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  • Q1. What is a real estate transaction?

    A real estate transaction is a process where a seller offers a home for sale and a buyer agrees to purchase it. At a very basic level, the process involves a number of tasks and activities before closing can occur and the property is officially transferred to the buyer. Many actors are involved in a real estate transaction and could include:
    • Real estate attorney
    • Real estate broker
    • Real estate agent
    • Seller
    • Buyer
    • Mortgage lender
    • Home inspector
    • Title company
    Who is involved and how the process flows is often dependent on state law and regulations.

  • Q2. What is a deed?

    A deed is a legal document that is used to transfer property from one person (grantor) to another person (grantee). They are typically used to transfer real estate as they are the proper way to transfer ownership rights in the property.

    A deed to real estate must meet certain requirements to be considered valid. While the exact requirements vary between jurisdictions, they must be written, witnessed, and notarized. Deeds also need to be recorded in the county in which the real estate is located. Each county will have an office for this purpose, and it may be called the Register of Deeds, Recorder of Deeds, or something similar. Recording the deed is typically required as that is how ownership of a property is determined. A search of the public records will reveal who owns a certain piece of property.

  • Q3. Why do I need a title review in a real estate transaction in Michigan?

    There are different reasons why you may need to have your title reviewed through a title search. A title search will go back a certain number of years and document:
    • Who has owned the property during that time period
    • Whether there are any mortgages or other liens on the property
    • Whether there is anyone else that may claim an ownership interest in your property.
    It would not be a good idea to purchase a property that has not had the title searched and reviewed. It is the best way to be sure of what you are actually purchasing.

  • Q4. Is litigation the only option to settle real estate disputes in Michigan?

    Litigation is rarely the only option for real estate disputes. Mediation is typically available and is highly recommended. Mediation is usually less time-consuming and less expensive. It also allows the parties a say in how the matter is settled. If mediation fails, litigation is always available.

  • Q5. Does a real estate lawyer help with both residential and commercial real estate transactions?

    Whether or not a real estate lawyer is able to help with both residential and commercial real estate transactions depends on the attorney. While there are a lot of similarities between residential and commercial transactions, there are even more differences. Some attorneys are comfortable handling both while others prefer to focus on one or the other.

  • Q6. What is a seller’s market?

    When you hear that it's a “seller's market,” it means that there is more demand for homes than there are homes available. Buyers often compete for homes in a seller's market, driving up the cost of the properties and often resulting in bidding wars. It is not unusual for a home to sell for more than the asking price in a seller's market. Sellers have a definite advantage, as buyers are paying more and overlooking property flaws just to be able to purchase a home.

  • Q7. What is a buyer’s market?

    A “buyer's market” is generally the opposite of a seller's market. There are more homes for sale than there are purchasers interested in buying. Sellers are forced to lower their prices to be competitive and attract more potential purchasers.

  • Q8. How does a real estate lawyer help?

    A real estate lawyer can help you understand the governing laws and the legal ramifications of your real estate transactions. They help with crucial aspects of the transaction, like:
    Contracts. Real estate lawyers will review, negotiate, and draft contracts, keeping your interests at the forefront of this process.
    Title Search. A real estate lawyer will conduct a title search, and if a lien or another issue is discovered, the lawyer can help address it timely and can obtain proof that the lien is fulfilled.
    Closings. Any number of issues can arise during closing events, and only a real estate lawyer has the legal wherewithal to address them and keep the seller or buyer from being left in the dark or having their rights violated without their knowledge.
    Fraud. Real estate fraud and scams are on the rise. Unsuspecting buyers lose out on their closing funds and the home they thought they were purchasing. With a lawyer who has done the due diligence, becoming a victim of one of these types of real estate schemes can be avoided.
    Advice. Generally speaking, real estate attorneys can provide legal advice that a seller or buyer cannot obtain from an agent or broker. Getting smart legal advice over any and all matters related to the real estate transaction offers value from the peace of mind to favorable and timely solutions.
    Further, real estate attorneys make sure that once the property has passed hands, you have received the property (as the buyer) or compensation (as the seller) to which you are entitled.

  • Q1. What is considered a workers’ compensation injury?

    Any injury or disease caused by employment is supposed to be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. The most common injuries happen due to a traumatic event at work—for example, lifting something heavy and herniating a disk. Occupational diseases that develop over time from work activities should also be covered. This includes degenerative disc disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, and hearing loss.

  • Q2. What is a workers’ compensation claim?

    Employees who cannot work because of an accident or illness can make a workers’ compensation claim. Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for compensation for your lost wages, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation. However, to get these benefits, you must file a legal claim.

  • Q3. How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?

    Filing a claim involves two important steps.
    Giving notice: you must notify your employer within 90 days of the injury. Notice can be verbal, so just telling a supervisor or manager is enough.
    Making a claim: you must make a claim within two years of your injury. A claim can also be verbal, so asking for paid time off or medical treatment is sufficient.
    Once you’ve notified your employer and made a claim, it will file a formal, written claim on your behalf. If they do not, you may file a form WC-117 with the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency. Employees who provide notice and claim have protected their legal rights and can seek workers’ compensation benefits anytime in the future.
    There are strict deadlines, called the one- and two-year back rules, that might limit your benefits. Watch out for employers who refuse to accept workers’ compensation claims and make sure to get one of our Michigan workers’ comp lawyers involved right away.

  • Q4. What are workers’ compensation benefits?

    Employees hurt on the job are usually eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
    Wage loss benefits: 80% of an employee’s after-tax average weekly wage. Lost wages should be paid while an employee is disabled.
    Reasonable and necessary medical care: your employer or its insurance company should cover all your work-related medical bills, medications, and other healthcare costs.
    Vocational rehabilitation: if you cannot return to your past work, you can get help finding another job (this can include returning to school to learn new skills). However, some insurance companies use vocational rehabilitation to pressure workers into settling their cases.
    Attendant care: family members can get paid up to 56 hours each week for helping with activities of daily living.
    Mileage: the insurance company should compensate you for driving to and from doctor’s appointments.
    Equipment and home modifications: medical devices (like wheelchairs, prosthetics, and TENS units) and vehicle and home modifications should be covered when appropriate.
    However, employers can dispute your benefits at any time. If the insurance company is sending you to an IME (independent medical examination) or a vocational counselor of their choosing, these are red flags—and you should immediately consult with a Michigan workers’ comp lawyer.
    If your benefits are terminated, you must file an Application for Mediation or Hearing to challenge the dispute—your attorney can help you with this process.

  • Q5. Do I need an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim?

    Workers’ compensation claims are rarely simple. They often require a detailed analysis of your medical records, work history, and functional capacity. A single mistake can lead to a denial or reduction of your benefits.
    Additionally, insurance companies have attorneys on staff who review claims even before they are disputed. They use private investigators and defense medical examiners to play dirty. They are looking for an excuse to stop workers’ compensation benefits.
    It is always recommended that you have an attorney on your side to level the playing field. There is no fee to meet or discuss a claim with our Michigan workers’ comp lawyers. Find out about hidden dangers before they jeopardize payment of medical or wage loss benefits.

  • Q6. When should I hire an attorney?

    It is critical to hire a workers’ comp attorney right away. Understanding your legal rights is the best way to protect yourself and maximize settlement value. Our Michigan workers’ comp lawyers can ensure the correct amount of wage loss is being paid and expose potential legal issues. There is never a charge to evaluate a case and fees are only paid if additional money is obtained.

  • Q7. How much does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in Michigan?

    The State of Michigan sets a fee schedule for all workers’ comp claims, and the percentages for lawyer costs due to attorney change depending on how your case resolves. For example, if your case goes to trial and a workers’ compensation magistrate awards you benefits, your lawyer might get a 30% attorney fee.
    If you want to understand your rates with regard to your case, please contact our office for more information.

  • Q8. How do I choose a workers’ comp lawyer in Michigan?

    We recommend choosing a lawyer with many years of experience with Michigan workers’ comp claims. Ask what percentage of their cases involve workers’ compensation law and what results should be expected.
    Watch out for attorneys who dabble in the field because inexperience can lead to critical mistakes. Make sure you have a good rapport with any attorney and feel comfortable discussing problems with them. Experienced Michigan workers’ comp lawyers will be happy to discuss their qualifications and provide a free consultation.

  • Q9. What happens if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?

    Insurance companies want to deny claims because it saves them money. Employees who find their workers’ compensation benefits denied should file an Application for Mediation or Hearing. This will start a formal court process where a magistrate will decide if additional workers’ compensation benefits should be paid. Medical evidence from your doctor can be used to prove entitlement. We think it is a good idea to challenge any unfair denial, so legal rights are fully protected. Many denied claims are eventually settled for a lump sum cash payment.

  • Q1. Do I Need a Business Lawyer?

    No matter how large or how small your organization might be, having a business attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your business, and to reduce potential legal and financial liability. You have the option of waiting until such time that a legal matter arises, and you need to find a lawyer. However, having to make this important choice under pressure might not yield the best outcome. Find the best business lawyer for you before that need arises, and you can rest assured that, when that time comes, you will be prepared.

  • Q2. How do I start my own business?

    After you’re done writing your business plan, choosing a name, and choosing your location, you’ll have to work out the technical and legal details for your company. For instance, you’ll need to have a plan for funding your business and choose an ideal legal structure (i.e. LLC, corporation, etc). You’ll also need to file the necessary paperwork within the state where you wish to primarily conduct your business. At Hammond Law, we routinely offer guidance to entrepreneurs and business owners regarding the funding, structuring, licensing, and growth of their business.

  • Q3. What is an LLC?

    LLC is short for Limited Liability Company which is a type of legal entity for a business. An LLC offers the owner of this entity certain legal protections against lawsuits such as the separation of business assets from personal assets. In other words, when your company is legally recognized as its own entity, your personal finances are at less of a risk in the event of a legal dispute. LLC’s also offer certain tax benefits as opposed to not forming a legal entity.

  • Q4. What is a corporation?

    When people hear the term “corporation,” they think of a giant enterprise business in a skyscraper. While these certainly are corporations, small businesses can be corporations as well. Simply put, corporations are a company or group of individuals authorized to act as a single entity.

  • Q5. Which business entity should I choose?

    This will depend on many factors as there are benefits and drawbacks to each legal entity. We’ll list some basic descriptions for each main type of legal entity.
    Sole Proprietorship – These can be ideal for very small low risk businesses with no plans of growth.
    Partnership – There are two common kinds of partnerships: limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability partnerships (LLP). These are ideal for professional groups such as attorneys.
    Limited Liability Company (LLC) – An LLC offers the owner of this entity certain legal protections against lawsuits such as the separation of business assets from personal assets. LLC’s are ideal for small businesses that carry some risk of potential lawsuits.
    Corporation – Corporations are ideal for medium to high risk businesses, businesses that need to raise money through venture capital or seed funding, or businesses that wish to eventually go public. There are many types of corporations such as an S-Corp, C-Corp, etc. Each of these sub-classifications of corporations have their own tax purposes. It’s ideal to discuss these matters with an attorney or CPA.

  • Q1. What is Estate Planning?

    Estate planning is one of the most important steps any person can take to make sure that their final property and health care wishes are honored, and that loved ones are provided for in their absence. Though often overlooked or put off in favor of more immediate concerns, a comprehensive estate plan can resolve a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies: What is the state of their financial affairs? What real and personal property do they own? Who gets what? Does a personal guardian need to be appointed to care for minor children? How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership? What funeral arrangements are appropriate?

  • Q2. What is an “Estate”?

    Your “estate” consists of all property owned by you at the time of your death, including:
    Real estate
    Bank accounts
    Stocks and other securities,
    Life insurance policies,
    Personal property such as automobiles, jewelry, and artwork.
    Business Interests
    Retirement Accounts

  • Q3. How Can an Estate Plan Help?

    Regardless of your age, or the size and complexity of your estate, an estate plan can accomplish the following:
    Identify the family members and other loved ones that you wish to receive your property after your death.
    Ensure that your property will be transferred to those you have identified, as quickly and with as few legal hurdles as possible.
    Minimize the amount of taxes that will need to be paid in order for your property to pass to others after your death.
    Avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process by utilizing estate planning devices like living trusts and “payable on death” bank accounts.
    Dictate the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.
    Set forth the kind of funeral arrangements you would like, and how related expenses are to be paid.

  • Q4. How Can an Estate Plan Distribute My Property Quickly and Inexpensively?

    A proper estate plan can help to keep the cost of transferring property to beneficiaries as low as possible. This may involve the formation of a trust, the re-titling of assets or correcting the beneficiary designation on certain assets. It also may involve the choosing of a competent administrator for your estate and giving him or her the necessary authority to carry out your directives.

  • Q5. What Additional Documents are Recommended?

    It may be simply repeating the obvious, but it should be stressed that a Will is only effective in the event of death. A Will has absolutely no effect in the event that an individual is sick or injured to the point of incapacity. In such an event, it is wise to have the following documents in place: a Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney.

  • Q6. Durable Power of Attorney

    This document is intended to allow another person, referred to as an attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions and execute legal documents on your behalf. Typically, the attorney-in-fact acts when the principal is unable to act for one reason or another. The benefit of this document is that it can provide a simple and inexpensive alternative to a lengthy guardianship process in the event that a person is ever incapable of making financial decisions for himself or herself.

  • Q7. Medical Power of Attorney

    This document provides authorization to terminate life-prolonging procedures in the event that an individual is ever diagnosed with a terminal illness and his or her life is being artificially prolonged by a life support system. In such a situation, the attending physician and a second consulting physician would have to agree that an individual suffers from a condition from which there is no medical probability of recovery and that death is imminent. Even when two doctors agree that an individual is suffering from such a condition, the doctors must still obtain the approval of the health care surrogate before they proceed to discontinue the use of any life support system. In certain medical power of attorney documents, an individual is asked to specify those life-prolonging procedures that he or she wishes to have discontinued.

  • Q1. What should I expect from a criminal defense attorney?

    You should expect to be informed about the charge(s) against you and the possible defenses. No attorney can guarantee the outcome of your case. However, the experienced attorneys at Hammond Law will work to ensure that you understand the process, and can make an informed decision about your options.

  • Q2. A police officer stopped me and asked questions, but did not read me my Miranda rights. Is this legal?

    Any officer has the right to ask you questions and you have the right to politely decline to answer. If the officer asks to see your driver’s license or proof of insurance, you may not refuse to provide those and then ‘plead the fifth,’ meaning you want to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights and not cooperate. When you sign the forms for accepting a driver’s license, you are giving the police permission to ask you for these documents upon request, and you are acknowledging that you will cooperate when asked.
    If an officer plans to use your statements as evidence in a trial, they must read you the Miranda Rights. Often police stop and ask questions, which you can decline to answer. However, be aware that you may still be cited if an officer has probable cause to believe you committed a crime.

  • Q3. I was asked to go to the police station for questioning; Do I have to go?

    You can politely refuse to go to the station and/or answer questions. If you decline, and the police have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime, they may get a warrant for your arrest. It is highly suggested that before you go to a police station, you hire an experienced attorney to be present with you.

  • Q4. If I was charged with a misdemeanor, can I just plead guilty?

    You can, but an experienced attorney knows options that may be available to you that you might not be aware of. A conviction on a misdemeanor can have serious consequences, and you will have to report a conviction on all future job applications.

  • Q5. Can I go to jail if I am charged with a misdemeanor?

    Yes. If you are charged with a misdemeanor you can be sentenced to jail time. It will depend on many different things, such as prior record and the charged offense.

  • Q6. If I am charged with damaging property or theft will I have to pay restitution?

    Maybe. If you do not agree to the amount sought by the prosecutor, they will file a motion for restitution. You are entitled to a hearing where the prosecutor must present evidence to prove the amount sought.

  • Q7. What if I do not complete the terms of my sentence?

    The prosecuting attorney can file a motion for probation violation. A warrant for your arrest will likely be issued. If you plead, or are found guilty of a probation violation, any part of your sentence that was suspended can be imposed, including jail time and suspended fines.

  • Q8. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

    A misdemeanor is a charge that carries no more than one year in the local county jail. Some common misdemeanors are operating while intoxicated, retail fraud, possession of marijuana, driving while license suspended and domestic violence.
    A felony is a charge that carries the potential penalty of over a year in prison. Some common felonies are possession of controlled substances, felonious assault, operating while intoxicated-3rd, and others.

  • Q1. How Long Will It Take Me to Get a Divorce

    For couples without minor children, Michigan requires a 60-day waiting period from the date the divorce complaint is filed to when the divorce can be finalized. For couples with minor children, the waiting period is typically six months. However, this period can be shortened if the judge believes it is in the best interest of the children.

  • Q2. Starting the Process of Divorce.

    There will be an initial appointment with an attorney. Client will complete an information packet. Once the completed packet is received by the attorney, a summons and complaint will be filed with the local circuit court. The summons and complaint will then have to be served upon the spouse or the spouse shall accept service at attorney’s office.

  • Q3. Can I Get a Divorce If My Spouse Rejects It?

    Yes. However, when your spouse is not cooperative, the case might drag on for a long time and thus, it can be very expensive.

  • Q4. Custody of the children in a divorce.

    During a divorce case, it is normal to hear child custody battle stories with each parent wanting to take custody of the children i.e. father custody battles where the custody battle dad will want to have custody of the children or mothers custody battles where the mother wants to have custody of the children. Parents should always decide how they want both the physical and legal custody of the children resolved. If they do not agree, they will need to get lawyers for custody battles and the court will make the final decision on who will have custody of the children. One parent might have children’s custody or both. However, visitation rights will be upheld. To get more information on child custody, call or visit our office.

  • Q5. What Is Uncontested Divorce?

    This is a divorce where the spouses arrive at a divorce agreement and terms at the beginning of their case. In this case, you will need a divorce attorney to help you during the process. If the spouse decides to contest the divorce, it is referred to as a contested divorce that might require litigation.

  • Q6. How Much will a Divorce Cost Me?

    We recommend that you consult with one of our attorneys and they can explain the costs to you.

  • Q7. How Will My Child’s Support Be Determined?

    During a divorce case, winning child custody battles is very important. However, both of the parents will be responsible for supporting their children. The amount each pays will be dependent on the time the spouse spends on overnight stays with the children and his or her income.

  • Q 1. What Are Bankruptcy Laws?

    These are a set of federal laws created by the US Congress, which will give you a chance to cancel or reduce your debts, and thus, a chance to start all over again. These bankruptcy laws run all the way from chapter 7 to chapter 13. However, the commonly used forms are bankruptcy chapter 7 and chapter 13 laws.

  • Q 2. Why Should I File for Bankruptcy?

    Filing for bankruptcy will help you in getting your debts erased if you are discharged. In addition to that, you might receive some adjustments to your payments such as lower interest rates, more time to reorganize yourself as well as cancel some of your debts. This is however dependent on the specific chapter you filed your bankruptcy in.

  • Q 3. What is the difference between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

    A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is what people usually think of when they hear the word bankruptcy. It is the most common type and it will help you eliminate your unsecured debt, such as credit cards, medical bills, collection accounts etc. It ultimately is the fastest and cheapest way to eliminate your debt.
    A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is essentially a debt consolidation through the government. Your debt will be consolidated and you will make monthly payments to pay down your debt. Your case will last anywhere between 3 to 5 years.

  • Q 4. If I file for bankruptcy, will I have to give up assets like my house or car?

    One of the most common misconceptions about bankruptcy is that individuals who file will have to give up all of their things. There are certain exemptions that protect the debtor. If the debtor’s real and personal property are covered by certain exemptions, they are able to keep their real and personal property.

  • Q 5. Start to finish, how long does the bankruptcy process take?

    Chapter 7 Bankruptcy takes approximately 3-4 months. The first step is the initial consultation where we meet with you for about an hour to discuss your situation. Unless there is a specific cause for delay, we will try to get you into your filing/signing appointment within two weeks. Once a case is filed you will have a hearing about 30 days later and be eligible for a discharge 60 days after that.
    Chapter 13 cases run a bit longer: typically 3-5 years. After your first hearing, there will be a second hearing, called a Confirmation hearing about 30-45 days later. Assuming your case is confirmed at the second hearing, your Plan will run 3-5 years from there.

  • Q6. What should I expect at my initial consultation?

    The initial consultation is our chance to diagnose your financial situation and advise you on how to proceed. Assuming we decide a bankruptcy is in your best interest, we will discuss fees and provide you with a list of documents that we will want you to bring to your signing/filing appointment. The appointment usually lasts 1 hour.

  • Q7. What should I expect at my signing/filing appointment?

    At the signing appointment you will provide us with the documents that were requested at the initial consultation as well as the agreed upon down payment to get your case filed. We will scan your documents into your electronic file while preparing and reviewing your bankruptcy petition with you. Once the petition is complete, we will print it out and have you sign it and in most cases the petition is filed that day or within 1 week. This appointment typically takes about 1 hour.

  • Q8. What types of documents will I have to provide?

    In almost every case, we need your last two years of taxes (if required to file), proof of income, bank statements and vehicle titles. If you own real estate we may need your Recorded Deed, Recorded Mortgage, Mortgage Statement and Property Tax Bill. We also need you to provide us with any bills that are available to you along with lawsuit paperwork. Having said that, we will pull your credit and many of the documents we need can be obtained online.

  • Q9. Do I have to go to court?

    Yes, everyone who files for bankruptcy must attend at least 1 hearing which is called the 341 Meeting of Creditors. This gives your bankruptcy trustee as well as your creditors a chance to ask you questions about your financial affairs. We attend that hearing with you and guide you in assuring the hearing runs smoothly.

  • Q10. Can I get rid of unemployment overpayment in my bankruptcy?

    Yes, however it is possible that the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) may file a Complaint to have the debt deemed non-dischargeable due to fraud. Even if that happens, you can almost always settle the debt with the UIA for much less than what you owe.

  • Q11. Will filing bankruptcy hurt my credit score?

    Not necessarily. In fact, in most cases filing for bankruptcy will actually improve your credit as your debt to income ratio will improve almost immediately.
    Keep in mind that how your credit will be affected will depend on a number of factors, such as where your credit level is at today and which type of bankruptcy you file. There are also a number of things you can do to improve your credit once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, and those things along with the bankruptcy filing will allow your credit score to improve, even during the period in which the bankruptcy still reflects on your credit report.

  • Q12. What Happens If My Bankruptcy Case Is Dismissed

    It means you will continue with the repayment schedules of your debts.

  • Q13. Do I Need To File Bankruptcy With My Spouse?

    No, you do not have to file bankruptcy with your spouse. One person will be sufficient in filling it. However, if the two spouses cosigned the involved debts, they will be required to file bankruptcy together according to the bankruptcy code.

  • Q14. Where Do I Get My Federal Bankruptcy Records?

    Normally, your attorney will have a copy of your bankruptcy records. You could also get your bankruptcy records online.