Tuesday, May 19, 2009 VOLUME 2 ISSUE 4
Why Wonder "What If?"
Call 1 (800) 435-5081 for the Answer
In This Issue
Quotes From Members
Thank you so much for your newsletter. I have always received prompt, courteous and adequate help from your firm every time I have called. Thank you again. It’s a comfort to know that our family has your firm to turn to for legal assistance.
Thanks to you I saved a lot of money during a divorce. You people are allright in my book. I do appreciate all the advice you have given me and have provided a new self-esteem and confidence in myself I never thought I would achieve.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank the attorneys at Davis Miles for the help they gave me in a recent child support battle. I was owed only an additional one hundred dollars a month and wanted to have the ex pay half of my daughter’s private school tuition. The support I got was great. I sent the ex the proposed schedule of payment and guess what? He is paying both child support and half the tuition. It is helping my household a great deal. I was always afraid to try to get what my daughter deserved but the assistance at Pre-Paid Legal helped me so much. Thanks again!
I have been a member of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. since 1986, and have always been pleased with the excellent service. Cases have been solved and handled in a timely and courteous manner.
I found the entire staff that I was in contact with to be very friendly, efficient and knowledgeable, from the intake process to actually speaking to an attorney. I was treated with the highest regard that could be given a client (something you see little of nowadays).
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Seminar date: June 21, 2006 7 pm to 8 pm
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION] Swimming With the Sharks
by Daniel J. Marco
It is Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.’s firm belief that a well-informed and educated member is a happy member. Many people join Pre-Paid Legal out of a sense of uncertainty – the path to justice is fraught with so many procedural hurdles and legal loopholes that just having someone to turn to "just in case" helps our members sleep easier at night. The ability to call a lawyer and just chat about alternatives involving legal disputes is novel, and, in today’s complex world, something that just makes sense. People who do not have the wherewithal to call a lawyer simply swim with the sharks, hoping that things either pass them by, or just go their way; it almost never does.
However, both Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. and Davis Miles, PLLC, believe that we can go just one-step further – something beyond the phone call. Let’s face it, many legal problems are caused by mistakes in thought, word and deed, however honestly made, that would not have occurred in the first place if our members had more knowledge before they acted. These mistakes can take months, if not years to overcome. Knowledge is the key – – knowledge is power!
So, with that in mind, we have decided to offer a series of seminars to our members, FREE OF CHARGE as an added benefit of membership. The first seminar is on Estate Planning. This may not be a fun topic for many people but what happens to our assets after we die is of concern to us all. Why work your whole life only to have your work sucked away by probate and taxes? (See related article "Ten Often Asked Estate Planning Questions" in this issue of the newsletter.)
If there is enough interest, we plan to continue the series by exploring the following topics:
* Personal Injury
* Business Law and tactics
* Family Law and Adoption
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION] Ten Often Asked Estate Planning Questions
by Charles E. Davis
1. Q: What is Probate, and is it something I should avoid?
A: It is an expensive court-administered process for getting property from the name of the deceased into the hands of the heirs. The heirs are determined either by a Will or the statutes of Arizona, where there is no Will. We suggest that if your estate that would be subject to probate is worth more than $100,000 you should take steps to avoid probate.
2. Q: Do I need a Living Trust?
A: It depends on the size of your estate (including life insurance). But if you own real estate it is generally advantageous to have a trust.
3. Q: How does a Living Trust work?
A: If it is properly funded it will avoid probate of the assets held by it and do with your assets whatever you designate. Trusts are extremely flexible and can be drafted to do just about whatever you want.
4. Q: What are the differences between: 1) a Living Trust, 2) a Living Will, 3) a Last Will & Testament, and 4) Powers of Attorney?
A: A living trust is an amazingly flexible vehicle that allows you to designate with respect to your property who gets what, when and how. A living will is written instructions about your future medical care if you become unable to speak for yourself that express your wish to refuse or accept treatment. A Last Will and Testament designates where your assets that are subject to probate go. A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes people to act for you on legal matters if you are unable to act for yourself (e.g. you are unconscious, have had heart attack or suffer brain damage).
5. Q: Does a Living Trust protect my property from lawsuits or creditors?
A: Generally, no. But there are other ways to do this. (Ask to consult with a T-5 Attorney who works in this area)
6. Q: Will my children have to pay estate taxes at my death?
A: No. If there are taxes due, they must be paid before any distribution to your children. Whether there will be taxes to pay depends on the size of the estate (including life insurance payable on the life of the decedent) and whether the parties have done any estate planning to avoid the payment of taxes.
7. Q: How does my life insurance, IRA, or 401(k) affect my estate plan?
A: It depends, but generally, they will be included in your estate for estate tax calculations, regardless of who the named beneficiary is on the accounts. Proper planning may avoid any tax on these amounts.
8. Q: Do the HIPAA laws affect the operation of my estate plan?
A: They can. That’s why we include special provisions in our documents to address that issue.
9. Q: How can I make sure that my children’s inheritance is not spent too quickly?
A: By using a Trust that clearly states what they get and when.
10. Q: How can I keep my children’s inheritance from going to an ex-spouse upon a divorce?
A: By using a properly drafted Trust.
If you would like to discuss your estate plan in detail, call Davis Miles, PLLC, and ask to be referred to one of our T-5 attorneys with expertise in estate planning. As a Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. member, you will receive special discounts on planning your estate and preparing the documents.
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION] Personal Injury 24-Hour Hotline: (480) 254-2251
by Lauri A. Reijonen
When you have a personal injury claim, Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.’s membership benefits can save you thousands of dollars. Do the math and see for yourself why it pays to be a member.
1.) You pay 25% less attorney fees in contingency cases. If customary attorney fees are 1/3 of the settlement, your contingency fees are only ¼ of the settlement. In a case that settles for $25,000 you will save over $2,000 in attorney fees.
2.) If you are a PPL member and have a personal injury claim, Davis Miles, PLLC will negotiate with your medical providers and is often able to get reductions on your medical bills. This free service will put more money directly into your pocket.
3.) If you have a personal injury claim against a person or entity and call us immediately after the incident, we will be able to advise you on your case and how to protect your rights. The value of a personal injury case is greatly affected by what you do within the first five days after the accident.
CALL DAVIS MILES, your Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. provider law firm, even from the scene of the accident — our 24-hour injury hotline is available to you ANY TIME DAY OR NIGHT: (480) 254-2251. The earlier you are represented in a case, the better opportunity we have of ensuring that you are justly compensated.
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION] Don’t Get Scammed!
by Gregory L. Miles
Scam artists are making increasing use of the internet. It causes great frustration to the persons who receive emails and other scams to get them to part with their money. They either feel they are missing a “big win” or after they have parted with their money they discover that they have given it away foolishly and needlessly.
Some ways to assist you in identifying factors which will protect you from being involved in scams and assist you in recognizing situations which put you at danger for identity theft follow:
A person receives an email indicating that they have either inherited money, won a lottery, or in some other manner are entitled to payment of a very large sum of money. Typically these emails come from out of the United States – – often from Nigeria or other African country. The nature of this scam involves a representation that the person is entitled to a large sum of money, but must “pay” taxes, fees or some other sum in order to collect their prize or inheritance.
The email may be from a so-called “lawyer,” “barrister,” “executor” or other person with an official sounding title. They may claim that the money has been collected or is in trust or escrow for the benefit of the recipient but can only be released upon payment of a certain sum of money. Usually, payment is requested to be made by wire transfer, cashier’s check or Western Union money-gram. Usually the funds are transferred in such a manner that once collected by the scam artist they cannot be easily recovered.
You may receive regular mail enclosing a check for a large amount of money with a letter instructing you to deposit the check in your acount and then to transfer back a certain portion, usually 10-20% of the sum back to the person providing the check. Two or three weeks later, it is discovered that the original check or money order was a fraud and the bank then turns on the depositor seeking to reclaim the funds and claiming the depositor has committed a crime.
Typically, when the person being scammed starts to ask questions, the scam artist will attempt to make the person feel guilty. Claims such as “the debt has been incurred and somebody is suffering if you do not pay the money” or, “you are going to lose this inheritance from a family member and I am going to have to give it to someone else.” Such circumstances rarely, if ever, arise in real life and are almost always a fraud.
Some tell-tale signs of a scam artist:
1. Usually involves an opportunity to acquire a sum of money which was unexpected or unearned.
2. Almost always involves a payment of funds by the person scammed to someone else. Often the person requesting payment claims to have some official title.
3. Funds are often unavailable until the person who is being scammed has delivered their money to the scam artist.
4. Often involves a claim that there is a law which requires the IRS to be paid before funds can be distributed, or someone has incurred a debt or obligation to allow distribution of the money.
Any time you are contacted and told that you are going to receive a large sum of money in exchange for a payment, and this contact does not relate to a known relative or circumstance, an immediate “red flag” should go up and you should contact Davis Miles, PLLC, your Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. provider at (800) 435-5081.
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION] Success Stories
One of our attorneys wrote a demand letter for a member and the opposing party sent a check to the member for $109,016.39 in response to the demand – the member was happy!
A demand was sent in behalf of one of our members for a refund of tuition for a refrigeration class. The opposing party is now willing to refund the $3,400 – we are glad we can help!
With our attorney’s help, a member was able to satisfactorily resolve the complaint they had against their insurance company.
A letter written in behalf of one of our members produced a repayment of $3,000.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only and readers must consult with a lawyer to determine a) whether any information is specifically applicable to you, b) whether you understand the information correctly, c) whether there are any other laws or changes in the laws that would affect you.