Tag Archives: civil law

civil litigation

Civil Litigation Lawyers – Do You Need One?

civil litigationIf you find that you should take some legal action and just aren’t sure how to go about it, you probably want to get in touch with a civil litigation lawyer. A lawsuit can be a tricky, intricate process and a knowledgeable attorney’s advice can save you time — and money.

What to Expect From a Civil Litigation Lawyer

A civil litigation lawyer will walk you down the path of filing and following up a non-criminal lawsuit. A lawyer can best advise you about where your case is best suitable. Not all civil lawsuits need to end up in court. Some situations where a civil litigation attorney would come in handy are:

  • Alimony
  • Personal injury
  • Debt settlement
  • Discrimination

The filing of criminal cases, as opposed to civil cases, are normally handled by governmental agencies such as the prosecutor’s office.

Find Out if You Need a Civil Litigation Lawyer

If you’re thinking about beginning a lawsuit, it’s always a good idea to get advice from an attorney. They can tell if you the odds of your case being successful as well as the procedures and required paperwork that will need to be completed. The attorney can also tell you if your case is one of those that are better off being handled through an alternate method of conflict resolution such as mediation.

What Does it Cost

Attorneys approach the question of billing in different ways. How they invoice and how much they ask in payment is left, within guidelines, up to each lawyer. Some civil litigation lawyers charge by the hour and others charge a contingency fee. If an attorney accepts your case on contingency, they you don’t pay anything until the case is settled and the lawyer gets a percentage of any winnings. Of course, you and the attorney will agree to their percentage prior to them taking the case.

If your attorney agrees to take you on as a client on a contingency fee basis, then they feel you have a fairly strong case. Regardless, make sure you ask about rates, charges and how they’re arrived at, up-front.

What Should You Expect

The outcome can depend on many factors, but that’s why you have an attorney. They can advice you at each step of the process. With their assistance, your case might be determined privately, out of court, or you may end up in court. If you win, you might receive financial compensation.

Since litigation attorneys know the local law and the procedures used locally, their expertise will put you in a good position to win your lawsuit. Definitely a much better position than if you try to handle the matter on your own.


Will the Real Beneficiary of Your 401(k) Please Stand Up

401(k)If it has been awhile since you last looked at the designation-form for your 401(k), you may be in for a surprise. As the years, since you designated a beneficiary, life has tossed some curves and changes. Without a good review, with a legal advisor, you may find that your retirement savings are going to a person that you’d rather not see them go to. It happens.

The wealthy telemarketer died suddenly last month. His last will and testament said that his estate was to go to his children and his new wife. Much of his money was in his 401(k) retirement plan. The ultimate recipient of those monies isn’t determined by his will and wishes. The recipient is determined by whose name was scrawled on the designation form years ago. His ex-wife of 22 years got all of his money.

It is a situation that happens frequently but is little-understood. A lifetime of putting money away is determined by what you inked on the document years ago when you designated your beneficiaries. If you haven’t updated the paperwork to reflect changes in life, you possibly will not be able to leave your wealth to the heirs of your choice. Instead, you could be leaving them a financial nightmare.

The executive who died could have asked his ex to sign a waiver and then name his children as the recipients of his 401(k). Since he failed to do that, his ex inherits it. By forgetting to update his forms, the executive basically disinherited his children and left his current wife penniless.

Law professors at Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law in New York released a study which sheds light on the situation. Most Americans think their retirement will be divided along the lines laid out in their will — as are their other assets. Actually, the beneficiary of retirement savings is normally determined by what is said on beneficiary-designation forms that many people have either forgotten or lost.

With $6.5 trillion in IRAs, the amount of money is huge. Another $5.9 trillion in 401(k)s that may — or may not — go to the intended recipient. If you accidentally leave a former spouse designed as the beneficiary of your 401(k), they will be given the money from the fund, even if your will stipulates that those assets are excluded from the divorce settlement.

Lauren Lindsay, financial planning director at Personal Financial Advisors, worked with an insurance executive who had four children. He had given so much money to one child to help her fund a business that he told all of the children, including her, that it would not be fair to give her more. The insurance executive told Ms. Lindsay that he would be changing the designation forms on his 401(k) so the other three would inherit the money. Before he could get a chance to complete the changes, he was killed in an auto accident. His daughter, the one he had helped financially, was given 25 percent of his retirement assets.

It is past time that firms overhaul the rigid and outdated forms. Until they do, you need to double check how you filled those forms out years ago. A good attorney can help spot any discrepancies between your life now and how you saw it then.