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Business Contract Basics – Important Tips and Advice

When getting into any business transaction with an individual, organization or commercial entity, you hope and expect that your objectives and intentions will be met. While most people operate on the principle of utmost good faith, it is not a guarantee that things will work out as planned. This can cause many disappointments and may even destroy existing working relationships and plans. For this reason, it ...
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Healthcare Power of Attorney for Minors – What You Need To Know

When someone appoints you his or her healthcare power of attorney, it means that you can act on behalf of ...
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The Benefits of Assigning Durable Power Of Attorney

When you give power of attorney to your loved one or a trusted individual (agent), that person gains the power ...
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Business Contract Basics – Important Tips and Advice

When getting into any business transaction with an individual, organization or commercial entity, you hope and expect that your objectives and intentions will be met. While most people operate on the principle of utmost good faith, it is not a guarantee that things will work ...
Read More

Healthcare Power of Attorney for Minors – What You Need To Know

When someone appoints you his or her healthcare power of attorney, it means that you can act on behalf of that person in the event that he or she is unable to make decisions concerning their healthcare. Most times, people take this measure for their ...
Read More

The Benefits of Assigning Durable Power Of Attorney

When you give power of attorney to your loved one or a trusted individual (agent), that person gains the power to act on your behalf. However, one major limitation of this is that if you are deemed unable to act competently, your agent is automatically ...
Read More
Latest Post

Business Contract Basics – Important Tips and Advice

When getting into any business transaction with an individual, organization or commercial entity, you hope and expect that your objectives and intentions will be met. While most people operate on the principle of utmost good faith, it is not a guarantee that things will work out as planned. This can cause many disappointments and may even destroy existing working relationships and plans. For this reason, it is important to use business contracts that clearly define the rights and responsibilities of all involved parties.

The following post describes the importance of “getting it in writing” in more detail:

Get it in Writing: The Importance of Written Agreements in Business

Many business deals are done by a handshake. Handshake deals work fine – until they don’t. Things go wrong in business. Relationships sour. Conditions change. And when they do, and you have to get lawyers involved, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is, “Did you get it in writing?” If you’ve ever been in this situation, and you didn’t have a written agreement in place, you know that protecting interests and enforcing rights is much harder if there is no written document in place setting forth the terms of the parties’ agreement.

The reason that verbal contracts can be problematic is that parties change, memories fade and, yes, people lie. Without a written agreement, a judge or jury will have a hard time determining which version of events to believe in a “your word against theirs” scenario. Read more at Foster Swift…

meek law firm charlotte nc business contract law jonathan meek family law estate administration

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From the above post, it is clear that a written agreement helps to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunication, as well as serving as a reference point to resolve potential conflicts before they even manifest.

There are several essential elements of a business contract you need to know before writing an agreement. The following post describes these extensively:

Essentials of Business Contracts

There are six essential elements for a contract to be valid (enforceable by a court). The first three, considered here together, relate to the agreement itself; the other three relate to the parties making the contract.

Offer, Acceptance, and Mutual Consent

Every contract must include a specific offer and acceptance of that specific offer. Both parties must consent of their free will. Neither party can be coerced or forced to sign the contract, and both parties must agree to the same terms. Implied in these three conditions is intent of the parties to create a binding agreement. If one or both parties are not serious, there’s no contract. Read more at The Balance…

The six essentials described in the post above should be present in a business contract since it is a legal document and needs to be consistent with existing laws. Failing to meet these conditions could render the agreement null and void, depending on the legal framework provided.

Finally, when getting into a contract, you need to remember that it is legally binding on you too. In order to have an easier time fulfilling your end of the agreement, you need to ensure that you only agree to as much as you can realistically accept or deliver. Negotiation will play a critical role in getting what you want and need out of any contract. The following post describes this important skill in detail:

meek law firm charlotte nc business contract law jonathan meek family law estate administration

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Negotiating Tips

Certain fundamental strategies will assist you in the day-to-day negotiation that all businesspersons perform, in contracts and other business transactions. Remember, those with whom your business is negotiating also will be working hard to leverage the deal in their favor. The following are a few suggestions to get you started on the road to effective negotiation tactics:

You should always have clear objectives. It helps to make a list of goals before meeting the other party.

It is important to go to a negotiation having done your research. Know relevant law, facts, and figures.

Consider what you really need to get from the other party, and also decide in what areas you are willing to compromise. Read more at Find Law…

As you can see, contracts are a critical component of conducting business and they must be handled in a legal, judicious manner. Your best bet to insure that your rights and responsibilities are protected is to hire a qualified attorney to represent your interests.

Attorney Jonathan Meek has helped many individuals with their business contract needs and he is ready to assist you as well. Contact him at Meek Law Firm today to discuss the specifics of your situation. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment.

Healthcare Power of Attorney for Minors – What You Need To Know

When someone appoints you his or her healthcare power of attorney, it means that you can act on behalf of that person in the event that he or she is unable to make decisions concerning their healthcare. Most times, people take this measure for their own safety.

This may sound strange, but have you ever thought about appointing a healthcare power of attorney for your child? Well, you may not consider it a necessity and many people assume it’s just for older people. However, as Christopher Yugo discusses in the following post, a minor’s medical power of attorney is just as important. Here’s the opening to get you started:

Minor’s medical power of attorney

This past week my family and I spent a relaxing vacation in the mountains in eastern Tennessee. The mountain we were on didn’t have cell reception which was kind of a bonus. I guess not for those folks trying to reach me but it certainly worked out for my benefit.

This trip was a little different than normal Yugo family vacations because we added an additional member to our happy group; my son’s girlfriend Nicole. Adding Nicole took a little planning. Nicole is a vegetarian and my family are pretty committed carnivores so eating was a little challenging. Also, since the kids are both 16, I spent most of our hikes through the Smokey Mountains with one eye looking out for bears and the other one on the two 16-year-olds. Read full post at NWITimes.com

Healthcare power of attorney helps you as the parent, and anyone you may need to leave your children with for some time. It avoids a whole lot of complications as seen in the above post.

While this may apply when your child is a minor, or anyone you may be taking into your care for that matter, it is also helpful when your kids get older. When the time comes for your children to go off to college, a healthcare power of attorney is one way you can avoid being excluded in case an emergency comes up that involves your child. Read the following post for how this helps:

Will you be shut-out if your college-age child has a medical emergency?

The time when a child goes off to college can be a stressful time for any parent. You know that you are giving up substantial control over your child’s safety and choices, but you may be relinquishing even more control than you think.  When a child turns eighteen, a parent may no longer have access to the child’s medical records, or the status of a child’s condition in a medical emergency.

Although you will have to trust that your child is going to his or her classes or that he or she is making good decisions at a social event, in the case of a medical emergency, there is still an opportunity to be involved.  This is why it is highly recommend that every person over the age of eighteen sign an Advance Medical Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney naming their parent or guardian, or another trusted individual, as their Health Care Agent. The Health Care Power of Attorney allows the child to grant an agent or agents access to his or her medical information under HIPAA, and also to make medical decisions on the child’s behalf if he or she is unconscious or otherwise unable to do so. Read more at JDSupra.com

Getting a healthcare power of attorney will allow you to intervene in emergencies that we all wish would never happen. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Finally, there are some blind spots you want to avoid as you consider getting any type of healthcare power of attorney so that it does not become useless right when you need it the most. The following post sheds light on these and how you can avoid them:

Pitfalls of a Healthcare Power of Attorney & 3 Ways to Protect Yourself

A healthcare power of attorney is an important part of most estate plans, and for good reason. Through a healthcare power of attorney, a person can designate the individual responsible for making medical decisions on his or her behalf, should he or she become incapacitated. Individuals should be cautious, however, as a healthcare power of attorney comes with its own set of risks.

Healthcare power of attorney documents are not foolproof. Often, defects in these documents are not discovered until after the creator becomes incapacitated. For example, your agent under a healthcare power of attorney may not discover that your documents were executed incorrectly until the point that he or she attempts to make a decision on your behalf. Read more at Estate Planning

Contact attorney Jonathan Meek today to protect your children with a healthcare power of attorney. He will make the process quick and easy for you. Call Meek Law Firm at (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment.

The Benefits of Assigning Durable Power Of Attorney

When you give power of attorney to your loved one or a trusted individual (agent), that person gains the power to act on your behalf. However, one major limitation of this is that if you are deemed unable to act competently, your agent is automatically assumed to be unable to act too. The power of attorney becomes ineffective and a court appointed guardianship is necessitated.

This is a common problem particularly among the elderly:

One of the most common concerns I hear from people is “My older parent’s behavior is concerning me and I’m worried about her mental abilities.”

As I explained in my last post: it’s not always dementia but often it is. And unless a senior has done a good job planning ahead, it can be very hard and messy for others to intervene as needed.

But hopefully that’s not yet your situation.

In which case, you might be wondering: Given that it’s so common for seniors to eventually start slipping mentally, what kind of planning should older adults and families do to avoid this kind of situation? Via Better Health while Aging

In order to go around this, there exists what is called the durable power of attorney. When you complete the durable power of attorney (POA) document, the agent is allowed to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This ensures that this power is given to someone of your choice that you trust.

There are two main types of POAs:

  • Financial POAs that grant the agent authority to make financial decisions on your behalf
  • Healthcare POAs that grant the agent authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

You also get to decide whether the POA become effective immediately or you can state that it should only become effective once certain circumstances take place. This can be, for instance, when a medical expert confirms that you are indeed unable to make decisions on your own (springing power), though this may sometimes create complications.

However, a springing power can be more difficult to use because disability is usually defined in the POA document and requires one or two doctors to submit a written certification that the principal is unable to manage their affairs. Also, many financial institutions have adopted internal rules about the certification of disability and tend to question the validity of a POA document. In recent years, the springing power has become frustrating to agents who are usually trying to use the document in an emergency. This is why we recommend a POA be immediately effective to avoid the hassles of a springing power.  Also, an immediately effective POA can be useful in case the principal is out of town, allowing the agent to step in and take care of important business in the absence of the principal. Via Kreisenderle

If you do not sign a POA document and become incapacitated, it would mean your loved ones would not be able to make important decisions concerning your health or finances until they are named your legal guardian in court. This may result in serious delays in getting services or even paying your medical bills.

It is also important to note that durable power of attorney is only valid as long as you are alive. Should you die, your agent no longer has the durable power of attorney.

Just recently a gentleman came into our office to discuss this very issue. He was a joint owner of his mother’s only bank account, but she was the sole owner of a mutual funds account worth approximately $125,000. On a Friday, this gentleman thought that he should – as his mother’s Attorney in Fact – transfer the mutual funds into the joint account so that he could pay her nursing home bills. But because he had other things that he needed to take care of that day, he put off the transfer intending to do it at the beginning of the following week.

Unfortunately, his mother died that weekend and her son was no longer able to access her mutual funds account. Via Counsel First

In a scenario such as the one mentioned above, a probate estate must be opened in court, which would name the son the executor so he can access his mother’s account. It usually takes months to clear assets within an estate, and it also come with additional costs such as court and attorney fees as well as inventory taxes.

As such, it is also advisable to name someone you trust as your executor, giving him or her authority to wind up your affairs after your death. Keep in mind that you are free to revoke a durable power of attorney at any time as long as you are mentally competent.

If you would like professional legal advice concerning your estate planning or estate administration in North Carolina, contact Meek Law Firm today. Attorney Jonathan Meek has assisted many people with their legal needs and he can help you as well. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

Are separation agreements necessary?

North Carolina recognizes legal separation through a process called Divorce from Bed and Board. A divorce from bed and board is usually needed where the parties cannot come to any agreement as to how the divorce should be handled or there is simply too much conflict between the husband and wife to reach any agreement. While you can get a divorce from bed and board, the only legal grounds for divorce, barring two extreme exceptions, in North Carolina is separation for 1 year. During that time it will likely be difficult to make decisions regarding the children or property from the marriage. This is where a separation agreement becomes invaluable.

The separation agreement allows you to put down on paper exactly how the children are to be taken care of and how the property and debts are to be divided between the husband and wife. While oral agreements may work, they are simply harder to prove in court and may not be allowed by law to transfer title to some property. A written separation agreement gives the couple a chance to peacefully decide the important parts of winding up the relationship and put it in a document that is binding on both parties. Furthermore, it allows the parties to do most of the work outside of the court system. Most things can be decided through a separation agreement and, absent good faith or some type of coercion, the contract will be valid and the court will not even need to attempt to modify it.

A well drawn up settlement agreement will provide both parties piece of mind. The separation and divorce process is always difficult. There is no doubt that during this time it is hard to deal with the reality of the meaning of a separation agreement. However, many who choose to do a separation agreement find that having their wishes down on paper saves a great deal of conflict in the end.

Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment with attorney Jonathan Meek at Meek Law Firm.

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