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Non-Deductible Donations, Phony Contests, Renting Timeshares, and More – Free Joe Friday 2/4/11

with 2 comments


Every Friday, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss last week’s Free Joe Friday? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Ellen: Is it legal in NY State to drive a vehicle of a person who passed 6 months earlier, have a accident and total the car, their fault and sue the other party, car was still insured. Vehicle was part of a estate?

Joe Escalante: I don’t see anything illegal about that unless you stole the car from the estate. If you have injuries, the at fault party still has a duty to make you whole (pay to fix you). They also have a duty to make the estate whole. The insurance from the car that was not at fault doesn’t need to be bothered unless you have one of those “no-fault” policies that give me a head ache to think about.

Jeanne: This is great, Joe! What is the limit of time to file an age or disability discrimination claim? Thanks! :-)

Joe Escalante: EEOC claims generally must be filed within 180 days of when you realized your were being discriminated against. Some states have laws that can extend this, if you are past the deadline, get a lawyer that knows how to work the exceptions to these deadlines, because there are some.

Denise: I am a self employed(sole proprietor) of a small business suffering through some tough economic times. Here is my dilemma – I am a single mom of 4, separated in eyes of court since February ’07, but living apart from ex since Oct ’06, lost home to foreclosure in ’06, had car repossessed, had to move 2 times since to survive. I really want a divorce but can’t afford the fees and currently my ex pays my health benefits. and I would not be able to pay them on my own. He pays child support but it is barely enough to pay my rent.
My question is, can I make him continue to pay my health benefits after a divorce and I feel he should pay the divorce fees since he left me in a financial mess when he ran off with a business partner. I just don’t have the funds. Help!

Joe Escalante: The court would decide in a support order how much your spouse should pay after a divorce. You can always ask for whatever you think you deserve and make your best case. You can’t make him pay for divorce fees but you could ask the court to waive them in most states. As far as attorney fees, those would be listed in expenses you report to the court when calculating how much support you need. Is that a Porsche I see you driving?

Kai: What would happen if I collect donations for my nonprofit without my 501(3) tax exempt number?

Joe Escalante: Well, you could enjoy them, but when the donor tries to deduct them, they will be in for a surprise. If you advertise that people can deduct donations, and they can’t, you’re in trouble. If you tell them they can donate, but you have no tax exempt status, you are in less trouble but I don’t know what the tax consequences would be. That’s for your tax lady.

Kimberly: Joe i have durable power of attorney for my step father. I understand it will become null and void at his death. I am handling his financial affairs to the best possible with what he has, unfortunately he is incurring more debt than he can pay. Will i be held responsible for these debts after his death?

Joe Escalante: Only his estate will be liable for these debts, unless a creditor could prove that you mishandled his funds in a negligent or criminal manner. You are not doing that I assume. I you are, stop and mend your ways. :)

Chris: Good Morning Joe.. What action can one take if they were awarded a prize, & returned notarized paperwork , but never got the prize?

Joe Escalante: Contest and prize laws vary from state to state and they are tricky, but they are usually pretty tough on the contest holders to protect consumers. Also, I would have to look at that paperwork to know your exact rights, but regardless of what the paperwork says, if what they did was unfair you could sue them for the full value of the prize and any other damages associated with trying to collect it. The court will focus more on what is fair rather than what it says in that paperwork but I would still have to look at it. Not that I want to, but I would have to. Not that I am, but you know what I mean.
Talk to the states attorney general office. They are usually very interested in unscrupulous contest holders.

Deanna: Why is it that someone who is obviously needing dissability from the government is automatically turned down time after time when they have done everything asked by them. The ONLY way to get it is to hire a lawyer.

Joe Escalante: Nothing is obvious to most government workers. Keep up the good fight Deanna!

Denise: We leased a property “as is”.We are unable to get our building permits because owner hasn’t platted. Are we stuck?

Joe Escalante: It depends on what your reasonable expectation was. If you were deceived, you may be entitled to recision of the deal, or sue for damages.

Nicole: Good Morning Joe, I’m just starting a promotion modeling agency .I recently recieved my LLC papers from legal Zoom .What kind of insurance should I get ? also,do I have an attorney write up a contract form for me to use for liquor distrubutors to sub contract for promotions.?

Joe Escalante: Legalzoom has an excellent independent contractor form that might work well for you. http://www.legalzoom.com/legalforms/independent-contractor-agreement-general.html
as far as insurance goes, talk to a nice interesting insurance man. Tell him what you are up to, get a quote, and shop around. Legalzoom has some business insurance partners in their Small Business Resource Center. I would start there. Look for the link below. Thanks and good luck.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Nicole: http://businessresources.legalzoom.com/offers/insurance-security/insurance

Good Morning Joe, I am going through a divorce and currently dealing with the separation of debts. One of the debts is a motorcycle that was purchased by my ex-wife as a birthday gift for me a few years back. It was financed with a credit card under her name only. There is still a balance on the motorcycle so she wants me to take over payments and transfer it under my name. I would rather let her keep it and deal with the payments. What are my options here? Thanks in advance

Joe Escalante: Your problem may be that if she doesn’t pay the payments the creditors may come after you, even if you give it back to her. You could try to get the court to make her pay the payments but that’s going to be ugly. Best thing to do is sell the motorcycle, pay it off and split any costs or profit.

Charles: Can renting time shares be considered a business?

Joe Escalante: If you are talking about a time share that you own, you need to read the agreement. that will govern what you can and cannot do with your interest in the property.

Charles: How do you sever a military retirement after a divorce? What you do if the ex-spouse won’t cooperate and sign documents or even respond to the request?

Joe Escalante: She sounds great. Would you mind if I gave her a call sometime? There are lawyers that specialize in military benefits. You need one of those. Document all the non-response you are dealing with. Always make requests in writing; registered letters, etc.

Get more info and all the details and fine print about Free Joe Fridays. And join us on Facebook next Friday at 10am PT for more Free Joe!

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February 8th, 2011 at 7:09 am