Karen: I have a nonprofit organization and I am creating original workshops for youth, what is the best way for me to protect my workshop’s contents?
Joe Escalante: If you are talking about intellectual property contained in manuals and brochures, etc. those may qualify for copyright protection if they are minimally creative and don’t contain just facts or other unprotectable material.
You can trademark the name of your organization in connection with the services you provide. If you are talking about physical protection, I suggest armed ninjas.
Allison: Hi Free Joe. How can I dump a timeshare? I want to give it away or just let it go without hurting my credit. I don’t want any money for it.
Joe Escalante: There is a business in charging people substantial sums for unloading their timeshares so they can be free of the burden of the maintenance fees and the dread of going to Florida every year for the rest of your life.
The theory behind this business is that you cannot do what you are trying to do for free. That’s why they can charge money for doing it. Otherwise, it would be like trying to sell ice cream next to a free ice cream tree.
Chris: I have products for sale that I generate normal profit from, but now I am releasing a line of products from which all profits will go to charity. Do I need to start a separate company for my non-profit stuff?
Joe Escalante: You can keep things simple by just donating certain income to charity and then getting together with your tax pro to make sure you can deduct the income, etc.
If you want to accept donations, and call them tax deductable, then you would need a separate 501 (c) 3 and get all fancy. So it depends on how far you want to go with this type of stuff.
Marty: What is you opinion of services like Corporate Turnaround?
Joe Escalante: I would avoid it. Seems like it creates as many problems as it solves.
Ginger: If you have power of attorney papers already drawn up do you still need a Will made…and is there a time limit for “power of attorney” papers or are they forever
Joe Escalante: Yes. it will expire upon death if it doesn’t already expire by it’s own written terms. You can limit a power of attorney for any time period, or you can revoke it if you are not mentally incapacitated.
Laura: I have an LLC and a DBA. Do I include “LLC” after the name of BOTH companies?
Joe Escalante: The legal standard would be to “not be misleading.” If the DBA is owned by the LLC, writing LLC after the name of the DBA entity would not be misleading. However, you do not have to write it and most people would not.
Michael: Wow, Free Friday? That’s awesome! Thanks! Just a quick question. I have a blog. I was just wondering how necessary it is to copyright blogs? Obviously I have not yet or I wouldn’t be asking, but I am starting think maybe I should. Thanks – Michael
Joe Escalante: If you are creating content that is valuable and there is a possibility that someone will steal it, causing you harm, then registered copyright protection may be in order. Two things to consider are the fact that this will be an ongoing process. You have to register each blog entry, (or a group of them at once).
Second, you automatically get a certain level of copyright protection every time you create anything. Copyrights are inherent in creative work.
By registering you get other benefits like statutory damages and attorney fees.
Susan: I set up an LLC this summer, and just started working this week. I have not made any money yet. Do I need to file any quarterly info, etc with the government?
Joe Escalante: It varies by state but this is generally a tax question you need to go over with your tax pro.
Scott: Hi Joe
I wondering in calculating child support and and one parent is receiving a social security check and also one for the child do’s this count as income ? Thanks
Joe Escalante: It varies from state to state. If a person is only receiving SSI, they usually don’t have to pay any child support. The money for the child is for the child. I don’t know what the forms require in your jurisdiction, but in general, an SSI only income isn’t going to trigger a support obligation.
Janice: How do I close an NC S corp? Both federal and state. Can’t get a straight answer from NC!
Joe Escalante: Get the corporate dissolution materials from Legalzoom. (see link below). Then you have to do some “winding down.” The reason you can’t find a straight answer is because to do this right and to avoid personal liability you need to work with a lawyer for a bit to complete the process safely.
Check out the other link below for Business Advantage Pro, that will work for you to get through this.
LegalZoom: Here you go, Janice. Corporate dissolution: http://www.legalzoom.com/additional-business-services/articles-of-dissolution-corporation-llc.html and Business Advantage Pro: http://www.legalzoom.com/attorneys-lawyers/business-advantage-pro.html
Spencer: What is the best structure for a minor to own investment real estate? Trust? Parent holding LLC as custodian? Or other?
Joe Escalante: These are tax issues primarily. You should talk to a tax pro. Both are legal, but tax wise, their may be differences.
Alex: I’m going to be helping a music school with marketing ideas and execution but because I’m more of a freelance associate, is there anything I should do to protect myself and my contributions to the growing company?
Joe Escalante: You should have an employment agreement of some kind. Even if it’s just an email exchange. A good employment agreement would define your status as a independent contractor or an employee with benefits. It would also include indemnification language the makes them protect you if you get sued for something that was their fault. For example, what if you submit some drawings but they add nudes or swastikas or copyrighted images they don’t own, and they put it in their brochure?
Indemnification language would shield you somewhat from liability for this kinds of stuff.
LaQuita: Fighting a divorce in Houston but living in New York City things aren’t going in my favor and I do have an opportunity to appeal. Anything you advise I do?
Joe Escalante: You need a lawyer when you are in the process of a divorce and things aren’t going in your favor. You don’t have to keep the lawyer, you could just pay for a consultation of an hour or two, but you should see one quick.
Joan: Can a HOA Board buy iPads for themselves, to be used for Board business of course, out of HOA monies?
Joe Escalante: That would depend on what the by laws say about buying equipment to run the HOA. The iPads you speak of would be the property of the HOA, unless there are extreme shenigans.
Andrew: I am 59 years old–I have health issues , but no Will–How do I prepare and file a simple Will ?
Joe Escalante: Is this a trick question? Follow the link below. Legalzoom is the best for this, especially when the clock is ticking. Good luck.
LegalZoom: Here you go, Andrew: http://www.legalzoom.com/legal-wills/wills-overview.html
Audrey: What is the feasibility of transferring a 501c3 from one state to another — potentially we want to set up new board of directors, and establish new bylaws — originally it is registered since 1999 is in the State of California, and now we want to operate in the State of Illinois. What are the logistics/feasibility of doing this and what legal steps may be required?
Joe Escalante: This is complicated. You can do business there as a foreign corp and keep your California corp. That’s the easiest. Or you can dissolve in California and reform in IL. Or you can start a new corp in IL and merge your old corp into it. Contact the Secretary of State in IL and get their input and get a good attorney in IL to guide you through it.
Tamanika: Are there really companies that can legally repair your credit in 60 days?
Joe Escalante: I say no. You should check out Dave Ramsey. Google him. Listen to him. Follow him.
Kevin: My company leased an apartment for 6 months in Long Beach Ca for an employees use during frequent trips. It is fully furnished, all utilities paid. 4 months in, it was foreclosed on. The bank is honoring the lease but not requiring rent to be paid. Utilities had to be caught up, at our expense, because the former owner had not paid them either. The former owner has requested/demanded rental of his contents or he will withhold from the deposit. I don’t see in the lease where the security deposit can be used for this. I also don’t believe we’ll get the deposit back anyway. Are we obligated to pay rental on the contents of the apartment he lost in foreclosure?
Joe Escalante: It would depend on the rental agreement. E.g., if it is clear that the unfurnished rate is $100 less than the furnished rate, a court would probably allow him to collect that rental amount or deduct it from the deposit to avoid a windfall for you at his expense when it would be clear to value what you’re getting.
Christie: If one of my children die, My Grand children, They have Know one else. Does the state take them away? Do I Have them?
Joe Escalante: This varies from state to state but more importantly, the state will look to see what is in the best interest of the child.
Christie: Is it unconstitutional for the state to require you to not own a firearm if you Qualify for medical merigauna?
Joe Escalante: I say yes Christie. I say it’s against the 2nd Amendment regardless of what drugs you qualify for.
Allan: I have a lein on a house and was wondering if I can assign it to someone in the event of my death
Joe Escalante: Call the county recorder and tell them what you are up to. They should provide you with the proper process and forms. It should be possible.
LegalZoom: That’s it for Free Joe Friday! Thanks for joining us–great questions today. We’ll see you back here next week. In the meantime, have a great weekend! http://zoo.mn/FreeJoe