Child Support for Unmarried Parents

Child Support for Unmarried Parents

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the state typically grants full child custody to the mother automatically. This means that from the moment of birth the mother is the sole, legal decision maker for the child. By having full custody, the mother is also able to have the child live with her full-time. It’s at this point you should realize that you need a child custody lawyer to help you get everything legal. Even if you think things are fine, they can blow up in a flash.

Make Sure You Establish Paternity

For the father of the child to receive any parental rights, he must first establish paternity. To be recognized as a parent, he is required to complete a DNA test proving biological paternity, and must also sign a formalized document stating that he is the father shortly after the child is born.

Child Support and Child Custody

An unmarried father who has established paternity now shares the mother’s responsibilities in providing proper care for the child. These duties can include providing financial assistance for the child through child support. If the mother files a motion for the court to decide on child support payments, a judge can step in and determine what amount of monetary support is appropriate. Similar to married couples, child support payments will be determined based on both parents’ incomes and the best interests of the child.

If a father would like to increase time spent with the child, he can also file for a court order to increase visitation. However, the unmarried father must have established paternity before seeking any visitation or custodial rights.

Do You Need a Divorce?

A divorce can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, but especially for kids. If you have children and are in the process of going through a divorce, you should consider the following tips.
Listed below are some tips to help you protect your kids from your divorce and ensure your children’s well-being during divorce. Talk to them. It is important to talk to your kids about the divorce. Let them know what’s going on, and make sure they know it is not their fault and that they are not going to lose their parents. Keep the divorce private. Don’t post public messages on social media outlets, talk loudly on the phone to your lawyer or friends, or leave adversarial papers around your house for the kids to see. Children are naturally curious, so while you don’t need to lie or sneak around, be careful about what you expose them to.

Don’t bring the kids into it. Sadly, many parents feel the need to appeal to their children to back them up in arguments or act as a spy on the other parent. This is one of the most unfair things you can do to your child. Don’t let it get in the way of parenting. Nothing should cause you to neglect your role as a parent. During a divorce, your kids need you more than ever. Continue to be communicative and affectionate with them. Keep yourself healthy. The stress of a divorce can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. You cannot take care of your kids without first taking care of yourself. Try to exercise more and eat healthy during your divorce.

Free Consultation with Child Support Lawyer

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/child-support-for-unmarried-parents/

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Why Avoid Putting Some Things In Your Will

Why Avoid Putting Some Things In Your Will

Making a last will and testament is a smart decision and its part of estate planning. It tells your surviving loved ones exactly what your wishes are regarding your property and assets. However, there are some things that you can’t or shouldn’t include in your will.

There are certain types of property you can’t include when making a will. If you do, then it won’t actually work like you think it will. Let me explain.

Some types of property carry rules that govern what happens after you die. These rules are independent of your will, mostly because the nature of these types of properties is to name a beneficiary or avoid probate.
Joint tenancy property. This type of property grants the right of survivorship to your joint tenant, automatically by law. Therefore, when you die, your share of the property passes directly to the surviving joint tenant, regardless of what your will says.

Property in a living trust. One of the ways to avoid probate is to set up a living trust. The property included in a living trust avoids probate; whereas property in your will does not. Additionally, willing property to someone in your will when that property is already delegated to someone by a living trust is inconsistent. The property in the living trust automatically goes to the beneficiaries and is managed by the trustee. If you want to change this arrangement, you must do it through the trust forms and documents and not through your will.

Life insurance proceeds that have a beneficiary. In this case, like with the trust, the proceeds automatically go to the beneficiary.

Retirement plan proceeds, including money from a pension, IRA, or 401(k). The forms for these plans contain a section for you to include your desired beneficiary.

Stocks and bonds held in beneficiary. This is yet another type of property that automatically goes to your named beneficiary. Talk to the brokerage company if you wish to change the named beneficiary.

Proceeds from a payable-on-death bank account. The form for this account asks you to name your beneficiary. To change the beneficiary, you just fill out another form with your bank.

Usually, the settling of the estate and the probate proceedings do not happen until after the funeral. The funeral arrangements are among the first matters of business after someone dies. Therefore, people may not even notice your funeral wishes stated in your will until after the funeral. Instead of leaving your funeral wishes in your will, talk with your loved ones about what you want. You can even make a separate document that spells out your wishes for the funeral, and give this document to the executor or executrix of your estate.

A will is still subject to estate taxes. Instead of trying to use a will to avoid the often heavy estate taxes, explore different types of trusts that may work for your situation. Trusts escape a lot of tax subjection, because the property is not passing directly to the beneficiary, rather to the trust account, over which the beneficiary does not have complete control.
Wills do not escape probate
A common misconception is that wills do not have to go through probate proceedings. This is not true. Wills are still subject to probate proceedings. Probate proceedings can take months. However, having a will does help to speed up the probate process, because your loved ones, lawyers, and the probate court are not left having to divide all of your property for you. You have already explained how it should be divided, and the court will follow your wishes. There are other ways you can avoid probate. One common way is leaving the property to a trust fund, with the desired recipient a beneficiary, instead of granting the property directly to that person.

Be careful with what conditions you put on gifts

Not all of those conditions are legal. Conditions that include marriage, divorce, or the change of the recipient’s religion cannot be provisions in a legal will. Therefore, a court will not enforce them. You can put certain other types of conditions on gifts. Usually, these types of conditions are to encourage someone to do or not do something. For example, when making a will, you could say, “to Allison, if and when she graduates from college.” You could also say something like, “to Paul, so long as he uses the property as an art studio.” Just keep in mind that putting conditions on gifts can complicate things. Think about who will actually enforce these conditions, for how long, and does the enforcer get anything like an executor’s fee?

Avoid leaving gifts or money for illegal purposes

Although this is uncommon, some people will try and sneak in some sort of illegal condition or purpose for the gift. This would not make your will a legal will. For example, you wouldn’t be able to include, “to Mary, so long as she uses the property to grow marijuana,” or “To Jane, so long as she has her first beer before she is 21 years old.”
Do not arrange care for a special needs person when making a will
Although it is very possible to arrange such special needs for a disabled person, a will is not the place in which to do it. There are certain types of trusts, such as a special needs trust, that specifically address the management of the specific special needs of a disabled person.
Avoid leaving gifts to pets in a will
Animals do not have the legal capacity to own property. What many people do instead is they leave the pet with someone who they know will provide it with good care. You can also leave that person any property or money to help out with the care of the pet. Certain states do allow for trusts with an animal as the beneficiary. If this makes you more comfortable, check to see what your state’s laws are. However, as long as you believe in the person you are leaving your pet with, you probably do not need a pet trust fund. We can set up a pet trust for you if you’re interest, but that’s different than a will.

Free Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer

When you are ready to make your will or if you have an estate issue you need help with, 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/why-avoid-putting-some-things-in-your-will/

Is a Business Liable for an Employee’s Actions?

Is a Business Liable for an Employee's Actions

Employers, and not the employees themselves, will often be held liable for the conduct of their employees. This is true even if the employer had no intention to cause harm and played no physical role in the harm. To understand why, you have to understand two basic concepts that underlie employer liability.

Employers are seen as directing the behavior of their employees and accordingly must share in the good as well as the bad results of that behavior. By the same token that an employer is legally entitled to the rewards of an employee’s labor (profit), an employer also has the legal liability if that same behavior results in harm.

When someone is injured or harmed and needs to be compensated, who is the most likely to pay: the employee or the employer? Fair or not, the legal system is interested in making the victim whole, and assigning liability to the employer rather than the employee has the best chance of meeting that goal.

Job-Related Accidents

Employers are vicariously liable under the doctrine of “respondeat superior” for the negligent acts or omissions by their employees in the course of employment. We’ve seen this as business lawyers. The key phrase is “in the course of employment”. For an act to be considered within the course of employment, it must either be authorized by the employer or be so closely related to an authorized act that an employer should be held responsible.

This means that there is a significant difference between an employee that causes a job-related accident and an employee who causes an accident while on the job that is unrelated to his or her employment. Courts sometime use the terms “detour” or “frolic” to signify the difference.

A detour is a deviation from explicit instructions, but so related to the original instructions that the employer will still be held liable. A frolic on the other hand, is simply the employee acting in his or her own capacity rather than at the instruction of an employer. Here are some examples to illustrate the difference:

A company loans its sales staff vehicles to enable them to make sales calls in the area. Late at night, a sales person drives out to a bar for purely personal fun and hits a pedestrian. The employer will likely not be held responsible because, although the car is owned by the employer, the employee was using the car for personal, not business, reasons when the accident occurred.

A company loans its sales staff vehicles to enable them to make sales calls in the area. As part of doing business, the company encourages its sale staff to take potential clients out for dinner and drinks. One night, after taking a client out for drinks, the employee is driving home and hits a pedestrian. The employer likely will be held responsible since it encourages sales people to take clients out for food and drinks, and that is precisely what the employee was doing when the accident occurred. Employer liability would be more ambiguous in this example if the employee turned out to be intoxicated (something the employer might have expected to happen, but likely would have warned the employee against).

A company gives its employees cell phones to enable them to call into meetings and stay in touch while traveling. While away from the office, an employee calls in for a telephone conference, becomes distracted, and hits another car causing serious injury. The employer is likely liable for the car accident.

A company gives its employees cell phones to enable them to call into meetings and stay in touch while traveling. An employee decides to call his mom to let her know that he’ll be in town next week to visit. During the call he becomes distracted and runs into another car causing serious injury. The employer is likely not liable for the car accident, unless a jury decides that the employer should have known that employees would use the phone for personal calls and took no steps to prevent misuse of the phone.

A special type of work-related accident occurs when one employee injures another employee while on the job. Workers’ compensation protects you from being sued by your employee provided that the employee was acting within the scope of his or her job when the accident occurred. Instead of filing a lawsuit, the employee would submit a claim to receive payment for lost wages, medical bills, etc.

Negligent Hiring – Negligent Retention

Negligent hiring or retention liability, unlike job related misconduct, arises from acts performed by an employee outside the scope of his or her employment. The most common example of this is to hold an employer liable for the criminal conduct of an employee, which is obviously outside the scope of employment. The basis for liability is that the employer acted carelessly in hiring a criminal for a job that the employer should have expected would expose others to harm.

An ice cream sales company hires a man convicted of sexually assaulting a minor to drive its ice cream truck and sell ice cream to children. The business is likely liable because it was negligent in hiring a man known to have assaulted minors, and then giving him access to those minors as customers.

An elder care facility hires a woman convicted of fraud and identity theft against elderly people to look after and care for the facilities patients. The business is likely liable because it was negligent in hiring a woman who was already convicted of scamming the elderly and giving her access to potential victims.

A cable company hires a man without a background check and directs him to go to customer’s houses and install cable equipment. It turns out he’s been convicted twice of rape, and while at a customer’s house to install equipment, he rapes the occupant. The business is likely liable because it was negligent in hiring someone who has access to private houses without a background check, as well as being liable for hiring someone with a history of rape to meet privately with customers in their home.

The key to most negligent hiring and retention cases is providing employees with access to potential victims without doing the necessary examination of the employees’. Accordingly, to avoid liability for negligent hiring, an employer should always run a background check on an employee, and be especially careful if the employee has contact with the public. If you as an employer become aware of something after the fact, then handle the matter immediately to avoid negligent retention liability.

Workplace Harassment Claims

Workplace harassment of employees by other employees has become an increasingly problematic source of business liability for employers. Workplace harassment violates federal law if it involves discriminatory treatment based on: race, color, sex (with or without sexual conduct), religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or the employee’s opposition job discrimination or participation in an investigation or complaint proceeding under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC.

Workplace harassment does not include simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. The conduct must be sufficiently frequent or severe to create a hostile work environment or result in a “tangible employment action,” such as hiring, firing, promotion, or demotion.

Even if the harassment did not lead to a “tangible employment action,” the employer can still be held liable unless it proves that the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassment; and the employee suffering the harassment unreasonably failed to complain to management or to avoid harm otherwise.

To avoid workplace harassment liability, employers should establish, distribute and enforce a policy prohibiting harassment, and set out a procedure for making complaints. Preferably, the policy and procedure should be in writing. Small businesses owners may avoid liability through less formal means.

If a business is sufficiently small that the owner maintains regular contact with all employees, the owner can tell the employees at staff meetings that harassment is prohibited, that employees should report such conduct promptly, and that a complaint can be brought straight to any supervisor or the business owner.

Make sure you conduct an investigation. It is not enough to simply create a harassment policy. A business must also conduct prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations into any complaint that arises, and undertake swift and appropriate corrective action to fulfill its responsibility to “effectively prevent and correct harassment.” We have represented several companies with regards to different liability issues.

Free Consultation with a Business Lawyer

When you have an employment or business law issue you need help with, 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/is-a-business-liable-for-an-employees-actions/

Patents

Patents

In order for a patent claim to be valid, it must propose a concept, idea, or item that is useful, novel, and non-obvious. These terms may seem vague, but they have specific legal meanings that correspond with federal patent law. And even when an idea or invention is technically nonobvious, at least from an engineer’s perspective, it may not meet the legal criteria.
In any event, as an intellectual property lawyer, we are trained to make these often minute distinctions when counseling inventors or business organizations. The terms “useful,” “novel,” and “non-obvious” — as they relate to the criteria of what may be patented — are explained in greater detail below.

A Patent must be useful

The term “useful” means that the subject matter has a useful purpose. It also requires that the item is operable, since a machine that can’t perform its intended purpose cannot be considered useful in the ordinary sense of the word. Since the decision over whether an invention is useful could be considered subjective, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has corresponding examination guidelines. These include the following items- An invention has a well-established utility if (i) a person of ordinary skill in the art would immediately appreciate why the invention is useful based on the characteristics of the invention (e.g., properties or applications of a product or process), and (ii) the utility is specific, substantial, and credible. An applicant need only provide one credible assertion of specific and substantial utility for each claimed invention to satisfy the utility requirement. If it’s rejection is based on lack of utility should include a detailed explanation why the claimed invention has no specific and substantial credible utility. Whenever possible, the examiner should provide documentary evidence.

A Patent must be novel

“Novelty” is strictly defined by patent law, essentially referring to the originality of the idea. An invention cannot be patented if the invention was known or used by others in the United States before the patent applicant invented it. The invention was patented or described in any printed publication, before the patent applicant invented it. The invention was patented or described in a printed publication in any country more than one year prior to the inventor’s U.S. patent application. The invention was in public use or on sale in the United States more than one year prior to the inventor’s U.S. patent application.

These rules don’t prevent a person from patenting an improvement to another invention, however. For example, tire makers have long known the formulas for making tire rubber. But what if an inventor found a way to make tire rubber twice as long-lasting by slightly changing the chemical composition? This could well be a patentable improvement as long as the difference wasn’t obvious.

It needs to be non-obvious

Even if a new invention differs in one or more ways from another patented invention, a patent may still be refused if the differences would be obvious. Non-obviousness is defined as a sufficient difference from what has been used or described before that a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention would not find it obvious to make the change. For example, sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium chloride (a chemically similar salt) can often be used interchangeably. A chemist working to improve road salt would consider it obvious to substitute potassium chloride for sodium chloride, so a formula that simply made this substitution in an already patented road salt formula would not be patentable.

Free Consultation with an Intellectual Property Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an IP matter you need help with. If you do, please 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/patents/

Divorce and Property Division

Divorce and Property Division

One of the most contentious aspects of a divorce is dividing property. The hate and anger can cause normal people to do the unthinkable – which they later regret. You don’t want to regret things later – you want to take the higher road.

Fortunately, not all divorces get that out of hand. Utah’s Equitable Distribution Law provides for the fair, though not necessarily equal, division of property in a divorce. This statute categorizes property into two types:

Separate property is generally excluded from division in a divorce. It includes property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage. Any inheritance one spouse gets, even during marriage, is separate property. There are instances in which separate property – or the increase in its value – can become marital property.

Marital property includes property obtained by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. For example, if only one spouse’s name was on the deed to a home they bought while married, the other spouse would still be entitled to a portion of its value. In a divorce, the court divides marital property based on considerations including the following – each spouse’s income and property at the time of the marriage. Each spouse’s age and health. How long the marriage lasted. The direct or indirect contributions of each spouse to the household (i.e., as a wage earner or homemaker). Whether the custodial parent needs the home to care for the children. Judges will also consider each spouse’s probable future financial circumstances (including support awarded in the divorce), the loss of inheritance and pension benefits and the tax consequences for each spouse. They might also take into account wasteful spending, property destruction or spousal abuse.

Helps So You Can Begin Your Divorce Process in a Civil Way

When people think of divorce, what often comes to mind are contentious, drawn-out court hearings filled with anger and insults. However, this is not usually the case. The divorce process can be remarkably civil if both sides commit themselves to being calm and amicable.

Below are a few helps to help make your divorce as civil as possible – communicate: At some point, you may need to tell your spouse you’ve been having doubts about your relationship and have decided you want a divorce. There’s no way to “ghost” from a marriage. If you want to take away some of the shock, you can reach the point of using the “d” word gradually. Find several times to discuss your unhappiness with your spouse before you ultimately tell him or her you want to end your marriage. Go to therapy if your spouse wants it: Your spouse may tell you he or she wishes to pursue couples therapy. If this is the case, put in a legitimate effort (unless domestic violence or abuse is involved). Even if therapy does not save your marriage, it can help you reach some important decisions as to how you will tell your children, family members and friends about your split. Deescalate arguments: If you have decided you will move forward with a divorce, it does neither side any good to argue about things that have happened in the past. Nothing good can come of those arguments, so shut them down as soon as they seem like they’re about to begin. This can help you keep things amicable during the divorce process.

Tell your children together: Sit down as a couple and tell your children about your decision. Reassure them it is not at all their fault. Do not blame each other — focus instead on the ways you will keep life as consistent as possible for your kids moving forward. Don’t talk negatively about your former spouse: It is unfair to your former partner and to your children for you to badmouth your former spouse. Your kids need to maintain a good relationship with both parents, so you should never purposefully say or do anything that paints the other parent in a bad light.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

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 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/divorce-and-property-division/

Why You Need a Will

Why You Need a Will

Having a will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family as a part of estate planning. Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.

You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized (which may or may not always be a family member).

You decide who will take care of your minor children. A will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Absent a will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.

To avoid a lengthy probate process. Contrary to common belief, all estates must go through the probate process, with or without a will as a part of probate law. Having a will, however, speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided. Probate courts serve the purpose of “administering your estate”, and when you die without a will (known as dying “intestate”), the court will decide how to divide estate without your input, which can also cause long, unnecessary delays.

You can minimize the estate taxes. Another reason to have a will is because it allows you to minimize your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.

You can disinherit individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit. Most people do not realize they can disinherit individuals out of their will. Yes, you may wish to disinherit individuals who may otherwise inherit your estate if you die without a will. Because wills specifically outline how you would like your estate distributed, absent a will your estate may end up on the wrong hands or in the hands of someone you did not intend (such as an ex-spouse with whom you had a bitter divorce).

You decide how your estate will be distributed. A will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. Having a will helps minimize any family fights about your estate that may arise, and also determines the “who, what, and when” of your estate.

You can make gifts and donations. The ability to make gifts is a good reason to have a will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests. In addition, gifts up to $13,000 are excluded from estate tax, so you’re also increasing the value of your estate for your heirs and beneficiaries to enjoy. Be sure to check the current laws for your year to learn the most up-to-date gift tax exclusions.

You can get rid of greater legal challenges. If you die without a will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend. For example, one case involved the estate of a deceased son who was awarded over $1 million from a wrongful death lawsuit. When the son died, the son’s father – who had not been a part of his son’s life for over 32 years – stood to inherit the entire estate, leaving close relatives and siblings out of the picture!

You can change your mind if your life circumstances change. A good reason for having a will is that you can change it at any time while you’re still alive. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where changing your will are necessary.

You never know when you’re going to die. Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a will. Sometimes the realization that wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. To avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time, it may be wise to meet with an estate planning lawyer to help you draw up a basic estate plan at the minimum, before it’s too late.

Will Lawyer Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have an estate matter you need help with, or you might need a will. If so, 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/why-you-need-a-will/

Bankruptcy Business Debt

Bankruptcy Business Debt

Most businesses will incur some form of debt as a necessary part of operations, whether it’s the use of credit cards or bank loans. However, problems arise when the debt load is unsustainable and out of balance with revenues, sometimes leading to bankruptcy. This section contains information and resources to help a financially troubled business, including personal liability and what to expect when filing for bankruptcy. Also included are government resources to help businesses better understand debt and bankruptcy.

Different Kinds of Debt

Most people are not exactly thrilled about owing people money. But there is a distinction among different kinds of debt, as some debts are held in a much better esteem than others. More to the point, “good debt” refers to debt on assets that earn your business more income than the cost of that debt. The cost of any debt is the interest charged. In contrast, “bad debt” — such as emergency loans meant to keep a business afloat during hard times — doesn’t contribute to the company’s growth and may hurt the company’s overall value.

You may have to incur some bad debt from time to time, but the key is to pay it off as quickly (and painlessly) as possible.

Next Step for Bankruptcy?

Deciding which debts to pay down first can be overwhelming when your company’s revenue is less than your debt obligations and monthly payments. Since you can’t satisfy all debts at the same time, it’s best to prioritize these obligations in a strategic way. For instance, certain debts must be paid in full — taxes, for instance — while other debts can be paid down gradually or even negotiated.

Your unique situation and business needs will dictate how you repay your debts, but the following debts generally should take priority (this is not a comprehensive list): Payroll and payroll taxes – While it may be tempting to use money withheld from employee paychecks to plug financial holes, it could lead to problems come tax time; also, you likely will face steep penalties if you fail to pay your workers on time or in full. Utilities and communications – Resources and services such as electricity, water, telephones, and Internet are absolutely critical to most businesses; and if you fall behind, you may lose these vital services. Loans with personal liability – Partners and sole proprietors are personally liable for business debts, although officers of corporations and LLCs also may be liable for debts they personally guaranteed. Court Judgments – Creditors that have won court judgments against you or your business may legally seize property or even garnish wages. Secured Loans – Many small business owners put up personal property, including their private home, as collateral for a loan; a default could lead to losing one’s home, or home office.

Business Bankruptcy

If you’re unable to secure additional funding or otherwise find yourself without options to revive your struggling business, bankruptcy may be the next step. Businesses that have a shot at a turnaround typically file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This allows businesses to have certain debts forgiven while they reorganize, with limited protections for the suppliers and vendors as well. But generally, the type of bankruptcy available to your business depends on your legal structure, amount (and type) of debts, plans for the future, and your personal liability for these debts. Other types of business bankruptcy — those which are more common for small businesses — include Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. You will want to file Chapter 7 if you are a sole proprietor and therefore liable for all business debts, which involves the liquidation of most assets and the eventual winding-down of operations. Another option for sole proprietorships or partnerships is Chapter 13, which allows you to keep your assets while reorganizing and paying off your debts.

Business Bankruptcy Lawyer Free Consultation

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case for your business, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/bankruptcy-business-debt/

You Can Inherit a Roth IRA

You Can Inherit a Roth IRA

Roth IRAs are not only tax-friendly, but they can be inherited. This is a great way to avoid probate court and leave your loved ones money without the hassle and expense of transferring the money through probate.

Roth IRAs Can Be Inherited


While the subject of Roth IRAs could fill up a book, here are the basics about how Roth IRAs work. Whether or not you can open up a Roth IRA is dependent upon your income. The more money you make, the less per year you are allowed to put into a Roth IRA. When a certain ceiling is hit, you can no longer create or contribute to a Roth IRA. The income level changes every year, so find out what the income level is in your year to see if you can create a Roth IRA. The amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA is controlled by age, with people over 50 being allowed to contribute more than people under 50. You can withdraw after-tax contributions that you make at any time without tax or penalty. However, the earnings on those contributions will be taxed and penalized if you withdraw your earnings before you turn 59 1/2 and have had the account for at least five years.

Tax Advantages for Roth IRAs

Contributions to a Roth IRA, unlike a contribution to a traditional IRA, 401(k)s or Keogh, are not tax deductible. This may seem like a raw deal, but it’s really not. The advantage a Roth IRA adds is that, unlike other retirement accounts, when you withdraw money from the account eventually, it will not be taxed. The best way to see the advantage is to think of a single dollar contribution. Under a Roth IRA, you owe taxes on that one dollar up front, but years down the road when that dollar has grown into say ten dollars, you don’t owe taxes on those ten dollars. The opposite would be true for traditional retirement accounts. The advantage of a Roth IRA is further compounded by the fact that most individuals are in a higher tax bracket as they get older, making the savings even more dramatic.

Roth IRAs and Avoiding the Probate Process

Traditional retirement accounts can avoid probate by assigning a beneficiary for the account upon the death of the account holder, but often have additional requirements that minimize their usefulness when they are inherited. For example, traditional IRAs require the account holder to start withdrawing from the account at age 70 1/2, which obviously means less money in the account for any beneficiary of the account.

Roth IRAs on the other hand, have no withdrawal requirements. This means that if you do not need to withdraw money from it, you can simply let the money grow, significantly increasing the amount of money that a beneficiary receives when the Roth IRA is inherited.

Finally, creating beneficiaries for your Roth IRA is remarkably easy. Simply request a beneficiary form from the account custodian, and name whomever you want as beneficiaries of the account. The account does not need to be named in a will or trust; the beneficiary form itself is sufficient. Upon your death, the beneficiaries only need a copy of your death certificate and personal identification to claim the money in the account.

Estate Planning Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need help with an inherited Roth IRA, probate or other estate matter, please 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/you-can-inherit-a-roth-ira/

Deciding on Custody

Deciding on Custody

Divorcing or separating parents would be able to set aside their personal differences and decide — together — the best custody option for their child(ren). But it doesn’t often work out so smoothly, which leaves it up to the court to make the best decision on behalf of the child’s own best interests. When deciding who gets child custody, courts, judges and court commissioners (who do family law) consider a wide range of factors including household stability, relationships with the parents, and income. Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding who gets custody.

If my child custody case goes to family court, how will the judge decide who gets custody? In deciding who will have custody, the court will consider a number of factors, but the main consideration is always the child’s “best interests,” although that can be hard to determine. Often, the main factor is which parent has been the child’s “primary caretaker.” If the children are old enough, the courts will take their preference into account in making a custody decision.

How can I get legal help with my child custody case? You need to speak with a child custody lawyer for sure. It is vital especially when the custody of your children is at stake. An experienced family law attorney can not only answer questions about child custody in your case, but can also be your strongest advocate, both with opposing counsel and the court. The best way to get started is to look for a family law attorney near you with experience handling custody disputes.

A friend who has gone through a custody dispute told me that the judge in his case placed a lot of importance on determining who the children’s “primary caretaker” was. What is a “primary caretaker”? In custody cases, the “primary caretaker” factor became important as psychologists began to stress the importance of the bond between a child and his or her primary caretaker. This emotional bond is said to be important to the child’s successful passage through his or her developmental stages, and psychologists strongly encourage the continuation of the “primary caretaker”-child relationship after divorce, as being vital to the child’s psychological stability. When determining which parent has been the primary caretaker, courts focus on direct care-taking responsibilities, including grooming and dressing; meal planning and preparation; health and dental care arrangements; and teaching of reading, writing, and math skills. My wife and I just filed for divorce. Who decides who will get custody of our children?

Often the answer to the question “who will get custody?” will be determined in large part by the process that is followed by the parties involved in the child custody situation. In most situations where parents reach an out-of-court agreement on child custody and visitation, the question of “who will get custody” is mostly up to the parents themselves, usually with input from attorneys, counselors, or mediators. If parents in a child custody dispute do not negotiate some form of agreement before going to court, then the custody decision will be made in court, usually by a family court commissioner.

I am the father of a six-month old boy. His mother and I never married, and I am wondering what I can do to get custody of my son. What are my options?Often, an unwed father often cannot win custody over a mother who is a good parent. But, if you can establish that your son’s mother is unfit for parenthood or is incapable of taking care of him, you may be able to get physical custody, especially if you can show that you are the child’s “primary caretaker.” Even if you cannot get physical custody of your son, you should be able to obtain shared legal custody, giving you the right to make important decisions about your son’s upbringing and welfare. In any case, an unmarried father can take steps to secure some form of custody or visitation rights, and ensure an ongoing relationship with his child.

Can anyone other than a parent get custody of a child? In some cases, people other than a child’s parents may wish to obtain custody — including relatives like grandparents, aunts, uncles, close family friends, or other people who wish to get custody of a child. Some states label such a situation as “non-parental” or “third-party” custody. Other states refer to the third-party’s goal in these situations as seeking “guardianship” of the child, rather than custody.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need help with custody, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/deciding-on-custody/

Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes

Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes

Contrary to popular belief, estate plans are not just for the rich and famous. Most people have at least one thing of value — such as money in bank account, a car, a home. The reality is that many people could benefit from having an estate plan in place. Not only can it help maximize the actual value of the estate you’ll pass on to your heirs and beneficiaries, you’ll have an opportunity to make informed decisions concerning how your assets should be handled while you are still alive.

Here are the estate planning mistakes that you need to avoid at all cost:
Not having an estate plan at all. The most common estate planning mistake is not having an estate plan. Unfortunately, no one can escape death, but thoughtful planning for what may occur after your death is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your personal and financial affairs will be handled properly when the inevitable occurs.

Choosing the wrong person to handle your estate. Sometimes the person you think is the best choice for executor of your estate is not always the case. For example, while you may think your spouse or child may be best suited to handle the affairs of the estate when you are gone, there may be someone else who is not as personally invested to objectively handle the extensive duties and demands required of an executor, trustee, or guardian.
Not planning for disability. An unexpected or long term disability can often have greater consequences on your personal and financial affairs. Decisions such as who will handle your finances, raise your children, or make healthcare decisions on your behalf are extremely important. Therefore it may be necessary to appoint a power of attorney and/or create a living trust to work on your behalf if you’re unable to do for yourself.
Not making gifts to reduce your estate tax. A common estate planning mistake is failing to make gifts under your estate plan to reduce your estate taxes. According to the Internal Revenue Code, gifts up to $14,000 a year per spouse may be excluded from estate tax. So gifts made to individuals, groups, or business, are subject to a $28,000 estate tax savings. Not only will this leave more money in your estate for distribution, you can positively impact a specific person or individual cause of your choosing.

Not updating your will. There are many changes that can take place within a family or business structure, such as births, deaths, divorces, and new property acquisitions. Therefore, to ensure the assets you leave behind are given to those you intend, it is wise to perform a periodic update of your will when these changes take place.

Look – this is a big one – don’t put your child’s name on the deed to your house. This is a really bad idea. When you put your child’s name on the deed to your home, you are essentially giving your child a hefty sized taxable gift. (See number 4 above). While gifts up to $14,000 are excluded from estate tax, gifts more than $14,000 per spouse are taxable. Instead, create an estate plan that passes on the home or value via an inheritance.
Not transferring your life insurance policies to a life insurance trust. A life insurance policy is subject to a hefty estate tax when you die, resulting in most of the proceeds going to the IRS instead of your intended beneficiaries. One way to avoid this is to set up a life insurance trust to act as the owner of your life insurance policies. This way you avoid hefty estate taxes being placed on the insurance proceeds, and spare your spouse or beneficiary any undue hardship in waiting up to several months for a pay-out of the insurance proceeds.

Procrastinating. Even for those who realize an estate plan can benefit them, this realization sometimes comes too late in time. To avoid the stress of not having a proper estate plan in place, it would be wise to meet with an estate planning lawyer to help you at least draw up a basic estate.

Not meeting with an experienced legal, financial, or tax professional. Not meeting with an estate planning lawyer or other professional is probably the most common mistake a person might do, especially if you have complicated assets or if you have doubts about your own ability to draft an estate plan. An experienced attorney can provide you with tax-planning strategies based on the particular needs and demands of your estate.
Not taking advantage of the federal exemption (per spouse). For married couples, one of the easiest ways to save on estate taxes is to fully use the federal exemption for each spouse (set at $11.18 million per spouse in 2018). Before 2011, married couples typically created exemption trusts (also called credit shelter trusts or AB trusts) so that when a spouse died, instead of exhausting that spouse’s individual exemption amount, a portion of the estate could be protected in the trust. However, since 2011, surviving spouses are allowed to make a “portability election” which passes any of the deceased spouse’s unused exemption to the surviving spouse, in effect potentially doubling the exemption amount for the surviving spouse.

Estate Planning Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need help planning your estate, 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

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/avoiding-estate-planning-mistakes/