Rom so you can type the forms on your computer? Remember, you get what you pay for.

Before you buy anything, however, I recommend you check your state court system’s website because many states provide both forms and basic instructions for free. For a complete list of state-specific resources, try DoItYourselfDocuments.com. On the left side of their homepage, find your state on the drop down menu, then scroll to the bottom of the page for your state.

If there is a state-specific version of the kit or book you want, buy that one. For example, there are many national divorce kits intended for use in all 50 states. I have never seen one of these books or kits that was useful.

INDEPENDENT PARALEGALS AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

Independent paralegals are paralegals that do not work under the supervision of attorneys. In California, independent paralegals are licensed, bonded, and use the title “Legal Document Assistants.” Currently, California is the only state to regulate independent paralegals. For the California Association of Legal Document Assistants, visit their website at http://www.calda.org

An independent paralegal can provide you with the forms you need for many routine legal matters and assist you with filing your documents. Typically, independent paralegals are knowledgeable about local court rules and other nuisances you may not find in a self-help book or kit. The price? Usually, 1/3 of what you’d pay for an attorney.

If you live outside of California, be sure you hire an independent paralegal with a paralegal certificate from an American Bar Association approved school. Many times, independent paralegals with 15 years of experience or more do not have these certificates because they were not needed years ago. You may want to ask the independent paralegal what, if any, continuing education s/he obtains over the course of a year to stay up-to-date on training. Also, how long, if at all, s/he worked under the supervision of an attorney to gain the required knowledge to assist you. Finally, ask if the independent paralegal is a member of a professional association or has any special certifications.

There is only one national independent paralegal franchise to my knowledge, and that is We The People. We The People does not require their owners or operators to have paralegal certificates; however, they do provide in-depth training from the company on all the types of legal matters that they cover. We The People has been in business for over 20 years.

Like the independent paralegals described above, there are also “attorney assisted” independent paralegals. These attorney-assisted paralegals typically perform the same services as traditional independent paralegals but have an attorney proofread their documents or oversee their work in some way. Prices are typically about the same or slightly higher than traditional independent paralegals.

As for legal assistance programs, most states have “paperwork helpers” in the courthouse to assist you. In California, these are called Family Law Facilitators. These programs are free to everybody; they are not legal aid, which is only available to people with low incomes. There are also occasionally programs through local civic groups, such as the YMCA, that provide similar assistance.

PRE-PAID LEGAL

There are many types of legal insurance, but the most established is Pre-Paid Legal Services ( http://www.prepaidlegal.com ) For about $25-$30 a month, you can call a “provider law firm” and get legal advice on any matter. If you decide to use the “provider law firm” to handle a legal matter on your behalf, you typically receive some kind of discount. Some programs include free preparation of a Last Will and Testament for you and your spouse. Like any insurance, you can cancel your membership at any time.

If you wanted to do a more complex legal matter on your own, you could obtain a pre-paid legal membership and call your provider law firm any time you had a concern. If desired, cancel your membership when your legal matter was resolved. Be very sure that each time you call your provider law firm, you make it clear that you are not calling about the same thing you previously called about. They will charge you if you do. Be very specific and say, “I have called about this issue before, but I have a new concern…” Be prepared to wait a day or two for the provider law firm to call you back with your requested advice or information.

Legal Forms Online

October 15th, 2020 by admin No comments »

For a long time now, the Internet has been used as tool to help with a number of activities. Many people today who are in need of legal counsel simply can not afford it. As a result, they are at a disadvantage when dealing with people who can actually afford legal representation. In the public’s interest, there are a number of sites on the Internet that work towards making inexpensive legal resources available to people. These resources enable almost anyone to represent themselves in cases to obtain legal benefits. The resources include legal documents as well as legal forms. Apart from that, legal information along with law resources are also available. There are quite a few people who would prefer not to spend more money than is absolutely necessary for legal advice that is as trivial as how to complete a simple legal document or form. There are now such websites that provide this assistance in the form of resources and legal forms online.

Legal forms online are also an extremely efficient way to manage all your legal affairs in a private and secure manner from the comfort of your own home or perhaps your office. The Web sites that offer such forms are able to provide their customers with both comfort as well as control that are available to them as a result of online methods of legal forms preparation.

If you are trying to work around time constraints, the option of legal forms online could be your best resort. The online legal forms can generally be obtained immediately, and without having to leave your home or office. As a result, they save a lot of your valuable time. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions and then within a matter of a few minutes your work is done. Based on your answers, a properly completed legal document is generated in a ready to print format. It is tailor made to your required situation and will be based on the laws of the state where you reside.

How to Research Any Legal Issue Using Free Resources on the Internet

September 26th, 2020 by admin No comments »

Free legal advice is hard to come by as legal help is expensive. Much of the cost is related to the time attorneys spend conducting legal research. Before someone hires a lawyer, they should perform a legal research on their own. This can result in significant savings on legal bills. There are a number of free legal resources on the Internet that can be used for this purpose. This article describes a method anyone can use to research any legal issue using free resources on the Internet.

Start by Researching Broad Categories of Law in General

The purpose of legal research is to find the very specific laws that apply to a given legal issue. Unless the researcher has been trained to perform legal research or experience with this particular legal issue, the research process should start by considering the law in general. This means the researcher must cast his nets wide. Starting with a broad category of law is advisable.

This part of the legal research process is not aimed at discovering the answer to specific legal questions. Rather, this part of the legal research process is aimed at gaining an understanding of what issues and sub-issues should be considered. This will often help change the way the legal issue is worded and lead the researcher down an entirely different path. Unfortunately, researchers often succumb to the temptation to skip this step and, as a result, they often miss these valuable alternative research paths.

Information about general categories of law can be found throughout the Internet. Legal article websites and specialized law firm blogs can provide a good starting point. Search engines can help researchers find these Internet resources. Information linked to these resources should also be explored. The researcher should read these law articles by making a mental note of the types of issues and facts that are being addressed. The researcher should also make note of any law that is mentioned in the legal articles, such as case names, statute numbers, or citations for administrative rulings.

Continue Researching the Actual Law

With a broad understanding of the issues and facts, the researcher can now focus on finding the specific law applicable to his legal issue. There are a number of different types of laws in the U.S.

With federal law, the sources of law include: the Constitution, federal statutes, court opinions from federal courts, and rulings from federal agencies (with international issues, treaties may also come into play). These sources of law are described in their order of authority. For example, the Constitution trumps all other sources of law and administrative rulings are trumped by all other sources of law. Notably, court opinions may either create law (this is called common or judicial law) or define ambiguities in the Constitution or statutes (i.e., fill in the law). Each state in the U.S. has developed these same sources of law for issues particular to their state. City and local governments have also established many of these sources of law for issues specific to their city or locality.

This overview provides a way of searching for legal authority. The legal researcher must initially decide whether to search for federal, state, or local law. Then the researcher must try to find and comprehend the law, focusing on the law that has the highest authority. Very few legal questions will involve references to the Constitution. Most legal questions will involve one or more statutes and one or more court or administrative rulings supplementing or interpreting the statute.

Researchers may be able to work backwards by finding the court or administrative rulings and then finding the statutes cited in the rulings. Nonetheless, the researcher should not forget that the statute is probably going to be the most authoritative source of law. The researcher should also know that lower court and administrative rulings may not be a valid statement of the law. Judges and agencies make mistakes and they often put those mistakes in writing. If a court or administrative ruling is contrary to the statute or some policy argument, the researcher may need to argue that the ruling should be overturned or differentiate the facts from the facts involved in the legal question being researched.

The researcher should be able to find most of these sources of law on the Internet. The U.S. House of Representatives has a copy of the U.S. Statutes on its website. Many of the federal courts publish their court opinions on their websites. Most federal agencies publish their administrative rulings on their websites. Most state legislatures, courts, and agencies also have the same free legal advice resources on their websites. There are a number of third party websites that compile these laws and allow users to search the law for free.

Conclude the Research by Applying the Law to the Facts at Hand

With an overview of the law and issues involved and a review of the law itself, the legal researcher should be at the point of reaching a conclusion. This involves applying the law to the case at hand. It is often necessary to write this part down, as what seems solid will often become distorted with a closer look. Let’s work through a real life example.

I want to know what I can do about a speeding ticket “someone” received while driving through an area designated as a school zone. This “someone” was driving in Lubbock, Texas. While the “someone” does not normally speed through these areas, the road was a four lane U.S. Highway and the driver was merely going with the flow of traffic. The driver did not see a sign on the road at the time. The driver has since driven back through the area and noticed that the speed limit sign is quite a ways off in the distance. The driver would not have seen the sign because he entered onto the highway and was pulled over by the police after the location where the speed limit sign was located.

It appears I need to research city and possibly state law. I was able to find several websites that discuss what to do about traffic tickets. Most of these articles discussed various defenses and strategies. One of these articles discussed the specific school zone sign requirements for Minnesota. I wonder if the City of Lubbock or State of Texas has such a rule.

In looking at the traffic citation, I notice the police officer left the space blank where it provides me with the citation to the municipal ordinance I violated. I was able to find the local municipal code for the City of Lubbock online. The municipal code has a great index that helped me find the applicable section of the municipal code. I noticed the specific code section provides a list of all of the authorized school zones inside of the City of Lubbock. The location involved in the speeding citation, which is written on the traffic citation, is not listed in the code. It was not an authorized school zone.

The municipal code cites me to the state statute for determining what an authorized school zone is. I was able to find these statutes online too. These statutes explain that a local school zone cannot slow traffic on a U.S. highway. I was cited for driving on a U.S. highway.

The end result was that the City of Lubbock had decided to put up a school zone sign to slow down traffic on this street. The city agency responsible for putting up the sign would have (or should have) known this was not an authorized location for a school zone. The school zone sign went up anyway. Using the sign as justification, the police started issuing tickets to motorists who drive through the unauthorized school zone.

I assume most of the persons cited for this traffic violation merely paid the fine. The “someone” in my example had his traffic ticked dismissed by the local municipal court. Had the other persons cited for this traffic violations used the free legal research tools available on the Internet they too could have had their traffic citations dismissed.

Legal Resources For Free Criminal Records

June 2nd, 2020 by admin No comments »

In this chaotic world, how sure are you that the people you befriend with are indeed worth your trust and acceptance? Recent reports from various forms of media such as television, newspaper, and the like are usually exposing different criminal offenses committed by anyone around the world. Having that said, it is essential that you take pro active steps to safeguard yourself and your loved ones. A thorough New York Criminal Records search can give you answers you need.

Also famous by its nickname the Empire State, New York came out as the 3rd most-populous place in America. Based on the 2010 U.S. Census, its number of residents has already reached 19,378,102. By land area, it’s the 27th largest location worldwide. In one way or another, these figures somehow caused a huge impact on the crime rate of the state.

Investigating someone’s personal background is now an easy task to do. Inhabitants of New York are entitled to get hold of this information through various means. First off, you may pay a visit at your local courthouse or your local police department. Any of these offices require several steps to be followed and paperworks to comply with. An official application form must be secured and filled-out with necessary details before it will be forwarded to the appropriate department.

In the past, other people also resort to hiring private investigators who can perform the task for them. However, such option is rather expensive and time-inefficient, too. As opposed to these conventional ways of gathering the information, searching through the Internet is by far the most favorable option to pick. This method offers a kind of search that’s more convenient, immediate, discreet, and low-cost.

Generally, this information can be used to support different cases including legal proceedings, police investigations, and employment screening by various companies. Moreover, it provides significant facts that can help you scrutinize the personal background of anyone around you, especially those who appear to be suspicious in any way. Without any doubt, it brings to light every single detail that you need to ensure your security and protection.

There are two types of services online that offer Free Criminal Records: free-of-charge and fee-based. Free search sites are known to produce incomplete and erroneous results. Paying a small charge for the service online is worth it and even more. With paid record providers, you’re guaranteed to receive complete, comprehensive and accurate report in the quickest time possible.

Homeowners Not Behind in Mortgage Payments Have Few Legal Resources to Work With Lender

March 17th, 2020 by admin No comments »

For homeowners who are not behind on their mortgage yet, but are worried about falling behind, it may seem that their bank is acting quite illogically. Most banks refuse to accept a short sale or modify the terms of a mortgage unless the owners are numerous months behind in payments. The homeowners come to the bank to ask for help to avoid foreclosure before it happens, but the bank says they can not offer any actual programs until there is a real danger of foreclosure. But by this time, the homeowners may not even qualify for a solution because they are too far behind.

Unfortunately, systemic stupidity and shortsightedness are not crimes in America (yet), so the banks are able to get away with this circular logic which pushes people into foreclosure in order to save their homes from foreclosure. In such cases, the owners of properties may feel like they have very few legal resources available to them. They are right to feel this way, as the courts can be very inhospitable to homeowners trying to work out a solution to foreclosure without actually being in default.

In essence, their legal resources probably involve very little more than negotiating with the lender to change the contract as written. But this brings into play the situation where the bank refuses to negotiate the mortgage there are no missed payments. Thus, homeowners who make payments on time are rewarded with no extra help when attempting to sell in a down market, while those who are unable to pay the mortgage are given numerous concessions which may lower the rate or allow them to sell for less than the total amount owed and help them stop foreclosure.

If the homeowners have any evidence the mortgage company has not been keeping up its end of the mortgage contract, they could sue the bank for defaulting on the contract and try to discharge the mortgage loan entirely. Obviously, banks and courts do not look too favorably on this, even if the bank has committed egregious acts of mortgage fraud or servicing fraud. If homeowners could prove that banks are criminal organizations and have their mortgages discharged, politicians and bureaucrats who receive much of their power from the banks would be quite threatened. So this legal resource is open in only a very small number of blatant cases or class action lawsuits.

The possibility of mortgage fraud may be present if the homeowners were given a really shoddy loan and not informed of various aspects that would cause penalties or higher payments. For example, many states still allow the bank to attach a prepayment penalty if the loan is paid off too quickly, and many homeowners are coming out and stating they were not aware of receiving adjustable rate mortgages until their payment doubled. If they signed a piece of paper disclosing these types of aspects but did not ever bother to read that piece of paper, though, they might be out of luck showing how they were tricked into a particular mortgage.

Otherwise, homeowners in these kinds of situations could use the legal resource of bankruptcy to stop foreclosure to establish a payment plan for the housing debt and unsecured credit lines, but that would not make sense since this article is about those who are not yet behind on the mortgage. Bankruptcy is a legal method for dealing with a mortgage loan and other creditors, but it would not be appropriate for people who are not behind, since judges are not currently able to lower the total amount owed to reflect the current market value of a house. There is some talk in Congress to change this and allow judges to adjust the total debt, but it is unlikely to result in any more than talk.

Unfortunately, getting a second home that is more affordable and letting the first one go into foreclosure might be the option that stubborn banks push homeowners to consider. Seems a bit ironic since the lender will be hurt much worse in this situation than the homeowners. But if the homeowners are not far enough behind on their mortgage to qualify for a solution, but will not be able to keep their home for much longer, and it is unlikely the bank has done anything legally wrong (and stupidity on the part of a bank is perfectly legal, or else we wouldn’t be able to have banks), homeowners have very few legal options to make the lender negotiate on a mortgage that is not in default.

Marketing, Promoting and Advertising Your Business

February 28th, 2020 by admin No comments »

One thing that goes without saying in today’s business world, is that regardless of the nature of your home based business, a website is an absolute MUST. Whether you have a product or service to sell, whether local or global, your business will go nowhere fast if you don’t have an online presence. If you need internet marketing help, you’ve landed on the right article. I’ll give you some home based business marketing ideas that will help you promote your business successfully.

The first step is choosing a domain name and getting it registered. You can build your own website (if you have the time) and host it yourself or you can have everything done by another company (if you have the money). Either way, you have many options and tools at your disposal that can align with your business plan and budget. Also note that you can still start your own home based business even if you don’t have a product or service to sell. There are thousands of individuals and companies that have products you can sell for them while earning a commission, called affiliate marketing.

Of the many business marketing strategies known to man, internet marketing is, hands down, the best strategy to use for promoting a home based business as it is the cheapest method and has the potential for reaching millions of people all over the globe. Driving traffic to your site through online resources is like killing two birds with one stone. You can tackle print advertising by writing articles and publishing them to directories and ezines and by submitting ads to the many available (and most of them free) classified ad sites. Online media advertising encompasses writing press releases and distributing them to press release sites. One of the biggest and most popular online advertising trends today is via social media advertising through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you build relationships with your customers. Forums and communities are also great ways to build relationships which helps promote your home based business in the long run. Simply Google your market or industry with the word ‘forum’ or ‘community’ behind it and search for one or two that seem to be the best fit for you.

All of these methods of online advertising contribute to search engine optimization (SEO), which is to say improving your online visibility and escalating in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your goal is to claim the #1 spot in the organic search results (the results on the left, not the right side which are paid ads). This is where your traffic will come from. If you are 800 in the list of search results, no one is ever going to see your site because very few people have the time or patience to scroll through 800 search results. Research shows that people typically won’t even scroll past 4 or 5 search results, let alone 800.

Can you grasp the importance of internet marketing for any business? If you are new to the internet marketing phenomenon and don’t know exactly where to start, there are many great programs or systems online that walk you through every aspect of marketing your online business. A lot of these systems were created by online entrepreneurs who have spent thousands of their own dollars trying to figure it all out over the years and finally DID. Their sacrifices have made it easier for newbies to become successful at their own online home based business. If you are new to running your own home based business, I recommend you find a great system (do your research, read reviews, ask questions in forums) and start marketing your home business from there. Don’t waste the time and money that so many of us have in going it alone, without a proven system, as it will just set you back further and hinder your progress.