Friday, December 8, 2017

Top Benefits of a Will

Some may argue that a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family. A will provides legal protection for your assets and your family. You can have a say in who receives what assets when you are gone by putting a will together now. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm knows how important it is to have your wishes lined out. Take a look below to find some of the top benefits of having a will in place.



1. Have Your Wishes Known

It's important that everyone involved knows exactly what your wishes for your estate are. This can help to avoid arguments amongst family members. It will offer comfort for your family to know exactly what your wishes are and to help carry them out. A will is an ideal place to document any of your wishes for when you pass.

2. Distribute Your Estate

When planning your will, you can designate who you want to take over specific assets. Whether it's your home, car, accounts, or family heirlooms, it's a great opportunity to distribute your belongings to your friends and family. A will can help ensure your wishes are being carried out and that your estate is going where you want and not just divied up.

3. Establish Care for Your Children

If you have children under the age of 18, you can designate guardianship to an individual or couple. This can help make sure your kids are being cared for by exactly who you wish to care for them. You can also leave specific instructions for any financial help you want to go along with the person who will care for your kids.

4. Appoint Executors of Your Will

While it may be a difficult choice, you can appoint someone to be in charge of distributing your assets. This is known as an executor or personal representative, and this individual will ensure that your will is known and that all items are distributed as you have wished. This person will also be in charge of paying off debt, bills, and other financial items that will need to take place.

5. Flexibility of Change

The beauty of a will is that it is a flexible document. Changes can be made over time as your wishes change. Whether you've had a major life change or you simply think someone else would be a better fit for a certain asset, you can make changes to your will, as you see fit.

Now that you know some of the benefits of a will, you are ready to take action. Give your family the gift of knowing what your wishes are when the time comes. It's a thoughtful way to take some of the burdens off of those closest to you. Contact Gibbons Law Firm today to establish a will so your wishes are known. We look forward to helping you put together your will at the Lake of the Ozarks!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




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Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Friday, December 1, 2017

5 Mistakes To Avoid During a Custody Dispute

Divorce is an emotional and stressful season, especially if you have kids involved. You may be tempted to lash out in frustration, but it's important to stay calm and collected. Our divorce attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you through the entire divorce process. From filing your paperwork to handling a custody dispute, our Lake Ozark law firm is here for all of your divorce needs. Gibbons Law Firm has provided some actions to avoid when going through a custody dispute below - take a look to find out more.



Mistake #1: Little Involvement in Your Child's Life

Especially if your family is going through a divorce, it's important to be there for your kids. No matter what they are involved in, show up and show support for your little one. They are going through this new transition, just like you are, and it's vital to be there for them. Whether it's little league or another school activity, make an effort to be involved in your child's life.

Mistake #2: Negative Comments Toward Your Spouse

During a divorce, you are likely not seeing eye to eye with your spouse. Don't let your children feel the negative effects of this. Keep your comments and feelings about your spouse to yourself or vent with another adult. It's inappropriate to force your feelings on your children - after all the other person you are talking about is their parent too!

Mistake #3: Turning to Drugs or Alcohol

It can be easy to turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the new stress and changes in your life. If you would like your children to live with you, even partial custody, it's important to show that you can provide a stable place for them to live. Alcohol or drugs do not provide stability.

Mistake #4: Lacking Self Control 


Stay in control of your anger or aggression at all times. While the stress builds and the pressure of the looming divorce may be weighing down on you, you have to keep your composure. This can help show that you are a stable figure in your child's life and a good influence on them. Don't let a moment of weakness jeopardize your custody dispute.

Mistake #5: Failing to Provide a Stable Environment

A loving and stable environment can help your children grow and thrive. A divorce can throw a wrench in that, but it's important to work toward providing the best place possible for your children. A child needs consistent love and it's important to show that you are capable of providing that for your kids, especially during a child custody dispute.

Now that you've seen some behaviors to avoid during a custody battle, you're ready to continue on with the divorce process. A loving environment should be offered when referring to your children and it's important to show that you can provide that for your kids. If you find yourself in a custody dispute with your spouse, contact our Lake of the Ozarks divorce attorney today. Your initial consultation with us is always free!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




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Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Driving Tips for Holiday Travel

It's that time of year again! As the holiday season rolls around, a number of families plan their road trips. Whether you're visiting family or getting away with your loved ones for a vacation, the roadways become busier and busier. With the increase in traffic, it's important to help make the roads a safe place for you and everyone on the road. As your Lake of the Ozarks lawyer, I'd like to remind everyone of a few ways to improve the road conditions with these driving tips below.

Our personal injury lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks is here for you as you travel throughout the holiday season. If you happen to be involved in a collision or other incident, Gibbons Law Firm is one call away! Our law firm can help you sort out an incident that may have occurred while on a road trip with your family, especially if an injury was sustained.


Driving Safety Tips:

Leave Plenty of Room
It's recommended to leave one car length per every ten miles an hour you are traveling. This allows adequate time for you to stop in a hurry if needed. Many incidents that occur on the roadways are due to drivers following too closely. It's important to increase driving distance if there are any other factors in the driving conditions - like fog, rain, or snow.

Put the Phone Down
While it isn't illegal to text and drive if you are over the age of 21, it's strongly advised against. Distracted driving is very dangerous to yourself and others on the road. The road ahead of you can change in a split second, even during the short amount time you look down at your phone. Keep your full attention on the road at all times while operating a motor vehicle.

Designate a Driver
Always designate a driver for you and your group if you choose to partake in adult beverages as the holiday season approaches. It can be fun to get together with old friends and celebrate the upcoming holidays with new acquaintances, but it's important to think ahead and have a way to get home. Even if it means calling a cab, it makes for safer roadways for everyone involved (and helps keep you out of legal trouble).

Rest Well Before Departure
Many times traveling during the holidays lead to leaving early or departing late at night to make it to your destination. Driving drowsy can hinder your ability to make quick reactions to changing conditions on the roadways. Always ensure your driver is well-rested before heading out on a holiday road trip.

Keep an Eye on the Weather
The risk of freezing rain or snow increase as the temperature drops during the holiday season. Even if the forecast is clear when you depart for your destination, be sure to check it on a regular basis to ensure no significant changes have come about. For a pleasant travel experience during the upcoming holidays, try to avoid driving on slick roads.

As your general practice law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks, our entire staff wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season. The safety tips above can help keep you and your family safe this weekend. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a vehicle accident and injured at someone else's fault, a personal injury attorney near Lake Ozark, MO can help you through the process. Contact us today to learn how we can help you defend your case!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Some Common Terms You May Hear On a Criminal Law Case

Criminal matters can be confusing and scary. If you are in the midst of a criminal case, your head may be spinning with many questions and concerns. Our criminal attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help answer all of your questions. Answering all of your criminal law questions may not be able to predict the outcome of your case, but it can help you get a good idea of what to expect during the process. Take a look below for top questions that are asked during a criminal case at the Lake of the Ozarks.



Term #1: What is a "white collar" crime?

A white collar crime is typically not a violent crime. It is often an intellectual crime that involves a large amount of money. Crimes that are white collar in nature are typically tax fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement.

Term #2: What is a grand jury?

A grand jury does not have the authority to rule guilty or innocent like a typical jury does. This kind of jury will rule whether there is enough evidence available for the government to continue with the proceeding.

Term #3: Do I need an attorney if I was falsely accused?

Even if you know you are innocent, it's the jury or judge that has to make the final decision. An attorney can help gather the right information and present your case in a professional manner. The experience of a legal professional can help deal with last minute changes or evidence that may be presented. A lawyer can help your case in a number of ways.

Term #4: What is "restitution"?

The amount of money that is required for a criminal to pay the other party is known as "restitution". Its purpose is to cover any cost that may have been caused by the crime. Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage are common reasons for restitution to be paid out.

Term #5: Is there a difference between "parole" and "probation"?

Parole is when a criminal is released early from prison on good behavior but is still being monitored closely. Probation is when a criminal is allowed to remain in the public community and to be under strict rules and regulations, instead of being sentenced to prison.

Did we answer your burning criminal law questions? If not, contact our Lake of the Ozarks law office today. We can schedule a consultation to discuss your case and help answer any other questions you may have. Gibbons Law Firm looks forward to helping you through this stressful and confusing process. Don't forget your first consultation with us is free!


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What You Need to Prepare for Your Estate Plan

A plan made in advance naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die is known as an estate plan. This type of document can relieve a lot of stress on your family and help to avoid your assets from going to someone you do not wish to have them. A legal professional can help solidify your estate plan to ensure your assets are squared away. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm has provided a list of some information you should have on hand, before preparing your estate plan.


Financial Statements

Any financial statements from your investments and bank accounts should be brought with you to plan your estate. These documents can help show where your financial assets are located. It's also a good idea to have an idea of who you intend to take over ownership of these financial accounts in mind.

List of Assets & Liabilities

Like your financial statements, assets and liability information should be brought to the meeting, as well. You can also decide who will take over these responsibilities upon your passing. This list can be helpful when dividing up assets and liabilities to pass on.

Life Insurance Policies

As you are planning your estate, any life insurance policy information is helpful. Bring your policies along with you in order to accurately assign someone to take ownership.

Who You Intend to Leave Estate With

Updated addresses and other contact information for the individual(s) you intend to leave your estate is needed. This can make the transfer of your assets much easier after you pass. The exact name and addresses for individuals or institutions that you plan to name in your will are necessary.

Information for Guardianship

If you have children under the age of 18, it's important to have specific individuals named to take over guardianship of your children. If you can, it's also a good idea to select an alternative guardian. When children are involved, it's best to have someone named as the guardian to avoid a child going into government care.

Inheritance Disbursement

For beneficiaries who are minors or young adults, it can be helpful to line out the distribution of the trust. This can reduce the chance of a younger heir getting carried away with an excess of money or assets. You can set up your estate to pay out in smaller amounts over time versus a large lump sum or you can put off the disbursement until your child has reached a more mature age of your choosing.

No matter what your age, it's important to have an estate plan in place. This document can help show exactly who you intend to take over ownership of each of your assets. It's a nice gesture for your friends and family to have this documentation in place before you pass. Here at Gibbons Law Firm, we can help handle all of your needs for an estate plan. Contact our law office at the Lake of the Ozarks to schedule your consultation today!


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Questions to Consider When Planning for Your Child’s Future

The future is full of unknowns which can make it hard to prepare for. Even though many parents do not like to think about the “what ifs”, it is important to the well-being of your child to do so. If something should happen to you and/or your spouse, you will want your child to be protected. There are steps to ensure your child has everything that you have intended for them to receive. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm can help establish a plan in order to protect your child, should something unfortunate happen to you. While these topics are not easy to think about, remember it’s best to be prepared.


Who will care for my child?

If you have someone in mind to care for your child if something should happen to you, it’s important to get that information legally documented. This can help ensure that your child will be with who you intended to help raise them and have guardianship over them. Whether it’s a relative or a close friend, your child should be cared for by the person you wish to do so. If both legal parents pass away, a court will decide who should care for the child or children in question, if there is no specific indication in a will.

How will this person pay for my child’s expenses?

Another factor that goes into deciding who will care for your child is how will they financially support your little one. Taking on the care of a child can impact the financial situation of the caregiver. From added food expense to the cost associated with school activities, you will have to factor these types of expenses into your decision. You can designate a certain amount of your assets to be distributed to the individuals who will gain guardianship of your child. You can also specify that any money that is distributed be used for the sole purpose of raising your child, to avoid it going toward another cause.


Where will they live?

If you want your child to keep up with his or her normal routine, you can specify where you would like your child to be raised. Whether you intend for the caretaker to move into your home to offer a familiar environment for your children or you want to specify that your child attends the same school, it’s important to note any special requirements that would like to take place.

How will my child gain access to my assets?

In your will, you can narrow down when and how your children will receive your assets. Many times, guardians will be given a portion of the assets in order to help with expenses of raising the child. On other occasions, all assets may not be distributed until the child is of legal age – 18 years old. You can specify exactly how your child will gain access to your financial assets.

Most parents have a natural instinct to protect their children and Gibbons Law Firm can help you do just that! With a plan in place for the future, you can rest assured that your children are taken care of and your wishes will be fulfilled. If you don’t have a will in place should something happen to you or your spouse, it’s time to take action. Contact our attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks to start preparing your family for the unknown future. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your future wishes, give us a call today!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Monday, October 23, 2017

5 Tips to Make a Divorce Less Stressful

Divorce is one of the most challenging and stressful processes an individual can go through. No matter what your reason for the end of a marriage may be, it's a tough decision to make for your family. With strong emotions involved throughout the entire process, you may feel overwhelmed with the stress of divorce. As your Lake of the Ozarks divorce attorney, I know how difficult of time this is for you and your entire family. That's why I've dedicated this week's blog to focus on ways to make the divorce process less stressful for all involved.


1. Disclose All Assets

Assets will be evaluated during the divorce process in order to divide them amongst the spouses. Do not attempt to hide any assets that your husband or wife may not know about. If the court discovers such items have been covered up, the process will start over and you may be reprimanded for not disclosing all of your assets upfront.

2. Cooperate Through the Process

To help reduce the stress level for everyone involved, try to cooperate with the court and with your spouse as you part ways. This makes life a little easier on both of you through this major life change. Especially if you have children involved in the process, it's best to lead by example and be as flexible as possible throughout the divorce.


3. Be There For Your Kids

Continue to be involved in your children's lives, even if you are no longer living under the same roof. It can help show your kids how much you care and that you will always be there to support them, even if you and your spouse are no longer together. Put your kids first and remember they are going through a challenging time, just like you are.

4. Keep Life Changes to a Minimum

Divorce is a major life change in itself. Try not to add to many changes into your life at the same time. It can make the process drag on longer than needed and make it even more stressful on yourself. While it's hard to predict when changes will come about, try to avoid them if possible or put them off until after the divorce process is finalized.

5. Ask Questions if Something is Unclear

Your divorce attorney is there for you throughout the entire process. Don't hesitate to ask questions about a certain protocol or why something is happening. A professional legal advisor will be able to help walk you through the process and thoroughly explain why this step is needed to reach the end goal of being divorced. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - that is why you hired a professional who has done this before!

An experienced divorce lawyer near Lake of the Ozarks can help you through the entire process. From filing to division of assets to custody arrangements, Gibbons Law Firm can help you navigate through the stressful and emotional divorce process. If you are in the middle of a divorce or are planning to file soon, contact our Lake of the Ozarks law firm to schedule a consultation today. With us, your first consultation is always free.


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Tips for a Safe Halloween

Halloween is an exciting time of year for both children and adults. There are a few dangers that present themselves this time of year, even though it appears to be all fun and games. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm wants to help keep your family safe this Halloween. It's important to strive for a safe environment during the holiday.  Take a look below for some safety tips to consider while you are out and about or at home on this upcoming holiday.


Walking Around the Neighborhood

-Always discuss safety when crossing roadways. It's a good idea to stay with your children to ensure they are following smart pedestrian etiquette, instead of letting them roam around the neighborhood unsupervised.

-Consider incorporating a glow-in-the-dark or reflective strip on their costume. This can help increase their visibility to drivers.

-Have an adult check all candy gathered, before a child consumes it. If there are any puncture holes or opened wrappers, it's bests to throw those pieces out.

- Remind your children to only go up to someone’s front door, never enter the home (unless it is someone you know and trust).

Driving to a Halloween Activity

-Keep your eyes peeled for children heading out to trick-or-treat. Often times, kids can get distracted by the excitement of Halloween and forget to look both ways before crossing a road.

-Park in a well-lit spot once you get to your Halloween gathering. Whether going to a trunk-or-treat event or a local Halloween get together, try to find a parking spot where you are comfortable getting you and your family out of the vehicle.

-If you are headed to an adult Halloween party, ensure you restricted your alcohol intake or have a designated driver lined up beforehand. There's no reason to drive under the influence and risk your life, as well as others on the roads.

Passing Out Candy at Home

-Create a safe place for children and their families to come trick-or-treat. Try to clear your walkway to ensure there are no tripping hazards present. If you are decorating your front stairs or entryway for the holiday, consider safety as you do so. You don't want someone to trip and fall while on your property.

-Purchase candy that comes pre-wrapped. This can help ensure you have not tampered with any candy, as parents sort through their children's loot at the end of the night!

-Illuminate your property well as children and adults will be making their way to your front stairs. It's important to protect yourself from someone getting hurt on your property, due to a dark walkway.

Don't forget to prepare for a safe night, no matter if you plan to spend time out trick-or-treating or at home passing out candy. If you do find yourself involved in an accident, don't hesitate to seek legal representation. It's important to know your options - no matter what kind of involvement you may have in a legal situation. Gibbons Law Firm is here for all of your legal needs near the Lake of the Ozarks. Simply give us a call at 573-348-2211 to schedule your initial consultation - remember your first one is always free! We truly hope you have a SAFE and Happy Halloween!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How the Bail System Works

"The bail has been posted", "My brother bailed me out of jail", and "The bail has been set at $10,000" are all phrases we have likely heard. Most of us are exposed to statements regarding bail, whether it be in real-life or on your favorite television show. Many people know that bail is the temporary release of someone awaiting trial for a crime in which they were arrested, but there is much more to the bail system than that.


As your criminal defense lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks, our law firm knows how important it is to know the ins and outs of the bail system. Even if you don’t plan on needing this knowledge, you never know when a friend or family member will call you for bail. Take a look below to learn more about the Missouri bail system and how it may affect you.

The Basics:

After the police take someone into custody, they will be fingerprinted and photographed and then held in a cell. A bond amount is then set for the individual. This amount can vary from $500 to $500,000, depending on the severity of the crime. In order for the individual to get released, a friend or family member must bring in cash or a cashier's check in the amount the bond is set. This amount is to ensure to individual being accused will show up to court, where the money will be refunded. The individual may have to stay in holding until the court date, if no one can provide the funds needed for bail. See the point about bail bonds for other options when it comes to paying bail.

All About Bail Bonds:

When the individual nor friends or family members are able to pay the bail amount and it is not reasonable to stay in jail until the trial (which can be schedule months out), another alternative is available. A bail bond agent can provide the funds needed to cover bail, for a small fee - usually 10% of the bail amount. The individual is free to go until his or her court date, once the bail is posted by the agent. The bond agent is held responsible to the court to ensure the individual attends his or her court date. If they do not show up, the agent is now held liable to the court for the full bail amount. A "bounty hunter" may be hired by the bond agent to locate the individual and ensure he or she does not miss their court date.

Earlier we discussed the bond bail amount is usually 10% of the total bond amount. There is another alternative for an individual who cannot afford that amount - a bond loan. The bond agent may negotiate another form of payment of collateral to be taken out against the person in need of being bailed out of jail. This payment may come in the form of a car or home deed or a "signer" who promises to repay the amount, if the individual is unable to do so. Many bond agents will accept an individual with good credit and/or financial backing to be a "signer" for the person who is needing bailed out.

If you are arrested, it's important to know your options. A professional lawyer near the Lake of the Ozarks is available for you to seek representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the entire process - starting with bail. Contact Gibbons Law Firm as soon as possible when our services are needed. Don't forget, your first consultation is always free!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Top Legal Questions For Starting a Business

Starting a business may seem overwhelming at first. A legal professional can be a big help when working on a new business venture. With the amount of legal documentation needed to get your business off on the right foot, consider seeking legal help through this process. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm can help you get your business up and running, legally. You may have a few questions as you start your business and Gibbons Law Firm is here to help! Take a look below to read the answers to common legal questions when starting a new business.


What is the right business structure for me?

Before starting a business, you will need to decide upon the business structure. As a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you and your business will be seen as the same entity. This can cause issues in your personal life should your business go into debt or be sued. To help protect against this, you can structure your business as a corporation, limited liability company, or limited liability partnership. This can help protect the personal assets of those involved in the company. Limited partnership and nonprofit corporations are also options for your new venture. A legal professional can offer the pros and cons of each type and offer advice as to which one is best for your future business.

What risk to I face when hiring employees?

Your business may be open to a number of risks and regulations as you hire employees. It's important to know the details of employment laws and to abide by the rules of employment for your state. Don't forget to keep good documentation of any employee activity - hiring, firing, and everything in between. Your business lawyer near the Lake of the Ozarks can help you know the regulations you need to follow and help you draft accurate documentation for any employment activity.

Should I trademark my brand?

A business name, logo, and slogan can be trademarked to help prevent other businesses from using the same branding technique as yours. To do so, you must register these items to be trademarked and ensure you are not using a graphic, name, or phrase that another business has already used.

What contracts do I need?

This depends on what type of business you are operating. Well-written contracts are very important for a business. They can help to protect your business, ensure you get paid for work you have completed, and help decrease the number of disputes brought against your future business. Your lawyer will be able to specifically narrow down what contracts are needed for your unique venture.

Do I need a lawyer for my business?

While it's not required, a legal professional can help your business in a number of ways. From helping establish your business and initial documentation to giving legal advice throughout your time in business, you may use your business lawyer a lot. It's best to have a legal professional on your side who knows your background when a legal issue arises. We'd be pleased if you would consider Gibbons Law Firm to be your legal professional for your new venture!

Are you ready to get your business established? Have more questions about starting your business? Our lawyer near the Lake of the Ozarks is here for all of your legal needs; Give our law firm a call at 573-348-2211 to set up a consultation today - remember your first consultation is always free. We look forward to helping you legally prepare for your business to open!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tips for a Positive Relationship With a Tenant

Do you own or plan to purchase rental property? This type of investment can have a positive impact on your finances with the recurring rent check coming in. It's important to strive for a positive relationship with your tenants to create the best possible situation for everyone involved. Don't forget to check your bases to promote a positive tenant - landlord relationship.

Here at Gibbons Law Firm, we have experience with tenant - landlord cases with a major focus on representing landlords who are dealing with challenging tenants. As a landlord, it's important to cover your bases when selecting your tenants and we've provided some helpful tips below to help you choose the right people to live in your rental property.


Tip #1 - Conduct a Background Check

Before moving forward with a prospective tenant, consider a thorough background check. A background screening can help you narrow down prospects based on financial and criminal history.  This can help you filter out tenants who may be more likely to cause issues. You have the legal right to conduct a background check on any potential tenant.

Tip #2 - Sign a Lease

A comprehensive lease sets the foundation for a successful landlord - tenant relationship. All expectations should be clearly outlined in the document. In addition to the basic information, don't forget to include specific uses of the property as what is and is not permitted, and who is responsible for damage and/or repairs. A legal professional can help ensure your rental contract is comprehensive and legally sound in order to best protect yourself and your property. The lease should be signed by both parties before access to the property is granted.


Tip #3 - Promote Honest & Open Communication

Communication is key, especially in regards to a tenant - landlord relationship. It is a good idea to keep a written record of all communication between both parties. If you and your tenant prefer the ease of phone call or text message communication, consider following up with an email to have the conversation in written form and easy to access, if needed. Be clear as to what method of communication works best for you, if the tenant needs to reach you for any reason. Also consider keeping your tenant in the loop about anything happening to the property. It's best to have an open and honest line of communication.

Tip #4 - Record All Payment Information

All payment activity should be documented and filed for safe keeping. This can help protect both parties, should any payment come into question. If you notice the agreed upon payment schedule is no longer being followed, reach out to the tenant to see what is happening. If a new schedule needs to be set up, don't forget to record this change with legal documentation amending the lease.

Tip #5 - Don't Jump to Eviction

Eviction of a tenant should be the last resort. If a violation of the lease occurs, first try to have a conversation with the tenant. Communicate your expectations, and clarify the consequences if the expectations are not met. Remember to document any communication that happens during this stage, as well. If it comes down to an eviction, you will want a lawyer on your side. Legal counsel can help assist you with the process to minimize risk during the eviction process.

If you have a challenging tenant, a consultation with a Lake of the Ozarks lawyer may be the right answer. It's important to effectively overcome issues with tenants and try to promote a positive relationship form the very beginning. Contact our law office at the Lake of the Ozarks to schedule your FREE consultation with our legal professional.

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Life Changes...And So Should Your Estate Plan!

Making changes to an estate plan is not something that many people think about. Once a plan is created, it is typically left alone. This is not always for the best though. A number of factors in your life should have a direct impact on your estate plan. It's important to keep this document updated as often as possible to ensure what you want to happen is carried out, after your time on earth. If you have gone through some recent life changes, take the time to update your estate plan with our Lake of the Ozarks law office. We can help you make amendments to your plan. Below you can find examples of life changes that may occur in which you should make changes to your existing estate plan at the Lake of the Ozarks.



Change in Marital Status

State in your plan who you specifically want to receive your belongings. If you have a change in marital status, be sure to update your estate plan as soon as possible. It's important to update your estate plan information whether you're recently married, getting remarried, or going through a divorce.

Birth of a Child

Don't forget about your estate plan as you welcome a new bundle of joy into the world. This can help protect your child or children, should something happen to you. An important piece of information in your estate plan is to designate guardians for your child if you and your spouse are not around. Ensure your wishes are carried out, especially when it comes to your children, by thoroughly updating your estate plan.

Increase or Decrease in Assets

Further changes may be required to update your estate plan if you experience a change in your assets or income. This increase can actually leave your beneficiaries with more tax burden and possible estate administration fee. You can help to minimize the taxation by structuring your estate plan differently. A legal professional can help share options with you and advise you as the best option for your unique situation.

Passing of a Beneficiary

Your estate plan may be the last thing on your mind as a loved one passes. Don't forget to make changes to your plan should something happen to a person listed as a beneficiary on your estate. Keep in mind you can designate the portion intended for the beneficiary who passed to go on to his or her children.

Relocation to Another State

Every state has a different set of estate laws. Many of them are consistent but minor changes may be required to execute your plan in a different state. Be sure to keep this document updated and follow any new changes in the law that may happen. Even if you are simply relocating to a new home in the same state, this property will need to be added to your plan while the old property will be removed.

Disability or Illness

Your care will need to be established in your estate plan, as well. Should an illness or disability incapacitate you or one of your beneficiaries, you will want to designate someone else to be in charge of that portion. State your desires on a regular basis, before a serious illness or disability renders you unable to do so.

An estate plan can help to make sure your wishes are carried out exactly how you intended them. It's an important document to have completed, no matter what your age. If you haven't established an estate plan for you and your family, take time to schedule an appointment with our Lake of the Ozarks law firm. We can help you create an estate plan to fit your wishes, should something happen to you.

The unexpected is the only thing you can expect in life. That's why planning ahead and keeping an estate plan updated on a regular basis is key. Protect your family and ensure your wishes are carried out when you make changes to your estate plan on an as-needed basis. If you're looking to make changes to your estate plan, contact Gibbons Law Firm today. We can help you amend your existing plan and ensure your current wishes are carried out.


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

4 Factors that Impact the Cost of Divorce

Did you know financial challenges are one of the most common causes for divorce in the United States? Although divorce does not have to be expensive, there are a number of factors that can drive up the cost of a divorce. Several factors can increase the financial stress for both parties involved in the divorce.


One of the most common questions our family law attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks gets asked is ”how expensive is a divorce.” Unfortunately, there is no set amount for each divorce. Each situation is different, making it impossible to provide a clear price estimate. There are certain factors that can influence how much a divorce will cost. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm is here to help explain some of the factors that may apply to your divorce and how these factors can impact the overall cost.

Factor #1: Children Involved in the Divorce

When there are children involved in a divorce, the cost of the divorce may rise. It can take more time to determine how to divide custody of your kids. A custody battle is often the most highly contested aspect of the divorce process. Each parent is typically passionate about their kids and are willing to fight for their rights, causing the cost of divorce to rise.

Factor #2: Amount of Cooperation between Spouses

Cooperation with your spouse also has a direct impact on the length of time involved to finalize the divorce. This factor also has a big impact on the money needed to complete the process. If you and your spouse cannot decide how things should be handled and divided, extensive and costly litigation fees may be involved. If the two parties can agree and cooperate, it can greatly impact the bottom line in a positive way.

Factor #3: Marital Assets Involved

If a large amount of assets are involved, the more work needed in dividing them between the two parties. Multiple properties or other assets can complicate the process, and drive the cost up. Other assets that can complicate the process are shared investments and retirement accounts that are listed in both of your names.

Factor #4: The Attorneys You Choose

The attorneys used to represent you in the divorce process will have a significant impact on the overall cost. While the cost is a major factor, it's important to find a divorce attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks that is trustworthy, reliable, and has your best interest in mind throughout the entire process.

If you are interested in filing for divorce, we hope you'll consider Gibbons Law Firm for a trustworthy and affordable attorney. It's important to find the right lawyer to represent your divorce case. Let us help you through the entire divorce process.

Along with divorce, our Lake of the Ozarks divorce attorney has experience with all matters relating to family law. Child custody, spousal maintenance, child support, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, paternity cases, annulments, and legal separation are all matters we can assist with, as well. For more information about divorce at the Lake of the Ozarks, contact our law firm today. Your first initial consultation is always free with us!


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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