In 2017, approximately 767,721 people filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy provides more relief to consumers than any other form of debt-relief solution.

As you evaluate your financial situation, have you decided that bankruptcy is right for you? If you strongly believe this, you should begin searching for a bankruptcy lawyer to hire to assist you.

If you're wondering how to find the right one, continue reading this guide to learn how to select the right bankruptcy lawyer for your case.

Ask Your Friends and Family for Referrals

When you're looking for a lawyer to hire, one of the best places to start is with your friends and family. If you know of a person that filed for bankruptcy, ask that person for a referral.

Asking your friends and family members might offer a way for you to get some names of attorneys that offer bankruptcy services. 

When someone gives you the name of a lawyer, ask that person the following questions:

  • Did you use the lawyer for a bankruptcy case?
  • Would you hire him or her again?
  • Were you satisfied with the services and outcome of your case?
  • What are the best things about this lawyer?

Asking the right questions can help you narrow down your choices for hiring a lawyer. Once you get some names, you can start researching them and learning more about each one.

Talk to Your Lawyer

If your friends and relatives do not provide you with a lot of helpful information, talk to your lawyer. Do you have a lawyer that you go to when you experience legal troubles?

If you do, you can ask him or her for referrals for bankruptcy lawyers. Your lawyer might even provide these services, as many law firms specialize in many areas of practice.

Getting referrals from your lawyer, friends, or relatives provides a way for you to get the names of lawyers you could consider for your bankruptcy case.


Research Local Law Firms

Next, you may want to look up all the lawyers in your area that provide bankruptcy services. For example, you could type in "Omaha bankruptcy lawyers" to get a list of every attorney that provides bankruptcy services in this area.

From there, you can begin researching individual lawyers. As you do this, you might wonder how to look up a lawyer's credentials. If you want to do this, you can by checking with the American Bar Association (ABA).

The ABA allows you to look up a lawyer to find out what credentials he or she has. Looking this up is critical, as you want to choose a lawyer with the right licenses in your state.

Read Reviews

Another excellent step to take is reading reviews. When people hire lawyers for legal issues, they will often rate their attorneys and leave reviews about them.

Reading these reviews gives you the ability to hear from clients of these attorneys. You can read about how people felt with the attorney's services, and you can learn more about a lawyer's personality through these.

Reviews also help you understand more about the quality of the services a lawyer provides and the affordability of their fees.

Educate Yourself With Bankruptcy Law

Additionally, as you search for a bankruptcy lawyer to hire, you should also consider educating yourself with the bankruptcy process. Learning about bankruptcy can help you ask the right questions when you interview attorneys.

Learning about bankruptcy can also help you learn which branch might be right for you. As you begin educating yourself about bankruptcy, you should aim to understand the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 offers a way to discharge the debts you owe, whereas Chapter 13 requires the repayment of debts. If you prefer using Chapter 7, check out the mean's test. All lawyers use this test to tell if a person qualifies for Chapter 7.

Another area of bankruptcy law to evaluate is the effects on your assets. You risk losing assets with Chapter 7, whereas you don't take this risk with Chapter 13.

Interview a Few Bankruptcy Lawyers

After you complete all the other steps listed here, you should have a list of several lawyers you would like to interview. If this is the case, set up appointments with each one.

Many lawyers offer free consultation services, but you should ask when you call. You should also prepare a list of questions to ask the lawyers that you interview, and you should bring financial documents with you to these visits.

The documents a lawyer will need include the following:

  • Pay stubs for the last few months
  • A list of all income you received in the last six months
  • Your last tax return
  • Statements of debts you owe
  • Documents that prove the value of the assets you own

You will get more out of the visits if the lawyer can see how much money you earn and how much you owe.

The list of questions you prepare should include:

  • What branch should I use?
  • What are the differences between the two branches?
  • How long will the case take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Is there an alternative way out of debt?
  • How will this affect my credit?

If you come prepared for these interviews by bringing the right documents and questions, you will get more out of them.

Contact Us to Schedule a Consultation Visit

If you live in the Omaha area and want to discuss your case with a bankruptcy lawyer, call us.

We offer bankruptcy services for consumers, and we can help you determine if you qualify for bankruptcy and if it is the most effective option for your situation.

Would you like more information? If so, contact Welch Law Firm, P.C. to learn more.

No one wants to think about their own death or that of a beloved family member. But creating a will and understanding will probate guarantee that your belongings are distributed fairly and according to your wishes.

The more you know about the will probate process and executing a will, the better you can protect your assets and preserve your legacy.

Here you'll find a breakdown of what happens during will probate and the steps you can take to prevent it.

Is Will Probate Necessary?

Will probate is not always necessary following someone's death. In fact, probate is often reserved for large, complicated estates that include large sums of money, businesses, or real estate.

The most common reason a will goes to probate is if the deceased wants to transfer ownership of a property to a beneficiary.

Different states have different laws surrounding the will probate process. Some states require probate even if the deceased doesn't have a will.

The ultimate goal of the probate process is to ensure the decedent's debts and bills are paid off and that the remainder of the estate is properly distributed to beneficiaries.

Probate vs. Non-Probate

It's important to understand the difference between probate assets and non-probate assets. While both are listed in your last will and testament, they're handled very differently.

Non-probate assets are often left to beneficiaries without dispute and aren't eligible for use toward paying off the deceased family member's debts. Probate assets, on the other hand, can be liquidated and used however the probate court sees fit.

The probate process involves the court system authenticating the will and then using probate assets to pay final expenses. These include all debts and taxes. Whatever's left over is then distributed to the rightful beneficiaries.

The more assets you can list as non-probate items, the better. These assets go directly to the beneficiaries as listed in your will and forgo the probate process. This means the state can't come after your beneficiaries for such assets.

The courts will use the available probate assets to pay off as much debt as they cover and take a loss on the rest.

Probate Assets

Probate assets are any assets owned solely by the deceased. These often include:

  • Personal property (jewelry, furniture, collectibles)
  • Bank accounts
  • Real estate property
  • Interest in a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company
  • A life insurance policy that lists the deceased or the estate as the beneficiary

Non-Probate Assets

Non-probate assets include property and monies that are shared jointly between the deceased and another party. These include:

  • Bank accounts with payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) beneficiaries
  • Property held in a trust
  • Property that is jointly owned
  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies that list a specific beneficiary other than the deceased

A lawyer experienced in estate planning law can help you create a last will and testament that appropriately protects and allocates your funds.

Steps in the Will Probate Process

While each case is handled differently, here are the basic steps in the will probate process.

Authenticating the Last Will and Testament

The person in possession of the deceased's will presents it to the probate court for review. Anyone objecting to the will has the opportunity to speak at this time.

Most wills include a self-proving affidavit which is signed by both the decedent and witnesses who were present when the will was signed. If the will doesn't contain this affidavit, the judge may call upon other witnesses to authenticate the document and its contents.

Appointing an Executor

The judge will then appoint an executor or administrator who is responsible for settling the estate and overseeing the probate process. Most people include their desired executor in the will as a trusted family member.

Once appointed, this individual then has control over the deceased individual's assets as they relate to settling the estate.

Posting Bond

A bond acts as an insurance policy to protect the decedent's personal assets and reimburse the estate if the executor damages the estate either intentionally or unintentionally.

Locating the Assets

This is one of the most difficult jobs the executor is tasked with. It's now time to locate and calculate all of the deceased individual's assets. This is much easier when the deceased has a will that breaks down and details all of their assets, possessions, and final wishes.

Executors must also uncover any hidden assets that the deceased may or may not have told family members about. Executors are also tasked with making sure any property or real estate bills stay current until the time of sale. This includes paying the mortgage, property taxes, and insurances on property owned by the deceased.

The executor can legally take possession of other physical assets including jewelry and vehicles during the probate process. They must collect any necessary paperwork and documentation to present to the court.

Death of Values

The executor must now calculate and total the value of the decedent's assets. Most executors elicit the help of an appraiser for this part of the will probate process.

Notifying Creditors and Paying Debts

Now that the executor has calculated the deceased individual's assets, it's time to calculate their debts. Once done, the executor must notify all creditors of the individual's passing. Some states even require that a death notice be published in local newspapers to alert any unknown creditors.

The executor can now start using the decedent's assets to pay off any and all debts, including those incurred during their final days.

Prepare Tax Forms

The executor must also file taxes on the decedent's behalf for the year in which they died. This includes estate taxes, if applicable.

Distribute the Estate

Once all of these steps are taken, whatever's left of the deceased individual's assets can now be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. This step usually requires the court's permission.

The executor must first prove that they calculated all of the decedent's assets and debts and paid them off.

Let Us Help You Simplify the Will Probate Process

It's upsetting to think that your last will and testament isn't always enough to protect your assets and final wishes. Although it's a step in the right direction, sometimes, will probate is necessary.

In this case, let our team of professionals help simplify the process. Your family has gone through enough and should focus on grieving, not sorting through mounds of paperwork and legal requirements.

Contact us for more information on how we can help you prepare for the future and avoid financial headaches for your loved ones.

There are over 642,750 occupational employment lawyers in the country. With the constant increase in this specialty, it can feel difficult to find the one lawyer you need. The right lawyer, however, can make all the difference when you're dealing with work-related issues.

Don't hire the first lawyer you meet. Instead, use this guide to find the best employment lawyers in the area. With these tips, you can hire the right lawyer to handle your employment issues and protect your rights.

Have the best lawyer at your side! Find an employee's rights attorney using these seven tips today.

1. Make Sure They're Licensed

First, talk to friends and family members. See if they've worked with employment lawyers in the past. If they have, make sure those lawyers specialized in workplace issues.

Finding a lawyer who specializes in these cases will give you peace of mind about your decision. Their experience, expertise, and knowledge about workplace lawsuits can strengthen your case.

If you don't know anyone who has worked with an employee's rights attorney, head online. Search for an employment rights lawyer in your area. Double-check to make sure they're not a "jack of all trades."

Rather, you want someone who dedicates their time to learning about employment law issues.

You can use legal directories like to start your search. Once you have a few names, head to your local bar association's website. There, you can check to make sure the lawyer you're interested in is licensed to practice in the state.

If they're not, scratch them off your list.

After checking to make sure they're a member of the local bar association, research a little more. Are they part of another law association? Do they hold any leadership roles?

A lawyer who has a leadership position is likely well respected by their peers. While not a necessity, these lawyers will stand out from the crowd. Choosing employment lawyers who hold leadership positions can give you peace of mind that you're choosing the best person for your case.

2. Check Their Experience

Once you're sure the employee's rights attorney is licensed, try to learn more about their case experience. For starters, how long have they practiced law?

How many workplace issues cases have they handled recently? How many of those cases were similar to yours?

Are they up-to-date with the latest procedures, laws, and cases that connect to your case? If so, they likely have relevant information at their disposal. A lawyer who remains informed proves they're dedicated to their work.

Employment discrimination lawsuits are becoming more popular. 45.9% of all charges filed involve retaliation, 35.3% involve race, and 30.7% are based on disability charges. When choosing a contingency lawyer for employment cases, make sure the case connects to your unique situation.

For example, if your case involves disability, look for someone who handles a lot of workplace disability cases.

Finding someone who specializes in your specific case will give you an advantage. Otherwise, you could end up with a lawyer who will fail to help your case.

3. Compare Wins and Losses

If you want to learn more about a specific attorney's abilities, make sure to review their track record. How many workplace issues have they won and lost recently? How many cases did they settle out of court?

Make sure to choose someone who can win your case. It's also important to make sure their wins are recent. Otherwise, you might end up with a lawyer who has lost their stride over the years.

Their recent track record will confirm they have the experience and expertise you need.

If they've settled a lot of cases, look for someone else. Many lawyers who prefer settlements don't want to close the case. Instead, their more concerned about keeping losses off their track record.

As you review their recent cases, ask about the process. How much was the payout? What issues did they experience?

Understanding their track record can help you learn more about the employee's rights attorney's abilities.

4. Review Online Testimonials

Once you start narrowing dowing your list, ask if you can speak with the lawyer's recent clients. You can also head online to read testimonials.

Ask about the client's experience while working with the attorney. Did they experience any problems during the case? How were those problems resolved?

Speaking with the attorney's clients will help you picture your own experience working with them.

Feel free to check the Better Business Bureau if you're researching a law firm, too.

5. Consider the Cost

Make sure to understand how the employment lawyers you're researching charge for their services. For example, some lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, they'll only receive a percentage of what you receive from the settlement.

Other lawyers will have you pay for a retainer upfront.

Make sure to consider what you can afford—as well as the likelihood you'll receive a settlement—before you choose your lawyer.

6. Check for Courtroom Experience

Can your lawyer handle themselves in a courtroom? Some cases never make it to trial. Even so, you'll want to choose someone who is prepared for a trial if necessary.

Make sure the lawyer you choose isn't apprehensive about going to court. Ask about how many cases they've handled that have gone to trial. Did they win any of those cases?

A lawyer who is comfortable in the courtroom can defend you throughout every step of your case.

7. Prepare For Your Consultation

Once you narrow down your list, ask to speak to a few lawyers in-person. Some lawyers offer a free, brief consultation before taking your case.

Prepare yourself ahead of time by drafting a list of questions to ask. Bring a fact chronology that outlines the events of your case as well.

That way, you can discuss the specifics of your case in detail. Pay attention to how the lawyer speaks during the consultation, too. If they have strong communication skills, take note.

The Search is On: Your Guide to Hiring Good Employment Lawyers for Your Case

Once you've worked through these steps to find the best employment lawyers in your area, trust your gut! Choose someone you feel comfortable around and trust with your case. That way, you know you're choosing a lawyer who will defend your rights and strengthen your case.

Want to speak about your case? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Is your business struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you struggling to keep your employees? The paycheck protection program may offer a solution.

Continue reading to learn about the program, eligibility, and how to apply. This potentially forgivable loan can benefit you and your employees.

What Is the Paycheck Protection Program?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is part of the CARES ACT. It offers potentially forgivable loans for small businesses. The goal is to continue payroll for employees.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the loans. The loan will be “forgiven” if employees remain on the payroll for eight weeks. The SBA specifies the use of this money for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Who’s Eligible for the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program?

To qualify for the PPP, the business must be physically located in the United States. It may not have over 500 employees and must have been in operation on February 15, 2020.

Employees may include full-time, part-time, or another status. The 500-employee rule may apply to the number of workers at one location. Specific examples include businesses in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Sole proprietorships, self-employed, independent contractors, and gig-economy works are eligible. Illegal businesses are not eligible.

How Much Money Can I Expect?

The PPP allows qualifying businesses to borrow up to the average of total monthly payroll expenses. This calculation is based on what you paid during the previous 12 months before the loan. This average monthly payroll expense is then multiplied by 2.5.

The largest amount a business may receive is $10 million. A single employee may not receive more than $100,000. Payroll costs include wages, salaries, commissions, and tips.

Small business payroll costs include:

  • Paid leave
  • Severance packages
  • Employee group health care benefits
  • State or local taxes on compensation

For sole proprietors or independent contractors, payroll costs include your wage, commissions, income, or net earnings.

Payroll Cost Exclusions

There are several exclusions when calculating payroll costs. These include:

  • Federal employment tax imposed or withheld between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020
  • Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes
  • Railroad Retirement Act taxes
  • Income taxes
  • Money paid to independent contractors
  • Collateral
  • Personal guaranty
  • Sick and family leave wages if you take a tax credit under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

You may not qualify if you’ve had legal trouble in the past. Owners who hold 20% of the business equity don’t qualify if they are:

  • In jail
  • On probation
  • On parole
  • Subject to any formal criminal charges

If the owner received a conviction, plead guilty or no contest to a felony in the past 5 years they’re excluded. This also applies if they're on a pretrial diversion, parole, or probation for a felony.

Will the PPP Loan Add More Costs?

The standard SBA 7(a) loan has no fees. You may incur fees from tax or financial professionals.

Any part of the loan that’s non-forgivable will have a 1% interest rate. You'll have a six-month deferral before repayment begins.

Remember not to use more than 25% of the loan for non-payroll expenditures. You must follow the rules described above.

Forgiven loan amounts will not calculate into your gross income. Thus, you won’t have to pay taxes for the loan as income.

How to Apply for the PPP

Eligible businesses should contact an SBA 7(a) lender to apply for the PPP. You may also contact any federally insured depository institution or credit union. A participating Farm Credit System Institution offers another option.

More regulated lenders will become available as they receive approval for the program. Approved lenders will begin processing loan applications as of April 3, 2020. The PPP will continue through June 30, 2020,

When preparing to apply for a PPP loan, gather the following documents. Small businesses need a payroll register for 2019 and available months in 2020. You will also need:

  • 941 Quarterly Tax Fillings for all 2019 quarters and quarter 1 of 2020
  • 944 Annual Tax Filings for 2019

Have a front and back color copy of a government-issued ID for all owners included on the application. If you use an Excel format for your payroll report, include 12 months of bank statements.

Independent contractors and self-employed persons should have the above documents if applicable. Also, independent contractors need their 1099-Misc and income/expense reports for 2019. Self-employed individuals need:

  • 2019 IRS 1040 Schedule C
  • 1099-MISC for every self-employed owner
  • 2019 income and expense report
  • Government-issued ID as described above

Calculate your owner percentage of the business for which you are applying. Also have your Taxpayer ID Number (SSN or EID), and role or title.

You Will Need to Certify Several Facts

The application requires that you confirm the following in good faith:

  • Your business needs the loan to keep operating during this economic uncertainty
  • The money is needed to keep and pay workers or pay the mortgage, lease, and utilities
  • You won’t receive another PPP loan
  • You will provide documentation to support all costs and payments for 8 weeks after getting the loan
  • You will not use more than 25% of the loan for non-payroll costs in relation to loan forgiveness
  • All information and documentation is true and accurate

You must give consent for the lender to calculate your loan amount based on your documentation. You agree to the sharing of your tax information with the SBA for compliance with the SBA Loan Program.

If you want help applying for the PPP, consult a professional. Business lawyers and tax or financial professionals can provide assistance.

Do You Think You Qualify for the PPP?

Are you a small business owner, independent contractor, or self-employed? You may benefit from the paycheck protection program.

During these tenuous economic times, this program’s goal is to offer some stability. This article provided an overview to help you decide if the PPP may offer you relief.

Welch Law Firm provides legal advice and creates legal documents. We offer estate planning and assist with business law issues. Contact us today to ask questions and learn how we can help you.

We spend more time at work than we do at home, and our families depend on our income. So what do we do when our workplace becomes uncomfortable or unsafe?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created in 1965 a result of civil rights legislation. It was intended to level the playing field for minorities in the workplace. But unfortunately, many employees still face discriminatory work environments today.

If you feel like your employer is discriminating against you because of your race, color, religion, sex or disability, you may have grounds for a workplace discrimination lawsuit.

Here are seven clues which may indicate illegal discrimination in your workplace.

1. Racial Slurs or Jokes 

Unfortunately, racial discrimination still happens, even fifty years after the passage of laws intended to stop it. 

Each year, the federal EEOC and its state counterparts hear more than 100,000 cases. 

Have you heard a supervisor repeatedly using the "n" word? Has anyone stopped her?

Using certain offensive language, even in the context of a joke, can indicate discriminatory practices, especially if management does not take measures to prevent this behavior.

You may also notice that the only people getting promoted are white. This might be another clue that the company is basing hiring decisions on discriminatory policies.

2. You Make Less Than Other Employees Doing Your Same Job 

You have the right to earn the same amount as workers who share your credentials, experience, and capabilities.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 determined that pay scales for identical work must be the same for males and females. If a woman works the same amount of time, doing the same thing and in order to meet the same goals as a man, she is entitled to equal pay.

Still, on average, a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns. 

If you think you are earning less because of your gender, sexuality, race or other protected status, you should talk to an employment lawyer. You may have grounds for a lawsuit.

3. Sexually Inappropriate Remarks or Behavior 

Times have changed. The era of hanging suggestive calendars in the break room and talking about women's bodies are over....we hope. 

Most workplace policies prohibit talking about sex, displaying sexually explicit materials, or inappropriate touching or overtures towards other employees.

As we have seen in the era of #MeToo, it is illegal to make someone's promotion or job dependent on sexual favors.

You have the right to feel safe in your workplace. You have the right to be free from unwanted sexual attention. 

Even dirty jokes can make some employees uncomfortable and give rise to a job discrimination suit if they are pervasive and management does nothing to stop them.

Treating people differently because of their sexual orientation is also not allowed in most states.

4. Pregnant Employees Treated Differently 

Say you let your boss know that you are pregnant and you start to get less appealing tasks or you are placed on less lucrative accounts. You may be the subject of discrimination. 

Pregnancy is a condition only experienced by women so being treated differently due to pregnancy amounts to gender-based discrimination. In the old days, women were routinely fired for being pregnant- if they were hired at all.

Often a pregnant employee is allowed certain privileges, such as being given time off for prenatal appointments. If you are expecting a baby, you may also ask for special accommodations. For example, you can ask to be exempt from heavy lifting during your pregnancy.

Employers must make reasonable accommodations.

If you suspect you are being treated differently due to your pregnancy, you may need an employment lawyer.

5. You Get Demoted or Passed Over After You Complain 

What if you complain to HR that your boss is acting inappropriately and the following week you are moved to an inconvenient and unappealing office? What if you tell your supervisor that your colleagues are making racial jokes, and you start getting left off of preferred projects and refused overtime assignments?

You may be experiencing retaliation.

Retaliation occurs when employers treat employees or job applicants less favorably for reporting discrimination.

Workers are protected from termination for filing an EEOC claim. Even if you do not ultimately win the EEOC claim, you cannot be penalized for filing it.

6. Job Descriptions Include Age Range 

Some employers discriminate against people they haven't even hired yet. This occurs most often in job postings.

If a job posting asks for applicants under age thirty, they are discriminating against older people.

More subtle language about qualifications can also be seen as discriminatory. For example, men once successfully sued an airline for its height requirement for attendants. The airline accepted applications only from people under 5'9". This, of course, ruled out most men.

Gender-based qualifications are harder to prove than age and other categories. For example, Hooters has fended off various suits for gender-based discrimination because it argues that its brand or experience depends on Hooters "girls" as servers.

7.  Lack of Accessibility 

Large companies have an obligation to consider disabled employees and to make reasonable accommodations for them. If your company has more than 15 employees, it should be handicapped accessible. It must also interview qualified candidates for jobs despite any disabilities.

Often employers and employees disagree on what constitutes reasonable accommodation. 

Your boss is not required to undertake accommodations which might impose an undue hardship like excessive cost. He also does not have to provide the exact accommodation requested. For example, you might want an elevator installed,  but your employer may instead allow you to work from home.

Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit: How Do I Do It?

If you think you are the victim of illegal discrimination at work, you may file a claim yourself with the EEOC. 

If you want experienced legal guidance on the matter, you may wish to speak to an attorney who has worked with the EEOC previously. He or she may also be able to help you if you wish to proceed with a workplace discrimination lawsuit. You may be eligible to receive compensation for any damage done to your career and reputation by this discrimination.

For more information on the latest developments in employment law, check out our blog.

The Civil Rights Movement began in the late 1940s. One of the first acts was President Harry Truman ending segregation in the Armed Forces.

While the United States has made progress in terms of civil rights, we still struggle with civil rights violations today. One way to ensure that you protect yourself and your basic civil rights is to know what they are. 

We're living in turbulent times. Knowing when a civil rights violation occurs can empower you to stand up and protect yourself, loved ones or even your fellow human being. 

Keep reading to learn the seven most common types of civil rights violations and what to do if it happens to you. 

What Civil Rights Violations Are

While other rights concepts are thought to be acquired from God or nature, civil rights are guaranteed and given from the state. As a result, civil rights tend to vary due to the following reasons:

  • Time
  • Culture
  • Form of government

Trends in society also dictate which civil rights are included as state laws. A current example is the civil rights of the LGBTQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer). 

What Civil Rights Do

Civil rights help to guarantee full and equal citizenship for all people, but especially those who have traditionally been discriminated against due to some group characteristic such as their religion or color of their skin. 

The Most Common Civil Rights Violations

1. Denying Employment Can Be a Civil Rights Violation

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex

Unfortunately, these rights continue to be violated today. Even with other laws that extend these fundamental protections to cover the following:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation

Take Action if You Notice Workplace Discrimination

If you feel an employer or potential employer is doing the following, you have strong grounds to pursue an employment discrimination lawsuit:

  • Preventing people from being hired
  • Firing people based on the above factors
  • Creating a hostile work environment in an effort to drive out certain employees
  • Use individual qualities as a basis to discriminate

Reporting a civil rights violation helps make the workplace a safe environment for everyone.

2. Using Excessive Force Unnecessarily is a Violation of Civil Rights

A recent investigation by USA TODAY Network found that over 85,000 law enforcement officers in the past decade had been investigated or disciplined for misconduct. 

Out of those 85,000, there were 22,924 investigations of officers using excessive force. Improper conduct by law enforcement is still thriving today despite it being illegal.

Examples of Inappropriate Law Enforcement Behavior

You can bring claims based on the following behaviors by law enforcement officers:

  • Excessive force
  • Brutality
  • Abuses of power
  • Unjustified police shootings

Thanks to advancements in DNA testing, there is a growing number of convicted individuals who are being freed thanks to newly discovered evidence. As a result, many wrongful conviction lawsuits are popping up all over the country. 

3. Sexual Assault is a Violation of Civil Liberties

While women's rights are usually ignored in most of these civil rights laws, some do protect women. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included language that made sexual harassment in the workplace illegal.

It also made it illegal to allow inappropriate conduct related to the gender or pregnancy status of an employee. It is now illegal to fire someone or to refuse to hire someone if they are pregnant or may become pregnant.

4. False Arrest and Obstruction of Justice

Thanks to advancements in DNA testing, there is a growing number of convicted individuals who are being freed thanks to newly discovered evidence. As a result, many wrongful conviction lawsuits are popping up all over the country. 

Both the government and the police have been found guilty of violating the civil rights of citizens, especially those who are African American and Hispanic. These civil rights violations also include search and seizures and being stopped and questioned just for being a person of color. 

When the government feels free to discriminate against its own citizens, it places every citizen at risk.

5. Denying Housing Can Be a Violation of Basic Civil Rights

Just like you can't discriminate against an employee for certain reasons, you can't deny housing for those same certain reasons. While it's okay to deny housing to someone for owning a pet, you can't deny housing to someone because of their race or religion.

New laws are now protecting people, especially women from sexual harassment in their home environment. 

One way to fight back is to file a complaint with HUD (Housing and Urban Development).

6. Denying Someone the Right to Vote

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits discriminatory voting practices based on race and/or disability. It even included language to ensure states and localities couldn't pass laws to block citizens from being able to vote. 

New Restrictive Laws Keep Popping Up

Yet, there are still problems with minorities being denied to vote today. A recent investigation found that at least 23 states had enacted "newly restrictive statewide voter laws" such as:

  • Purging voter rolls
  • Eliminating early voting
  • Imposing stricter voter ID laws

While there have been 61 lawsuits filed to challenge those state election laws in the past, none have been filed since Donald Trump took office. 

7. Hate Crimes

The first federal hate crimes statute was passed in 1968. It made it a crime to threaten to use, use, force to willfully interfere with any human based on color, race, national origin or race because the person was participating in a federally protected activity such as going to work, serving on jury duty or attending school. 

Since then, new laws were added to protect people from crimes based on their disability or familial status. It's also now illegal to deface, destroy or damage religious real property or interfere with someone's religious practice. 

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act expanded the definition of hate crimes to include gender identity and sexual orientation. 

What to Do if Your Civil Rights are Being Violated

If you suspect you are the victim of civil rights violations, you have several options. You can negotiate informally, file a claim or contact an attorney.

What's not okay is to continue allowing it to happen. If it's happening to you, it's happening to others and you can help make it stop.

One way to get the information and support you need and deserve is to contact a civil rights attorney. We can help you make the right decision and take appropriate action. Set up a time to receive your free consultation here.

If you listen to commercials for personal injury attorneys or watch TV, you get the wrong impression of personal injury cases. They make it sound like a quick process: you get injured and then you get paid.

The reality is far more complex. Too many people have been left footing the bill for their injuries because their case didn't go as planned.

We don't say this to scare you. We say it to stress the importance of hiring the right attorney from the start. If you're struggling to find a personal injury lawyer in Omaha to handle your case, these tips can help.

Locate a Specialized Personal Injury Lawyer in Omaha

As you look for an attorney, limit your search to lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases. While lawyers learn about all areas of the law in their education, they all specialize in something different in their careers. They delve into the more intricate aspects of that specialty while they handle case after case.

A contract lawyer has some knowledge of personal injury issues from law school, but they won't match the expertise of someone who handles personal injury cases day after day.

Make sure your attorney specializes in personal injury law and that they have a wealth of experience in this area.

Get Recommendations

An easy first step in your lawyer search is to get recommendations from family members and friends.

Make sure they're relevant recommendations, though. Someone may have had a great divorce attorney but chances are that they can't handle your car accident case with the same skill.

Another note about recommendations: take them with a grain of salt. It's a great place to start but no matter how happy someone else was with the attorney, you need to research them the same way you'd research a random name you found online.

Investigate Their Background

You don't have to become a private eye to hire a lawyer, but don't take everything at face value either.

Check with your state to verify a lawyer's license before you make a commitment. Don't assume that everyone who advertises their services has the credentials to do it with expertise.

Have a Personal Meeting

Hiring an attorney is an important choice. They'll be the difference between whether you get compensation for your injury or you're left in a financial hole.

As important as it is to research your lawyer, never underestimate the importance of an in-person meeting.

On the surface, the meeting is a chance for you to tell them about your case and get their initial thoughts. At the same time, pay attention to whether you and the lawyer seem to communicate well. There is an amount of communication chemistry you need to have to work well with an attorney.

Learn Their History with Your Type of Case

We mentioned above that you want a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases, but that isn't all.

Within the category of personal injury, there are many types of cases. There are different ways to handle car accident cases compared to slip and fall cases.

We aren't saying your attorney has to handle your type of case exclusively. If their personal injury practice is almost exclusively focused on a different type of case than yours, though, they may not be the best fit.

Find Out Who Actually Handles Your Case

Too many people have thought they hired the best lawyer around, only to find out that attorney never touched their case.

As you're interviewing attorneys, find out who will actually handle your case. There's no problem with delegating much of the legwork to paralegals and junior lawyers, but you want to know who will be involved.

This is especially true at large law firms. Chances are that the face you see on the side of the bus won't be the one toiling over your case.

Get References

At many law firms, the firm will ask past clients if they would be willing to serve as a reference. They maintain lists of people you can speak to for yourself.

While you shop for law firms, ask for a few references who have had similar cases to yours. If you're suing someone for a car accident injury, it won't be as relevant to talk to someone who won a medical malpractice suit.

As helpful as testimonials can be, don't view them as substitutes for client references. You want the opportunity to ask specific questions and get the answers straight from someone who's been in your shoes.

Pay Attention to the Details

Before you hire an attorney, you're likely to have contact with them several times to set up meetings, ask questions, and more.

As you do this, pay attention to what seem like minor details. How easy is it to get in touch with them? Can you schedule a timely meeting or does it take weeks to get in? How soon do they respond to your emails and calls?

Considering that they're trying to win your business, remember that this is probably them on their best behavior. If it's a burden to get them to return a phone call now, do you really want to put up with that throughout your case?

Choosing Your Future

Your lawyer may not be the only factor that determines whether you get the settlement you want, but they're a big one. No matter how easy and clear-cut you think your case is, the wrong attorney can tank it.

The tips above can help you find the best personal injury lawyer in Omaha for your case. The most important thing to remember is to take your time to find that perfect fit. It's better to wait a few extra months for a great settlement than to rush the process and get nothing.

To find out how we can help you, contact our personal injury attorneys today.

We might not like to think about it, but a day will come when we're no longer here. When you're no longer able to manage your own affairs for any reason, you'll still want to make sure that your will is enacted.

Most people know that it's important to have a will, but they don't realize how important it is to have an estate lawyer involved in the planning process.

If you want to be sure that everything will hold up in a court of law, or even if you just want a second opinion, an attorney is always worth the investment. Read on for seven reasons you should hire an estate planning attorney.

1. Estate Planning Is More Than Just a Will

Once you've drafted your last will and testament, estate planning doesn't stop there. It's an ongoing process that can change as new things happen in your life.

Maybe you acquire new property, or your children begin to have grandchildren. How will you take these changes into account?

You'll need to review your estate plan every few years to be sure you don't want to change or update your beneficiaries, your will is still accurate, and you're still compliant with state law. An attorney can help to walk you through this process and make sure all of your bases are covered.

2. Laws Are Changing

Attorneys can also help to ensure that your estate planning is still legally binding. States change and revise their laws, so the plan that was drawn up five years ago might not be as effective today.

No one expects for people outside of the legal field to have the time to sit and pore over laws and legislation to see how it affects their personal estates. That's quite literally a full-time job -- and why people hire estate attorneys.

Once you find someone you trust, you can rely on them to let you know if you need to make any changes.

3. Get An Objective Opinion

We ask for second opinions on many things in our lives, everything from living room paint colors to our next career move. Why wouldn't we want a second opinion on something as important as estate planning?

It can be hard to ask people about this because it's so deeply personal. Family members who are named as your beneficiaries also might only tell you to do things that would benefit them.

An estate attorney can give you an objective opinion on your plan and help you see any potential drawbacks or flaws. Since this is an emotional process for you, too, it's handy to have another pair of eyes.

4. Navigate Complicated Situations

Estate planning isn't as simple as saying who should get the good china when you're gone. There are lots of situations that could make your planning a little more complicated.

Do you own multiple properties? Have you been married more than once? What if you want to give some of your money to charity?

Any of these would make the planning process hard. More than one...well, you can see how that would go.

An estate attorney can help to navigate complex situations and help you make sure that you design the outcome you want.

5. Minimize Your Estate Taxes

Chances are you probably want as much of your money and assets to go to your family and loved ones as possible. This is difficult to ensure when estate taxes are an unfortunate reality of life.

On your own, it's going to be hard to figure out how you can work within the law to minimize your estate taxes. Tax law is famous for being complicated and we all only have so many hours in the day.

Instead, work with a professional who can help you see how to reduce the amount of your estate that will go to taxes, ensuring that more of your money is kept within the family.

6. Set Up a Trust

If you have younger children, you might want to set up a trust to make sure that they're taken care of in case you pass away. This is a little bit more complicated than just leaving money to your kids since they can't be responsible for it until they become adults.

If you want to make sure that what you leave to your beneficiaries is managed well, you'll want to set up a trust. With the help of an attorney, you can customize this to whatever your needs are.

You can set aside certain amounts for each child, or make sure that certain requirements are met before they access the money. You can also keep the money safe from guardians as well, to make sure that the money really only goes to the people you love.

7. Plan for Your Business

If you own a business, you'll need to include that in your estate planning, too. This is another factor that can make planning a major headache -- which is where attorneys are so helpful.

You're going to need to either account for your share of the business or the entire thing in your estate plan. (If you're self-employed, that can sometimes count as owning a business, too.)

Whether you want to make sure that your business is run a certain way or you're trying to make sure your family still has a monetary stake in the business after you're gone, an attorney can help you make this happen.

Get Help from an Estate Planning Attorney

When we reach the end of our lives, we don't just want to be content that we've lived a full and happy life. We also want to be sure that we've provided for our families the best that we can.

Your estate is too important to leave to chance. Hiring an estate planning attorney helps to make sure that your will is enacted, no matter how complex or confusing your situation might be.

We can help you address all of your needs. Schedule a free consultation today to discover how we can work together.

Estate it on your to-do list?

Are you ready to join the 40% of Americans who already have an estate plan?

Though many of us realize that estate planning is important, a lot of us never get around to doing it.

If you want to prepare for your future and provide for your family, you need to get your affairs in order via an estate plan.

Before you jump in head first though, there are some estate planning tips you should know. Let's take a look at some of the more important ones.

What is Estate Planning?

The estate planning definition is fairly simple and it is more than having a will. It is the transference of a person's wealth and assets after the person passes. It also includes provisions in which a family member is given power of attorney should you become incapacitated or unable to control your assets and estate.

Assets include life insurance, personal belongings, pension, property, and vehicles. Debt is also included in a person's estate.

Once an estate plan is made, the owner of the estate signs it and notarizes it in order for it to hold up in a legal proceeding.

Estate Planning Tips

Now that you know what an estate plan is, it's time to get started with yours. Here are the tips that will help you create an estate planning checklist.

1. Choose a Qualified Estate Planner or Team

Estate planning is not just worrying about who gets what when you die. It is also taking your assets that you have now and helping them grow into something to leave behind.

You'll want to meet with an attorney who deals specifically with estate planning, a financial advisor and a tax professional. Each one can help you find the best way to handle the specifics of your estate.

Attorney - Knows federal and state laws regarding the setting up of trusts and wills.

Financial Advisor-Will help you with investing and planning for your retirement years.

Tax Professional-Knows tax laws and can help minimize the income taxes that your beneficiary will be required to pay on the inheritance.

2. Designate Who Gets What

Do you have expensive jewelry or a sports car? To whom would you want those to go in the event of your death? This is where a will comes in.

Without a will, your assets may end up in probate or go to whomever the law says they will go. In most cases, it is an immediate family member.

If you are married, this means your spouse. If not, your assets would go to your parents or children if you have them.

3. Add a Life Insurance Policy to Cover Taxes

If your beneficiary is going to be expected to pay a large sum of income or estate tax, add a life insurance policy that will cover these taxes.

Life insurance proceeds are tax-free, believe it or not. Say you know that your spouse will owe $100,000 in estate taxes, purchase a life insurance policy that will pay $100,000 upon your death and your spouse can use that money to pay the IRS.

4. Specify How You Want Money to be Spent

If you have a child who you know will blow all of his inheritance in six months, it is a good idea to specify how you want the money spent.

If you'd like the money to be used to pay for college, hold it in trust until that time. If you would like to provide for specific needs of each individual, spell that out as well.

At the very least, leave a letter of intent to the executor of your will or beneficiary. In this letter, you may list what to do with each of your assets. You may also include funeral arrangements in this document.

5. Designate Guardians for Young Children

If you have or are planning to have children, it is important to choose a guardian or guardians for them.

Choosing the right person is important because you want your children to have a stable, financially sound person raising them if you should pass while they are young.

It is also advised that you choose a backup guardian as well.

Talk it over with whomever you choose and make sure you are all on the same page with regards to your children.

Without this designation, your children could end up with family members that you would not want. In the worst case, they could end up wards of the state.

6. Avoid Estate and Income Taxes

If you don't want the majority of your estate to go to taxes, do what you can to minimize income and estate taxes.

One idea is to gift money to your beneficiaries while you are still living. You can give up to $13,000 of nontaxable money to each individual. There is an added bonus of seeing your loved ones enjoy the money while you're alive.

Another strategy is to leave taxable income to a charity of your choice and leave the nontaxable assets like life insurance to your beneficiaries.

7. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is important in case you are unable to make decisions regarding your financial or health matters.

A power of attorney is a document that gives a person or sometimes an organization the legal power to take care of your affairs and act on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

There are different types, such as the healthcare power of attorney and durable power of attorney. Speak to an estate planner regarding which type you will need.

Is it Time to Get Your Affairs in Order?

Now that you've learned some estate planning tips, do you feel ready to take on the job of planning for your estate? It will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Reach out to us with any questions you may have. With over 30 years of experience, we're here to help.

No matter what relationship you have with the people on your job, never lose sight of one fact -- it's business. 

Your workplace should be a fulfilling place where your dreams come true, but you must also look after your rights and interests. In doing this, having access to an employment attorney is crucial. 

These lawyers are useful in a number of ways, for both employees and employers. To learn how they can help you out, read the points below. 

Protecting Your Rights as an Employee

Anytime you step foot on a job, you need to be able to keep your employer honest. Having a quality employment attorney by your side can help you in that regard. 

Here are a few core ways in which they can be useful to you:

1. Filing a Wrongful Termination Suit

There are a number of laws in place that protect your rights as an employee. 

These rights are covered under provisions like the Equal Pay Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, and other matters.  

However, when these rights are violated, you'll need the help of a credible lawyer to assist you. They'll use these laws as a foundation to help you when you get fired or laid off unlawfully. 

2. You Feel That You're Unfairly Treated or Wrongfully Disciplined

Aside from being terminated unlawfully, there are a number of ways that you can be mistreated while on the job. 

There are situations in which you may feel that your boss has it out for you, or is treated you differently than other employees. This can be difficult to prove, which is why building a case with a lawyer and collecting data become so crucial. 

You will need to be especially mindful of situations where your rights are violated due to wrongful discipline or bogus performance reviews. Having access to an employment attorney can be just what you need in this regard. 

3. Investigations Into a Toxic Work Environment

A toxic work environment isn't just a matter of law, it's a serious health issue. In fact, Standford research studies show that this is the 5th leading cause of death.

If these studies are to be believed, existing in a toxic work environment beats out serious issues like kidney disease and Alzheimer's. 

You'll need to have a lawyer on hand that can not only prove that a workplace is toxic but get you justly compensated in the process.  

4. Claims of Sexual Harassment, Racial Discrimination, and Other Matters

Issues like sexual harassment and racial discrimination need to be handled vigilantly. 

You'll only be able to do this when you have a lawyer documenting these issues with you every step of the way. They'll assist you in figuring out what to say to human resources, will come up with proof that allows you to win your case, and will make sure that you get the proper amount of compensation. 

5. You Get Hurt or Sick on the Job

Workers compensation claims are among the most prevalent issues that employment attorneys address. 

They'll assist you in filing a claim and getting you paid for the long-term. This includes getting money for initial doctor's visits and handling everything from lost wages to long-term recovery through physical therapy. 

Protecting Your Rights as an Employer

Don't think that employees are the only people that have rights. If you have people on your payroll, you and your business can also make use of an employment attorney. 

Keeping an eye on corporate law matters will allow you to thrive as a business. These are some of the major ways that such an attorney can be useful to you. 

1. Protection Against Wrongful Termination and Other Cases

Having access to an employment attorney can help you out when your employees are filing suit against you. 

Even though you may have had every reason to fire someone or lay them off, there may come a time that you have to back this up in court. Getting access to a great lawyer can be useful so that you have the right representation. 

2. Putting Together Severance Packages

Though layoffs are an unfortunate reality of doing business at times, you'll want to leave your employees with severance packages that compensate them accordingly. 

In this regard, you'll want to create severance packages that allow them to get a one-time payout and other benefits that give them a great landing place. Your lawyer will help you create the right severance package so that your employees are happy, and this can help you avoid litigation for the long-term. 

3. Constructing Workplace Policy

You will always want to be on the right side of the law when it comes to your workplace. 

Having access to a great lawyer can make this happen. This will deal with everything from vacation days and sick leave to holiday bonuses. When you have your attorneys guidance, you'll make sure that your policies are lawful and ethically sound. 

4. Help Crafting Contracts and Benefits Packages For New Employees

It's always important to have another set of eyes when hiring any employees. 

A good attorney will help you put together the contracts and offers of employment that are legally sound. They'll also let you know what you can do from a benefits standpoint. 

5. Doing Your Due Diligence With Workers Compensation Claims

Finally, you'll need an attorney also when you want to be on the right side of a workers compensation case. 

Your lawyer will investigate your employee's situation to make sure it is legitimate and will ensure that you're not overpaying. By having these lawyers on your side, they'll make sure you are protected. 

Hire an Employment Attorney When You Need Them the Most

No matter what side of the situation you're on, it's important to have access to a great lawyer. These ten points lay out exactly what these lawyers can do for you. 

When you need an employment attorney that is diligent, mindful, and skilled, contact us today!