What To Do If You Cannot Get Ahold of Your Attorney

Attorneys are notoriously difficult to get in touch with and the successful and busy ones even more so. So here is a list of dos and don’ts if you are having difficulty.

Do:

1. Be patient. This sounds simple but calling 3-5 times does not make the return call any quicker. From the attorney point of view, if everyone called 5 times, it would take five times as long to return everyone’s call.

2. Schedule. It may be difficult to get a hold of the attorney, but generally you can speak with a secretary, receptionist or paralegal. Tell that person that you are having difficulty and need to schedule a meeting or phone consultation. Once you are on the book, your chances are probably near 100% that the conversation can occur.

3. Ask the Paralegal. Similar to #2, the paralegal for the attorney often has great insight into your case and can answer most questions. Sure, some are better saved for the attorney, but others can be answered, handled and even resolved by the paralegal and often at a greatly reduced fee.

4. Discuss with the attorney their caseload and how they prioritize. If I explain that I’ll get to your post decree issue later, that a client is facing 20 years in prison this week, most clients can and do understand.

Don’ts:

A. Do not call repeatedly and leave multiple messages. This ties up the time available to return calls.

B. Do not call another attorney seeking free advice. The attorney handling your case knows about your case. If you seek free advice, you often get what you pay for.

C. Do not immediately change attorneys and give up. You chose this attorney because of their skill, experience among other things. If you want a new attorney who will text you back and immediately take all calls, then hire that attorney from the onset. If you want an attorney with a track record and busy clientele, you may have to occasionally wait.

If problems persist, discuss your concerns and set out expectations of both the attorney and the client. Most often, a compromise can be reached where the client knows that their problems are being addressed and concerns are handled in a timely and efficient manner.

If you are a client, call Emily at 859-581-6453 to schedule. If you need legal advice and do not have an attorney, contact Mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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How to Value a Family Business in Divorce

Valuing a family business can be difficult in any instance, but particularly difficult in dealing with Divorce. The value will likely have an impact on settlement and division of assets as the business is often either a marital or a mixed-marital asset. The value and compensation of the officers may also impact resolution of child and spousal support.

The value of the business may be zero, as is the case of many self employed individuals who have limited assets. This may include self-employed accountants, lawyers, repairmen, construction workers, trainers as well as many other groups. The “value” is that the person running the company IS the company. The LLC or corporate oversight only gives them the ability to earn a certain annual income. The question is: If that person left the company, would there be any company to sell?

Often there is a value to the business. The client list, email distribution and goodwill are assets in addition to the physical assets such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, furnishings and computers. Other assets may include leases and contracts.

The value may be agreed to between the parties, so it is good to understand what and how the business works. If not agreed, the parties may agree on a business valuation expert as is often the case in collaborative divorces. Alternatively each party may hire a business valuation expert and/or the court may appoint its own expert.

If you or your spouse owns a business, it is important to have an attorney familiar with business valuation in order to resolve your divorce. Michael Bouldin has a business degree in economics and 25 years handling divorce/dissolution cases in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For consultation, please email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com, call 859-581-6453 (*581-MIKE) or fill out the contact form.

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Estate Planning & Wills

When people think of estate planning they often think that is only for rich people that need an elaborate plan. While there are those people that need financial, tax planning, succession as well as legal advice, many need simple documents such as a will, power of attorney, health care POA and possible a trust.

Most also incorrectly believe that the state will handle things the way you envision. The laws of probate when a person dies without a will vary widely from state to state and often are not what most people think will happen. For example, in Kentucky, if a person dies without a will, the order of heirs is as follows: (1) their children; (2) their parents; (3) their siblings; then (4) spouse.

While there are certain allowances for spouses, often the bulk of an estate will pass to children in favor of a spouse. This can lead to financially devastating and unintended consequences. Additionally, the estate plan should include discussion of beneficiaries of life insurance and retirement assets as well as documents for living will/health care and power of attorney (POA).

If you need a simple will or complex estate plan, contact a legal professional. We will begin with a questionnaire to get started. In Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

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