Blog Post Round-up: GDPR Regulation

Posted on the January 8th, 2018 under Business by

With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to be implemented in May 2018 small business owners will be expected to comply with the regulation. The new regulation seeks to punish business owners who infringe their customer’s data by selling on their personal information.

Small Business Blog Round-up: What is GDPR?

What is GDPR and how will it affect my company?
Customers across the globe have become increasingly wary about the way in which companies are using and sharing their personal data. That’s why the European Union has stepped in with sweeping legislature designed to empower consumers and punish companies for infringing on people’s privacy. It’s called GDPR, and if you handle any data whatsoever, it will affect the way you do business.


How SMEs can prepare for GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union directive that will come into force in May 2018. It aims to create stronger and more unified protections of EU citizens’ data – and for businesses of all sizes, this means complying with certain rules around consumer data. However, not every firm is up-to-date.

This article looks at improvements your business can make for when GDPR is implemented.


UK businesses must conduct sensitive information audit before new GDPR legislation arrives

With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018, private information that isn’t destroyed correctly, or stored securely, could lead to UK businesses being fined a substantial £20 million per breach.


U.S. Laws Regarding Deportation

Posted on the October 7th, 2013 under Legal Guides by

When an immigrant is removed from the U.S. forcefully, it is known as deportation. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement handles deportations and those who are facing this act often require the services of an immigration attorney.

If you are being deported, your only hope may be an attorney. Being a good person or simply living as you should will not be enough to save you from being sent out of the country. An immigrant’s right to live in the United States is governed by a number of different factors. Violating any rules or laws pertaining to your legal residence in the country could be grounds for deportation. If you are apprehended because you have violated immigration laws, you will have the right to defend yourself but you cannot hope to provide this defense yourself.

It is important that you remain in the country while your deportation case is underway. Leaving will not erase the charges against you and could result in your being permanently prohibited from reentering the country. In any case, you will find that your lawsuit is waiting for you when you do return. You can request voluntary departure which simply means that you voluntarily leave the United States on your own but this should only be done if you are not planning to defend yourself. Voluntary departure will certainly grant you leave but you should only choose this option when you have failed at all attempts to fight deportation.

If you do choose to leave voluntarily, you will have 120 days to do so. Remember however, that if you do not defend your legal right to live here, you may not be permitted to return to the United States when you do choose to leave voluntarily. You may have to wait several years before you return or you could be denied admittance altogether.

You can also request a cancellation of removal which is a valid option for those who have lived in the country for many years. If you have permanent residence status then you have the right to seek cancellation of removal provided your criminal record is clean. Ultimately a judge will have to decide if you can stay. There are a number of factors that will be considered however including your personal character, the length of time that you have lived legally in the United States, your employment history and any family ties that you have to this country.

If you feel that returning to your country of origin will pose a danger to you and you can show proof of this, you could seek refuge. For instance, if you can show that on returning to your home country you will be persecuted because of your religious beliefs or other reasons, you may be able to remain in the country. You will need to contact an attorney no matter how you plan to defend your privilege of staying in the country. An immigration attorney will be able to help you to determine the best plan of action and could potentially help to keep you from being deported.

Understanding the Guardianship Role

Posted on the April 20th, 2013 under Legal Guides by

A guardian is someone who is placed in charge of certain details such as financial assets, medical treatment and other needed decisions when someone can no longer make those decisions for him or herself. Guardianship is often required in the event of a medical crisis when a patient may be comatose or otherwise no able to attend to their financial obligations or choose their own medical treatment.

It is important that consumers know when guardianship may be necessary but also that establishing this guardianship may limit their rights in some ways. Before choosing a guardian, it is essential that all options are explored. When courts appoint guardians, many rights may be completely eliminated. Rights like consenting to medical treatment, making decisions for end of life care, determining residence, managing or selling property, filing lawsuits, voting and even getting married can all be eliminated when the courts appoint legal guardians. Assets that belong to the person who is incapacitated will remain in the legal possession of that person. The guardian does not gain possession of those assets but he or she can act on the incapacitated person’s behalf when managing those assets but guardianship is restricted to the order of the court. The guardian cannot do anything that is not outlined in the court order.

When a guardian is appointed by a court, he or she will have the responsibility of determining where the incapacitated person will reside and they will monitor that residence. They are also responsible for protecting all of that person’s assets, handling the income and finances for that person and providing consent for medical treatment as well as making decisions regarding end of life. Guardianship is not always automatically granted to a family member or friend. In some court appointed cases, professional guardians are used so that certain tasks can be accomplished like hiring a caretaker for the incapacitated person.

In many cases, the guardian only has control until the rights removed by the court are once again restored. In some instances however, a court appointed guardian remains until the death of that incapacitated person. Each case is different and no matter what the circumstances regarding the case, an annual review is performed to asset the continued need for guardianship. If no guardian is found to be needed, guardianship is terminated.

There are a few alternatives to a court appointed guardian and these can include living wills, durable powers of attorney for things like healthcare and property, joint checking accounts, healthcare surrogacy and others. It is always best to discuss the need for guardianship with an attorney. An estate planning attorney will be able to advise on whether or not guardianship is the best way to protect assets. It is essential that anyone facing guardianship know his or her rights and the options that are available as alternatives to this course. An estate planning attorney will be able to provide you with more information about the guardianship role and help you to determine if an alternate option is a better choice.

Thinking of Seeking Compensation for an Accident – Things to Consider

Posted on the April 10th, 2013 under Legal Guides by

Every year in the UK, millions of people suffer injuries as a result of accidents that were not their fault and were the result of someone else’s negligence. Thankfully, the injuries are often minor and do not have any notable impact on the injured party’s life. In other cases, the injuries can be more serious, having a massive impact on the health and quality of life of the injured party.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important to realise that you may be entitled to compensation. There are specialist lawyers, such as the experts at Injury Lawyers 4U, who can help you to get the compensation that you are entitled to.

Things you need to take into consideration

Accidents that cause personal injury can take place anywhere, from supermarkets and parks, to on the road or in the workplace. Recent HSE figures showed that workplace related accidents have actually been falling, but there are still many people who sustain injuries as a result of an accident or incident at work as well as in a variety of other areas.

If you are thinking of seeking compensation for an accident, there are a number of things that you need to consider to ensure that you are as prepared as possible. This includes:

How did the accident occur? It is well worth making notes on exactly when, where and how the accident occurred. Even though you may remember it all now, over time you may forget small details that could prove vital. Therefore, make a note of these details as soon as possible following the accident.

What was the immediate effect of the accident? You should note down whether there was any immediate obvious injury or pain resulting from the accident.

Witnesses: Witnesses can be vital in cases such as these, so make sure you write down the names of any witnesses and if possible speak to them to ask whether they would be prepared to verify your account should the need arise.

Delayed effects of the accident: You also need to keep a note of any and all delayed effects that may have resulted from the accident. For instance, you may not have seen any obvious injuries right away but a week or two later you may start to suffer physical pain, which could be a result of what happened.

Details of doctors/medical visits: It is important to keep the details of any doctors or hospitals you visit in connection with the injury, as you may need these details later on in the process.

Overall impact of the injury: You will need to consider how the injury has impacted on your life overall. For instance, are there certain things you cannot do now as a result of the injury? Has the injury stopped you from working or made it more difficult to do your work? Are you in constant pain and on regular on-going medication as a result of the injury?

All of these are important considerations that you need to think about if you are looking to make a personal injury claim.

When to Contest a Will

Posted on the March 2nd, 2013 under Legal Guides by

Having a last will and testament drafted helps many people to assign where their assets will go upon their death. At times however, controversy can arise as to the validity of the will and many family members may being quarrelling over whether the will should be honored. While contesting a will is certainly not something that you want to do, there are some times when it may actually be necessary. If you do not feel that the will is valid and you may be a beneficiary, then you have the right to contest the will.

Determining whether or not you are eligible to contest a will is essential before you take any legal action. You must have a stake in the will’s outcome to be considered eligible to contest. If you are a beneficiary or you believe that you should have been included in the will and you will gain financially if you do contest it then you may be permitted to do so.

There are many reasons why someone may choose to contest a will. If it is believed that fraudulent actions took place or in other words if you feel that someone tricked the testator or the person writing the will into signing a document that was not actually their desired will, it can be contested. If you believe that blackmail, threats or other forms of undue influence were used to create the will then it is eligible to be contested as well. Many wills are contested because the family members do not feel that the testator had the proper mental capacity to create the will. In other words, they were not of sound mind when they signed or drafted the last will and testament. Finally, if the procedure for drafting, signing or filing the will was not carried out properly, it can be contested. An example would be if the will was signed but there were no witnesses present.

If you can show that there is valid reason that the will should be contested, then you may be permitted to do so. The court can declare the will invalid if it is proven and any earlier drafts of the will can be admitted to probate. In cases where an earlier version of the will is not available, then the estate is typically divided according to the intestacy laws in the state. Your state’s laws may be different from others so it is important that you take time to learn about the laws that govern your specific state and local region.

Contesting a will is not typically an easy thing to do and not something that most beneficiaries want to do. If you feel that the will in question is invalid for one or more reasons, you can contact an estate attorney who can help you with the process of contesting. An attorney will be able to help you to determine if you are eligible to contest the will and what steps you need to take to do so.

What Constitutes Violation of Probation?

Posted on the February 23rd, 2013 under Legal Guides by

When someone receives criminal probation, they are ordered to follow a certain set of conditions. These conditions are determined by the court and in order to remain free and out of jail, these conditions must be met. For some, probation may be the only sentence while for others, it may include other penalties such as a short time in jail, court costs and other fines and counseling.

There are a number of ways that supervision can take place. Some are put on what is called “house arrest” and are not permitted to leave their homes. Others may receive a tracking device that tells their probation officer where they are at all times. Traditional probation is where the probationer reports regularly to a probation officer and informal probation simply requires periodic drug tests and searches but no further supervision.

Violating probation can bring about legal consequences. In some cases, additional fines may be applied and in others, prison sentences may be invoked. It is important for a probationer to follow the terms of their probation in order to avoid this additional legal problem. Those who are arrested or otherwise charged with violation of probation often seek a criminal attorney for assistance.

There are different types of penalties for violation of probation and the penalties are often dependent upon the reason for probation as well as other aspects. Those who repeatedly violate their probation may simply be sent to prison. Failing to attend a probation meeting, being late for that meeting, not paying fines, not finishing rehabilitation or counseling and many other acts can violate probation. Not passing a drug test for instance would violate the condition that the probationer refrains from taking illegal drugs. When these conditions are not met, the probationer can get handed a much heftier sentence than their original penalty.

When someone does violate the conditions of their probation, it may be necessary to contact a criminal attorney. If the violation was due to something that was well beyond the probationer’s control, an experienced attorney could help to lessen the sentence or have the violation charge eliminated completed from the probationer’s record. Without an attorney, the probationer is basically on their own. Courts tend not to favor probation violators and depending on the state, this could be cause for quite a long prison sentence, particularly if this is not the first time that probation has been violated.

Those who are on probation are offered this sentence in order to help them to overcome their legal issues and begin again. Taking advantage of probation is simply never a good idea. It is important that probationers follow their conditions carefully and when that does not happen, contact an experienced attorney. Someone with experience in criminal law and particularly in probation violations can help to potentially lessen the sentence that may be received for not following the probation restrictions. Being charged with probation violation does not entitle you to the right to a trial by jury so an experienced attorney may be critical in retaining your freedom.

What Does it Mean to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged?

Posted on the February 19th, 2013 under Legal Guides by

First time offenders often have the opportunity to have their criminal records expunged. This is a legal process that means that the record will be sealed by the court which makes it completely non-viewable to police departments and federal databases. When a record is sealed, it is considered to be expunged. This essentially makes it seem as if the offense never happened and the criminal record never existed. There is a major difference between an expungement and a pardon. A pardon is when someone with a criminal record is completely forgiven of the crimes of which they are accused. An expungement however, means that the person never had a criminal record at all.

There are many instances in which someone may seek to have their record expunged. Each jurisdiction sets its own rules and regulations for how an expungement is carried out and whether or not a specific record can be expunged. Generally, an expunged record will not be viewable by anyone. In some states however, there are provisions that state that an expunged record is not wiped completely clean from certain databases that judges and police departments use on the chance that these records may be needed in the future for sentencing if the conditions of the expungement are not met or if the person is convicted of another crime.

Note that not every crime is eligible for expungement even for first time offenders. Requirements or conditions are almost always a part of the process and if these conditions are not met then the expungement may not be granted. Conditions typically include wait times between when the crime was committed and when the expungement is requested as well as staying out of trouble for a specified period of time.

Crimes that typically cannot be expunged include any violent crimes against minors such as sexual assault or rape. Crimes involving the corruption of a minor, pornography of a minor and obscene gestures aimed at a minor are often not granted expungement. Again, different states have different regulations regarding this legal process and each state will determine what criminal acts are eligible for expungement. If a record is granted expungement, it can take up to six months before the record will be sealed.

Those seeking expungement will need a criminal attorney to begin the process. An attorney who is well-versed in this process can help to determine if the crime meets the requirements for expungement and will know where and what papers must be filed in order to get the process started. First time offenders who are not considered violent in nature and who simply made a bad judgment often do get granted a complete clearing of their records and upon meeting the conditions, are never considered to have been in trouble with the legal system at all. Those who feel that the crimes they have been convicted of meet the requirements and who want to seek an expungement should contact an experienced criminal attorney who has represented clients in this area in the past.

How Do You Know if You Need a Quiet Title?

Posted on the January 5th, 2013 under Legal Guides by

A quiet title checks into the background of property to resolve any issues that may have resulted with regards to ownership. While not everyone is going to have to have a quiet title, there are times when it can be essential. Anytime you purchase real estate, you want to know that the title is clear. A clear title simply means that there are no liens on that property and there are no other owners who could potentially claim that property as their own. Getting ready to close on a real estate transaction and learning that the property cannot legally be sold can be very frustrating.

In order to clear up any issues that may arise, the buyer may proceed by seeking a quite title. This is actually a type of lawsuit and it will check into the property’s background to resolve any issues that may have arisen. Different states have different ways of doing quiet titles but the basis is about the same in all states. If you need to proceed with a quite title, you will need to hire a title company. This company will perform a title search so that an ownership claim can be made. The title search will show if there is another party who can claim the property or another party who is claiming to own the property. It will show any liens or encumbrances on the title as well.

When you do a quiet title, you should understand that the plaintiff’s claim to that property is based on the strength of their claim. Your claim will be assessed as well as any other claims on the property. This can be a costly procedure and many buyers prefer not to have to pay to have this search done. In some cases however, it becomes necessary to dispel any other claims to the property so that it can be sold.

Before you decide that you want a quite title done, you should check the laws in your state and your local area. Some laws state that the plaintiff or the person who is claiming the property, must have possession of the property in question in order to file a quiet title. You will need to speak with a real estate attorney to ensure that you are not trying to buy property that cannot legally be sold.

If you do a title search and it comes back that there are claims that can cause an issue for you regarding ownership of that property, you will definitely need an attorney. Your lawyer will be able to file a lawsuit to handle the issue. Note that in some cases, these lawsuits can take up to six months or longer to resolve. It is important that you consult with an attorney at any point if you are planning to purchase property so that you can be instructed on real estate laws in your area. Planning for problems, even if there are no issues whatsoever with the property, is much better than finding problems that could prevent your closing.

The Differences between a Quit Claim and a Warranty Deed

Posted on the December 18th, 2012 under Legal Guides by

If you are buying or selling property, you are going to see a lot of paperwork. There are many different documents involved in a real estate transaction and all of these documents have different uses. Two documents that you may come across are a quit claim deed and a warranty deed. These are very different documents and understanding what both of them do is essential.

Quit claim deeds are used when the person selling the property does not actually own it but does have the responsibility of selling it. If for instance, the owner of the property has died and his children are selling it then a quit claim deed would be needed. This type of deed is also used when a couple is married and the owner of a property wants to add the name of the new spouse to the title for the property. Quit claim deeds offer protection to buyers but a low level of protection. In most instances, quit claim deeds are used when the property being sold will actually remain within the same family.

A warranty deed however, it used in almost all real estate sales. The warranty deed is presented by the seller and states that he or she actually owns the property that is being sold and that there are no liens on that property. Essentially, it is a statement saying that it is theirs to sell and theirs alone. The buyer can assume that the seller has the legal right to sell the property and that there will be no claims made on the property by anyone else. Warranty deeds are normally accompanied by title insurance policies to further protect real estate buyers.

There are some real estate transactions that do require both a warranty and a quit claim deed. If for instance the property being sold is on the border of a lake or river and the actual ownership of the underwater area of land where the property stands is not completely clear, then both deeds may be needed to help protect the buyer and to legally complete the transaction.

Those who are planning to buy or sell property should consult with a real estate attorney to ensure that they know which type of deed they require. The laws in your area may be very different from other areas and consulting an attorney who knows the laws in your state is essential. Speaking with an experienced lawyer will ensure that you are not going to be facing legal issues down the road. For instance, if you purchase property that someone else actually has a claim to, you could face a legal battle in the future. An attorney will help you to determine which deed is right for your property and how you should proceed with the transaction.

Real estate transactions can be confusing, particularly considering the number of documents that are required. Before you buy or sell a property, speak with an attorney to ensure that you are doing everything needed to make the transaction legal.

The Difference between Annulment and Divorce

Posted on the April 24th, 2012 under Legal Guides by

If you are planning to end your marriage, you may wonder about the difference between divorce and annulment. Many couples come to realize that no matter how hard they try, they simply cannot make their marriages work. Divorces happen every day all over the world and there are different legal methods for ending a marriage. While both annulment and divorce are legal methods for the dissolution of a marriage, they both have very different outcomes.

The two may seem very similar because they both end a marriage. An annulment however, takes away the fact that a marriage ever existed. Divorce however, legally ends the marriage. It does not claim that there was never a marriage in the first place. Every state has its own rules concerning both divorce and annulment. It is important to know the laws in your state and to understand a few of the major differences between the two. There are differences in grounds or reasons for the ending of the marriage in both cases.

In an annulment, certain things must be present. For instance, an annulment can often be granted in the case of bigamy because in most states, being married to more than one person at a time is not legal. This means that the marriage was not truly a legally recognized marriage. If a spouse grossly misrepresents himself or herself then that fraudulence could also be grounds for an annulment. Other grounds for annulment include the inability to produce a child, cases of mental illness, marriages involving couples who are biologically related and an influence of illegal drugs or alcohol when the marriage took place. For instance, if you are drunk and suddenly decide to get married, you may be able to have that marriage annulled when you sober up.

For divorces, things like extramarital affairs, desertion, abuse and irreconcilable differences can all be grounds for filing. Irreconcilable differences are often used when a married couple divorces. This simply means that there is no way to save the marriage. Neither party is really at fault but both agree that a divorce is imminent. Any history of physical, mental or emotional abuse can also constitute a divorce. Unlike annulment however, divorced couples have legally been married to each other. The wife will still have the husband’s legal name unless she undergoes a name change on the divorce papers.

Determining whether you need an annulment or a divorce can be difficult. Again, different states have different rules. If you know without a doubt that your marriage is over, it may be time to speak with a family law attorney. Lawyers who specialize in family law know the regulations concerning annulment and divorce. An experienced attorney will be able to help you to determine if you quality to file for an annulment or if you must undergo divorce proceedings. If you have children, you are likely going to be filing for divorce. Other stipulations will also apply. Speaking with an attorney will help you to ensure that you file the proper papers.