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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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How to Identify Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is a major challenge the workforce across America faces. This problem can have negative and lasting impact on the culture of your business. Everyone in your company can be affected by sexual harassment, from employees to the HR department to the business owner. The negative impacts not only affect your workforce, it can lead to legal consequences too. Sexual harassment should not be taken lightly and needs to be addressed right away to avoid lasting negative impacts.

It is essential that you be on the lookout for sexual harassment around your business, especially as a business owner. Action is required right away to help mitigate the situation and set an example to repair any damage that has been done to employee moral or security. Our Lake of the Ozarks attorney can help your business deal with a sexual harassment issue, should one arise within your workplace. It's important to create a safe and healthy environment for your employees and customers. A sexual harassment attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks can help if you experience a situation like this within your company.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Harassment in the workplace or other professional social setting that involves the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks is known as sexual harassment. There are several different forms of sexual harassment and can occur in a variety of situations. Sexual harassment is illegal and punishable by law, therefore, it's important for businesses to be aware of any harassment situation that is going on in the workplace. Women and men of all ages can be subject to sexual harassment advances. Not all sexual harassment involves physical contact - anytime a supervisor or employee is making another employee free uncomfortable in a sexual nature, sexual harassment is present. It's a good idea to train your employees to easily identify this type of harassment and let them know the company's policy on such acts. Swift action is required, should your business have a case of sexual harassment.

Types of Sexual Harassment:

Two primary forms of sexual harassment in the workplace are hostile work environment and quid pro quo. When an individual is made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace, it is known as a hostile work environment. This type of harassment does not have to involved any physical contact, although sometimes it does. Sexual or offensive jokes, images, and/or conversations can all be found under the hostile work environment category of sexual harassment. A quid pro quo category stems from a situation wherein the decision to hire, promote, or fire an individual is based upon their willingness to perform sexual favors or submit to sexual advances. Both types of sexual harassment are illegal, but are unfortunately common in the workforce today.

Identifying Sexual Harassment:

This type of harassment can take on a variety of different forms. Below are common examples of ways it can present itself in the workplace:
- Using pet names or inappropriate terms when referring to a coworker or employee.
- Making inappropriate noises (whistling, cat-calling, etc.).
- Giving a shoulder or neck massage to another individual in the office.
- Speaking provocatively or insultingly about someone's appearance.
- Touching someone inappropriately.
- Requesting sexual favors.
- Discussing sex or sexual acts with a coworker.
- Showing photographs or sexual objects to a fellow employee.
- Kissing, hugging, pinching, or grabbing another person in the workplace.
- Threatening someone's position within the company if they refuse sexual advances.

It's important to address a sexual harassment right away. If you notice any of the above signs or behaviors talk with your supervisor, Human Resources department, and/or attorney as soon as possible. Gibbons Law Firm is here to help! Our legal professional can help defend your sexual harassment case and present your side of the situation. For more information about our legal services at the Lake of the Ozarks, give our law firm a call at 573-348-2211 and remember 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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No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.