So, just as you would not go to a dentist to install your
home security system, make sure that the attorney you employ
is a seasoned hand so you can avoid or minimize any hard
If you choose (and you shouldn't) to have a baby outside of
marital wedlock and you want to make sure that you are in
the baby's future (even if the birth mother wants to "lock
you out"), you can place your name on a putative registry so
that your rights as a birth parent are protected. This needs
to be done within 15 days of the birth of the child. So,
before you buy that first box of "Pampers,” get on the
If you are
expecting a "fat" tax refund but still need to file a
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have urgent expenses, make sure
that you keep a detailed list of whatever you spend out of
that tax refund, including all receipts. Why? In the event
that you file a bankruptcy and the trustee over your case
asks about that X grand return, you can present evidence
that you did not fritter it away on loose living and buying
the latest Jordans.
But rather you spent it on necessities including back rent,
utilities, food, clothing, attorney fees and costs to file
the bankruptcy, etc...etc. Do not pay back friends or family
members for any "loans" that they gave you. That won't fly
with the bankruptcy trustee.
Danger! Danger! If you sign a consumer contract for goods
and services, you normally have a three day rescission
period by which you can reject the contract and not be
liable to pay any contractual balance. However, this three
days of grace does not apply to buying a car. So, be very
sure that you want the car and the car checks out as not
being a lemon or it will become your "bank" (in other words,
you are always putting money into it!).
In the unfortunate
event that you are a passenger in a car that is stopped by
the police, the police can ask each of the occupants of the
car to identify themselves and also to step out of car
(safety of the officers).
If that happens to you, please refrain from loud mouthing
the police or trying to play tough guy and not cooperate.
The owner/driver of the vehicle can protest a search of the
car but you can't. So, please cooperate so that you can get
home safely and not be a victim of police misconduct.
Being evicted? If so, make sure that the landlord files the
proper paperwork in court and be very careful to make note
if the landlord or his agents try to do what is called,
"self-help" by which they put out your belongings on the
curb before the court process has finished. If they try that
tactic, they can be sued for damages. Take pictures and have
witnesses if at all possible about the damages done to your
household goods and furniture.
If you are facing a foreclosure but want to save the house
but the creditor says no, you may file for what is called a
Chapter 13 Plan by which, if you qualify, you can save the
house from foreclosure and also you can catch up on any past
due and owing house payments and property taxes. You must
act quickly so that your rights are protected since after
the foreclosure is done, your rights are extinguished unless
you can pay the due amount in full which may include
substantial attorney fees and costs.
If someone dies and they made out a will but you can not
find it but you do have a copy of it, you can still ask the
local probate court to admit the will and there will be a
legal proceeding to validate the copy as if it was the
original will. If no original can be found and neither can a
copy be found, you can still probate the estate assets of
the deceased that are not included in a trust document
(trust documents are not admitted to probate court).
In the event that you want to deed property to someone but
with conditions, you can do so and thus give a person a
"life estate" in the property and when they pass on, you can
(in the same document) determines who then gets the property
or whether it should revert back to you or your heirs.
To save money as regards probating one's estate, consider
having a possible heir, or two, placed on your checking or
savings account so that in the event that you pass away,
those remaining funds are now considered to be owned by
those name heirs. This is called a "POD" (payable on death
account) and can be set up by going to your bank and adding
a name, or more, to the paperwork and thus it is a contract
and as such will not be considered a probate asset and thus
avoids going through probate.
In the event that you need to file a bankruptcy or a Chapter
13 Plan, the federal law allows you to include into your
monthly budget an amount for tithing to your church (Note:
there is no New Testament requirement for tithing, only for
joyful giving) and which amount can be up to 15 percent of
your annual gross income. Such giving could make a favorable
result in you being able to file either a bankruptcy or a
Chapter 13 Plan since that amount lessens what is available
to pay to creditors!
In the event that you are sent an unsolicited gift in the
mail (in other words you did not ask for it or order it), it
is yours to keep and the sender is out of luck. So, if a
package comes to you and you keep it and then you get
letters demanding payment or its return, throw the letters
away and enjoy the freebie.
If you and your spouse have to separate and you both agree
upon a dissolution as opposed to a divorce (dissolution
requires no grounds to be proven), make sure that each
spouse will be present at the final hearing because if not,
and one spouse does not appear, the court will/can dismiss
it and you will have to start over and file a more costly
Well, there you have it. Freebies for all! Use them
wisely and when you are in a contentious situation, do not
get angry...get smart. Angry people lose while smart people
Contact Lafe Tolliver at