Do I Need An Attorney for My Workers’ Compensation Case?

The decision to hire an attorney is often based on the severity of the worker’s injury. If the injury is limited to a sprained ankle or broken wrist that is expected to heal with limited future medical treatment, the employee may choose not to hire an attorney to represent him in the workers’ compensation claim. However, employees that suffer back injuries, head injuries or traumatic injuries to a limb will usually benefit from hiring an attorney to assist with the workers’ compensation case.

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

Happy family in front of house

A reverse mortgage is a loan borrowed against the equity in your home. You must be at least 62 years old to qualify for a reverse mortgage, so it is often used by people of retirement age to supplement Social Security or other retirement income.

Instead of making a payment each month as you would with a traditional mortgage loan, a borrower receives money with a reverse mortgage. The loan is secured through the equity in the house, and accrues interest monthly. Money may be received from the lender through a lump sum, monthly payments, or a combination of both. Since the borrower does not make payments back towards the balance, the loan grows each month as interest is tacked on.

The loan will come due when the home is no longer the primary residence of the borrower(s). This will happen as a result of either the property being sold, the resident(s) moving out, or death.

Once the home is not the primary residence of the borrower, the balance can either be paid by the borrowers or their estate, or the home can be sold to pay back the loan. If the property is sold, the difference between the loan and the sale price (in other words, any remaining equity) will belong to the estate. If it is sold for less than the full loan amount, the lender must absorb the loss. They can then request reimbursement from the Federal Housing Administration to cover their loss.

While a reverse mortgage can be used to supplement retirement income and ensure a comfortable lifestyle, there are pitfalls that need to be carefully considered. We recommend that anybody considering a reverse mortgage discuss it with a trusted financial advisor before making any agreements.

Can I File Bankruptcy If I have a Trust Fund?

Female on White BackgroundWhen it comes to bankruptcy, it’s important to know the limitations of a bankruptcy. One area we occasionally have people ask about is whether they can file bankruptcy or not if they have a trust. To answer this question, yes; generally speaking, someone with a trust fund is more than likely able to file a bankruptcy.

There are two different types of trusts. There is a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. A revocable trust is when the grantor (the person who created the trust and put property into it) of the trust has full access and control over the trust and at any given time can access the property in the trust. This is true only until the passing of the grantor. The beneficiary of the trust (the person that will receive the trust) is not able to control the assets of the trust until the grantor of the trust is deceased. Even then, the beneficiary may not have full control over what happens to the trust. This is due to there being provisions and rules associated with the trust that may limit what the beneficiary can do with the trust and the assets in the trust.

An irrevocable trust means the trust cannot be changed, and the assets in the trust cannot be accessed, without permission from the beneficiaries. This is because the grantor of the trust has given up their rights of ownership of the assets in the trust. The beneficiaries may not be able to access a trust instantly, but because the grantor has removed their ownership rights, the beneficiaries of the trust have some legal rights to those assets.

The main concern with trust funds is whether or not the trust can be protected from creditors. There are many allowances that will let you protect a trust. One of the most common allowances in the legal field is a “spendthrift” clause. A spendthrift clause can limit creditor’s claims to trust assets, regardless of whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable.

If you are a beneficiary or a grantor of a trust fund, and you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is very important that you make your attorney aware of the trust. You should also have your bankruptcy attorney or trust attorney look over the trust and contract to be sure that it can be protected from creditors.

Authorized User v. Co-Signer: The Differences Explained

Credit Card Lying on White BackgroundGreat question! This can be answered easily using a couple of scenarios. Let’s use the example of Tom and Jane. Tom goes to Old Navy and opens up a credit card. When he fills out the application, he uses only his name and credit history to apply. He later decides that for convenience, he’d like to allow Jane to use his card, so he calls up Old Navy (or the credit card company that operates the Old Navy card) and adds her as an authorized user. She now has legal rights to use the card, but no legal obligation to pay any of the debts back. Also, which can be seen as a bonus, the credit card will be reported on her credit report as an authorized user, as well as Tom’s; so if he pays the bill on time, she gets the perks of the good standing credit score without the legal obligation to pay back any of the debt.

Now let’s pretend that Tom and Jane both go to Old Navy and open a credit card. When the application is filled out, both names are put on it and both have their credit report ran as part of the application process. In this situation, Tom would be the primary holder, and Jane would be the co-signer of the card; although the credit card will report on both credit reports the same. Let’s say that things turn for the worst and Tom and Jane split up; at this point they are BOTH equally responsible for the debt on the Old Navy credit card. When you co-sign for a debt you immediately take equal responsibility for that debt obligation. It’s important to understand they aren’t each only responsible for one half of the debt, instead, they are each responsible for the entire amount.

As a general rule of thumb, if you can avoid doing so, don’t co-sign on the debt with another person. If a finance company is requiring a co-signer then they believe the original debtor will not pay for the debt if they don’t have someone else sign for it.

How Do You Dispute A Debt On Your Credit Report?

Father and Daughter Surfing the WebErrors in credit reporting can be detrimental to an individual’s financial health and stability. New lines of credit can be denied or offered at inflated interest rates because of incorrect negative information provided by even one of the three credit reporting bureaus. Some experts estimate that one in every four credit reports contains inaccurate information that could stop individuals from obtaining new lines of credit.

The first step to correcting inaccurate or outdated information on your credit report is knowing what creditors are seeing when they pull your information. While you can pay each credit reporting bureau a fee to see your report at any time, federal law requires that each bureau allow you to see your credit report for free once every 12 months. A website has been created to allow individuals to pull all three reports for free. AnnualCreditReport.com is one of the few places you can pull your credit reports without fear of having to pay anything. It is the site recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

When inaccurate information is found, it must be disputed with each individual credit bureau that is listing it. If, for example, there is incorrect information on all three reports, it must be disputed with all three bureaus separately. If only one credit reporting bureau is showing misinformation, then only that bureau needs to be contacted.

To dispute anything on your credit report, gather any supporting documents you have as evidence. Write a letter to the credit reporting bureau explaining clearly what the inaccuracy is and provide the correct information so that the error can be corrected. The Federal Trade Commission has created a sample dispute letter that can be used as a guide. Attach your supporting documents to the letter to ensure that your complaint is addressed and corrected. We typically encourage folks to send these letters certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have evidence that you properly gave notice of any inaccuracies.

Each of the credit bureaus has set up a page on their websites to allow individuals to file online disputes. Access them here:

File dispute with Equifax

File dispute with TransUnion

File dispute with Experian

Once your complaint has been submitted, the credit reporting bureaus will investigate the inaccuracy, and will usually send a response in the mail no later than 30 days from the day that the dispute was submitted.

If you still are unable to have the improperly listed debt removed then you should contact the Federal Trade Commission to let them know of the improper reporting and the credit bureaus failure to properly remove the inaccuracy.

What Is A Form 42 in Workers’ Compensation?

A Form 42 is an application for Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem, a person the court appoints to represent the best interests of a child or someone who is incompetent in a case. This form is used when a plaintiff in a case is an infant or an incompetent person that has no general or testamentary guardian (A person named in a will to serve as a guardian).