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  • Oliver & Cheek, PLLC offers free consultation to those financially affected by COVID-19

    The Law Office of Oliver & Cheek, PLLC sends its best wishes to our friends and neighbors in Eastern North Carolina as we all work our way through this difficult period.  Should you or your family experience job loss or income reduction causing you to fall behind on your monthly expenses, we are here to help.

    To aid in the recovery from this unprecedented crisis, our firm will advance the up-front costs of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case for those who qualify.  This means that $0.00 is paid up front and the advanced costs of $362.00 for an individual or $390.00 for a couple are reimbursed through the monthly Chapter 13 plan payment.

    If you are experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardships or have questions whether you qualify, please give us a call at 252-633-1930 to schedule a free remote or telephonic consultation.

    Disclaimer: Qualification for advancement of costs is determined on a case by case basis after consultation with one of our attorneys.  We are debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.  This is for informational purposes ONLY. No attorney-client relationship is established by or should be inferred and The Law Offices of Oliver & Cheek, PLLC does not accept new clients before conducting a conflict of interest check and executing an engagement letter.

  • Planning for Your Aging Parents

    America is getting older. The overall age of the population of the United States has shifted dramatically over the last 60 to 80 years, and experts agree that its impact on the family is clear.

    The overall age of the population of the United States has shifted dramatically over the last 60 to 80 years, and experts agree that its impact on the family is clear.

    The overall age of the population of the United States has shifted dramatically over the last 60 to 80 years, and experts agree that its impact on the family is clear.

    “There is definitely a changing age structure within families today,” says Neal Cutler, PhD. He is the executive director of the Center on Aging for the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodlawn Hills, Calif. “Its cause is simply greater longevity.”

    With more Americans living well beyond their 70s, more adult children are now left in a position where they must take on the role of caregiver for their aging parents.  And though being a caregiver is something that sounds relatively straightforward, it actually involves a host of issues that requires a mix of legal, financial and governmental resources. 

    From a legal perspective, there are certain documents you need to have in place in order to be able to care for your aging parents, and studies have found that nearly half of the adult population in the United States does not have them.  The legal documents you will need to have in order to become involved in the day to day affairs of your parent’s lives include the following:

    FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

    A power of attorney (or POA) is a legal document through which an individual authorizes someone to act on his behalf. The person who gives the authority (your parent) is called the principal, and the person who has the authority to act for the principal (you) is called the agent or the attorney-in-fact. Financial power of attorney grants you the legal authority to act on your parents’ behalf for financial issues such as accessing financial accounts, paying bills, taxes, medical expenses, managing real estate assets and more should they become incapacitated and unable to carry out those tasks themselves.

    Generally, the timing of when the POA becomes effective is dependent upon future the occurrence of a certain event.  The most common future event is the incapacity of the principal which could be due health issues leaving them unable to make necessary and important life decisions. It is a good idea to become familiar with your parents’ affairs before the POA becomes effective.

    HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY

    A healthcare power of attorney allows one or both of your parents to grant you the authority to make medical and end-of-life care decisions on their behalf. It allows them to name a trusted person (you) to oversee that their wishes are carried out, or to use your judgment in directing decisions about their medical care. In addition to granting you power of attorney, they should name a successor, such as your sibling or other close relative or friend, in case you become unable to fulfill the duties. 

    LIVING WILL

    A living will is a type of estate plan that allows your parents to express their medical and end-of-life treatment decisions, in order to provide family members and health care personnel with clear medical care instructions. In general, if a living will meets legal requirements, then the instructions it provides are legally valid and binding. It does not appoint anyone to make decisions for your parents and only applies if they are in a terminal or permanent unconscious condition.

    One of the biggest benefits of the living will is that it helps avoid unwanted treatments and disputes between family members over your parents’ care.  It will allow your parents to name a trusted person (you) to ensure that their end-of-life wishes are carried out should they not be in the position to make that clear for themselves.

    HIPAA CONSENT FORM

    HIPAA — the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act — provided the first nationally recognizable regulations for the use and/or disclosure of an individual’s health information. It is the federal legislation responsible for keeping personal health information private.

    If your parents want you to be privy to information about their healthcare, they must sign a HIPAA document that grants their health care provider permission to share it with you.  At that point, you will have the right to request and obtain your parents’ health information when necessary.

    Of course, none of these forms will be helpful unless someone knows they exist! You should have the originals, and your parents’ regular doctors should be provided with copies to keep in the medical records files. If your parent is planning to enter the hospital, you will probably be asked prior to admission to provide the hospital with copies of these documents. 

    When it comes to making arrangements for your aging parents, most experts would advise you not to wait until it may be too late to engage in proper legal planning. We encourage you to make a point of having these conversations with family members while they are still of sound mind and able to contribute to the conversation and comprehend exactly what documents they are signing and why. These discussions can be difficult, but an experienced elder law attorney can help guide the process and ensure that it goes smoothly. At Oliver and Cheek, we can help you outline exactly what is needed as you and your family plan for the future care of your aging parents.  If you’re ready to start the planning process, or if you have any questions, please contact the law offices of Oliver & Cheek by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

    (sources: www.nbc.com, www.findlaw.com, www.agingcare.com)

    Oliver Cheek New Bern NC can help you with planning for aging parents. Elder law.
  • ‘Tis the Tax Season

    As March is coming to an end April, 15th better known as Tax Day is on the horizon. Most people file their 2018 taxes by April 15th. If you haven’t started getting your tax information together and ready to submit, it is now time to do so! Consulting with a tax attorney will help you organize and be prepared to pay your taxes, as well as devise a plan to think about taxes year round.

    As a small business owner taxes and their intricacies may be the last thing on your mind. Hiring a tax attorney will help bridge the gap between doing business and paying taxes and help you avoid any common tax mistakes.

    The number-one tax mistake new business owners make is not realizing they even have a business. As many businesses started as a hobby, the line between business, and pleasure often becomes blurred. If you made over $400 in self-employed income in a taxable year you may be required to file Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) and Schedule SE along with your regular 1040 income tax form.

    Don’t forget that many of the expenses you accumulate in the course of running your business are tax deductible. It’s relatively easy to handle most tax deductions. If you buy something, such as office supplies or a banner ad on a targeted website, keep the receipt and deduct it at the end of the year.

    But two of the biggest deductions are slightly more complicated than that. The home office deduction, which allows you to deduct expenses related to the portion of your home that you use for business, requires precise calculations. And the automobile expenses deduction takes very dedicated recordkeeping throughout the year.

    Never ignore these two deductions. They can mean big tax savings at the end of the year. If in doubt, contact a reputable tax attorney to help you make sense of it all.

    Don’t forget to remember sales tax! If you sell products and live in one of the 45 states (plus D.C.) that has a sales tax, you are most likely on the hook to charge sales tax to your buyers. Sales tax can be complicated and many sellers either get it wrong or try to ignore it altogether. Both strategies can have dire consequences. If you sell products, get to know sales tax.

    When is doubt it is always better to go to the professionals than trying to figure it out on your own. While hiring a professional can seem like an unbearable business expense, especially when you’re just starting out, a good tax attorney gives you peace of mind you’re doing everything right. He or she often also saves you money by finding deductions or tax credits that could have otherwise been missed. It’s almost always a good idea to get professional help when it comes to your business taxes.

    The experienced team at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC possesses a wealth of tax law knowledge. They can help clients avoid controversies and save money in taxes, interest, and penalties by helping plan transactions and structure operations. When you file on your own you’re also on your own if the IRS wants to take a closer look at your tax return. When you reach out for assistance with your business tax filings you can be confident you have the necessary backing if the IRS comes calling.

    For more information, or to receive assistance preparing your personal or business taxes, please contact the respected attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

    (Sources: Internal Revenue Service, American Institute of CPAs; Square, Inc.; National Federation of Independent Business; and U.S. News & World Report.)

    taxes, filing for taxes, small business taxes, tax attorneys in new bern nc
  • Sears Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

    Former retail giant Sears filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday of this week. They have a plan in place for how to revive the company, that includes closing at least 142 stores, and are seeking creditors to keep them afloat instead of having to liquidate the company. The law offices of Oliver & Cheek are well versed in the ins and outs of business law, and are here to help your large or small business through any situations. Today we are digging into different versions of bankruptcy and how Sears’ bankruptcy filing choice can help you learn which is best for your business when facing a financial struggle.

    Filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy is used by large businesses to reorganize debts and continue operations. Corporations, partnerships, and LLCs are not allowed to file for relief under Chapter 13, thus Chapter 11 would be the only option for these entities if reorganization is needed. If a company files for relief under Chapter 7 it must end operations upon the filing of the case. In North Carolina the bankruptcy administrator supervises the case. A Chapter 11 plan is submitted to the court detailing the proposed treatment of secured and unsecured claims and a judge then approves or confirms the plan. The plan—which details creditors to be paid, how much they are paid, and how long the plan lasts—is then implemented. Usually plans for small businesses last three to five years. Sears chose chapter 11 because it allowed them the flexibility to reorganize, stay open through the holidays, and then continue in their reorganization strategy into the new year. For Sears and many other businesses this is a great choice, and can breathe new life into the company, eventually allowing it to completely revive itself. Where Ch 7 is final Ch 11 provides needed flexibility in keeping a business alive.

    Two other forms of bankruptcy are Ch 12 and Ch 13. Both are inherently different in their strategies as well.

    Ch 12  is used by farmers or commercial fishermen to reorganize their debts and continue operating their farms or fishing operations. The advantage of Chapter 12 is that the reorganization plan will allow payments to be made seasonally, when the farmer or fisherman earns his money. The limitation of only being able to restructure loans in a five-year period in Chapter 13 cases is not a limitation in Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 cases. A corporation, partnership, or LLC, along with individuals, are eligible for relief under Chapter 12 as family farmers or family fishermen.

    Ch 13 is a “reorganization” bankruptcy that allows a person to repay some or all debts. The amount paid to creditors is based on what you want to keep, what you earn, and how much non-exempt property you have. Those who choose this option are usually behind on their house and car payments, but desire to catch up on those payments to keep the property. This option does not necessarily mean all creditors will be paid in full—it is a way to repay taxes to the IRS or North Carolina Department of Revenue as there are no penalties when you pay through a Chapter 13 plan.

    All of us here at the law offices of Oliver & Cheek understand that no one option will be entirely perfect for your business. For many filing for bankruptcy is the last resort, we are here to help guide you through the process, helping you pick the best strategy and ultimately trying to save your business. For more information feel free to contact us today!

    At Oliver & Cheek business law is one of our specialties and we are here to help you through all of your business needs, organization and beyond. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

    filing for bankruptcy, business law, oliver and cheek, new bern nc lawyers,
  • Choosing between a Living Trust or Will

    Estate Planning, the task of preparing for the future of your family once you are no longer around. It can be a daunting task as no one wants to think about what will happen after they pass. However it is extremely important to ensuring your family is provided for during that time. Estate planning can include writing a will as well as establishing a living trust. All of us here at Oliver and Cheek are ready to help you decide which estate planning tool meets the needs of you and your family.

    A will is an end of life document that designates how property and assets will be distributed at the time of your death. The benefit is that a will can be amended, updated, and rewritten at any point during your lifetime. It will also allow you to provide a guardian to your children if need be. The downfall of this document is that it must go through a probate court and be settled by an executor. This can be a lengthy and expensive step depending on the intricacies of your document. Proper planning at the beginning will save your loved ones from a long probate process in the future.

    If the potential of a probate court process is not something you or your family are interested in, thinking about planning your estate with a Trust may be the better option. A trust still allows you to still transfer property and assets to your loved ones after death, yet it avoids probate court or the need for an executor of a will. It can still be amended throughout your lifetime, and when the time comes a named trustee will ensure that property and assets are divided as stated.

    Regardless of which you choose both are great options for planning your estate during your lifetime as well as taking care of your loved ones after you’re gone. To learn more about which tool may be right for you call us at Oliver and Cheek to schedule an appointment.

    For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting www.olivercheek.com.

     

    (sources: Investopedia, Legal Zoom)
    filing for bankruptcy, business law, oliver and cheek, new bern nc lawyers,

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