LegalZoom Blog

Legal news and small business tips.

How Is a Trust Different Than a Will? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 1/17/12

with one comment

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.

Robbyn: Is there a “package deal” for a couple that needs elder estate planning? Which documents would be needed? How is a trust better than a will if they own a residence and an out of state vacation home in addition to their vehicles and personal properties/bank & investment accounts? Estate value less than $500k total

Joe Escalante: A trust for someone in your situation is going to do basically one thing. It’s going to keep your property out of probate so you can pass it directly to your heirs when you check out. That doesn’t help you a ton, but it’s a huge deal to whoever has to handle your estate. Probate sucks. It takes forever and you have to pay lawyers to deal with it.

Robbyn: Thank you for the speedy reply. How do I know which legal documents to get? There are a LOT of different things. Also is there some kind of package plan to get them. That would make it simple enough for me to get the usual ones.

Joe Escalante: My advice is to get a Living Trust with legalzoom. It comes with what is called a pour over will that will cover everything not mentioned in the trust, like stuff purchased after the trust was made, but before you get a chance to modify it.
LZ will also help with the transfer of the property into the trust. That gets complicated, but no need to pay 10 grand to an estate attorney. Check it out. Click the link below, read the stuff, you’ll be an expert helping your friends get their trusts in no time.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Robbyn: And check out the Guides and Education tab on our Facebook page. You can download a guide to help with estate planning questions.

CPS: Having been coersed by a Child Protective Case Worker whom instead of investigating my husband’s abuse towards myself and our 6yrs old She dicided to blackmale me into dropping the PTO which would keep our attacker away from us. She deligated to me on his belhalf and I have 4 witnesses of her abuse including a police sargeant, a battered woman’s shelter administrator and my oldest son. What do I do to keep us away from her retaliation, power games and abuse?Please help me

Joe Escalante: Sorry but that’s not the kind of thing I can help you with. The facts are just too sketchy for this kind of format. However, I can give you this advice. If you don’t document something, it didn’t happen. Document everything in writing with follow up letters.

Tamala: I am keeping track of when I call my kids and keeping my emails I send to my soon to be ex husband. What else can I do to show to the judge when we go to court that I am trying to be in their lives and i didn’t adpanted them like he says I did?

Joe Escalante: This is all about getting the judge to like you and believe you. Make sure you are requesting to see them when you are writing those emails. That might help.

Obby: If you just applied for a Corporation License in CA & are registered but realized the business/partnership etc will not work, can you cancel the License without paying any Tax/fees or any other over the top Taxes from the State of CA?

Joe Escalante: The term license is throwing me off. If you mean it’s been filed and you changed your mind, the most you should be on the hook would be for the filing fees and a pro-rated minimum tax which is basically 365 days divided into $800 or some kind of math like that. Talk to your tax pro about the details and call the California secretary of state and ask about your buyer’s remorse on the Corp and see if they’ll refund any fees. I’ve never heard of them doing that, but you can always ask.

Gerry: A friend of mine got arrested back in 2003 because of lies told by her ex-employer. The lies were eventually exposed and the charge dropped before she had to go to court. She got her record expunged, but still has problems getting jobs because a lot of these small-time “background check” companies had downloaded the ORIGINAL arrest back in 2003, but never updated THEIR records to account for the purge. To this day, my friend has trouble finding work because when companies do a background check, they sometimes use one of these companies and then they think she has an arrest record.

What can be done about that? Are these background companies regulated in any way? Don’t they have any responsibility to make sure their records are accurate? What can my friend do so she can get work other than telemarketing or washing dishes?

Joe Escalante: Sounds like a nightmare. The regulation of these companies varies from state to state. It is in their interest to give accurate info of course, but I’m sure it’s tempting to cut corners as well. Without certain and provable damages, there’s no real lawsuit here, but I would at least write an accurate review on these companies on so that others are warned about the apparent laziness. If I was going to use one of those companies, I would check out the reviews on yelp. I wouldn’t go by it alone, but I would check it out at least.

Angela: Im wanting get supervise vistiton against my ex, he has a cps case open on him how can i go about getting info from cps about it or do i have to have a lawyer do it?

Joe Escalante: You can file an petition to modify the custody order with the court. If there are issues that will affect the best interest of the child, there are processes to make them come out in court. You can subpoena people and agencies for information. And dead beat baby daddy may also have to testify about this stuff you are trying to discover in court, under oath.

Also, the CPS people are supposed to be protecting your kid. If there’s something that’s potentially harmful that they know about, they could liable if they keep it from you and that act leads to harm to you or the kid. Good luck.

Meredith: I’ve worked for a tax preparation service for 12 years. I missed their certification classes by 4 hrs. after an email for clarification to my Supervisor. I still came up 4 hrs. short. Due to a non-compete clause in my contract, they said I couldn’t work for them nor anyone else preparing taxes for 2 years. This is my livelyhood. Is this enforceable? I’m in Indiana.

Joe Escalante: It is probably not enforceable. You can either wait for them to sue you if you go somewhere else, OR, there’s something called Declaratory Relief. It’s like filing a lawsuit to just figure out if the contract is valid. You are not suing them, you are just petitioning the court for declaratory relief. Also, an Indiana employment attorney could help you figure out how enforceable it is by looking at local case law.

Heather: In family court a judge ordered paternity for my sons father it came back positive but on my sons birth certificate is not the real father just a paper father how do i get the paper father removed and do i have to put the real father on cause all he is a dead beat and wants nothing to do with my son

Joe Escalante: If you were married when the kid was born. He’s the real father, legally. You have to get him to relinquish his paternal rights. That’s not easy. You need to sit down with a family lawyer to sort out your options. This stuff varies by state.

Heather: I’m in Florida was never married to the paper father does this make it easier being we were not married nor i was never married to the real father as i said i was pregnant the real father said to aboard it and left us at the same time hes never seen his son

Joe Escalante: file a petition with the court for termination of his rights, or have him sign them away. He has to be involved, or at least served.


Joe Escalante: This varies from state to state but in general you have rights similar to what you would have if you were married through the doctrine of implied contract. If you give up a career to support your live in stud, there’s an implied contract that you are not going to get screwed by something unfair like, if he leaves for a younger woman as soon as you pay his last medical school tuition payment. That’s how the famous California Court in Marvin v Marvin rationalized their decision to award a bunch of money to Lee Marvin’s live in girl friend. He was blindsided. But it changed the ground rules far beyond the California border.

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe Tuesday! Joe has a case to work on, so we’re going to let him get out of here for today. He’ll be back on Friday with more free legal advice, so come join us then with your questions.

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Sign up for the LegalZoom newsletter!

Written by

January 19th, 2012 at 5:58 am