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What Happens When A Business Partner Passes Away? And More Free Legal Q&A – Free Joe 1/25/13

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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.

Desda: If a business partner passes away how do you remove their name From the business and Change the name?

Joe Escalante: That depends on your operating agreement or corporate by-laws and articles of incorporation. If you are a partnership, your partnership agreement, or default state partnership law will govern what you need to do. The heirs of the decedent may have rights too.

Todd: I had a LLC created by Legal Zoom. According to Article 7.1, to withdraw from the LLC one of the partners would need the approval of the other members and put their intent in writing. Do I need to file this change with the state or just keep it for our records?

Joe Escalante: This stuff varies by state but it’s safe to say that amending the articles of organization usually requires a form to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Changes to the operating agreement do not.

Darlene: Often in the deed listing in the newspaper, I see properties “resold” to the same owners for $1.00. For what possible reasons would I transfer my property to myself for $1.00? Just please list a couple and explain. Thanks.

Joe Escalante: Some people get hung up on “consideration” as a contract term. It means each contract has to grant something in exchange for something else. One dollar represents (to them) a completion of the quid pro quo required for a valid contract. However, if you sell something for below market value, the IRS will want to look into it. Selling it to yourself? They probably thought this was an easier form to fill out than one simply changing the name on a title or how the property is held. In other words, I don’t know the answer to your question. :)

Sylvia: Is old man copy write for music just as safe as actually paying copyright company?

Joe Escalante: Assuming “Old Man Copy Write” is not some blues legend I haven’t heard of, I’ll assume you are talking about a “poor man’s copyright.” And no, it’s not safe. It’s stupid. Why? Because you can mail yourself unsealed envelopes all day long and then put other people’s songs in them and lick them shut when get a notion to steal their work and say that you created it before the postmark on your phony envelope.

Dino: If i can’t afford to pay for a Divorce how would i go about doin that? I have called legal aid and they wont help can i plz get some help plz?

Joe Escalante: My advice to you Dino is to buy this book with the dog on the cover. Consider him your dawg. Read his book and file the papers yourself like some old-timey jail house lawyer.

Kathy: My parents want to ensure my brother repays me a personal loan by having his portion of the will attributes given to me. Can they word that into their will in a way that is legal?

Joe Escalante: Something like, “to my lovely daughter, Kathy, I bequeath 1/2 my estate, plus an amount to be taken from the other 1/2 equal to any unpaid debts my non-lovely son owes her at the time of my passing.”

Elizabeth: Joe, regarding an adult adoption in los angeles county, what forms and or documents are needed for filing?

Joe Escalante: Start by filing this form. Their web site makes it pretty easy to do, sort of.

Nicole: My b/f mom passed away in sept. Her younger son was the Executor of her life insurance. She had no will. He was suppose to split the life insurance money with all the kids but didn’t…what can my b/f do to get his money?

Joe Escalante: You probably mean he was the “beneficiary” of the life insurance policy, if that is so, he doesn’t have to split it. It’s his.

Kathy: In planning my own will. Do live insurance policies payable to the estate go to pay off bills, then get distributed as an asset to will beneficiaries? How about if the life insurance beneficiary is an individual not in the will. Do the beneficiary get the full amount without having to payout my debts? Is there a best practice for life insurance policies?

Joe Escalante: A life insurance policy gets paid to the beneficiary upon death, without probate. If it goes to the estate, which is dumb, any creditors can go after it. If it goes to someone not mentioned in the will, it goes to them, mentioned or not.

Darren: I have an adult stepdaughter that I want to adopt, I understand there are no standard forms for filing but when I went to the courthouse they could offer no information. Please help!

Joe Escalante: You should get a consultation with a family law attorney in your county. If you can’t, try filing out the regular adoption forms and handing them in. Some counties work that way.

Michael: What type of trust should I set up to ensure that the money I leave for my children is controlled by family and not the government? My kids are under 18, so I need the family to have access to it (with set limits and rules). Thanks

Joe Escalante: Sounds like you should put your assets in a trust. Check out Legalzoom’s info on this. A trust will do all that for you.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Michael:

Cheryl: This is perfect! Thank you so much for this – I am currently in the process of completing a company registration form with LegalZoom but am not sure how to proceed. There is a company that exists with the same name but in a different industry and I wanted to know if I can still register my name? 2. What within my company should I get copywritten and trademarked (logo, slogan?) -3. I have a phrase that I would like to use similar like how Nike has “Just Do It” – would I need to get that copywritten/trademarked? I would like my company to be identified as that one word and also be reconized by this one word even though it isn’t the full name ….Like Oprah has Harpo Studios but it’s called Harpo and now she has OWN but the full name is Oprah Winfrey Network.

Joe Escalante: You have a lot of plans. You should consult an intellectual property attorney and come up with a plan. You can file copyrights and trademarks through Legalzoom quite easily but you may need some analysis on whether your marks could be confused with others in use already. In general you don’t have to worry about people using the same name for other products or services with which you don’t compete, but sometimes you do and you can get into trouble. You also might want to take a look at the Legalzoom Legal Plan. Click below:

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Cheryl:

Jo Anne: I am on disability and gave my daughter power of attorney is it legal for me to purchase a home and deed it to her and give myself life interest in home?

Joe Escalante: It is possible to do something like this to accomplish your wishes but it may take the help of an estate planning attorney. You should go see one.

Ezella: My sons father has visitation rights, which he does not get him at all. It is all handled by Family Court in Birmingham, Alabama. I want him to sign over his rights, which I know he will not do, because his mother is trying to take my son away from me. What can I do in the matter of his rights and his mother taking me to court next month.

Joe Escalante: If he will never sign over rights, it will be practically impossible for you to terminate his parental rights.

Lynette: im being suied for a car that my husband had hit a deer i told her that when i got the money i would fix it her car was in my back yard for 10 months the only reason he drove it was because i had to take my son to the hospital i know that my husband wrecked it but y am i getting suied i told her that if i stored her car in my back yard that she would have to give me money for storing it for her so what should i do

Joe Escalante: All you can do if you are sued is to hire an attorney to defend you or go to the courthouse’s self help department and figure out how to file an answer.

Brian: A new film trailer is using the name, likeness and brand of a known recording duo. My late sister and husband’s “Jim and Jean”. It seems they copied her look in the film to a “t” without knowledge or permission from her 93 year old mother, living in Santa Monica.

Q: what rights do the surviving family members have here?

Micheal: Start with a Cease & Desist, which can be as simple as an email.. As awful as it is, there may be no recourse, I’m sure you have some friendly legal pals, maybe have a chat with them RE: Intellectual property. I hope you can put the kibosh on it, super disrespectful to a great talent, your lovely sister, best, Micheal aka Symbolman

Joe Escalante: Symbolman is correct.

You can call my radio show this Sunday if you want more help on this and to embarrass the Hollywood tools you are mad at.

LegalZoom: Get the details for Joe’s show here, Brian:

LegalZoom: Joe will be back next week to answer more of your legal questions! Join us then:

Until then, have a great weekend and check out Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante!

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January 29th, 2013 at 5:46 am