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Lucé Evans Law Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Each individual’s legal issue will differ in some way, but in every case it’s helpful to understand some basics. To help, we have gathered a few of the questions that our attorneys are asked most often on the topics of estate planning, business law and more.

Business Law Questions

Understanding business law and how it applies to your business is an important part of owning a successful business. At Lucé Evans Law, we’re here to guide our clients through the complicated legal issues that may arise. Some of the most frequent questions we receive are listed below.

Intellectual property (or IP) refers to creations of the mind, including inventions, designs, artwork, literary work and more. Protecting this type of property requires an experienced intellectual property attorney. An IP attorney provides guidance and legal assistance to artists, inventors and anyone else who needs exclusive protection for their property by applying for patents, copyrights or trademarks; defending a patent or trademark; representing clients before patent examiners or boards; writing licensing agreements and so on.

As IP attorneys, we help protect the intellectual property of business owners. Because we know that securing our clients’ creative endeavors promotes innovation, we ensure we do everything possible from a legal standpoint to keep each client’s intellectual property safe from other parties. Essentially, hiring an attorney is the best way to make sure that your creative property is protected.

When you’re starting a business with a partner, make sure you begin with a legally binding contract that offers protection to all entities. Have an attorney review the contract before anyone signs the document. If your partner ignores the terms, you are entitled to pursue legal remedies, including expulsion from the business if legal and necessary.

Business litigation can be very complex. When you’re dealing with a breach of contract allegation, consult with an attorney before taking serious action against your partner. If you try to expel your partner unlawfully, you could face complications from breach of partnership or wrongful dissolution charges. An attorney can help decide whether or not (and how) to expel your partner if necessary, or how to file a suit for contract violation.

Owning your own business gives you flexibility and autonomy in your work. When you’re just getting started, however, you’ll have to navigate a labyrinth of paperwork and legalese as you create buy/sell agreements, figure out how to protect your assets – and incorporate your company. Don’t let yourself become lost in that crucial first phase of launching a company. Instead, protect yourself and your new enterprise by contacting a business formation lawyer.

The Small Business Administration recommends hiring an attorney for all legal matters, especially when you are forming a corporation. Lawyers can help you in multiple ways, from ensuring that your company is protected under the law to helping you with tax requirements. An attorney will also share advice on patents, business plans and other relevant endeavors.

For a business owner, few things are more frustrating than seeing another company using their slogan and logo. If you trademark your company’s name and slogan, you receive legal protection under intellectual property law. You may also have protection under copyright law if you have used a trademark to protect your logo. To avoid time-consuming mistakes in the trademark process, work with an attorney who understands intellectual property or IP law.

If you don’t have trademarks for your company’s name, slogan and logo, you should still contact an intellectual property attorney. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you determine how – and whether you can or should – pursue litigation under unfair competition regulations, even without legal IP protection measures in place.

Real Estate Law Questions

A real estate attorney assists clients with legal guidance, document preparation and litigation services. Here are some of the most common real estate law questions we receive at our McKinney office.

Some of the main reasons to work with a real estate attorney involve assistance with buying or selling real estate, commercial sales and leases, selling property to an out-of-state buyer, creating documentation for a custom home, foreclosures, breach of contract and landlord-tenant disputes. Real estate attorneys can draft and oversee contracts, helping to prevent complications and future conflicts. With careful scrutiny and contract amendments, a lawyer works to secure their client’s best interests in a deal.

In a typical real estate deal, each party has a financial interest at stake. Real estate attorneys are motivated to protect their client’s legal rights and responsibilities. From drafting and negotiating a contract to representing a person or company in the courtroom during real estate litigation, an experienced attorney works to uphold your best interests.

A real estate attorney can help during a property purchase by reviewing all relevant documentation before a deal is finalized. An attorney reviews property deeds, mortgage loan statements, title insurance and other essential documents. With the help of an attorney you can also determine if there are any lien disputes or claims against the property, enabling you to make the best decision about the potential purchase.

Another possible issue during a property purchase is the existence of dangerous conditions, illegal structures and other pitfalls that would require additional investment. A real estate attorney will make sure you are contractually protected, whether that involves canceling the contract or being fairly compensated. And when it comes to executing a real estate deal, your attorney can draft or review closing documents based on the particular requirements of the transaction.

In many cases, you can solve a real estate dispute without going to court. To prevent/minimize issues that can and do arise between buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants and other parties, attorneys will create a personalized plan tailored to the situation. Real estate litigation attorneys work to resolve commercial and residential property disputes for their clients in a timely and affordable manner. Frequently, this process involves a settlement through negotiation, mediation or arbitration before a court appearance is required.

Some common reasons to pursue litigation include title disputes, failures to disclose property defects, mortgage disputes or foreclosures, disputes between condo owners and boards, zoning issues, breaches of construction contracts and so on. Even though most people enter into real estate contracts with positive intentions, when issues arise it may be necessary to seek a favorable resolution through real estate litigation.

Estate Planning Questions

Estate planning need not be a daunting process. Having a plan directing what you want to happen with your estate when you are no longer able to oversee it will give your loved ones peace of mind. Here are some of the most frequently asked estate planning questions.

A living will is a tool used during estate planning that allows you to ensure that your wishes are met in the event of a life-threatening illness or injury. A living will goes into effect once you are incapacitated, either due to a terminal illness or a serious injury that results in a permanent vegetative state. A living will outlines which, if any, life-prolonging medical treatments you would want in that scenario, and usually requires that a doctor certify your condition is terminal.

Because every state has its own requirements, you should work with a living will attorney who is familiar with the laws and local regulations to prepare your paperwork. We also recommend appointing someone who will hold power of attorney for your healthcare if you are incapacitated but not terminal.

If someone passes away before they had time to compose a will, they will have died “intestate” and the state will take over the distribution of your estate. Instead of them having complete control of who gets what, all that responsibility is handed over to the court. This can be a big challenge if there is estrangement from the blood relatives, as “intestate” uses the family as the basis for asset distribution. So if you feel strongly about one or two family members having access to your assets when that is against your wishes, it’s a good idea to meet with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney before your death. Each state has a different method of distributing intestate, and the order in which assets are distributed to your family depends on whether you have a living spouse or children. When you have specific questions about intestate distribution consequences from your estate, speak to an experienced estate planning attorney.

If you pass away without a will or living trust, your assets will be distributed through the court in an “intestate” manner. This means your surviving family members will be given a portion of your estate in accordance with state law. Generally, your surviving spouse will receive all the property you and your spouse acquired during marriage. Your children and spouse will split the remaining property. Some individuals do not have any heirs to distribute their estate to when they die. If you would like to choose who should receive your money after you pass away, you must create an estate plan. Otherwise, you lose control over your assets when you die and the government will claim the money. Intestate distribution can be very complex, so it is imperative to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to assist you with specific questions.

Selecting your spouse as executor of your estate often makes sense for several reasons. First, you should always choose someone you can trust to carry out your wishes – and for many people, a spouse fits this role. Additionally, your passing may affect your spouse financially more than anyone else, so he or she has the greatest stake in managing your assets prudently.

If you do not choose your spouse or another executor, the court will name someone for you, which might not be an ideal option. We advise discussing your estate planning with your spouse and your attorney to identify the best possible executor. If you end up choosing your spouse as executor, also have a backup executor in line in case your spouse is too upset or overwhelmed after your passing to take on the task of handling your estate.

Estate Disputes Questions

A well-considered, comprehensive estate plan can prevent conflict following the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, even with the most careful planning, estate disputes may still occur, requiring the guidance of a dedicated Texas attorney.

Undue influence in an estate dispute covers fraud, deceit and coercion that overpowers a testator’s free will in the execution of a will. Undue influence can be challenging to prove, as manipulation or exploitation often occurs in secret. However, an experienced estate disputes attorney builds a case that meets the burden of Texas law. An attorney may also work with beneficiaries to show that a will is valid, and accurately represents the testator’s clear wishes during the estate planning process.

Texas courts often look at the circumstances surrounding the creation of a will to determine undue influence. To make a judgment, courts look at factors that include the available opportunities for deception, the relationships between each party involved in the estate dispute, as well as the state of the testator’s mental and physical capacity.

A family settlement agreement in an estate dispute is a method of resolving probate litigation without needing a trial. Used as a strategy to resolve will contests, probate disputes and other conflicts, family settlement agreements can reduce time-consuming and expensive litigation proceedings. A common example of an agreement may involve a will that distributes assets unevenly to family members. If all parties determine that the estate should be divided equally, the court will enforce the family settlement agreement over the wishes laid out in the will.

For a family settlement agreement to be enforced, all heirs must agree to the terms and set out a plan for asset distribution and real estate inheritance that differs from the terms of the will. The courts often favor this process, as it effectively reduces estate disputes and prevents litigation.

There are several reasons for disputing a will or trust, even when an experienced attorney has drafted the document. Lack of testamentary capacity refers to a person’s ability to understand the elements of a will or amendments they are requesting be made to an existing document. Due execution involves the technical aspects of a will, including the appearance of a testator’s signature and the inclusion of a witness. If a person was manipulated into signing a will that didn’t represent their wishes, this is called undue influence.

In addition, relatives may file a power of attorney dispute if there is a conflict over the appointment of an agent to oversee the estate. For estate disputes in Texas, a spouse, child, creditor or other person with a claim on property can dispute the will’s validity within two years.

Criminal Law Questions

Facing criminal charges is a confusing and stressful experience. But with the help of an experienced criminal law attorney, individuals can access the best advice and representation from the initial charges through to a trial in court.

For a person to be charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Texas, they will first be asked by an officer to perform sobriety tests. The officer may then request a breath sample or blood sample to determine the levels of alcohol in a person’s system. And while it is possible to refuse these tests, the officer can obtain a warrant if they believe the driver is intoxicated. A criminal law attorney guides clients through the DWI legal process, including fighting a license suspension.

After an arrest, clients may face an arraignment, civil proceeding, plea entry, preliminary hearing, pre-trial and trial. It is certainly possible for a person to represent themselves. However, it is beneficial to work with an experienced criminal law attorney. The attorney can guide the individual through each stage of the process, supplying sound advice and determined representation.

Common misdemeanor offenses in Texas include petty theft, DWI charges, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, drug crimes involving low quantities, criminal trespass and certain weapons possession charges. Misdemeanor charges are brought more often than felony charges, with misdemeanors typically being restricted to offenses that don’t involve significant property damage or violence. If you face a misdemeanor charge, a criminal law attorney can often reduce the chance of jail time or substantial fines.

During an arraignment, a person charged with a misdemeanor will submit a guilty, not guilty or no contest plea. In some instances, the individual will have a plea deal with the prosecution. In most cases however, a criminal lawyer will build a robust defense against the charges. Criminal attorneys understand the legal process and the steps required to secure the best possible outcome for a defendant.

Defenses against weapons charges in Texas will vary depending on the details of the case. It may be possible to use an unlawful search and seizure defense, the Second Amendment right to bear arms, or special exemptions for particular circumstances. The most appropriate legal strategy can be determined with the help of a dedicated and experienced Texas criminal defense attorney.

A conviction for weapons charges could have severe consequences for a person’s employment and financial circumstances. Convictions may result from illegal possession, carrying a firearm in a Texas workplace, carrying a weapon in a place that serves alcohol, owning a prohibited weapon (armor-piercing ammunition, explosives, short-barrel firearms), or carrying a weapon while committing a crime. A criminal defense attorney will diligently advocate for the rights of clients, providing smart, effective defenses for weapons charges.

Litigation Questions

The litigation process can quickly become complicated and confusing. The following are some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions about litigation.

If you’re a business owner, you know that intellectual property theft can be extremely costly and problematic. However, If another company steals your invention you may pursue recourse under intellectual property law.

While protective measures – including patents, trademarks and copyrights – can help your case, you do not need such safeguards in order to sue a company for stealing your work. If you don’t have a patent, however, you will need to prove that the invention was your original idea by using extensive documentation. For example, you could use a nondisclosure agreement to prove that a company stole your idea despite the terms outlined in the document. Work with a patent and IP attorney to determine whether or not your case merits a lawsuit, what damages you may be entitled to claim – and how long you have to file under the statute of limitations.

If a debt collection agency is harassing you, contact the creditor to see whether you can create a payment plan or come up with another compromise. If that doesn’t work, or if the agency continues to contact you incessantly, send a letter outlining the behavior and requesting that the creditor no longer contact you. By law, the collection agency must cease. If you are still experiencing harassing behavior, consult an attorney for assistance. Once you have legal representation, a collection agency lawyer will need to direct all further communication to your lawyer, rather than to you.

As a business owner, you want quick resolutions to the inevitable disputes that arise. By hiring a business litigation lawyer, you can handle any issue with efficiency – and get back to running your day-to-day operations. There are many different services offered by a business lawyer, including drafting third-party agreements, debt collection, breach of contract and more. Every business faces unique challenges when it comes to litigation, and a lawyer can help you handle any upsets, whether large or small, external or internal.

For instance, if you find that your business is being sued, you need an attorney to fight to protect your rights. An attorney with the right experience can guide you through the litigation process and can get you the results you want. To bring each client the best resolution possible, we provide diligent representation and support.

Have a Different Legal Question?

When you are struggling with questions or concerns about legal issues – from estate planning to business law, litigation or criminal law – Lucé Evans Law is just a call away. Contact us today by calling (972) 632-1300, or request a free legal consultation.

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