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What Does “Anti-Trust” Mean? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 11/1/11

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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.

Sheila: Hi Joe – what exactly does anti-trust mean?

Joe Escalante: This is the area of the law that prevents monopolies from creating harmful market forces. It also prevents activity that creates barriers for new people to enter a market. For example. If I move to your town and start selling milk for a penny a gallon, soon all the other milk sellers will go out of business. Once I do that, however, I can raise the price of milk to $100 a gallon and you are my slave because I’ve driven out all my competition.
So anti-trust laws would be used to prevent monopolies and also go after guys that are charging a penny a gallon for milk.
When you hear about mergers of big companies today, they have to make sure they don’t run afoul of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and other similar regulations to get approval from teh government to merge and form a larger entity.

Sheila: Thank you – does this apply only to the United States?

Joe Escalante: Yes

Ram: I live and work in Sydney, Australia. I am an Australian Permanent Resident. I don’t have US Green Card or Citizenship.

I have an investment property in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am planning to change my name (removing middle name) here in Australia. I would like to know

a) do I need do any formality in Nevada
b) do I need to change DEED for my property and record in county
c) is there any impact on rental lease
d) any other advice since I am changing my name

If answer to above question is Yes, please advice best way to proceed further

Joe Escalante: Technically you need to record a new deed reflecting the name change. I think legalzoom’s deed transfer service can accomplish this, but I’m not exactly sure. Check it out.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Ram:

Karina: I want to get full custody of my son from his dad haven’t aren’t him almost 2 years have not heard from his since I left him I want him to give up his rights and I do not know where he is at

Joe Escalante: Go to the family law court in the county where you live. Petition the court to terminate parental rights. It will be hard without an attorney, but it can be done.

Yvonne: I have Power of Attorney of my mother and I am her full time caregiver. The home was divided between my mother, sister and myself. Because I am POA does that automatically allots me her share of the home? If not, how do I obtain it in my name? And will this supersede a will? Please advise

Joe Escalante: When she dies the power of attorney will expire along with her. The property will be divided according to her will.

Randy: what do you do when your foreclose on and not late on one payment but you are dealing with people who think they are above the LAW and pay people off to get it done how do you deal with that

Joe Escalante: Did you see the film “Machete?” That’s not really good legal advice but it’s entertaining. I can only give advice for dealing with people “under” the law. You can always file a lawsuit for them for breach of contract. You have to read the contract however, and find out which part they are breaching and sue under that theory.

Lisa: Question for Joe: What’s the best choice for my husband and me in terms of making sure the proper provisions are made for our baby daughter – wills or living trusts?

Joe Escalante: Living trust is the way to go for people that want to get specific with how they want their minor children to be taken care of in the event of the unthinkable. Click the link below to get started.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Lisa:

Robert: A client owes me some money. Is it a bad idea to block their ability to update their website until they pay the balance they owe?

Joe Escalante: I love it, but it is a bad idea, unless the ability to update their website is what he owes you money for. Standard is to keep sending invoices and then sue in court over unpaid invoices. Then you get a judgment, then you spend the rest of your days trying to enforce it. Maybe you should see the film “Machete” also.

Linetta: I thought I had medical power of attorney but my husband’s Doctors office said I am only his health representative. What do I need to do to have medical power of attorney?

Joe Escalante: The law on this varies from state to state, but generally a medical power of attorney document must be made while the patient is mentally competent, but can only be used when the patient is mentally incompetent. Legalzoom can help you with this, but make sure you are appointing yourself, and not some medical professional as the “healthcare agent.” Check this link:

Ashley: do you specialize in immigration?

Joe Escalante: No I don’t, but if you ask a question, I’ll try to help you with my general knowledge of the field.

Stormy: What happens when a person is very ill, has no will, is trying hard to pay bills off, and does not have a lot of money, and if they die before bills are paid, what happens then? I hope they don’t go after persons children.

Joe Escalante: They don’t go after the heirs. They may go after the estate, but if there’s nothing there, that’s the end of the line. This is what probate is for, it allows the creditors time to come in and make their claims.

Julie: If I’m paying the mortgage, and STBX and I are planning to sell the house when kids are grown in 8 yrs, should he get half of what we sell it for, or half of what an appraiser says it is worth NOW? Does his support have to be classified as alimony if it helps pay the mortgage (isn’t part of child support supposed to cover their housing??)

Joe Escalante: This stuff varies from state to state but these are all battle ground points in a divorce settlement. I believe that he should get 1/2 of what it’s worth now, but he may argue that point. And again the support question is another issue to haggle over. Technically, you are right, part of support is shelter. This is all argued and then entered into the divorce decree and support order.

Lynn-Marie: What steps do/should I take to get my non profit out of my name and into its own, so thst I can get it off of my families taxes’

Joe Escalante: The most complete way would be to dissolve it, and have it reformed. Since no one really owns a non-profit, your shares cannot be sold. How to get out without dissolving the entire thing? I really don’t know. If any other lawyers out there have experience with this, please post. Thanks.

Estelle: I started a business as a single woman and am now getting married. Can I change my name but keep my maiden name attached to my business?

Joe Escalante: Yes, if you want. You can always get a d.b.a. and do business under any name you like, unless it’s already taken.

Gilbert: question for you this morning Mr, Escalante On a foreclosure 3 unit house going on auction this month a firm is a trustee whos has the rights to collect money for rents

Joe Escalante: The landlord owns the property up until the day of the Trustee sale. The lender cannot charge rent for days prior to this sale. If the lender buys the property, he can charge rent then, but so could anyone else that buys it at the trustee sale.

Laurie: My ex husband and I own a home together. i gave him the house in the divorce but my name is still on the title. He is renting the hosue out and says he cant afford the mortgage. he wants to give it back to the bank. I am owed a lump sum when it selld because my tribe put the money down for down payment. If my ex lets the house go back to the bank I will lose my money. What can or should I do?

Joe Escalante: There is a conflict here between the divorce decree and the deed to the house. If there’s no equity in the house, selling it, or having a short sale, will make no difference.
If he owes you a lump sum, and has no assets, it’s very easy to garnish your wages. If he has no wages, you married the wrong guy Laurie, but I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you that. You can always petition the court to modify the divorce decree and get the house back but try to think about whether it is worth it.

Michelle: Hey Joe…It’s me again, the small fitness website being bullied by Fruit of the Loom. I received the official Notice of Opposition…from what I can understand, it says I need to respond by a certain date, but I am not hiring a lawyer for this nonsense. So what will happen if I do absolutely nothing?

Joe Escalante: You will lose the ability to have federal trademark protection. Then fruit of the loom will come after your business and sue you for trademark violations, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, etc. until you give up. Look at the video my band made when we were being sued by a big corp. You might want to start making things like this to embarrass them as well. It works. Also check out, United Hated Guitars on youtube. But make sure you respond to the opposition.

Michelle: How do I respond???

Joe Escalante: You read the opposition notice and follow the instructions. If it’s unclear, call the examiner assigned to the case. It’s really hard to oppose something argued by a big company without a lawyer however.

Scott: When it comes to estate planning and disability, can you rank the importance of things like a will, living trust, power of attorney, advanced directive, polst, etc. Am I missing something?

Joe Escalante: A living trust, if done correctly, will contain a will and powers of attorney within it, so let’s start there. An advanced medical directive is better than a living will because it lets you appoint a person that shares your values instead of just some medical professional that happens to be in the building when people are deciding whether to continue life support on you.

Susan: Q: What rights does a sub-lease tenant have in scheduling repairs to the building. Plumbing issue was supposed to have been dealt with since Feb 2010, then over the summer. When it was not, tenant informed landlord 3 months ahead to please get it done prior to the time period of Nov-mid-January due to her schedule. Now landlord gives one week notice that her unit must be accessed during this exact period, and will not even provide any details about who is coming and what will be done other than it will take about 2 weeks (a “3 day” job for the other bath in the unit took over 2 weeks, ran her utilities up 3x, and caused many problems). A hotel room will cost about 3x her rent. Can she refuse to allow carte-blanche access to her unit?

rather, refuse during this time that she cannot accommodate the work? any time before or after could have been feasible.

Joe Escalante: A sub-tenant may have no rights if the landlord didn’t expressly authorize the sub lease. Even if he did authorize, your remedies for any problems may only be against the direct tenant, so you might want to cooperate as much as you can.

Susan: She is leasing directly from a condo owner. So she is supposed to move out, in the midst of a time she cannot do so, even though she gave notice that she couldn’t do so, and stay at a hotel for a month at her own expense? And they don’t even have to provide information about who is coming, for security if not scheduling, purposes? Wow.

Joe Escalante: Wow indeed.

Renee: Hi Joe, I wanted to ask a question regarding child custody in california. If the parents live an hour from each other how likely is it that physical custody will be shared equally?

Joe Escalante: If someone convinces the judge, that equal custody in this scenario is in the best interest of the child, the judge will approve it. So it’s a matter of proving the case to the judge. You lay out your case and hope for the best.

Michelle: how do you designate in a will for a permanantly disabled adult child?

Joe Escalante: There are estate planning lawyers that specialize in the permanent care of disabled offspring. It would be wise to consult with a few. Usually what is recommended is something called a “supplemental needs trust.” Call around and ask for a consultation about getting one of these drafted. Click the Attorney Connect button below to get started. Good luck.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Michelle:

Rhonda: Can my production company be sued if the script condemns fluoride in public drinking water?

Joe Escalante: Well, anyone can be sued, but in the scenario you described, it would be hard to imagine anyone going that far, and if they did, it would be harder to imagine them winning anything.

Gary: What’s the best way to clear a judgement that was on a fraud (identity) charge that they used my name as a personal guarantor?

Joe Escalante: The process is different in every court jurisdiction but I would start by going to the clerk (or calling) and asking how to “vacate” a judgment based on fraud / i.d. theft. They’ll give you a process and you just go through it until it is vacated.

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe Tuesday! Come join us on Friday for more free legal advice from Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante. Thanks for joining us!

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November 3rd, 2011 at 5:56 am