Beth Padilla was recently selected for membership into The National Advocates: Top 40 Under 40. The National Advocates: Top 40 Under 40 is a professional organization comprised of America's top attorneys 40 years of age and under in the areas of Matrimonial and Family Law, Bankruptcy Law, Social Security Disability Law, Employment Law, Immigration Law, and Wills, Trusts, and Estate Law.
-- Beth Padilla
What are your options if you need a lawyer’s advice but you cannot pay a retainer? This is a common situation. One solution is to hire an attorney to provide unbundled legal services.
Unbundled legal services can operate in many different ways depending on a client’s needs. For example, if a client is involved in a dissolution of marriage (divorce) case and needs an attorney to advise him on how to create a reasonable parenting plan, the client might be able to hire the attorney for that specific purpose. Often, when an attorney is providing unbundled legal services, the attorney will not attend Court proceedings with the client, but will provide advice and can help draft documents.
A major advantage to unbundled legal services is that it allows a client to seek an attorney’s advice and to limit the scope of the attorney’s representation. This type of legal service is generally less expensive than hiring an attorney to represent a client throughout an entire case.
Importantly, unbundled legal services are not always the right answer. If a client has a very complex case, it is likely more appropriate to hire an attorney for the entire matter.
Our firm routinely provides unbundled legal services and is happy to discuss whether this is appropriate for your case.
Keywords: lawyers in Durango, Cortez, Pagosa Springs, Cortez lawyer, Durango lawyer, Durango mediation
-- Paul Padilla
Recently, many clients have asked about creating revocable trusts for estate planning, rather than a traditional Will. They have heard that probate is a horrible thing, and that a trust is a smart and easy alternative. However, the truth is that whether a Will, a trust, or another alternative is appropriate for you will depend on your personal circumstances.
Using a Will, you can give specific gifts, limit the use of property, or create sophisticated instructions, so that your wishes are carried out after you have passed away. But, a Will generally has to be probated, which means the Will is submitted to the court and a legal process must be followed.
Historically, the probate process was very formal and cumbersome. However, in the past few decades, most courts have modified the probate process to be much more efficient and cost-effective.
Significant costs and time can be required when there is a dispute in the family or a significant amount of property with very detailed instructions to follow. But, depending on what kind of property the person has when they pass away, and how the family interacts with each other, probating a Will can be a fairly easy process.
Both revocable and irrevocable trusts have become very popular for estate planning, because they can avoid probate (meaning you don’t have to file anything with a court), and there can be major tax benefits (and consequences). For this blog, I will only discuss revocable trusts, because irrevocable trusts have much more serious tax consequences (and I am not a tax attorney).
The main benefits of a revocable trust are that 1) you can avoid probate, which may be expensive, and 2) you can actively manage the trust while you are alive to adapt to changed circumstances and family dynamics.
But, the main downsides to creating a revocable trust for estate planning are 1) trusts are generally more expensive than Wills to create and fund properly (i.e. the cost is upfront, rather than after you pass away), and 2) you have to transfer your property into the trust, which can create unintended consequences. Because the trust is revocable, you can transfer the property back to yourself, if necessary, but that will un-do the benefit of creating the trust.
Trusts may also require much more active management and accounting to maintain. In comparison, once a Will is created, it essentially sits on a shelf (or in a fire-proof safe) until a person dies and the probate process begins.
A trust can also be a very useful tool for parents who have children under the age of 18. If property is held in trust and the parents die, a successor (or second) trustee can be nominated and the property can be held and managed for the children until they are old enough to get it. This is one of the primary reasons my clients ask me to create trusts. However, the parents need to understand that major items, such as your home, need to be transferred into the trust right away for the benefits of the trust to work.
Transferring property into the trust raises issues with deeds, titles, insurance, and several other factors, which may negate the benefit of setting up the trust in the first place.
Depending on the kind of property you have and how much instruction you want to provide following your death, there are several alternatives to both Wills and trusts.
For example, if you do not own any real estate and have minimal personal property (generally less than $60,000), your property can be collected and distributed by affidavit, and will not require probate.
Similarly, if your home or other real property is held in joint tenancy with another person, title to the property will transfer to the other person the instant that you pass away, and no probate is necessary.
Many investment accounts and other financial instruments also have pay-on-death or beneficiary designations, which will give the investments to the beneficiary once you pass away (again without probate).
So, depending on who you are, what you own, and what you want to do, there may be several other options available for your estate planning. A Will may be a simple and straightforward tool for you; a trust may meet the complexity you are looking for; or, a combination of real estate, investment, and health care plans can also meet your needs.
Paul Padilla Represents Global 500 Company
Paul Padilla recently represented a Global 500 company in a civil litigation in Cortez, Colorado. Mr. Padilla successfully represented the company and came to a swift settlement for his client.
Beth Padilla Chosen as Rising Star by Super Lawyers 2015
Beth Padilla was chosen as a Rising Star 2015 by Super Lawyers magazine. The 2015 publication of Super Lawyers magazine was released in March, 2015.
-- Beth Padilla
Jurisdiction is defined as "[t]he power and authority constitutionally conferred upon a court or judge to pronounce the sentence of the law." Black's Law Dictionary. A court must have jurisdiction (i.e. authority) to issue a decision in a case.
In general, a Colorado court will only have jurisdiction in a family law case involving children if Colorado is the children's home state.
But, what is a home state? A child's home state is defined as "the state in which a child lived with a parent . . . for at least one hundred eighty-two consecutive days immediately before the commencement of a child-custody proceeding. . . . A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period." C.R.S. 14-13-102(7).
Here is an example: John and Sally are married, have a son, and live in Colorado. John and Sally decide to get divorced and John moves to New Mexico. Sally remains in Colorado with their son. Although John lives in New Mexico, Colorado is the appropriate state to hear the divorce case.
It can get very complicated when families move often or when the child does not have a home state. Filing a case in the wrong state can be costly and stressful. Like many areas of the law, jurisdiction in family law cases can be complicated. This brief explanation is not intended to be legal advice, but is intended to point out the importance of filing a case in the right state.
-- Beth Padilla
What is mediation?
Black’s Law Dictionary defines mediation as “the act of a third person who interferes between two contending parties with a view to reconcile them or persuade them to adjust or settle their dispute.”
Why should I mediate?
Mediation can be helpful in order to resolve disputes without involving the court. Often, clients that are able to mediate even one issue save thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees. Mediation can also preserve a working relationship between the parties because it can eliminate or lessen the amount of time the parties spend in court. In addition, meditation can offer a relatively quick resolution to a dispute.
What type of case should be mediated?
Many types of cases can be mediated. Mediation is often very beneficial in dissolution of marriage and child custody cases. It is not uncommon for a dissolution of marriage case to cost each party thousands of dollars. If the parties are able to sit down with an impartial party with experience in family law matters, it will likely save them a substantial amount of money.
How does mediation work?
Every mediator will handle mediation differently. Generally, we will ask the parties to submit a pre-mediation statement outlining the issues and the parties’ position. Then, the mediator will meet with both of the parties at the same time. The mediator will facilitate the discussion between the parties. The goal of mediation is for the parties to reach an agreement that will be binding in the case. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will draft the agreement and the parties will sign it. The agreement will then be filed with the court.
Padilla Law Mediators
Paul Padilla has been successfully mediating cases for five years. He was professionally trained in Denver. Beth Padilla recently underwent forty hours of professional training. Both Paul and Beth are accepting mediation clients. Padilla Law will offer one Saturday mediation slot per month.
Padilla Law, P.C. is pleased to announce that it has relocated to its new offices, located at 150 East 9th Street, Suite 100, Durango, Colorado 81301, on the first floor of the Colorado Heritage Plaza.
The firm's telephone and fax numbers, email addresses, mailing address, and website will remain the same. We look forward to serving you in our new facilities.
Padilla Law, P.C. is proud to announce that Beth Padilla has been designated as a Colorado Rising Star 2014 by Super Lawyers.
"Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country.
The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. All attorneys first go through the Super Lawyers selection process. Those who are not selected to the Super Lawyers list, but who meet either one of the Rising Stars eligibility requirements, then go through the Rising Stars selection process. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list." http://www.superlawyers.com.
Beth Padilla was designated as a Rising Star in her Immigration practice.
Padilla Law is pleased to announce that Paul Padilla has been appointed as a Commissioner for the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Commission on Professional Development, and a Member of the New Lawyer Working Group.
The Commission is responsible for the creation of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), and Paul will represent Southwest Colorado in efforts to develop programs and strategy to encourage and support career development for young attorneys in Colorado and on the Western Slope.
Padilla Law, P.C. was invited to participate in a high school career fair at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. More than one thousand local students from three area high schools attended the event. Beth Padilla was a presenter for the criminal justice panel. Ms. Padilla majored in criminal justice at Indiana University prior to attending law school. Padilla Law thanks all of the students, staff, and Fort Lewis College for their involvement in the event.
The event was also featured in the Durango Herald: http://durangoherald.com/article/20140109/NEWS01/140109563/0/NEWS01/High-school-pupils-ponder-possibilities-
Padilla Law, P.C.
First Draft is a collaborative effort between Beth and Paul Padilla, both equity partners in the firm, and is intended to give you a brief overview of current legal topics and let you know what effects those issues may have in your life.