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How Do I Add Members to an LLC? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 8/28/12

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

Monica: How can you add members to an LLC?

Joe Escalante: The nice thing about Legalzoom is they’ve answered this already. Check it out, checker outer:

Amber: Is it possible to file step parent adoption paperwork in WA state with the home study done & not use a lawyer? Where do I find the paperwork?

Joe Escalante: This should be manageable without an attorney. The buzz words are “pro per” and “self represented litigant.” You are representing yourself in pro per. Get the forms from DSHS, that’s who handles adoptions in your state.

Tom: Only thing my parents have of value is the condo they are living in. They owe about $10,000 on it and its worth maybe $80,000. They are in their 80′s. Is it worth setting up a trust for them.

Joe Escalante: Yes. Probate is a true medieval nightmare. Avoid it. “Trust” me.

Tom: what type of trust would you suggest?

Joe Escalante: A living trust. It’s basic. click below and start making one. I recommend having LZ do the property transfers to, they are tedious.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Tom:

Michael: How can you get a pardon

Joe Escalante: Depends on what you did. What did you do? Never mind. I don’t want to know. But pardon’s come from the Governor or the President.
You can get your record expunged by a judge. It’s possible to do it without an attorney, but you should at least spend a few hundred dollars consulting with one first. It’s hard without a good criminal defense attorney. Society is geared toward punishment, not “it’s cool dude, forget about it.”

Michael: My nephew got caught stealing . What he stole was a gun . So when the police arrested him they called it armed robbery.

Joe Escalante: First you fight the charge. Then, if convicted, you appeal. Once all your appeals are exhausted and you’ve served your time, you could apply for a pardon or expungement. They are very rare. Society does not want to erase the criminal record
. If you had a child and the teacher had a robbery conviction, you would want to know. Everyone would have a right to know. This is why it’s so hard to get this stuff erased from your record.

Daniel: Joe, if our business (LLC) in CA or NV has only existed legally (in papers through LegalZoom) but has done cero business, cero sales, cero activity, nothing at all… do we need to file taxes? And if so how much do we pay when the company really does not have any assets or even a bank account yet?

Joe Escalante: This depends on the state where the LLC is doing business. In California, the minimum annual tax is going to be $800.00. They don’t care if you made nothing. In Nevada it would be less, or nothing. But you are still expected to file. That’s
why people shouldn’t start LLCs willy-nilly. Wait until you have a real going concern. Starting off as a partnership or sole proprietorship, with adequate insurance, is a prudent way to begin.

Daniel: Great advice, I think dissolving the NV LLC would be a wise next step for now. Thanks Joe.

Michelle: I am in the process of starting a business where i will be shipping out music cd, among other things. I will like to know what, if any licenses/permits do i need in order to do this legally ?

Joe Escalante: A great thing to do is to put your zip code in the box on this page at the Small Business Administration’s web site. It’s a great way to find out exactly what you need in your area, because most of the licensing for small businesses involve local issues.

Alicia May: Can you define joint parental responsibility? If the parents don’t agree on major decisions, what happens? What can happen to a parent that removes a child from a C rated charter school that they currently attend to attend their local A rated school? Final judgment says school is to be based on the address of the parent who wants to remove them, state is FL. Thanks.

Joe Escalante: This is nothing less than a mess. You follow the court order as best you can. When you have an issue, you get the other parent to sign off on any variations, in writing. If they wont sign off, you go back to court and petition the order to be changed in the best interest of the child, based on the evidence you present at the hearing, as rebutted by the other parent who disagrees. There are no easy answers.

Alicia: It is a high & holy mess for sure…..the court order only says that the children’s school is to be based on a certain party’s address. But I gather from your answer you would reccommend the party that wants the kids out to petition the court, not to remove the children and wait for the other party to start an action regarding that?

Joe Escalante: You could do it and wait for it to be challenged or you could get it blessed ahead of time. However, if you violate the order, there’s a chance you could be held in contempt, so I recommend getting it blessed ahead of time.

Misty: my friends brother was severely injured in a motorcycle / car accident in late march. he’s still having procedures done & has already settled with the lawsuit. my question is; with him having brain damage, (he really shouldn’t make major decisions, drive etc. ) is it morally legal for the lawyer to allow him to sign papers to settle out? also, he sued the insurance company but the owner of the other vehicle was not the driver, should he also sue the owner? thx. misty

Joe Escalante: He can sue the owner, if the owner is at fault, and if he’s got assets, and if the insurance company didn’t adequately cover the damages. The victim either has a guardian to make decisions for him, or he doesn’t. If you think he needs one,
you can petition the court to appoint one for him. If he doesn’t have one, he signs. If the people asking him to sign know that he’s below the mental capacity to sign, the documents could be declared invalid on that basis.

Nicole: Is a Will necessary in Fl? Single mom of 3.

Joe Escalante: It wont always make much of a difference, but it’s so easy and cheap, you must do it. The state might give your stuff to someone who claims to be your spouse after you die. You can’t do anything about it. However, one two page piece of paper, signed by a couple random witnesses, could have saved your kids a lot of grief and money. This is just one example of what can happen without a will but there are many.

LegalZoom: Check out our last will education center for more info, Nicole:

Catherine: I am having an issue with Social Security. I am 62 and filed for my social security. Social Security has requested I show proof of nationalization or citizenship papers. I do not have the papers because I am AMERICAN. My birth certificate states I am AMERICAN as is my Father. My father fought with the US Army in the Philippines in WWII. He was a POW for a time during the war. He retired from the A
rmy. Both my parents are buried in a Military cemetery on US soil. In 1956 My father, mother, brother and sister arrived in Hawaii, on a military ship. The passenger list has my name on the list, it clearly states AMERICAN. I had my nephew, who lives in the Philippines to please go to NSA and request to have my birth certificate. NSA sent a letter, they do not have a record of my birth certificate. I was born on base, Fort Mckinley Military Base. At first they denied my application, I didn’t get the information on time. They have since turned over that decision. They have approved my application to collect my Social security but, they will not start my payments, until I give them the papers. Papers that do not exist. I was told to send $50.00 to get a copy of a birth certificate from abroad. I have to write a letter send them a copy of my birth certificate, which must be notarized. I should have to pay to have someone make a cert from abroad. If money was free flowing, I wouldn’t be applying for it until after 67 and collect the extra 1,200 .

They have seen and or have copies of

Birth Certificate
Baptism papers
My drift card-issued for Vietnam
My shot records (given by a Military Doctor
My Elementary School Records
My union card and my apprentce
00 or so which I would get if I waited.

My question is do I need a lawyer to handle this???
I’m sorry it was log winded

Joe Escalante: There are lawyers that specialize in Social Security and other government benefits. It would be worth your while to start phoning a couple and get a consultation with one. Get as much info as you can on the phone with them. If you have to, pay a predetermined rate for an hour consultation. Click below to try to find one in your are.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Catherine:

Sujey: How soon after a bankruptcy is filed can I start making changes? (sell my car, change job, etc.)

Joe Escalante: It depends on a lot of stuff. You need to talk to the bankruptcy trustee to get a clear picture on what you can and can’t do. Stay in touch with the trustee.

John: I am supporting a friend, who has filed a Claim against the Estate of her Mother – who passed away in June 2011. Her Mother’s Will is on file at a Circuit Court in South Dakota. The PR of the Estate has throughout behaved in a very hostile manner; an initial Claim was rejected out of hand, with no reason being given, forcing my friend to file a petition for judgement on her Claim. The PR has been process served with Notice of the petition; a Hearing will now be held on September 27th.

My question is: on what grounds can the PR again reject my friend’s Claim (and further attack her character) especially since he was NOT a witness to crucial events and encounters on which the Claim depends?

Joe Escalante: Just go through the process. Bring plenty of evidence to the hearing to support your claim. In the end, the judge will decide this, not the Personal Representative.

LegalZoom: Attorney Joe Escalante will be back on Friday with more free legal advice. Join us then!

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August 30th, 2012 at 6:16 am