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If My Daughter Dies, What Happens to Our Grandchild? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 7/20/12

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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.

Kim: What do we need to do to ensure our Grand daughter isnt left with anyone else the event of our Daughters death or vegetative state ? She isnt married.

Joe Escalante: If she dies intestate, without a will, your state may award custody to you as next of kin automatically. To be sure you get custody, she needs to mention her wishes in her will. Click below and get going on this.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Kim:

Cathy: LEGAL QUESTION 7/20/12:
Morning Joe!
I submitted a medical release form requesting a copy of my very sensative records be sent to ME to my home address. My instructions were clear and percise.The hospital ignored my request without contacting me and sent to my medical offices other location which was then opened and reviewed by the staff there. When I contacted the records dept the woman was short, dismissive and her actions reckless. Joe, this has taken a major toll on me emotionally b/c it could very well if out pressure me into terminating my employment. You know office talk.
Is this persuable per the HIPPA Law?
Txs Joe,

Joe Escalante: I don’t believe HIPPA, which claims to provide privacy protection for patients provides for a private right of action. Violations of HIPPA standards are enforced by the government that created it. So they might fine the perpetrators $100.00 for their mistake.
You could sue them for any certain and provable damages that you may have suffered as a result of the disclosure.
However, you may not sue under HIPPA, you could only use it to show that the doctors violated a certain standard of care, as illustrated in HIPPA. See Acosta v. Byrum, 638 S.E.2d 246 (Ct. App. December 19, 2006)

Gillian: I’ve had a pre-nupt validated yet not enforced in the State of FL, plus the Judge decided to ban me from appearing Pro Se because ehe is adverse to Pro Se litigants…my constitutional and civil rights have been violated and I have no recourse, I need someone who is interested in some helpful pro bono work, I would be highly motivated to help this person with their career, research on other cases, I just don’t have the big bux to hire…plus the attorney’s I’ve hired in the past have been severe underperformers….please help!

Joe Escalante: I can’t really help you with this, but maybe some kind non-underperforming attorney will read this. Good luck.

Carol: NC ~ I am Legal guardian of my older sister ~ I would like to know what the difference between ” Legal Guardian and Guardian of the person” I waa told I should be her Guardian of the person. She is 60 years old. Thank you
Joe Escalante:

Joe Escalante: This varies by state, but I think you are referring to Guardian of the Person vs. Guardian of the Estate. The first has to do with where and how the ward will live, day to day. The second, obviously has more to do with their finances and property. A “General Guardianship” will cover both areas.

Carol: 1st let me say thank you for your response ~ I have General Guardianship of her, so does that effect her upon her passing ? ( not anytime soon ) she is in good health.

Joe Escalante: I’m pretty sure all states consider guardianships over upon death. Then different rules apply according to a will or laws of intestate succession.

Stacy: I have subscribed to email service since 1999 or earlier for 9.95 a month. 3 months ago they sent out a letter stating that they were going to charge $20 for support. Never having used support I indicated that I’d rather pay per incident and if that wasn’t an option anymore to cancel my account. Two months ago they started charging me $20 for premium support. I called to get a credit for the $40 they flately said no. I told them to cancel my service (7/8) I disputed it with the Credit Card company and they gave me a credit. The email company kept trying to process my credit card for 29.95 (4 times since 7/11). I called this morning and they said that I owed them for the chargebacks and that my account was canceled. I asked them why they keep processing my credit card. She siad because it was automatic. So I automatically get charged for for services that have been cancelled. I’m gald I was able to block future charges. She has indicated they won’t try to charge me anymore. She also indicated they are currecntly disputing with the credit card company. If they lose they are going to send me to collections. I’m so tired of people getting my credit card and charging whatever they feel like, but I’ve enver had it get this bad. In the past I’ve had to cancle the card and everything stops. I don’t even know what going to collectiosn means but it doesn’t sound good. I’ve filed a complaint with the FTC. I don’t know what else to do. Please advise. Thank you, Stacy

Joe Escalante: It sounds as if you have been very thorough with how you’ve handled this. However, having something sent to collections can harm your credit rating. To avoid this, the only reasonable option I can think of is to take them to small claims court in your county to enjoin them from further collections activity. When you file, it will get their attention. You need a written assurance that you do not owe them any money.

Janos: Good morning, my mom self employed, and is kind of like a personal assistant and she drives around a lot taking care of stuff. Also drives to LA and back once a week (100 miles there and back). From her employer she gets a gas card to buy gas with. She was wondering if she leases a car (she’s buying now), so if instead of buying she leases a car can she write off the payments and insurance from her tax?

Joe Escalante: I don’t usually answer tax questions, but I will say this. This will only make a difference if your mom does not chose the standard deduction on her taxes and itemizes all her expenses instead. Only her tax lady will know whether it’s worth it for her to itemize.

Yolanda: Once a document, deed, declaration, affidavit is filed into public record through one’s county clerk-recorder’s office or the Federal District Court–does the document become public for the general public to be put on notice? And will the document have effective standing as admissible evidence within a court case if once wishes to present the document as evidence within a court case?

Joe Escalante: Some stuff is public. That depends. Deeds are. Documents that affect deeds are. Stuff about minors; not so much. As far as admissibility, this would depend on many factors like its probative vs. prejudicial value.

Patti: Why hasn’t obama been impeached?

Joe Escalante: You haven’t been diligent.

Kristen: What is the best way to partner on invention and patent? Understanding the need to draft a partnership agreement that sets up the conditions of collaboration, etc; what is standard/best/safest practice?

Joe Escalante: There are many ways. Legally, you want protection from personal liability, like with any entity. You can get this with an LLC, Corp., or a partnership with insurance. Your incorporation documents, LLC operating agreement, or partnership agreement can lay out the conditions of collaboration, etc.
The entity you choose is as much a tax question as anything else, so consult with your tax lady on this.
Also, if you are using a patent attorney, a good one will help you with this part of the project as well as the patent registration.

Steven: what can a sole custodial parent do to get passports for his children, as the non custodial is an absconder as well as absent parent?

Joe Escalante: The right to take a kid out of the country has to be a part of the court’s custody decree. The court might have a good reason for not letting you do this without the absconder’s approval.

Steven: it’s not the Court. There was no finding as a matter of fact, because 11 years ago I never envisioned that I would need to get them passports to go visit their relatives on the reservation in Canada, The State Department says they can’t have them because their absent mother has to sign, and she has been missing for more than 10 years!

Joe Escalante: This is easy. Petition the court to terminate her parental rights based on being missing for 10 years. If all this is true, the court will grant it in the best interest of the children to visit their relatives on the reservation.

Debbie: If you have house that you buy that is a single family home with five bedrooms and the house is titled residential… can you rent it out to five college students?

Joe Escalante: This would be subject to local laws governing boarding houses. Sounds like a party though.

Debbie: I moved to this neighborhood for peace.. and the house across the street was sold and purchased for renting purposes… small driveway so their cars are in the street… constantly … in no parking.. people have driven over my lawn trying to go around others parked for various reasons… I am just stressed and trying to rectify the situation but trying to find out if they are legally doing anything wrong before I go any further

Joe Escalante: This is a common problem. They’re called “Clown Houses.” You need to seek an injunction against the activity through the court. First research the local laws on boarding houses. Maybe they need a license. To get a license, they would probably need to provide a certain amount of parking, etc. That’s the route you need to take.

Roxanne: Hi Joe~
I’m wanting to start a charitable foundation. Is that the same as a charitable trust?
Thanks for your time!

Joe Escalante: A charitable foundation could mean a lot of things. It’s not really a specific legal term. A charitable trust is a specific estate planning tool.

LegalZoom: Attorney Joe Escalante will be back next week with more free legal advice. Come join us then!

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July 24th, 2012 at 6:17 am