A Legal Blog Sponsored By The Maitland Law Firm - www.Maitlandlaw.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 Changes to Corp-LLC

The Maitland Law Firm helps many of our clients create new North Carolina business entities for business or investment ventures. It is important to choose the best entity, Corporation (S or C Corp.), Limited Liability Company (Member or Manager managed LLC), Professional Corporation or PLLC, General Partnership, or other options to fit your needs and tax situation. From a legal perspective, our primary concern is to ensure "limited liability" for the owners and investors of the entity to make sure their personal assets are never at risk for the sake of the business entity.

The simplest, and a particularly relevant situation in our area, might be where parents are buying a rental property for the use of their college bound children and intend to rent portions of it to third party roommates. Should something happen, say during a "study session" or party where a third party slipped and fell or otherwise became injured, most landlords choose the LLC as an effective way to limit their potential exposure to the equity in the rental property rather than put all of their hard earned personal assets at risk. Of course, a more traditional scenario is where the client is starting a new business venture and wants to create the proper structure to encourage investment and provide management. We can assist clients with the myriad of issues to consider and make sure your new business gets off on the right foot.

Once we advise on the creation of the new entity, we believe it is our responsibility to keep you informed of annual changes to the law and other developments that might affect your business. The most common way for people to lose the benefit of "limited liability" even after creating a business entity, is to fail to comply with the simple formalities required of a business. Such failures can invalidate the business entity or open the door to "piercing the corporate veil," "alter ego," and other issues. We advise our clients along the way to make sure they avoid these pitfalls.

Along those lines, each North Carolina business entity is required to file an Annual Report with the North Carolina Secretary of State and pay an annual fee. The Legislature recently passed new legislation changing the due dates and reporting requirements for most business entities effective June 30, 2010. A summary of the changes can be found here. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Thanks!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Beware of Team Virus!

Be careful when searching for Twilight related content. There are definitely a lot of Twilight related links out there that lead to scams and corrupted websites.

Here are some tips to help you avoid scams and other viruses.

If you download Twilight movies or videos clips, make sure they’re from well-known and trusted sources

Keep in mind “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” will not be available for legitimate download for months. In addition to being illegal, pre-release downloads often carry viruses or spyware. Be especially cautious if you’re being asked for your credit card information.

Don’t click on search engine results for images of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, or other cast members unless you can verify the website

An increasing amount of rogue spyware directs consumers away from search results. Most common is a links that warns you of a “threat” and offers free anti-virus or anti-spyware. Actually, if you click on it, you will actually download malware – viruses, antispyware and other malicious software.

Whether you’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob, know how to spell it correctly

Slightly mistyped names can present search results with bad Web sites. Typo “squatters,” as they’re called, will often buy URL’s with slightly different spelling to capture unsuspecting visitors. They might drop malware on your computer just from visiting the site, or request personal information for financial gain.

Purchase your Twilight gear from well-respected online retailers

Reputable online retailers such as EBay and Amazon monitor phishing and impersonations of their Web sites. They look for typo squatters and other cybercriminals that are responsible for fraud and take them down.

Be wary of clicking on links in Twitter — shortened links make it difficult to confirm legitimate and recognized Web sites

Twitter allows users to post shortened URLs, making it easier for users to keep the messages within the prescribed character limit. URL shortening is similar to URL re-direction and can be abused by malware authors.

Entering a Twilight contest online? Here’s what to look for to make sure it’s legit

Make sure the Web site encrypts your data when sending it over the Internet. In this case the URL starts with “https” instead of “http.” Additionally, some Web sites have the trust seal issued by VeriSign to Web sites that meet its standards. You should be able to click on the VeriSign Trust Seal that opens up a window displaying information about the company you are about to do business with.

Always check the URL to verify that you are on the Web site you think you are visiting. You can also copy the domain name and verify the ownership using tools that can be found online. These tools will give you information about the domain you are visiting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Alienation of Affection Claim Leads to Big $ for Greensboro Woman

North Carolina is one of the few states still recognizing the claim of alienation of affections. This claim is becoming fairly popular as of late due to the recent $9 million jury award in Guilford County. National news reports have also been discussing the claim in relation to the John Edwards saga in nearby Chatham County. With as popular as this claim has become in recent months, Tiger Woods and his stash of secret “putters” are lucky none to date have been identified as a resident of the Tar Heel state.

The claim itself involves a wrongful act which deprives a person of the affection, love, society, companionship, and comfort of their spouse. By allowing the spouse to sue the third-party adulterer, this claim protects and recognizes the sanctity of marriage. The claim itself requires proof of three elements: 1) there was a marriage with love and affection existing between the husband and wife; (2) that love and affection was alienated; and (3) the malicious acts of the defendant produced the loss of that love and affection.
If proven, a person may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages. In the Guilford County case, the jury awarded her $5 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. The $9 million dollar jury verdict was awarded in Guilford County also included claims for alienation of affections, criminal conversation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
With this recent decision mistresses and adulterers better beware that there actions might have a hefty impact on their bank accounts.
To read the news coverage, click:
• Wife Wins $9 Million From Husband’s Alleged Mistress – ABC News
• The Price of an Affair? $9 Million – Greensboro News & Record

Friday, June 11, 2010

Economy Impacts Divorce

North Carolina families have not been immune to many of the same factors that have hit families across the country. One disturbing trend is the reality that because residential homes have lost significant value recently, many married couples who wish to seek a divorce simply cannot afford to because they owe too much on their marital home. The attorneys of Maitland Law use their unique backgrounds in both family and real estate law to assist clients with innovative strategies to resolve this and other difficult issues. Where others pose more questions than answers, the attorneys of Maitland Law turn your questions into answers.

According to one MSNBC report, a contested proceeding involving a couple with at least one child can expect their divorce to cost approximately $53,000 to $180,000, if they should go to court. The numbers factored in attorneys’ fees, financial advice, counseling and real estate costs for buying or renting separate residences.

In past times many of these expenses were recaptured when the couple sold their marital home and divided the proceeds. Nowadays the disastrous real estate market leaves many homeowners with their largest marital asset, the marital home, turned economically upside down, as they owe more on the property than it is worth.

Despite such dire statistics, we have found that with proper planning and creative thinking Maitland Law can successfully help our clients cope with difficult financial issues that might otherwise become an insurmountable obstacle to a mutually desired divorce. The key is good communication and valued legal experience for the parties to achieve their goals. Please feel free to contact us with any questions at infor@maitlandlaw.com and let our unique team of family and real estate law professionals go to work for you. We look forward to the privilege of assisting you with your legal matter.

For the complete MSNBC article, please click here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27808110/.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Look into the United States Supreme Court Nomination Process

Please click on the link below for an interesting discussion in regards to the Supreme Court's nomination process and whether or not a nominee should be required to have any prior judicial experience. We at the Maitland Law Firm see the pros and cons of both sides to this argument. Please leave a comment with your feedback on this topic. Thanks for continuing to check out our blog.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Attorney Rob Maitland Gives Advice to WRAL News Viewers

Click below to see Attorney Rob Maitland in the WRAL News Studio giving advice to Home Buyers.

To access other News and Radio segments from Attorney Rob Maitland follow this link and get his "Legal Tip of the Week."


Monday, May 3, 2010

How High Would I Blow?: Estimating Blood Alcohol Content

How To Estimate Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Using This Chart
1. Find your weight in the left hand column
2. Match your weight with the number of “Drinks” you have consumed
3. Subtract .015 for each hour that you have been drinking to compensate for alcohol that your body has processed during that time

Things To Consider
1. This is only an ESTIMATE
2. The “Limit” in North Carolina is 0.08…however, this does NOT mean you cannot be charged if you blow less than 0.08
3. Each “Drink” is equal to 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of 90 proof liquor
4. If you have a high alcohol beer or a “generously” poured liquor drink or glass of wine then make sure to count that as two drinks
5. Example: If you weigh 140 pounds and have had 5 drinks in 3 hours
0.134 – (0.015 x 3) = 0.134-0.45 = 0.089 BAC
6. The YELLOW ZONE is above the legal limit in NC (before taking time into consideration)

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI in North Carolina, contact a TarHeel Lawyer at www.TarHeelLawyers.com for answers to your specific questions.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home Buyer Tax Credit is Ending April 30th...Act Fast to get your $8,000.00 Credit!

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extended the tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers. It also authorized a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified repeat home buyers. In order to take advantage of the credit you must act quickly! The credits end on April 30, 2010!

Here is the information you need to know to get your money...

First Time Home Buyer Credit – Up to an $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers purchasing a home that will be used as a principal residence (i.e. not a rental property, vacation home, etc.). You must live in the home for three years after the purchase or you risk having to repay the credit. The credit ends April 30, 2010…meaning that you need to be under contract by that date and need to close on the home by June 30, 2010. The income limit for the home buyer to be eligible for the credit is $145,000 for a single person and $245,000 for a married couple filing jointly. If your income is between $125,000 and $145,000 for a single person or $225,000 and $245,000 for a married couple you can still claim the tax credit but it will be a reduced credit, not the full $8,000. Other exceptions apply…act fast and see a realtor to discuss how you can claim your first time home buyer credit.

Move Up and Repeat Home Buyer Credit – Up to a $6,500 tax credit for move up and repeat home buyers purchasing a home that will be used as a principal residence. The credit ends April 30, 2010…meaning that you need to be under contract by that date and need to close on the home by June 30, 2010. The income limits for the home buyer to be eligible for the credit are the same as for the First Time Home Buyer Credit. To qualify for this tax credit you must have owned and resided in the same home for five of the eight years prior to the purchase date. A common misconception is that a repeat home buyer needs to purchase a home that is more expensive than their previous home…this is NOT the case.

Are You In the Military? – If you answered Yes then your ability to take advantage of the tax credit may be extended until April 30, 2011. It is important that you contact a realtor soon to ensure see if you qualify for this extension.

The Real Estate Department of The Maitland Law Firm is working long hours to do what it takes to make sure that anyone who wants to take advantage of either of these Tax Credits is able to close on their home within the time period. If you want to purchase a home and get your tax credit contact Maitland Law to schedule your closing time before the opportunity passes you by!

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Laws in North Carolina - Texting While Driving, etc

With all the legislation that has been discussed over the past 6 months (including the Ban on Texting While Driving), I thought you could use a summary of a few of the most relevant changes that went into effect on December 1, 2009. Feel free to pass this along to anyone you think may benefit from this…some of these laws affect everyone in NC. For a full list you can visit our website by following this link and then clicking on "New NC Laws - December 1, 2009" http://www.maitlandlaw.com/WebResources.shtml

I have broken them down into several categories to help you learn what you need to know: 1.) Laws That Affect Everyone, 2.) Laws Brought On By Current Events, and 3.) Amusing Laws (there is always one that makes you smile and scratch your head!). In addition to a summary of the law I have included "Maitland Law Notes" where the attorneys of The Maitland Law Firm provide some clarification and insight into the law. I hope you all find this useful!

Laws That Affect Everyone


An Act To Make It Unlawful To Use A Mobile Telephone For E-Mail Or Text Messaging
While Operating A Vehicle On A Public Street Or Highway Or Public Vehicular Area.
Maitland Law Notes: This is probably the most drastic change that goes into effect on December 1, 2009. This law is a ban on sending or even reading text messages and email messages while you are driving on a public street or highway. The penalty for violation of this law is a $100 fine plus the cost of court (unless you are driving a school bus at the time…then it is a Class 2 Misdemeanor!). There are some exceptions to this law. You are still allowed to talk on your cell phone while driving (unless you are under the age of 18), still allowed to look up numbers or other contact information that is already stored in your phone, and you can still send/read texts and emails while you are "lawfully" parked or stopped. "Lawfully" parked or stopped is likely to include being parked in a parking lot, but not likely to include waiting at a stop light. The law does not specifically speak to surfing the internet on a mobile device so it will be interesting to see how that is applied. Also, note that you are not prohibited from using voice activated texting systems (i.e. talk to text) nor are you prohibited from using your GPS Navigation system even if typing is required.

An Act To Allow The Division Of Motor Vehicles To Refuse To Register A Vehicle If The
Vehicle Is Not In Compliance With The Inspections Requirements, To Require Proof Of
Financial Responsibility For A Three-Day Trip Permit, And To Make Technical Changes To
The Inspection Program Statutes.
Maitland Law Notes: The most relevant part of this law is that the state can refuse to register your vehicle if you forget to get it inspected. Your inspection is no longer on a sticker on your windshield so you have to make sure you are aware when it is due…the inspection due date is now located on your registration card. Remember, failing to have your vehicle registered is a Misdemeanor charge in North Carolina so don't let that inspection cause you to end up being charged with a misdemeanor!

An Act To Prohibit The Covering Of The State Name, Year Sticker, Or Month Sticker On
A State License Plate By A License Plate Frame And To Direct The Joint Legislative
Transportation Oversight Committee And The Revenue Laws Study Committee To Study
The Authorization Of Special Registration Plates.
Maitland Law Notes: This law will prohibit License Plate Frames that cover up the state name or registration stickers on your license plate. It also prohibits products that are popular in Raleigh to defeat those pesky Red Light Cameras! You can no longer spray the reflective surface on your plate or install a clear cover if either have the effect of preventing a camera from taking a clear picture of your license plate. Clear covers are still fine if you can take a picture of the plate (with a flash) and the photo comes out clear.

Laws Brought On By Current Events

An Act To Create The Criminal Offense Of Larceny Of A Motor Vehicle Part.
Maitland Law Notes: Stealing parts from someone's vehicle was a crime before December 1, 2009, but now it will be its own specific crime. With the economy taking a down turn and the price of copper and other metals rising at one point, we started hearing in the news that criminals were stealing catalytic converters, exhaust systems, trailer hitches, wheels, and other parts that could be sold for scrap metal. This statute will ensure that those who participate in the theft of vehicle parts will be punished appropriately.

S.L. 2009-372 (SB 920) PROBATION REFORM.

An Act To Allow Probation Officers To Access Certain Offenders' Juvenile Records, To
Make Warrantless Searches And Drug Screening Regular Conditions Of Supervision, To
Add Additional Controlling Measures For Offenders Subject To Intermediate Punishment,
And To Make Clarifying Amendments To Streamline Procedures For Supervision Of
Offenders In The Community.
Maitland Law Notes: Probation in North Carolina has come under fire with the Eve Carson tragedy and other crimes committed by perpetrators currently on probation. This statute is an attempt to fix some of the problems and better monitor those on probation.

An Act Protecting Children Of This State By Making Cyber-Bullying A Criminal Offense
Punishable As A Misdemeanor.
Maitland Law Notes: Due to the recent emergence of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, gChat, and other messaging or "networking" systems, new laws must be put into place to keep up with technology. This law will prohibit Cyber-Bullying which has been in the news in the past year or two. NC has been trying to keep up with technology and protecting those most likely to be affected by new technology…children and young adults.

An Act To Add The Offense Of Taking Indecent Liberties With A Student To The List Of
Sex Offenses That Require Registration Under The Sex Offender And Public Protection
Registration Program, As Recommended By The House Select Committee On Sex
Offender Issues.
Maitland Law Notes: This law is recognizing the persuasive effect that a person in a position of authority (i.e. a teacher) can have on a student. There have been numerous student/teacher sex cases in the news in the past several years and they are becoming more frequent. This law requires the offending teacher to become a registered sex offender.

Amusing Law…there is always one!

An Act To Create The Offense Of Larceny, Destruction, Defacement, Or Vandalism Of
Portable Toilets Or Pumper Trucks.
Maitland Law Notes: No more stealing or tipping over those Port-O-Potties!