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Moving Your LLC to Another State And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 1/15/13

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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.

Jesse: Free Joe: I own an LLC in NYC. I have no employees. I run my business from home. And currently I have no products or inventory being sold. Basically my business is fully on hold. I want to move my business to Tennessee. I do own a trademark but that’s my only asset, if that is an asset. What’s my best bet in relocating my LLC to another state? Thank you Joe.

Joe Escalante: You should talk to a tax pro immediately. NYC probably has a high minimum tax that you’re going to have to pay if you are doing business there, even if there is no profit or real activity. In Tennessee, my guess is that it will be less. Check with the secretary of state in TN to familiarize yourself with other regulations. You might want to try Gary the tax guy here on Thursdays.

LegalZoom: Here’s the info for Thursday, Jesse:

Donna: Legal question; I live in MA in a trailer park. in my yard there are 3 trees which need to be removed. 2 of these trees have 3 rings cut into them (which I did not do) but were done while I lived here. the landowner said she is not taking responsibility for these trees, especially if they come down. Question, is it my responsibility to have these trees removed? She knows about them, I’ve complained about them because they produce a massive amount of berries which prevented my from having use of my yard for the last 2 months of summer into fall and was told to just keep cleaning them up, she would give no other solution so I could use my yard. I’ve found someone who will take them down, but who is responsible to pay?

Joe Escalante: If the owners of the park are asking you to remove the trees, they should pay unless there’s some contrary language in the exterior upkeep agreement that is part of your lease. If you want them down, and they are ambivalent, then it seems like you should bear the burden. But it will mostly come down to the language in your agreement regarding exterior upkeep.

Jawara: When forming partnerships what steps are best to take for professional reasons?

Joe Escalante: Do a lot of research on what can go wrong with a business like yours and make sure these scenarios are addressed in the partnership agreement. Then consult with a tax expert and attorney to make sure this is the ideal business entity for your situation. And get some insurance.

Scotty: If a co-worker goes around telling people that you failed a drug test is there any basis for legal action? This was supposed to be confidential between me and my boss.

Joe Escalante: It depends on how the person got the info. If they didn’t break the law or any confidentiality agreement that they specifically were bound to, and it’s true, there’s nothing you can do. You can only go after the person that signed the confidentiality agreement, or was at least a party to it. If a rumor is repeated, but it’s true, you are screwed.

Brandy: I need to know what is the best legal law software to use. I have a friend that works for lawyer and BailBondsoffice. They do criminal, family, traffic, ect

Joe Escalante: I don’t use case management software because I like to live dangerously Brandy. However, there are many products on the market that people seem pleased with like Elaw and The Legal Assistant, but I don’t really have a preference. Best thing is to ask each of these companies for a referral you can talk to. Good luck.

Christina: Joe, I live in Indiana & my divorce was final back on February 9, 2010. I was given the house, but my ex never signed the quit form deed to have him removed from the mortgage. He is in very poor health & lives in a nursing home due to a stroke & heart condition. If something should happen to him would his estate have legal claim on the house, since his name is still on it? His mother now has power of attorney. Your advice is very much appreciated.

Joe Escalante: If you have a divorce decree that awards the property to you in some official “final distribution order” signed by a judge, you are probably OK, but it will be a mess because you will have to file some sort of objection to any other way to distribute that property when your ex’s estate is probated. I’ve never done this before, but it seems to me that you could take that order and go to the county Registar and tell them the issue. They are the ones that are going to approve or disapprove of any attempt to change title registration so ask them what they would require and if there is anyway to change the title using just the divorce decree.

Jon: What is the requirements to legally change your last name?

Joe Escalante: To legally do it, the court requires a process that involves publicizing the effort and giving opportunities for the public to object to make sure you are not avoiding any debts, etc. Legalzoom can help you with this. Click the link below.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Jon:

Scott: I am on a loan for a duplex with my estranged mother and she has neglected to pay on the mortgage. One apartment is empty and could make the mortgage payment if rented do I have any recourse to salvage this situation legally?

Joe Escalante: It depends on whether you are on the title. If you are, you have the right to rent out the property to pay the mortgage. If you are not on the title, it seems like she could legally prevent you from entering the premises to do anything. In that case you are like a co-signer only, which is always a bad deal. The bank, as you may have noticed, doesn’t want to hear this story. You are responsible for the full amount.

Anita: Joe,
if a husband/wife dies w/o a will. can the spouse of the deceased sign his/her name on a check if its made out to both parties?

Joe Escalante: Yes. If your bank makes a stink. Get a new bank.

Sherita: How do a trusts fund work? a trust fund better than a bond?….

Joe Escalante: Look up Trust Law on Wikipedia. Your mind will be blown. There are tons of different kinds of trusts you can establish to do weird things with money to avoid taxes or control people from beyond the grave. A bond is a financial instrument that is another chameleon term that can change depending on context. It sounds like you are concerned with financial planning so you might want to meet with a financial planner. If you open your front door and throw a stick, you will hit ten of them.
I don’t have a specific recommendation but talk to your bank if you like them. If not, your tax pro, or a lawyer specializing in trusts and estates. Good luck.

Pamela: From The great state of Texas..
What forms do I need to have signed and notorized for the parents of my daughters friend with whom she will reside during the school year?

Joe Escalante: A temporary power of attorney is what many people would establish in this case so that the guardians can make medical decisions for the kid in case of an emergency. What is acceptable varies by state, but usually it’s sometimes called “delegating guardianship” and has limits like they can’t adopt the kid or consent to a marriage with some creepy old cousin of theirs.

Kim: This question is for Joe……. My 88 yr old grandma lives with me due to declining mental status and health reasons… when she moved in I found out that she has a considerable amount of credit card debt (obtained obviously while not in her right mind)..set her up two years ago on debt consolidation program to get these paid off; managed to get about three of these accounts paid off but she is on a fixed income and due to health problems she can no longer afford this program (she has several dental issues and no health coverage for these).. she was recently served with papers to appear in court from one debtor and I am thinking about filing bankruptcy for her..I have legal power of attorney of her and need to know what the best thing I can do in this case…

Joe Escalante: You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney. They’ll ask a few questions and give you a quick answer on what they recommend. Then get a second opinion. Good luck.

Yinka: If your property is damaged by an individual, how long does the property owner has to files charges against the individual?

Joe Escalante: It depends on the statute of limitations for that kind of damage in your state. It varies. Here’s a handy chart:

Angela: Is an employer allowed to search employees belongings entering and leaving a workplace randomly with no cause?

Joe Escalante: Yes. Unless this is in violation of a collective bargaining agreement with a union. Random is OK, but if he only searches Mexicans, or sequential hermaphrodites, or some other protected class, we have a civil rights violation. You don’t have to consent, because you don’t have to work there. If you are an at will employee, they can demand lots of stuff. If you object, you are fired.

Richard: I want to publish a new book series. I understand I can’t copyright the title but I can copyright the name of the series is that correct? Should I also formally copyright the text itself?


Joe Escalante: You can trademark the name of the book series like authors did with federally trademarked titles like Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Dummies series and the Hardy Boys mysteries.

Betsy: If I am an executor of my father’s estate in TX, do I have to have an agent represent me since I live in WI?

Joe Escalante: I believe the Texas rule is that an out-of-state representative must appoint a local agent to receive service of process, etc.

Nita: In the state of Illinois, when divorcing, is the wife entitled to the house eventhough she didnt buy it and her name is not on the deed?

Joe Escalante: As a common law property state, property owned by divorcing spouses in Illinois is divided into (1) separate property or (2) marital property; then, the marital property is divided by a process known as equitable distribution. Separate property is generally property that was owned before marriage or was acquired during marriage by inheritance or separate gift. Generally speaking, marital property is property that was acquired during the marriage and not by inheritance or separate gift.
So it depends on what the court calls this house, separate or marital.

Wendy: I want to change my son’s last name. His father and I were never married and the only reasin I gave him his father’s last name was because I was led to believe we would officially a family one day. However 12 days after his birth, my son’s father abandoned us and will not help me support our son. Can I legally change his name without the father’s consent and without going to court?

Joe Escalante: No. You have to go to court and serve papers on the dad and give him an opportunity to object.

Scott: My question is: I owe child support…it is in the arrears stage due to not have a consistent job with consistent pay over the years…..what can I do? The interest has made this overbearingly too hard for me to pay…please help if you can give me any suggestions?

Joe Escalante: Consultation with a father’s rights attorney in your state would be the best way to start because in general, those arrears are like taxes, they never go away. You can’t discharge them in bankruptcy, you can’t change your name and move to Mexico. Well, you could go to Mexico, but if the D.A. doesn’t get you, the cartels will.
However, a good attorney could find a way to make repayment more manageable.

Carmelita: I am trying to collect a small claims agaist someone who keeps quitting thier job everytime I file a wage garnishment. I also tried to file a no wage garnishment against their bank account. I know this person has a piece of property and also has two trucks. Do I have to have a lawyer to place a lien on their property or vehicle. The amount owed is $720 abd the state where it occurred is Illnois.

Joe Escalante: You don’t need a lawyer to put a lien on a property to satisfy a judgment. Go to the county Registar and ask them how to place the lien. It shoudn’t be too tough.

Jessa: If you bought equipment for a business and the machine they sold you isn’t remotely worth the price they sold it to you for can I legally do anything? I was completely taken advantage of.

Joe Escalante: The general rule in this country is caveat emptor, or “buyer beware.” Only if a certain and provable fraud was perpetrated, do you have recourse. Or if a statute was violated to make the transaction void, like selling nitrous oxide to a child or something. You can always roll the dice in small claims court. Sometimes they ignore the law and split the baby.

Nicole: What are legal percussions in a divorce when a spouse does not follow an administrative order regarding maintaining health insurance coverage on spouse, specifically who has a condition.

Joe Escalante: Eventually, if not corrected, you would petition the court to find him in contempt. If he defies the court further, he could go to jail and get beat up by thugs at the weight pile.

Brad: Can you start operating a “non-profit” not for profit while the paperwork is being processed? This will be an online company.

Joe Escalante: To some extent yes, but people wont be able to deduct donations from their income for tax purposes until it’s all official.

Karen: hi joe, hope you can help: my daughter and I own a house together in both our names. attorney titled it somehow that if I die first it’ll go straight to her and vise versa. ( I know the word tenant was on the deed) here is the question…I have several judgements on ME (not her) from credit cards….if I die, and the house goes to her, will it be a clear title or will it follow onto my daughter. i live in pa. (she does also) does a judgement last forever or does it have to be updated (statute of limitations?) i hope you understand what i’m asking. thanks in advance.

Joe Escalante: Credit card debts have a statute of limitations that varies by state. If you are holding the property as “Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship” the propety should pass to your daughter as soon as you die. If the creditors want part of it, it is my opinion that they must reduce their claim to a judgment and get a lien on the property before you die.

Monica: Should I include 401K in my living trust?

Joe Escalante: Your 401k should have a beneficiary built into it. That should avoid probate, so a trust wouldn’t be necessary but check with your tax pro.

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe! Joe will be back on Friday to answer more legal questions and the Tax Pros will be here on Thursday to take your tax questions. It’s raining free advice! See the links below for details.

Thanks to Joe Escalante of Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante for joining us today!

Legal Q&A:
Tax Q&A:


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January 17th, 2013 at 6:18 am