Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution provides:
“The Congress shall have Power To… establish… uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States… ”
This authority granted under the United States Constitution enabled the Congress of the United States to establish Bankruptcy Courts and establish uniform Bankruptcy Laws.
The origin of United States Bankruptcy laws dates back to sixteenth century English Law. Famously, Debtor’s prison was the norm at that time. In fact, in 1705, the English Parliament drafted a Bill making the bankrupt’s refusal to cooperate a capital offense.
Society utilized a system of coercion to incentivize borrowers to repay their debts. But coercing debtors to be honest and cooperate with divergent creditor interests proved a failure, instead incentivizing fraud amongst debtors seeking avoidance of harsh penalty.
Attitudes eventually changed overtime upon practical realization punishment and imprisonment of debtors was of little benefit to creditors, and upon understanding better results would occur for both Debtor and Creditor in protecting Debtor’s assets and income streams to maximize payoff of creditors’ claims.
Thus, beginning in the eighteenth century, bankruptcy laws began evolving, recognizing the social benefit in protecting debtors and their assets, permitting debt discharge as a reward for debtor cooperation assisting towards reducing claims of creditors. Modern day bankruptcy was born.
The United States Constitution granted Congress power to establish uniform federal bankruptcy laws in 1789 and the first Bankruptcy Act adopted by congress was enacted in 1800. Initially, the emphasis was creditor relief over debtor protection. Debtor voluntary bankruptcy filings were not permitted. The early statutory schematic was an offspring of the early bankruptcy laws of England, where harsh penalties and punishment of debtors who sought to avoid financial responsibilities was the primary premise behind this legislation.
But the a philosophical debate began over whether bankruptcy laws should be designed to protect the debtor or the creditor, eventually enabling modern society to recognize the symbiotic relationship between debtor and creditor and the need to protect debtors to maximize payout for creditors. The passage of the Bankruptcy Act of 1841 offered debtors greater protections and permitted voluntary filings for relief; and the Bankruptcy Act of 1898 established bankruptcy courts and provided for bankruptcy trustees providing an even playing field for debtors to protect their assets and income from ad hoc creditor collection action, enabling preservation and enhancement of the debtors estate assets so creditors could receive a higher repayment.
Public sentiment also began evolving towards debtors. Beginning in the eighteenth century changing attitudes inspired development of the concept of debt discharge where Courts nullified debts as a reward for debtor cooperation in trying to reduce them. The public viewpoint also realized most circumstances befell upon debtors were beyond the debtor’s control – unexpected dramatic market movements, illnesses, crop failures, etc. Public sentiment began viewing the debtor’s plight with greater sympathy, as well as recognizing imprisonment and punishment was useless to the unsatisfied creditor. Thus, it was recognized encouraging resolution of monetary obligations through a forum of bankruptcy protection worked towards the greater good of society.
Societal benefit is also achieved enabling debtors overburdened with debt to achieve a fresh start. The Bankruptcy Code enables Debtors to retain basic economic needs protecting homesteads, tools of the trade, and other basic essentials, while at the same time permitting discharge of indebtedness.
Permitted a fresh economic start, debtors can re-enter the workforce with a strong economic footing strengthened through lifting of burdensome debt caused by past economic failure.
The immense growth of online productivity tools and the emergence of virtual office culture are breaking down the traditional geographical barriers. The latest technological advancements allow businesses to become distributed and operate efficiently from anywhere in the world. Moreover, when an existing in-house team is overburdened, building a remote team always becomes a suitable option for most businesses. Setting up and managing remote teams, however, entails multiple challenges. If you’ve been planning to build a remote legal team, it is always important to consider a few factors to ensure that your remote legal team functions optimally.
Here are 5 things to consider while building a remote legal team:
1. Comprehend Legal Issues
While hiring a remote team, it is always better to actually comprehend the job you intend to hire someone for. When you need lawyers for intellectual property, it is important to determine the kind of risks you will be exposed to in the IP space. Similarly, if you are into content business, you might decide to build a remote team with in-depth experience in copyright laws.
2. Draft Accurate Work Description
Once you have comprehended your specific requirements, it is always important to craft an accurate work description. While creating a job description, make sure that you include the details of the expected work. For better understanding, it is always advisable to provide a more elaborate description about the culture and vibe of your company. Last but not the least, specify the must-have requirements for candidates such as expected skills and the level of required experience. Apart from simply attracting candidates, an accurate work description also helps prospective candidates decide quickly whether your company is the ideal one that they wish to work for.
3. Select Candidates with Soft Skills
Identifying a great lawyer goes much beyond finding someone with proper technical expertise. In virtual teams, lawyers need to perform as a part of a team and under pressure at that. While interviewing prospective lawyers, consider how collaborative the lawyers are and how they function in high-stake situations. Also, ensure whether a candidate has immense judgment skills or not.
4. Ensure Consistent Communication
The moment you have the right team, it is important to facilitate consistent and effective communication. Facilitating constant communication is the biggest challenge faced by managers who build a virtual team. It is important to remember that each team member may be highly productive but when there is no productive communication, business efficiency may be hampered. For choosing the right communication, it is important to choose the perfect software. Once you select the perfect tools, make sure that you conduct regular virtual meetings to track the status and progress of the team.
5. Establish Team Culture
When you are hiring virtual lawyers, it is important that the team members share the vision and mission of the company. Only when you share your business goals will your team members feel that they are a part of the business growth and this is definitely an important motivating factor in virtual teams.
It can take time to put your virtual legal team together and get all the team members on the same page. A few strategies can, however, help you build a more effective virtual team and boost customer experience in a great way. The good news is that once an effective virtual legal team is established and managed well, you can get all the services at a fraction of the actual cost.
Advancement in technology has made it quick and easy to set up businesses abroad. Whether the business functions out of a brick-and- mortar office or a virtual one, doing business on an international level has become the norm. Conducting business in a foreign country entails familiarity with the host country’s laws. The legal intricacies of international trading could be quite challenging, and without the right legal guidance, a business owner may well end up paying penalties and fines, and saddled with legal hitches. What does it take to find good legal services abroad?
Areas of Specialization
One of the travails of establishments operating in a foreign country is finding good legal services. Lawyers usually specialize in one particular type of law, or other related areas. A lawyer may generally work on immigration cases, while another one may be a tax specialist. Note that there are lawyers who only render advice to their clients, and not represent them to actual court litigation.
General areas of legal practice include: personal injury, criminal law, tax, employment and family law. It is best to choose a lawyer that specializes in one’s legal concern and one that has a firm foundation in the laws of the host country.
Different Types of Lawyer
Foreign Legal Consultants may be classified as lawyers working for international law firms based in foreign countries. These attorneys may advise clients regarding the requirements and conditions of the host country’s law, but they may or may not be licensed to practice law in the country where they are based. If court representation is needed, a licensed lawyer in the country where he works is required.
Solicitors and Barristers are specialized lawyers who may be practicing in foreign countries. Solicitors generally do not represent clients in court, but advise them, and may put together legal cases for barristers to take to court.
Notaries usually do the functions of attorneys, but depending on the country they practice, their job description may vary. Notaries may draft transfers of property titles and wills. In some countries, notaries are Ministry of Justice appointees and may act as administrators in estate settlements.
Where to Find a Lawyer
Searching for a lawyer in a foreign country is no longer too tasking. Overseas embassies and consulates of most countries have listings of local lawyers who have expressed their willingness to assist citizens of another country. For example, an American in Thailand may go to the U.S. embassy and he will be furnished with a copy of local lawyers willing to assist a U.S. citizen.
There are international bar associations with local chapters that could help foreigners with their legal problems. Most of these associations and similar organizations have standing agreements with accredited members in other countries.
Law firms maintain websites. This should make it doubly easy for anyone needing legal counsel to find a qualified lawyer through this mode.
Law schools have credible law professors who may be practicing or may know a practicing lawyer in his circle. If the legal advice and drafts are needed, senior law students could handle these requirements.
Surely local contacts could refer qualified lawyers to meet one’s legal requisites.
Considerations When Selecting a Lawyer
Before settling for an attorney, there are several points to consider.
First, it is to your benefit to ask the lawyer in consideration his qualifications and experience. You may ask the lawyer’s strategy and plan in representing you. It is not impolite to ask how much his retainer fees are.
Do not hesitate to ask questions regarding your case. As your lawyer, he is expected to explain every plan and activity in a manner that you can understand.
Be very careful when turning over documents and money. Make sure that your lawyer understands and can tackle your legal concerns in a manner that is satisfactory to you. See to it that the lawyer-client confidentiality clause in the foreign country meets your expectations.
Did you ever come across a beggar who was sued by a multinational company with a stocky lawsuit? We are sure you dint! After all, lawsuits are not consistent to those who have limited assets and simultaneously, it becomes a matter of concern for those who have hefty pockets. So if you fall in the league and have some substantial assets in your credit then wait- knowing these winning asset management strategies is recommended to you. Consider all the major money moves and implement them in your professional understandings.
1. Know your insurance:
Insurance can be your first line of defense against any form of legal obligation and litigation. If you are dealing with complex assets, then make sure to increase the limits of your liabilities. For instance, if you are receiving $5 million from a broker then ask your insurance manager to give you $5 million liability policy.
2. Recheck your decision to invest your savings in a joint account:
The state wise law might differ in this case, but it is recommended to keep your assets separate if you have a joint account with your spouse or a business partner. If you want to share the ownership of windfall with your spouse, then you can discussion your special case with a recommended asset protection attorney.
3. Beware from renters:
If you are planning to invest your income in a rental property, then make sure to create an LLC or a separate business entity to protect your assets. In case you are not doing this, you are indirectly giving unwanted advantage to your tenants who can then sue your rental property in any disgruntle situation.
4. Turn your informal partnerships to legal business:
The risk of informal partnership is someone similar to that of having a joint account. If you are a part of an informal partnership, then you are taking the responsibility and liability of your partner’s mistake too. Protect yourself with a legal and formal partnership and define your limitations.
5. Create a shield to your assets:
Whether you are running a small business or it is just a part-time engagement, take steps to turn it to a formal business entity so that you can protect it against any legal lawsuit. Legal experience can be a daunting experience… it can change your life like never before.
6. Understand the meaning of corporations:
You can divide corporations in two broad categories- 1) S corporations and 2) C corporations which are taxed differently and have different restrictions as far as ownership is concerned. Corporations are the best and the most excellent ways of protecting your assets. There are a few exceptions here which can land you in trouble, for instance, failure of paying payroll to the IRS, not separating your corporation from your personal assets, and so on.
If you need to hire a private detective to spy on your cheating spouse or some other family member who you are responsible for, make sure you consider the tips given below.
It’s very important to opt for a licensed detective. In fact, hiring an unlicensed one may lead to a negative outcome. You can check with the authorities to find out if the professional you want to hire is licensed. Another way is to ask the agency to show you their license.
Background and experience
You may want to be cautious when choosing a detective who is flashy, flamboyant, persistent or pushy. Good providers don’t make exaggerated claims regarding their experience or background. Actually, they try to impress their clients to get the deal. Most of these providers have poor business ethics and questionable backgrounds. Staying away from this is a great idea.
Don’t rely on TV ads
It’s not a good idea to hire a private detective based on the ads you see on TV. In the same way, hiring one who works as a “lonely wolf” is not recommended at all. Besides, you should never make the mistake of choosing one who operates illegally. You may get into serious trouble because of them.
Actually, real detectives carefully listen to their clients and be committed when doing their work.
What you need to do is do your homework and choose a professional who is reliable, experienced and licensed. They should have a clear background as well.
You get what you pay for. When hiring a good private detective, price should not be your only factor for selection. An inexperienced, unprofessional or unlicensed detective may bargain with you or may offer discounted services. Know that they are not reliable and you should look for someone else.
Do you know if the investigator has enough time to handle your case? The agency should have the require staff and support to take your case. Typically, most detective agencies have several investigators and other staff members in order to take on multiple projects and handle them very well.
If the agency is too busy, make sure you look for another agency that has the time to handle your case.
Good investigators don’t make promises about the result of their investigation. They just try their level best to provide you the information you need. So, if the service provider makes this type of promises, leave the office and look for some other provider.
Before you choose an investigator, make sure you know what you getting for your payment. Most agencies work by the hour. In most cases, other expenses like mileage fees also apply.
In addition, investigative agencies work with other entities to handle a case, such as insurance companies and lawyers. So, their fees may also need to be paid.
You may have to sign a contract with the agency before they start working. So, you should keep this in mind.
Lastly, it’s important to ensure that the agency follows the law. You don’t want to get into trouble just because the investigator used unlawful methods to work on your case.
When a car fails to meets its warranty parameters and either does not function or poses a serious safety problem, we usually deal with what’s called a “lemon”. Being the unlucky owner of a lemon is certainly a pill hard to swallow. Luckily, each state has specially designed consumer laws. Ask the local DMV about lemon laws in your state. You surely want to get your money back or to have it replaced with a fully functional one. Check the following tips for lemon car cases:
1. Act as fast as possible. Take immediate action as soon as things become suspicious. As soon as you’ve brought your vehicle in for a reasonable amount of repairs and the problems are still present, start the lemon law process. Check the state laws about the conditions for classifying a car as lemon: number of repair attempts, mileage, number of days in which the vehicle was not operable.
2. Make sure that repair attempts are dated. Make sure that all of your work orders, repair orders, and receipts are correctly dated. Keeping accurate and orderly paperwork is extremely important to making the lemon law process as quick and smooth as possible. Having detailed paperwork of repair attempts and other
interactions you’ve had with your dealership will significantly speed up the process.
3. Note which repair shops worked on your vehicle. Keep track of the names of the mechanics who checked and repaired your car. Knowing who was making repairs or important decisions about your vehicle is another crucial piece of information in making the lemon law process go as smoothly and as fast as possible.
4. Make sure that the issues you have with your car can be reproduced. If your mechanic is unable to duplicate the issue your car is experiencing, and thus no repair is made, ask the mechanic or manager to take a test drive with you in order to show them the problem. If you’re able to duplicate the issue, make sure to note that in the repair order.
5. Hire a specialized lemon law attorney. Lemon law is a specialized area of expertise and you should hire an attorney familiar with it. You should read reviews and recommendations, then make a list with top ranking lawyers. Contact a lawyer and clearly explain your case. A good attorney will help you recover money faster or have your faulty car replaced.
It is safe to say that we are firmly into 2018 now, and the first month of this year has been filled with brand new technology that is set to change the way we live our day to day lives. Not only has it changed the way that we live our lives but it has changed many different sectors of business.
As technology progresses at this pace, we should probably look at what this means for the legal sector. Firms all over the world are adopting and investing in new technology to effectively compete with the other competition out there. Not only do they need to use this technology to compete with other firms, but clients are wanting more and more engagement with technology in all of the sectors of business. In this respect, the legal sector is quite far behind but they are catching up rapidly.
According to SEO experts, voice searches are expected to take over. With Siri and Alexa already setting the bar very high, and voice searching are expected to account for 50% of online searches by the year 2020. You may be wondering how this can affect the legal sector. Because a quarter of all voice searches are for local information, it is likely that people will be searching for information on local lawyers. This means that law firms will have to make sure that their websites and online presence are adapted to be found in this way. Law firms will already be used to optimizing their page for traditional searches, SEO for voice will be slightly different. It is worth finding out what the difference is and how you can get prepared.
Law firms should also expect to get used to the idea of automated technology. The Law Society has predicted that this type of technology will take over 67,000 jobs in the legal sector by the year 2038. Although many people are worried that this means they’ll lose their jobs, they need to remember the positives to this. Machines can take on a lot of the legal work that often slows law firm employees down and therefore make them more efficient and better able to take on important work. Service automation will help increase productivity and will help law firms be able to take on more and more work, without any extra strain on their employees. This means that you should expect a rise in the number of cases that law firms take on, as well as how much they do in advisory capacities.
Virtual and augmented reality are fast becoming commonplace in a lot of other sectors, but it is one piece of technology that law firms don’t seem to have adopted just yet. This could all be set to change, however, with the law sector finally coming on board with this technology. It is expected that virtual and augmented reality will be used to help with client recruitment and engagement. It is also expected that law firms can use these types of technology to help with staff recruitment and training. It means that training sessions can be delivered via AR or VR and won’t take the employee away from the office for as long as if they were going away to train. This will help lower costs and make sure that people are being trained fully and effectively.
SEO is changing all the time, and 2018 will see further changes yet in this piece of technology. Artificial intelligence or AI means that they can answer users search queries from just the first few words. This is known as predictive search and already exists but in 2018 it is expected that this technology will become more advanced and better able to guess what the user wanted to search for. This means that law firms may be cut out of the competition before the user has even had a chance to search for them.
We all have to go, sooner or later. And many of us choose to leave more than memories to the loved ones. This is why making a will and specifying the inheritors has become of utmost importance. If you care about your spouse and children, make sure that their future is secured long after you are gone. Before receiving any money and access to estate, the beneficiaries will have to wait for the probate process to finish and the inheritance distributed. There are several steps for any typical probate.
The first thing to do is to make an inventory of the decedent’s assets and documents. Locate and carefully place Last Will and Testament, funeral instructions, and/or a Revocable Living Trust. Furthermore, you must find documents relevant to the decedent’s financial situation (bank and brokerage statements, stock and bond certificates, life insurance policies, corporate records, car and boat titles).
Also, check if there are any debts to be paid before accessing the assets. Verify utility bills, credit card bills, mortgages, personal loans, medical bills and the funeral bill. The Personal Representative will have to decide which debts are legitimate and must be paid.
Next, get appointed as Personal Representative of the probate estate or accept appointment as Successor Trustee. It is important to determine who will handle the assets during the probate process. If probate is needed then a Personal Representative will need to be appointed by the probate court. Determining the executor is a delicate matter and the choice must be done keeping in mind numerous factors, including the deceased wishes and the representative’s eligibility.
After naming the executor (or personal representative), the hard part begins.
The whole fortune must be evaluated. Again, this is a very sensitive and complicated process, since it involves calculating the value of the assets at the date of death. As you can imagine, this has a deep impact when calculating money in foreign currency or oversea properties. Also, now it is determined if the estate or trust will be subject to state estate taxes, state inheritance taxes, and/or federal estate taxes. Then, the executor will need to pay the decedent’s final bills and the expenses of administering the estate or trust.
Furthermore, the executor will also file all applicable estate tax returns and/or inheritance tax returns, the decedent’s final income tax return(s) and initial and final estate or trust income tax returns. And it must do that as fast as possible, in order to avoid penalties.
I’ve previously written an article explaining how to get winding up petitions dismissed and withdrawn and another, five months later, revealing how HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was responsible for issuing the vast majority of winding up petitions in Britain.
Sadly, very little has changed over the past three years and today, HMRC issues approximately 80 per cent of the winding up petitions received by the High Court in London – around 800 every month.
HMRC issues approximately 80 per cent of the winding up petitions received by the High Court in London – around 800 every month.
If you are behind on your VAT or PAYE tax returns; HMRC has imposed penalty charges on you; or moved your records from a local office to their collections department, chances are you have probably already been issued with a winding up petition, or soon will be.
In order to consider their options comprehensively, the director(s) must acknowledge the company is insolvent and unable to pay bills as and when they are due.
Nevertheless, a winding up petition from HMRC does not necessarily mean the company will face a compulsory liquidation.
The second article (posted in November 2010), notes how a director who receives a winding up petition from HMRC avoided closing down his business by entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
In addition to a CVA, there are several available options:
1) The quickest and simplest solution is to pay the petition in full before the hearing date.
2) The director(s) may attempt to save the company by allowing it to go into liquidation, especially if there is nothing worth saving and the company has no value. They can incorporate a new company and continue trading, usually with the assets from the previous company.
3) Another viable option is a pre-pack administration, whereby the company enters into administration so it can be protected from creditors. Then, all the assets are bought back from the administrator and trade starts again, but without the barrier of having to deal with old creditors.
4) Make representation to HMRC and ask for an adjournment of the first hearing date. Providing they receive a substantial payment, usually 50 per cent of the amount owed, the court should agree.
5) Usually, petitions are preceded by a lengthy period of warnings, reminders and notices of proceedings. If you have not done so already, make representation to HMRC for an adjournment to get more time to pay the bill.