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Should My LLC Own Patents? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 1/13/12

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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.

Raymond: As the owner and founder of an LLC product development company, should I patent my designs/concepts under my personal name & ownership, or under ownership of the company itself?

Joe Escalante: There are two considerations; liability and taxes. For tax reasons, ask this question to your tax pro. For reasons of liability, LLC’s shield you somewhat. I can’t see any reason not to take advantage of this and keep the stuff owned by your LLC.

Bailey: I thought a Warranty deed meant everything was checked out throughly with the mortgage and all and there was no problem with my name being on the deed to the house even though it is not on the mortgage. But I just heard that if the person who owes the mortgage stops paying or anything they can still take the house even with my name on it. So, I really have no security even with a warranty deed, right?

Joe Escalante: A warranty deed makes the claim that the title to the land is clear and available for a complete transfer of all interests in that property. This is in contrast to a quit claim deed which transfers the interest that the grantor may have, but makes no warranty that someone (or something) other than the grantor may come out of the woods and claim some interest. I hope that helps.

Debra: Can a collection agency force you to pay your bill off using a charge card?I pay 50.00 dollars a month and now they won,t take it .they say i have 5000 available on my charge card so they won’t take my fifty and keep calling me.

Joe Escalante: They are just thugs trying to bully you. Nothing they say has the force of law and often is actually against the law. My favorite source for this kind of info comes from Dave Ramsey at daveramsey.com. Check him out.

Mark: MAYBE SOMEONE COULD ANSWER A QUESTION MY WIFE AND I LIVE IN AZ AND CURRENTLY OUR GRAND CHILDREN ARE LIVING WITH US AND THERE MOTHER IS TRYING TO FORCE THE CHILDREN TO LIVE WITH HER AND THEY DO NOT WANT TO LIVE WITH HER DO THE CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHERE THEY WANT TO LIVE ?, SHE HAS TOLD THE CHILDREN THAT IF THEY DON’T LIVE WITH HER SHE WILL PUT THEM IN CPS CUSTODY, WE DON’T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY FOR A ATTORNEY AS WE ARE BOTH ON SOCIAL SECURITY HOW DO WE PROTECT THE KIDS FROM BEING FORCED TO LIVE WHERE THEY DONT WANT TO ? IS THERE A CHILD ADVOCACY GROUP THAT COULD HELP ? WE HAVE HAD THE KIDS MORE THAN SHE HAS AS SHE HAS NEVER HAD THE KIDS LIVE WITH HER AS THE FATHER HAS CUSTODY AND WE HAVE BEEN TAKING CARE OF THE KIDS, WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE AS SHE HAS FILED FOR SOLE CUSTODY AND SAID WE HAVE NO RIGHTS BECAUSE MY WIFES PARENTS ADOPTED HER SON ISN’T SHE STILL THE BIOLOGICAL GRANDMOTHER ? OH BTW THE BOY’S ARE 11 AND 13
HELP PLEASE WE NEED A ATTORNEY THAT IS WILLING TO FIGHT TO KEEP THE KIDS HAPPY….. THANKS

Joe Escalante: You cannot get legal custody of the kid unless the rights of the biological parents are legally terminated. You can petition the court to terminate these parental rights. It helps if you have an attorney of course but you do have the right to file this petition yourself without an attorney. Cite the following Arizona law. Read it. If it applies to your situation, you can petition the court based on it. http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=%2Fars%2F8%2F00533.htm&Title=8&DocType=ARS

Denise: Joe, what is the statue of limitations in PA for unemployment compensation funds still owed ? My business got into some back payroll tax trouble because of my ex back in 2004 thru first quarter of 2007. He was my accountant and he wasn’t paying payroll taxes behind my back during those years. I have been trying to pay them off ever since but have fallen behind. I am a sole proprietor so he is not responsible. I have been making $100 payments every other month since 2/09. I have paid of total of $1,500 so far. They have me owing a total of 2,500 which includes penalties and interest of $1,037.58. It would take me till 4/2013 to pay off if paid timely. I have not made a payment since 2/2011 and by 6/2011 the amount owed without penalties and interest would have been paid off. I have not gotten any calls or letters since my last payment on 2/20/2011? Should I worry?

Joe Escalante: If you are talking about the I.R.S., they will never forget. You’ve got to get them on the phone and start working out a program to deal with it so you don’t get more penalties, interest, or worse.

Danette: What can be done to a person who stashes stolen items on your property?

Joe Escalante: That person could get a strongly worded letter sent to them admonishing their inconsiderate behavior. Or they could end up in jail. However, if you smoke it all, they will cap your ass. My advice is to think of the victims of these thefts. Report it to the police. Then watch your back.

Greg: the person I work for is the contractor is it legal for him 2 1099 me as an hourly employee??? I no longer work for him and I’m trying to get unemployment am I eligible???

Joe Escalante: If you are an independent contractor, I don’t see why he can’t 1099 you. Unemployment benefits are not generally available to the self employed and independent contractors. You would have to be reclassified through a complaint with the Labor Commission. That’s a can of worms you could open, if you think you were really an employee and not an i.c.

Tom: Hi Joe,
I’m a 50/50 partner in an IT/ web design firm with 3 offices in MA. Trademarks and copyrights were approved to the company towards the end of 2011, and we expect many more to be in 2012. We do a lot of computer services, but have been breaking into the app market lately. Right now we’re legally a partnership. I’m wondering if we should keep it that way or file for llc or corporation status. My two main concerns are taxes and liability.

Joe Escalante: The tax reasons should be discussed with your tax pro, but in terms of liability, you are OK as a partnership if you have plenty of insurance. So if you’ve got the insurance part covered, the rest of the decision is up to your tax pro. Good luck.

John: my wife had knee cap surgery, the dr told us it would be 3 days in hospital and then 3 days in rehab, after 5 weeks in rehab( no one seeing her) he took xrays and said the knee cap moved up, he did not wire the knee cap, now she is in a Hard Cast for 6 more weeks, is it time to get an attorney to get this dr. for malpractice?

Joe Escalante: I don’t know if wiring the knee cap is what you are supposed to do in that situation. However, this would be a great conversation to have with an experienced med malpractice attorney. Click below for a head start in finding one fit for a King.

LegalZoom: Here you go, John: http://attorneyconnect.legalzoom.com/?cm_mmc=social-_-fb-_-freejoe-_-na

Deb: I turn my computer over to a private company to get it audited regarding a civil lawsuit till this date I have not gotten it back, court records stated they should have it for only 7 days, now they are claiming that they are going to seize it, without a court order I do not have a lawyer regarding this matter, how do I get it back. Thank you

Joe Escalante: Theoretically, the government cannot seize property from you without due process. The problem is whether the process they are making you go through would be determined by a court as “due.” But, that is your argument, “due process.” If private attorneys are taking it from you and not giving it back, that’s another matter. You would have civil remedies against them for conversion of goods. It’s one of those things that people threaten to sue over. Without an attorney, they probably will not take you seriously. If you really want that stuff, you should get an attorney to at least write a letter demanding it.

Patricia: Hello my husband moved out oct took 90% of our thing and put in storage we were in the middle of a move to new home wont give me access to things and i have a child at home also we installed a new ac/heating system 6000.00 on loan he was not approved for loan agreed to pay together. now will not pay anything. I am collecting unemployment he makes 700.00 a week do i have any rights we have been married 10 years

Joe Escalante: This varies from state to state, but you really need to consult with a divorce attorney, or at least read this book http://www.amazon.com/Nolos-Essential-Divorce-Doskow-Attorney/dp/1413304524. Whether or not you are legally separated now makes a difference. What’s legally separated in your state? You need to find that out and more.

Chris: I am a PA resident looking to set up a LLC for my side business (just myself no employees). I am considering setting up the LLC in Delaware because of the attractive tax laws. Can you please explain what I should be aware of from a legal standpoint if I set up a LLC in a separate state than I reside in?

Joe Escalante: My advice is not to worry about what Delaware offers unless you already make tons of money. You will still have to pay whatever minimum tax is charged to foreign corps in your home state. Delaware only makes a lot of difference for companies with thousands of employees. That is my opinion.

Blair: I own a small advertising agency. Starting a couple of years ago, my business began declining due to the recession. Because I was trying to get new clients, I failed to submit an invoice to a County Fair client in a timely manner. It was almost a year before I realized that I hadn’t invoiced them. When I did, I received a letter from their attorney saying that, because so much time had passed, the county had an ordinance that said they didn’t have to pay me the $8,000 they owed me. Is this legal? What recourse do I have? I’ve already paid the media, printers, etc….and need to get reimbursed…at least for those expenses. HELP!

Joe Escalante: Unless I saw the citation for such a law, I would stick with my gut instinct that counties don’t decide that stuff. It’s state law. Sue them in small claims court for the maximum allowed in your jurisdiction. You wont get it all, but you should get some.

Lacey: I receive Child Support for our daughter. I receive ex. 100.00 child support 100.00 daycare expenses. Now my daughter is on scholarship for day care so all the expenses are covered. she is going to speech theropy twice a week. so i have been using the day care expenses for vehicle maintance and gas and paying the speech bill. Can I get in trouble for not using the 100.00 for daycare like it says its for? I don’t have money to go to court, i am unemployed and all i receive is child support for income.

Joe Escalante: Usually it’s the person who pays the support that complains about this and then he files a petition with the court to change the support order since your expenses have theoretically gone down. If you try to change the order, the court may reduce your amount because they knew you had vehicle maintenance, etc. when the original support order was made and they evidently awarded you nothing for it. Technically you could petition to modify the order to add speech therapy, but you might get dinged if they find out about the reduced day care costs.

Michelle: Beyond a Seller’s Permit, what is required to sell product in California that is made overseas? I have an LLC formed already.

Joe Escalante: That depends. Is it food? Endangered yak antler dust? Panda pelts? Unborn pony skins? There are lots of regulations in California. You might need a business license from your city as well.

Jeff: About two years ago, I submitted a claim to the VA for compensation from service connect injuries. Yesterday I finally received my decision packet. Come to find out that I was denied. I have read other websites suggesting to find a lawyer to represent me in a appeal to the VA. Does LegalZoom help with issues like this?

Joe Escalante: No, however with Attorney Connect, you might be able to find a good attorney specializing in the denial of claims. In other words, those web sites are probably right. Look around the web for a vets rights group but be careful, some of them are just law firms in disguise.

LegalZoom: Here’s the Attorney Connect link, Jeff: http://attorneyconnect.legalzoom.com/?cm_mmc=social-_-fb-_-freejoe-_-na

Layne: My mother in Tennessee is 87. Father is 96 & repeatedly tells me not to get some of her meds, also cancels her Dr appts. He has had several strokes since 1994. He has lost most of his life savings to a con artist that we know, so is afraid of the cost of everything. Is this a legal or criminal matter, as I know my mother is being abused, not being beaten, but being threatened & denied food & meds & medical treatments. I have tried for 8 yrs to get help from police & state human services. Police wont take a report from me, they say I have no standing. Tried to get dad declared incompetent, but his lawyer called me crazy & lots of other things in court & the judge threw case out in August, but said I could re-open case if I get a new atty. Mom did make me her power of atty 2 months ago, since she has been forced to sign powers of atty all over the place, did what dad told her to do, & doesnt know what she has signed or to whom. Can I file charges against dad for being a danger to himself & other family members? Is this criminal or civil issue, as far as dad goes? The con artist issue is embezzlement, but police wont take a report from me, altho I havent tried to report again since I became power of atty, dont know if that fact would now give me “standing” to report it.

Joe Escalante: I think power of attorney would allow you to file on her behalf, but the police will probably still make you go away and stop bothering their secret doughnut rituals. There is something in many states, including Tennessee, Adult Protective Services. That is who you should be talking to about your dad. He may have Munchhausen By Proxy Syndrome or something. Here’s a link for the Tenn. agency you need: http://www.tn.gov/humanserv/adfam/afs_aps.html. I found out about them while watching Hoarders.

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe–thanks for joining us! We’ll be back next week with more free legal advice. Have a great weekend!

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January 17th, 2012 at 12:10 pm