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Obtaining Free Consultation From Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney

In divorce cases, especially those involving considerable amounts of valuable assets, it is quite common for a husband or wife to keep some assets undeclared.  Most of the time the burden rests on the affected spouse to search for this hidden wealth.  The best person to help you in uncovering these assets is a responsible and seasoned lawyer.  As a lawyer specializing in divorce cases, a Colorado Springs divorce attorney knows where to search.

Your spouse could be hiding these by circumventing procedures in reporting income.  Some of his undeclared assets may also be tucked away in offshore investments that could be difficult to trace.  Understating assets is also another “tool” for hiding wealth.

The problem with undisclosed wealth among spouses who are divorcing is that the courts of Colorado may reach a decision on the distribution of marital assets based on an incomplete investigation.  This will result in the unjust allocation of assets and business interests.

If you have some doubts but aren’t sure yet if your spouse has undeclared assets, then a divorce attorney can help you.

You don’t have to worry about paying for consultation fees.  Free initial consultation awaits you if you call now using the listed numbers below.

A Colorado Springs attorney can help you explore hidden assets and this is just the beginning.  Once he has traced them, he is able to represent you during property disputes.  Once a dissolution of marriage is reached, the divorce attorney is there to ensure that you get your fair share of the properties subject of dispute.

His services will also include finding and listing undeclared wealth.  He will dig into your spouse’s financial documents, tax records (including business tax returns).  Some spouses enter into agreements involving investing sums of money or contracts on the purchase of assets without disclosing it to a spouse.

A lawyer is in a position to demand copies of all financial statements when in a divorce case. He can demand copies of tax returns as these are links that may lead to those hidden assets.

While it is critical to look into your spouse’s wealth before concluding any divorce proceeding, you can still appeal for a reopening of the case if an undisclosed asset is discovered at a later date.

A Colorado Springs divorce attorney who is both skilled and experienced knows fully well where to explore for possible hidden assets.  Additionally, he is able to interpret date presented in a financial statement.

In case you are beginning to suspect about your spouse’s undeclared wealth, you may contact a divorce attorney for an initial free consultation.  Eventually, he can help you unravel facts about your spouse’s wealth.  These are vital info that can be submitted to a Colorado court of law in a divorce case.

In the absence of a representation and the right resources, you might end up not receiving your fair share or hold your spouse accountable for such concealment of the asset.

Key Roles Of A Colorado Springs Real Estate Attorney

Lawyers from Colorado Springs practicing in the field of real estate are experts in property buying, leasing, investigation, and assessment.  They are also experts in studying and resolving issues about title insurance.  They file lawsuits in court and defend you when legal problems arise due to non-compliance with real estate transactions.  When you have borrowed money from a lender and defaulted, you may seek their assistance when foreclosure is on the horizon.

Here’s a detailed discussion about the roles of a real estate attorney:

Draft legal documents

One of the primary roles of a real estate attorney is drafting legal documents.  Some of the basic documents he can expertly draft include deeds of conveyance, purchase agreements, lease contracts, and financing agreements.  Under Colorado state laws real estate agents can assist clients with accomplishing these documents, however, licensed attorneys should be the ones drafting or amending their content.

Negotiate deals

Real estate attorneys of Colorado are experienced with a multitude of real property transactions.  For this reason, clients seek their help when negotiating a real estate deal.  A lawyer can help draft the terms of conditions of such deal ensuring that client’s interest is amply protected under the law.  To do this, he will also liaise with other lawyers, investors, and agents.

Study transactions

While a real estate lawyer’s role is basically drafting documents, some choose to engage in reviewing contracts and giving legal advice on real property transactions.  Clients who are experienced in real estate would rather do the negotiations themselves and later seek the help of a lawyer who accepts due diligence services.  Due diligence, in this case, entails a review of legal issues on legal title and environment as well as an examination of reports and contracts related to the transaction.  These lawyers have the ability to identify potential issues clients could miss out.  The lawyer actually acts as the client’s guardian ensuring that their interest isn’t compromised because of a faulty contract.

Represent clients

Some real estate deals fail and this happens to even the most diligent clients.  Parties to the deal gone problematic go to a court to defend their rights.  Real estate attorneys enter the picture when they represent clients during litigation proceedings.  He will start to write pleadings that are eventually submitted to a judge.  He represents clients during trials and hearings and will file appeals when he deems appropriate.  He will also negotiate a settlement with the lawyer representing the other party to the transaction.

Guide clients on foreclosures

Colorado Springs real estate attorneys are specialists in mortgage foreclosures.  Foreclosures are rampant in times of economic turmoil.  A lawyer can either represent the borrower who has defaulted or the lender who is resorting to foreclosure as one of the remedies for such default.  Lawyers acting on behalf of a borrower will do all he can to avert foreclosure.  On the other hand, a lawyer representing the lender will ensure that foreclosure proceedings are accomplished.

Colorado Real Estate Attorney Answers Questions on Tenancy

Do you have questions and unresolved issues about joint ownership over a piece of land in Colorado?

Respected Colorado real estate attorney, Vinze Winyard Brian has obliged to answer questions on joint tenancy laws in Colorado.

Jake Fergon Nevtun of Colorado Springs BIV Property Magazine.  We have summarized the salient points in question and answer form for easy everyone’s reading.

How is real estate property held if there are two or more owners?

A piece of real estate property in Colorado can be owned by two more individuals.  However, the state requires that they (the owners) must agree on how title to the property will be held.  There are two approaches to this.  First, the owners can hold onto the property as tenants in common. The second option is to hold it as joint tenants.

What are the features of tenancy in common?

Tenancy in common exists when each of the co-tenant holds title to a certain amount of share in the property.  Each tenant is holding onto a separate title that is all his own.  In other words, he has sole ownership over the separate share in the property.  Along with this right to sole ownership, comes the privilege to do anything legal with the property he’s holding onto without seeking the consent of the other co-tenant.  He can sell, mortgage, transfer, or donate his share of the property.  In addition, the number of co-tenants to a property is limitless under a common tenancy.  They can either be individuals, companies, or entities.

What happens in the event of death in one of the co-tenants?

In case a co-tenant passes away, his share in the property is merely passed on to his appointed heirs as indicated in his will.  In the absence of a will, property disposition based on the Colorado real estate law will prevail.

How is joint tenancy different from tenancy in common?

First off, it should be clearly written in the deed of conveyance that the property ceded to grantee constitutes a joint tenancy.  If not expressly stated, Colorado real estate attorneys will consider the ownership type as tenants in common.

One basic difference between tenancy in common and joint tenancy is that the latter prescribes that joint tenants must strictly be individuals.  The law also states that in the case of death of one tenant, his interest in the property is merely transferred in favor of the surviving tenants.

This feature makes it a popular practice among married couples.  Typically both spouses would want the surviving spouse to acquire ownership to the marital property without having to go through a formal probate procedure.

What happens if one of the joint tenants sell or transfer his interest to a third party?

If there are only two joint tenants, the joint tenancy between the two will no longer exist. The new tenant (or third party) and the remaining original tenant will have to hold the property as tenants in common.

Advantage of filing a request for investigation

Take note however that the said Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel does not grant legal advice to persons filing an investigation request.  However, the resulting proceedings (triggered by your request) could help you demand the return of sums of money paid to the non-lawyer you are complaining about.  At any rate, you can proceed with the usual legal action on persons who have caused you loss of property or money.

Investigation process

After receiving a copy of your request, the office begins reviewing your case to establish whether or not it is within its jurisdiction.  If it is so, it will conduct an investigation and send the non-lawyer a copy of your letter.

A reviewing committee is made up of lawyers as well as non-lawyers tasked to review the reports about your complaint.  If the body confirms that the act committed is indeed UPL and is expected to be an ongoing one, it can request the person named in your complaint to refrain from doing so and to sign an agreement regarding his assent. Once he refuses to sign, the committee will proceed to injunctive proceedings with the end in view of ordering that person to stop committing UPL. If an order of injunction is violated, the same committee can call for criminal contempt proceedings.

Petition for contempt or injunction

If such proceeding is recommended by the committee, the Office of Attorney Regulation counsel starts filing a petition for contempt or injunction at the Colorado Supreme Court.  Your testimonies, the non-lawyer’s testimony, and those of third parties will be heard by a trial master.  After hearing all evidence, the hearing master will then file a recommendation which will be reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court along with trial records.  The court has the final say if an order admonishing the non-lawyer to refrain from UPL should be served.

Filing UPL Complaints at Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation

The Colorado Supreme Court has the authority to regulate law practice.  It aims to prevent the practice of law by persons who are not licensed to do so in the state of Colorado.  Unauthorized practice of law (UPL) by or among individuals in Colorado is prosecuted by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.

Essence of the UPL ruling

The UPL ruling is aimed at protecting the general public.  To do this, the state’s supreme court is vested with the power to issue a civil injunction to individuals found guilty of UPL.  An injunction served prevents such individual from further UPL engagements.

Request for Investigation

If you believe you have become a victim of UPL, you can start filing a complaint by submitting a formal written request addressed to the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.  Indicate your name, address, and contact numbers as well as those of the non-lawyer subject of your complaint.  List important facts relevant to or in support of your complaint and enclose additional photocopies of supporting documents, if there’s any.

Colorado Durable Financial Power of Attorney Explained

A financial durable power of attorney is a reliable way of ensuring that someone you trust will manage your finances in the event that you are unable to make decisions due to mental or physical incapacity.

If you have a family, executing such document is a very smart move your family will appreciate it.  In the absence of such document, a court proceeding becomes inevitable should you become incapacitated.  Your husband, wife, partner, or next of kin will have to go through special court procedures that apply to this situation.

Effectivity

The document becomes effective immediately after execution.  A lot of couples have each signed separate durable financial powers of attorney just in case one of them suddenly becomes incapacitated.  The law requires you to indicate if it’s a durable power of attorney or else, the document is deemed terminated in the event you have become incapacitated.

You may also expressly state in the document that the document becomes effective only after a medical physician has issued a certification confirming your impairment.  Lawyers call this a springing durable power of attorney inasmuch as effectivity springs or is triggered by an event.  Some individuals, however, prefer not to include this feature since it could delay action on part of the agent.

The job of an agent

Signing a durable financial power of attorney is tantamount to granting a person whom you have appointed to the power to decide on your behalf. Some states like Colorado refer to this person as the “agent” while some states call him your “attorney-in-fact”.

Usually, a principal grants very broad power to an agent in matters of finances but no ruling is stopping you from granting very little powers. It’s up to you actually.

The usual powers of an agent indicated in most durable financial powers of attorney include the following:

  • employ assets to settle day-to-day family or personal expenses
  • oversee real property (i.e., buying, selling, and tax updating)
  • collect benefits due from the government (including Medicare, SSS)
  • invest in stocks, bonds, or other investment vehicles
  • manage retirement funds
  • handle bank or financial transactions
  • sell or obtain insurance policies
  • file tax returns
  • hire third parties as a court representative
  • oversee small businesses
  • claim inherited assets or entitlements
  • Transfer assets in favor of a named trust

(Select “Forms” tab to view standard durable financial powers of attorney that conform with Colorado state laws).

While these are typical powers granted unto an agent, it’s deemed that once the document is executed he must ensure that there will be no conflict of interest arising from the performance of his agent duties.

Termination

Upon the death of the principal, the efficacy of the durable financial power of attorney ends as well.  This clearly sends the message that your agent can’t handle your affairs upon your passing.

You cannot authorize your agent to take care of your funeral, accomplish burial requirements, and cede or transfer real estate property to persons entitled to inheritance.

Facts About Your Colorado Medical Durable Power of Attorney

Anyone signing a medical power of attorney should perform due diligence to ensure that the purposes for which it was created are clearly indicated in the document.  Amending a document because you missed out some provisions is a waste of time.

Better to spend some time now reviewing and understanding the document than suffer the future repercussions of not paying attention to or understanding the vital details of the document.

Below is a list of valuable information when executing your medical power of attorney.

  • By signing the document you are appointing an agent who will make decisions on health matters on your behalf for the reason that you are incapacitated. These decisions may cover situations involving life support and terminal cases.  However, even if you have executed the document, you retain the sole right to make decisions yourself even if you are not incapacitated.
  • You can specify in the document the various kinds of treatments that you wish to be performed and those that you wish to leave out. For life support treatments, it is for your best interest to clearly state in the document what you wish to be done by your appointed agent.
  • The authority granted to your agent can also be withdrawn if you, the principal, is competent to do so. Lawyers advise principals to make the revocation in writing.  Copies of the written revocation should likewise be given to persons who previously received copies of the medical power of attorney.
  • As it is in any legal document, refrain from signing one if you have not understood what it is all about, including their legal consequences. It also helps to seek the aid of an attorney if you have some difficulty understanding some provisions or if you need some clarification.
  • Requirements on witnesses and notarization changes depending on the laws of that state you are in. If you are going to change states, ensure that you know their requirements when it comes to the medical durable powers of attorney.
  • Thoroughly check the document contents. You should see instructions where you are supposed to affix your name, home or postal address, telephone and contact numbers of the party you are appointing as an agent.  You should also be asked to appoint an alternative agent should your original appointee becomes unable to perform his agent duties.
  • Indicate clear instructions on medical treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, enteral feeding, dialysis of the kidneys, use of a ventilator and other life-sustaining machines. State if you wish to use these treatments or not so your agent can act according to your wishes and best interest.

The medical durable power of attorney provided on this site may be used by those who are planning to execute one.  The form is also acceptable in  Colorado.  However, understand that not all forms of medical durable power of attorney are tailored to your needs.  So be sure that the one you are going to sign will suit yours.

Your return is electronically rejected

Electronic filing of your tax return is one of the convenient tax filing scheme available today.  However, when your return is electronically rejected along with the message that a return bearing your social security number has already been filed, consider this scenario as a possible tax-related theft.  Another person may have used your social security number to file his return, making you a victim of identity theft.  Form 14039 can be used to assist you in this situation.  The IRS has created this document called the Identity Theft Affidavit.  Accomplish the form and file it immediately following instructions on their official website.

You receive a verification notice

You get a written notice from the IRS requesting confirmation if you have already filed your return using your social security number.  It is one of the office’s way of knowing if a certain “questionable” return received by their office is actually dubious or not.  If it is, it will hold the suspicious tax return document and send a notice to you to check on some personal information.  Receiving such notice when you haven’t really filed a return at that time is a sign that your identity may have been compromised.

You suddenly receive forms, refunds or transcripts you did not ask for

You are sent a W-2 indicating income you didn’t even earn.  This could mean that someone else used your tax information and had declared income using your own social security number.

You get a check sent purportedly by the US Department of Treasury.  However, it is for a refund amount that you didn’t even request.  Instead of depositing said check, call the IRS immediately and inform them about it.  You may also ask the help of a tax attorney.

It’s also possible that you were sent a tax return transcript from the IRS.  If you get one but you did not even request for it, someone could be trying to get that same information through a transcript.

Attorney Willhelm Feld has written this article strictly for informational purposes.  Talk now with a trusted tax attorney for advice on tax-related issues and concerns.

Beware of Tax-Related Identity Thieves

Colorado Springs tax attorney Willhelm Feld has written the following article which tells about the warning signs to watch out for so you won’t fall prey to tax-related identity theft.

Identity theft has become quite rampant with the advent of modern technology and sadly, this has placed individuals who have been victims in a very delicate situation.  An identity thief targets credit cards and bank account records to steal money from you.

But apart from stealing your funds using your personal information, he can also use stolen personal data for tax purposes.

While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is seriously implementing laws and safeguards to avoid identity theft, there are measures you can do on your own to help thwart identity thieves.  By becoming aware of the following “red flags”, you are one step ahead in protecting yourself.

Changes affecting Powers of Attorney

The significant amendments that may have affected your Colorado Power of Attorney (POA) if executed before 2010 involves hot powers.  Expressing these powers in a general sense is no longer acceptable.  The grantor must specify in the POA the hot powers vested on the agent (a sample of an updated POA form can be viewed in the “Forms” tab)

Hot powers include the agent’s power to create, change, end, cancel a trust, to make or amend the right of survivorship, and to amend a named beneficiary, among others.  If your POA does not expressly indicate so, then your appointed agent is not in a position to implement any of these powers.

Another change is that when a POA does not indicate any effectivity date, the presumption is that the document becomes operative upon its execution.  Moreover, this interpretation takes effect immediately after January 1, 2010.

Furthermore, unless stated otherwise, all POAs executed after January 1, 2010, are deemed durable POAs.  Appointed agents are allowed to decide on finance matters involving the principal if the latter suddenly becomes physically or mentally impaired.  The old ruling was that a POA has to specify that it’s a durable POA.

In case you’re holding on to a POA executed before 2010, it’s best to revisit it and update it as appropriate, ensuring that it is fully compliant with the state of Colorado’s current laws.  A Colorado attorney can give you legal advice on this.

This Act has been ratified by numerous states in the US.  It replaces earlier enacted ones such as the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act and the Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney Act, among others.

Revisiting and Updating Your Colorado Power of Attorney

Most of the time, when you have executed a document such as a power of attorney, you don’t typically revisit it to check if it still conforms with existing laws.

General powers of attorney executed in the state of Colorado prior to 2010 may not conform with current state laws.

Revisiting your Colorado power of attorney is one of the best moves that you can do especially so because Colorado laws have been modified. You might be one of those who is affected by such modifications.

Background on Uniform Power of Attorney Act

In 2009, the state of Colorado approved the implementation of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act to take effect on the first day of January 2010.  Colorado passed the Act after the Uniform Law Commission launched it in 2006.  The commission aims to facilitate incapacity planning, a process calling for the appointment of an agent who will act on behalf of the grantor during, including decision making.  This is usually resorted to by persons who wish to plan ahead, taking into consideration the possibility of impairment of one’s mental and/or physical abilities.

Electing a person who can act on your behalf should you be incapacitated is one of the preparations you can do to protect your interests.

Duties of an Agent Under the Colorado Power of Attorney

If you are about to be appointed as an agent in a Power of Attorney to be executed in Colorado, it helps a lot to know what duties and authorities come with such an appointment.  Sometimes, these duties are annexed to the document as additional info (view samples of Colorado POA form)

Legal relationship

Once you accept this role, you are now duty-bound to perform what is expected of you as an agent.  Once the document is signed, you (the agent) and the principal (the grantor) begin to have a legal relationship.  This relationship continues until such time that you beg off from the role or when the document itself is terminated.

Duties of an agent

As an appointed agent of the principal, you are expected to act in his behalf keeping his interests, priorities, and expectations in mind.  All your actions should be done in good faith and refrain from doing anything that is beyond the scope of authority granted to you.

Signing on behalf of the principal

It is important to state your identity when acting as an agent.  When signing on behalf of the principal, you should first write his name and affix your signature as an agent, making it clear that you’re signing a document on his behalf.

Other duties

Unless specified otherwise, you should be able to act for the benefit of your principal, keep away from issues that would affect your capacity to act in his benefit, exercise competence, care, and diligence, maintain and monitor documents such as receipts, evidence of disbursements, and agreements executed in his behalf, to work side by side with individuals or entities authorized to make decisions in matters of health on behalf of the principal, to perform what the principal expects of you and to act in such a way that would uphold his interests.

Criteria for termination

Once you obtain information that the power of attorney has been terminated, you are bound to stop acting as an agent.

The Colorado state recognizes the following conditions that would result in termination of the power of attorney.

Natural cause such as the death of the principal or grantor leads to the termination of the document.  Other reasons for document termination include document revocation by the principal, the satisfaction of an event leading to termination as expressly stated in the power of attorney, and the full satisfaction of the intention of the principal when he executed the document.  If you are the principal’s legal spouse, the power of attorney is deemed terminated at the time of filing of an action leading to separation or dissolution of marriage. The exception to this rule is when it is expressly stated in the document that such event is not a ground for termination.

Liability of agent

Violation of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act of the Colorado Revised Statutes makes you answerable for resulting damages.  Also, acting beyond the authority granted holds you liable.

Hot powers according to the Colorado state

Based on a 2010 ruling issued by Colorado, assigning “hot powers” are not enforceable if these are expressed in a very general sense.  For instance, “authority to act on my behalf on all personal finances” is not allowed.  The law prescribes that each “hot power” must be specifically expressed.

In case you elect to draft a power of attorney using as basis, the Colorado legal form, there are available forms of power of attorney where “hot powers” are already listed and all you have to do is select these powers that you wish to assign.   

Medical powers

When granting health-related power of attorney, Colorado state imposes that a separate document titled medical power of attorney must be created and executed.

This document is governed by legal requisites imposed on power of attorneys covering financial decisions.  However, it is also best to have the document witnessed by two parties instead of just one.  If you seek medical services outside of Colorado, having two witnesses raises the likelihood that your power of attorney remains binding.

Basic Facts About the Colorado Power of Attorney

In Colorado, lawmakers have a list of requirements for the state to recognize and accept a power of attorney document.  Thus, if you have elected an agent to act on your behalf, you must ensure that these legal requirements are all complied with.  If not, it is highly possible that another party (who is not your duly elected agent) may end up making decisions for you, including critical ones about your health and finances.

Basic requirements

The state imposes that a notary public is present while you execute the power of attorney.  After execution, the notary will affix his signature on the document.  Consequently, he will affix his seal to the document.

Another requisite is that you are mentally competent as of the date you signed the document.  If not, Colorado’s state courts could declare that the document is not binding at all.  This may complicate matters especially when a dispute arises regarding the authority granted to your agent.

Creating the document

You have the liberty to choose the nature and extent of authority given to an agent.  But do remember that there are specific laws the state of Colorado imposes when it comes to the effectivity of power of attorneys.

For instance, starting 2010, Colorado declared that generally,  power of attorneys are treated as durable documents.  This means that you, the assignor, are allowing your agent to continue acting on your behalf even in situations when you’ve become mentally or physically incapable.  Durability also applies in situations where the assignor has passed away.  This durability feature gives you some assurance that somebody you trust will act on your behalf and protect your interest (or your family’s) even if you are long gone.

The only exception to this durability feature is that when the power of attorney clearly expresses that such was not intended when such power was assigned to the agent.

Legal Options Available For Delinquent Income Taxpayers

If you’ve been a delinquent income taxpayer and have been sent a notice by the IRS, it is wise to get in touch with a tax attorney the soonest so he can help you right away.

A Colorado tax attorney can help you work out or go through the following options:

Repay on installment

An installment agreement is executed stating that you may settle your past due taxes through staggered monthly installments within reasonable time frame

Temporary Delay

The IRS may elect to temporarily delay tax collection on a case-to-case basis.  During this “rest” period, the IRS will regularly check your paying capacity.  They may likewise file a lien on your real property, a necessary measure to safeguard the government’s interest.  This delay does not constitute cancellation of your liability.  Instead, it grants you some elbow room to get back on track.

Offer in Compromise

This is usually the last resort.  In case you have become eligible for this scheme, it means that the IRS is allowing you to pay off your past dues at a reduced amount.

What Happens When You Fail To File Tax Returns

Each person has the responsibility to file an income tax return if his income bracket exceeds a level specified by the IRS. There are many benefits derived from filing a return, including eligibility for refunds and tax credits, among others.

Unfortunately, year after year, it’s been reported that individuals in different states including those in Colorado do not file their returns due to a host of reasons.

There are countless reasons, actually but whatever it is, the IRS may elect to file it for you using information culled from your tax records. This may cost you a lot of money you may not be prepared to settle. This is because, in addition to back taxes, the IRS will be imposing penalties and interest resulting from your delinquency.

IRS imposes heavier penalties on failure-to-file incidents than failure-to-pay situations. Thus, never undermine the importance of filing your tax return on time.

If you’ve been delinquent and need advice, call an experienced Colorado tax attorney for assistance. He can assist you to negotiate with the IRS for liabilities settlement.