¿Qué tal un Testamento de Internet?

A menudo recibo esta llamada, “ ¿Podria revisar nuestro Testamento de Internet, y asegurarse que sea valido? ”
A menudo un testamento preparado en internet habilita al usuario a elegir entre múltiples opciones en un menu. Algunos cubren las bases necesárias, otras no. Y aun con máquinas tan avanzadas, los programas generados por computadora, no conocen sus circunstancias individuales al otro lado de la conexión.  Por ejemplo, no sería consiente que usted está en una relación seria que quisas en el próximo año se formalice con matrimonio, O que a su hijo o hija en quien ha gastado $25,000 en programas de rehabilitación de drogas, aunque usted lo ame, simplemente no quiere “dar en exceso” su generosidad , de tal manera que sería considerado injusta con sus otros hijos.  Usted quisás tiene cuidado de no decirle a la computadora que recientemente a sido diagnósticado con una enfermedad progresiva que podría incapacitarlo o llevar a limitaciones cognitivas en el camino o en una década. Y por una buena razón: todos los días se lee sobre información privada que es vendido a creadores de apps y anunciantes.
También recibo preguntas similares acerca de “Escrituras de Internet” preparados ya sea en linea o usando algún modelo.  Esos También pueden ser erróneos, en parte por su simplicidad aparente.
También están los acuerdos de arrendamiento en linea, los contratos de negocios, los acuerdos de separación en linea y la lista sigue.  Podría resultar en un costo sorprendentemente grande al escoger algo que a primera vista parece un bajo costo.  Usted raramente sabría esto de primera, pero descubrirlo después podría ser demasiado tarde.  Si usted esta dispuesto a confiarle su bienestar financiera a un documento generado por computadora, usted debería entender los riesgos desconocidos que vienen con sigo mismo.
Usted puede reducir los riesgos contratando a un abogado licenciado en su estado.
Jeff Morris, Abogado
Salsibury NC
704-647-0808
Hablo español

Why not just pay that traffic ticket?

I get plenty of phone calls asking why, since the nice officer wrote an amount on the bottom of that traffic ticket, the caller should not simply pay the ticket off, and not have to take time off to go to court.  It’s a valid question, especially when you may otherwise think of taking a Friday morning off from work, to seek a reduction on your ticket.

Those who call the office get an honest assessment.  For some tickets, yes, you are free to pay the fines and court costs, and avoid the inconvenience of going to court.  What you may not know in advance of paying the ticket, is that the payment is a guilty plea with no reduction.  And that means you may be pleading to a traffic charge that could revoke or suspend your driver’s license.  Or it could add one or more insurance points, causing your car insurance to go up 30% 45% or even 80%—just for what appeared to be a simple speeding ticket!  And since those points last three years, be careful what you decide to pay off!

This is really one area where it pays to call an attorney.  Rarely do attorneys charge a consultation fee for a simple speeding ticket, so you have virtually nothing to lose.  An attorney can advise on the license points and insurance points associated with a simple traffic ticket.  And with your responses to a few simple questions, an attorney can likely forecast the outcome of your ticket if you retain their services.

Knowledge is power.  Call an attorney before you decide to pay off a ticket, or to do it yourself.

Jeff Morris

704-647-0808

How about an internet Will?

I often get the phone call, “Will you check our internet Will, to make sure it is valid?”

Often a Will prepared on the internet enables a user to select from multiple choice options on a pull-down menu.  Some cover the necessary bases, others do not.  And as advanced as machines are, the computer-generated program on the other end of your connection has not gotten to know your individualized circumstances.  For instance, it may not be aware that you are in a serious relationship that is likely to be formalized by marriage in the next year or so, that there is a son or daughter you’ve already spend $25,000 on, for drug rehabilitation, and that while you love them, you simply don’t want to ‘over-give’ from your bounty in a manner that you may consider unfair to your other children.  You may be careful not to tell a computer that you were recently diagnosed with a progressive illness that may become disabling or lead to cognitive limitations a decade down the road.  And for good reason: we read every day about private data being sold to app-makers and advertisers.

I get similar questions about ‘internet deeds’ prepared either online or using a template.  Those, too, can be misleading, in part because of their apparent simplicity.

Then there are the online rental agreements, the online business contracts, the online separation agreements, and the list goes on.  There can be a surprisingly high cost for choosing what may first look like a low price.  But you rarely know this up front, and finding out later might actually be too late.  If you are willing to trust your financial well-being to a machine-generated document, you should understand it may come with unknown risks.

You may minimize your risks by contacting an attorney that is licensed in your State.

Jeff Morris

704-647-0808

Car Title Problems?

Problems with car titles? Who can help?

I ordinarily write about problems that I can help ‘fix’. Maybe this time, the question is whether I can prevent a problem from surfacing for those who read this.

Sometimes people are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to drive a vehicle. If you are ineligible for a license, you may not be eligible to transfer title to a vehicle to your name, though. Some have decided to buy a vehicle and have it registered in the name of a relative or friend who does have a drivers license, and when they do this, they are basically making a gift to their relative or friend. If you drive without a license, you can get a ticket. If you drive without insurance, you can get cited for that violation, also. Additionally, the friend may be charged with allowing an unlicensed person to drive their vehicle, which can have consequences in court with fines, as well as insurance consequences, and in certain circumstances could subject the vehicle to forfeiture. And if you were to have an accident, the registered owner’s insurance can come back against you for damages caused by your negligence.

But what if you have second thoughts about having spent $13,000 on that 2012 Honda Civic, and want it ‘back’? Did you realize that the friend in whose name you placed it now “OWNS” it, legally? So if you take the vehicle after the friend demands its return, you may be charged with some level of car theft, unauthorized use, or fraud. Not a desirable outcome.

About on a weekly basis, I have a client come to complain that he wants his car, and the person who is “holding title” to it will not give it back or transfer title. There is the legal problem of “registered owner”. Then there is the argument that the client made an investment of the car, has used the car exclusively for a couple years, and wants it placed in his own name, as the ‘equitable owner’ of the vehicle. Sounds reasonable? Perhaps. But if you are seeking an equitable remedy like this, you must have what the Court would call “clean hands” in the matter. That may be very hard to prove.

Prevention is usually the best defense, before you find yourself—and your friend—in trouble.  Breaking the law is not worth the risk.

Buyer Beware

If you are considering whether to rent-to-own a consumer product, think about the costs of making what appears initially to be small weekly payments, and whether the offer meets your family budget, or is a good deal for you.  Take a calculator with you and read the rental agreement carefully.  Even at national name-brand stores, you may discover that a modest TV that you could buy at Walmart for $300 could cost you four times that amount by renting to own over an 18 month period.  Some interest rates on these rent-to-own agreements are over 200 percent!

Does the contract forgive a missed payment or allow you a grace period to make it up?  Or does it allow for repossession with no credit for any payments already made?  Are the consumer goods ‘new’?  or are they ‘used’?  Quite a few consumers feel ripped off, simply because they did not realize the impact of those low weekly payments over time, or the huge amounts that they’d pay for rent-to-own, over traditional purchases.

The NC Attorney General’s Office suggests that before you decide to rent-to-own, ask yourself the following questions:

Is being able to return the item after using it worth paying more than double in rent what it would cost to purchase the item?

How does the cost and terms of renting-to-own compare to other payment options, like layaway or installment payments?

How does the amount you’ll pay weekly compare to the total cost of the item?

How long must you make payments before you own the item?

How much would you pay for the same item if you bought it someplace else?

Is the item new or used?

If you have a complaint about a rent-to-own contract, contact the AG’s office for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

Consumers Beware of “Rent-to-Own”

Rent-to-own scams

RENT-TO-OWN

When considering whether to rent-to-own a consumer product, think about the costs of making what appears initially to be small weekly payments. Read the rental agreement carefully, and you will see that a TV with a retail price of between $250 and $300 has payments of under $20 per week with no credit check, but that over the year and a half you make those payments, the total sales price can amount to four or five times the retail price of he same TV you could buy, simply be saving the same money for 4 months or less! Some interest rates on these rent-to-own agreements are over 200 percent!

And according to the rental agreements, a missed payment results in the store being able to repossess the goods, leaving you with no TV, and no credit toward the payments you’ve already made, even if you were close to paying it off before the missed payment.

Last week, I heard from a consumer who had bought a used washer and dryer on a rent to own contract where the total payments were $2,932. The same used washer and dryer could have been bought at Goodwill or the Habitat Store for about $200 without high interest rates for weekly payments.

The NC Attorney General’s Office suggests that before you decide to rent-to-own, ask yourself the following questions:

Is being able to return the item after using it worth paying more than double in rent what it would cost to purchase the item?

How does the cost and terms of renting-to-own compare to other payment options, like layaway or installment payments?

How does the amount you’ll pay weekly compare to the total cost of the item?

How long must you make payments before you own the item?

How much would you pay for the same item if you bought it someplace else?

Is the item new or used?

If you have a complaint about a rent-to-own contract, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

¡Cuídate cuando vende un carro!

¿Cuantas veces vendió un carro usado? Típicamente, ha firmado un recibo (“Bill of Sale”), y el título frente un notario público, aceptó el pago, quitó la placa, y llamó la compañía de seguro para remover el carro de su aseguranza. Y no eschuchó nada más.

Pero Usted no sabe si el comprador llevó el título a DMV para conseguir el nuevo título. Y desde cumplirlo, el carro está en su própio nombre. Es importante, especialmente si el comprador decide no aplicar por el nuevo tíulo (tal vez porque no tiene la buena licencia), y si él tiene un accidente. Usted puede ser responsable por su negligéncia, porque el título no cambio nombres de dueño. Con o sin aseguranza, sería un gran problema para Usted.

Existe algunas maneras de evitar este problema. Una es, si vende el carro a un ‘dealer’ autorizado por el estado que debe que seguir las leyes. Otra manera es hacer como yo hice. Cuando están listos cambiar título, reunirse en la oficina de placas del DMV, para segurar que el comprador cumpla su solicitud del nuevo título, y deja un empleado de DMV sellar el título como notario público, y quita la vieja placa a ellos para conseguir un recibo escrito, tambien.

Usted debe que protegerse contra los fraudes de otras personas, y no ser responsable por la negligéncia de otras personas. ¡El futuro económico de su familia no se vale los riesgos!

Jeff Morris es abogado en Salisbury, al número 704-647-0808.