Donald Trump and the Treasury

In 2010, amid the backlash in 2007-2008 of financial bailout set upon the banks by the Federal government, the Obama administration put into place what came to be known as the Dodd-Frank Act (also formally known as the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – a mouthful). The basic gist of the law was meant to protect tax payers and consumers by setting certain conditions, regulations, and preventive protocols into place so financial institutions would not succumb to such tragedies dumbed down to streetwise colloquialisms such as, “too big to fail.”

Now, President Trump seeks a work-around to reform these policies.

Attempts to circumvent Congress in order to apply a slew of changes to the regulatory policies set in place by the Dodd-Frank Act, many speculate, would heavily favor Wall Street while simultaneously dismantling many pieces crucial to the structure of the Act signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama. It has been noted that President Trump continues to nominate heads of prominent financial agencies that favor his political ideals, and so far he has managed to get Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton past the initial test that is Congressional approval, while other positions wait to be filled and are temporarily held by “acting” heads or maintained by those instated by President Obama.

Secretary Mnuchin recently proposed over 100 changes within a 150-page document on behalf of President Trump, many of which – he maintained – would go through channels of approval with regulators rather than Congress itself. In fact, Mnuchin himself estimated, “80% of the substance in the report can be accomplished by regulatory changes, and about 20% by legislation.”

Many of these changes, Democrats noted, would likely impose relaxing effects on the currently-implemented Dodd-Frank Act – changes such as restricting authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, relaxing restrictions on trade operations for big banks and easing back on the stress tests the same banks must undergo annually to ensure they can perform.

The proposals, while met with high regard from trade groups, did receive some light points of criticism – particularly in setting specific levels for bank assets before subjecting them to more rules regarding operation. But, the greatest criticisms came, without surprise, from the Democratic party – many of whom believe that the new regulations ready to be put into place are little more than a “handout to Wall Street” that could negatively impact the typical American consumer. Senator Elizabeth Warren, specifically, made claims that the regulatory reforms would only lend themselves to favor big banks and would further run the risk of corruption within financial institutions and the abuse of these institutions against American consumers. Others such as Senator Sherrod Brown also pointed out the Treasury’s significant neglect toward consumer groups as opposed to trade industry groups during consultations regarding these proposed regulatory reforms.

Unfortunately, hinging on the success of implementing these changes through regulatory channels as opposed to legislative ones, it doesn’t appear as if the Democratic party or any reform advocates will have much say in the new policies that the Trump administration will attempt to impose against the framework of the Dodd-Frank Act.

What is an Ambulance Chaser?

Basically, the term “ambulance chaser” is just a colorful reference to a personal injury lawyer. It is most often used derogatorily when referring to the branch of lawyers who spend more time chasing clients down for potentially frivolous lawsuits, rather than building a deeper client base on reputation alone. If a lawyer is actively searching for retail workers who tripped and slipped at work and got a nasty bump on their head, then that lawyer is an ambulance chaser.

Although that might not seem so bad from outside looking in, other lawyers will know the difference between a guy who really knows what he’s doing and wants to make a difference versus a guy who just wants to make a quick buck before he heads home to a TV dinner and his Xbox. Ambulance chasers make most of their money based off a percentage of the damages won in court. Granted, that means they have to win some of the time, but make no mistake: you’re better off finding a lawyer who means business and knows how to play the game for real.

Ambulance chasing is more about laying a trap for big companies using someone who might have a bone to pick, but not always. Let’s say you were in a car accident. You needed to alert the authorities and your insurance company because there was some damage done, but no one was really hurt as a result of the collision. Information is a commodity, and yours is a matter of public record now that you’ve been involved in the accident. If you weren’t at fault, you might find yourself contacted by a lawyer who seems to know a little too much about what happened during the accident. If that person tries to send you to see a medical professional for a free evaluation of your proposed injuries (even though you might say you have none), then you’re the target of an ambulance chaser.

There are regulations in place that try to prevent these people from getting hold of your information, but people still find a way to slip through the cracks and get what they need. Many law enforcement agencies will redact a lot of your information as a courtesy to you, but something might still give away what happened and where. It’s not a difficult task to find out who was involved.

Real legal professionals already have a hard time gaining public trust. It’s extremely difficult to change a perception when it’s so firmly ingrained into the public mindset, and most of us already feel that lawyers are in it only for themselves. The reality is that most of them do a lot of extremely hard work to get where they are, and the pay isn’t what most of us think it is when compared to the costs of their education. Ambulance chasers aren’t just a public nuisance–they’re a focal point of dread for other lawyers.

Which Type of Law Makes The Most Money

It isn’t always easy to discern the difference between a high-paying, fruitful career track and a great big dead end. If you’re about to embark on a path that will take you into the realm of law, then it’s one of the big questions: who makes the most money, and where are the clients? Then again, you might want to ask yourself where you’ll make the biggest impact for the most people, or where you’ll have the most fun and gain the best life experience. Answering those other questions is up to you, if law is what you plan to do with your life. These are the lawyers that make the most money in their given fields!

Medical-legal malpractice lawyers earn a median salary of about $86 thousand per year. If the hospital screwed up big time during an important surgery or your doctor prescribed the wrong medication and set your loins on metaphorical fire, then you’ll need one of these bad boys to set the world to balance. They are also important figures in determining the outcome when you have to sue a different lawyer.

Third from the top is the business lawyer, who enters the fray with a median income of $96,533. The fact that they’re so close to the top of the list should come as little surprise. Every business or corporate entity out there needs one of these lawyers, and most provide a ton of billable hours. If you haven’t been sued yet, then you’re not a real player in the world of business.

Tax lawyers make a median income that just barely hits over a hundred thousand–which makes sense because most of us love keeping our hands on as much of own money as we can. This might be one of the most boring legal professions out there, but it’s certainly one of the most important.

At the top of the list is the intellectual property lawyer with a median salary way above the rest: $141,763. It’s not too surprising that lawyers who specialize in IP make the most money right now since IP law is constantly evolving to meet the needs of a newer, more digitally inclined world. For the most part, they help prevent theft of an individual’s intellectual properties–think movies, music, art, or Facebook (yes, it’s a very long list–almost anything can be considered intellectual property these days).

When many of us think of lawyers, we think of super-rich legal heavyweight champions who devote nearly every waking moment to the cause of justice (or injustice). As it turns out, that’s not true. The median salaries for most lawyers are close to six-figured but not quite there yet. Considering the hefty price you pay just to find your way into the fighting pits, working your way into the colosseum might not be worth the time or money when there are so many other alternatives out there these days.

Do Lawyers Get Paid For Pro Bono Work?

To answer that question, it actually may depend on how you define “get paid.”

In the law world, many attorneys are asked (if not required by the state or their firm) to take on pro bono cases every so often, either to promote the firm’s agenda or as a public service to an individual or a group of people that can’t afford to stand up to a government entity or large company on its own.

Pro bono work can also be taken if a case will be highly publicized and winning the case could mean a high level of recognition for the lawyer – and perhaps future clients.

Pro bono means what it means – it is Latin, meaning “for good” (or the public good, as it is short for “pro bono publico”). An attorney who works pro bono generally does not get paid for the work on the case, not by the parties in the case. Some pro bono work can be free for the parties, but the lawyer may be paid by a third-party entity with a vested interest in the case (such as an abortion case that might be paid by Planned Parenthood, for example).

So that might beg the question, why would an attorney do a lot of work for a pro bono case, when there is no financial benefit from it?

Most pro bono cases are about passion for the attorney. Passion for serving, passion for publicity, passion for the cause of which he or she is standing, all can be ways that an attorney gets “paid” for pro bono work. The work comes from the heart, and often an attorney just might work as hard or harder in these cases than in others where he or she is making billable hours.

Pro bono cases are usually not assigned to the attorney – the attorney usually gets to choose the causes, cases, and clients he or she takes on. If the attorney knows and expects to not get paid for the work, he or she will usually want or need some motivation to take the case, so that the attorney will put forth the work and energy to win the case. Winning the case may mean more business later, some of which will be paid. Attorneys can often consider these cases an “investment” in the business.

In order to cover the “loss” of income, attorneys will often cover pro bono cases through charges to paying clients. How many pro bono cases an attorney will take may depend at least partly on how lucrative the practice is and how much time the attorney can “afford” to spend with no billable hours.

Pro bono work is part and parcel of the legal profession with many attorneys. It is a form of charitable service that can often give attorneys a sense of purpose and mission to their practice, outside of money. Attorneys can sometimes get a bad rap, and pro bono work (and wins in these cases) can help burnish the image within the community in which these attorneys serve.

Attorneys’ Fees in Class Action Lawsuits

Class-action lawsuits are created to protect consumers who were in some way defrauded out of money from some company that was providing products or services (or were believed to be).

A small team of lawyers stand in court representing the interests of thousands or millions of consumers to achieve a win in the millions of dollars, which of course is supposed to be distributed to all members of the class that brought the lawsuit.

After months or even years of billable hours working this case through, and the win is finally achieved, how do the attorneys get paid at the end?

Very well, it turns out.

A recent study found that attorneys get paid the lion’s share of class-action money, from as little as 85 percent of the amount to as much as more than 99 percent.

Yes, that’s right – for all the class-action cases that we hear about multi-million awards to those who were wronged, those who were wronged are actually paid very little if anything at all. The millions mentioned in the media end up in the pockets of the attorneys – on both sides of the case.

Very few cases ever go to trial, as it makes sense for lawyers to go ahead and settle since they will get most of the money anyway. And in some way lawyers on both sides get paid regardless if the case goes in favor of one side or the other, and a settlement will often account for payment of two sets of attorneys. Even if defendants lose the large majority of these kinds of cases, they never fail to get paid for their work.

Generally, most class-action gcases pay out attorney fees out of the compensation award given to the class is what is called a “common fund.” Judges presiding over a common-law case usually approve the compensatory amount, and it’s usually around 25-33 percent of the totoal award. However, the reason that class members don’t get to distribute 75 percent of the award is because that 25-percent fee applies to each attorney that represents the class. And not many class-action suits feature a single attorney.

There are instances, however, when a court will require the losing side to pay the attorney’s fees for the winning side, which does mitigate the costs that come out of the “common fund.” It is a good idea to find out how attorneys will be paid if you are considering being part of a class-action lawsuit. How payment will be made will likely determine how much compensation the class will actually get in relation to that which each member lost in the first place.

Many law firms make a living on class-action lawsuits. They can put in the work of one client and yet represent thousands or millions of class members, work out a multi-million-dollar award and likely never have to set foot in a trial proceeding.  Class-actions can be a lucrative way to make profit in a law practice, thought it would be best to ensure an ethical way of getting paid so the members of the class get the compensation due them – after all, without those class members, you wouldn’t have an award originally.


Do You Need An Estate Plan For Your Personal Injury Settlement?

Answering this question is complicated because it really depends on what is best for your personal situation and only you will know what’s best for you–with some guidance from a qualified legal expert of course. If you were the recipient of a sizable personal injury settlement and are not quite sure how to proceed when deciding on estate plan options, then call an experienced estate planning firm for help. That’s always the first step.

The reason one might ask whether an estate plan is necessary after receiving a personal injury settlement is simple enough: such an injection of cash can affect the assets you already have, and it can definitely impact how you might like to split them up in the event of your death.

If your estate is on the smaller end, you might find yourself exempt from state and federal taxes. If that estate exceeds $5.49 million (as of 2017), then you have to send away a fair portion to Uncle Sam’s Federal Treasury and require a plan. If your personal injury settlement pushes you beyond that exemption cap, then your financial situation has changed enough that you must update your estate plan to reflect the greater amount of money. Depending on the state in which you live, you might owe a little more on top of that. Such is the price of freedom.

Part of estate planning is knowing exactly what your assets are versus how your regular expenses affect those assets. If you were injured as the result of an accident and then compensated for that accident, then there is the likely possibility that your expenses (such as medical bills) have changed as a result. Your estate plan needs to be updated.

Of course, if you’ve acquired any amount of money for any reason, then you may want to change how you invest your current and future assets. The richer you are, the easier more wealth is to achieve (as they say). An estate planning expert can help explain the value of adjusting your finances in order to gain more and spend less.

After all is said and done, the reasons behind your personal injury settlement may affect the status of your estate as well. If you were permanently disabled, then perhaps someone else might be better suited to making decisions on your behalf. You may need to rethink your last will and testament, and power of attorney, among other things.

Some of these decisions are mandatory, and changes must be made to your estate plan as the result of your personal injury settlement. Other decisions are optional, and how best to proceed is entirely up to you. No matter what you decide, your assets will be in good hands with the help of proper legal counsel. Be sure that the ins and outs of estate planning have been properly explained to you before you decide on any course of action, and know that you can distribute your assets with confidence after that is done.

What Is Estate Tax Planning And Do I Need It?

Most people do not require the type of estate tax planning that wealthier folks must consider as they age, but everyone could stand to benefit in one way or another. Estate tax planning is the process of juggling assets to prepare oneself for the eventual division of those assets once the owner is deceased. Part of estate planning is drafting a last will and testament, deciding on power of attorney, keeping track of assets and expenditures in order to pay state and federal taxes, and also deciding who gets what when you pass away.

There are other matters that may need attending, but any legal expert you hire will provide you with insight into which matters are relevant to your estate. These are not always easy decisions, but that does not mean they have to be incredibly difficult. With the right plan and the right help, estate tax planning can be a walk in the park.

As with most everything related to taxation in the great United States of America, there are loopholes that can help you avoid paying more than you have to when it’s time to divide your assets. Normally, smaller estates are completely exempt from both state and federal estate taxes, and some states don’t have any estate taxes, to begin with. If your estate is valued under $5.49 million, then you likely do not owe anything. If your estate is worth more, there are a few things you can do.

An estate planning law firm will explain in greater detail, but for now, you should know that making gifts to a husband or wife can help alleviate eventual taxes. So can making similar gifts to other family members before your death, or even donating to charity. A sneaky life insurance policy can diminish the taxation as well. If all else fails, you can place some of your assets into a trust.

Then again, if you want to stiff Uncle Sam completely, you could just preplan the biggest funeral bash that anyone ever had. Funeral expenses are deducted from your gross estate, as are administration expenses, claims, or unpaid mortgages.

One of the biggest issues that arise from estate tax planning is how complex the tax code itself is–even the IRS has said as much. Yes, tax code, in general, is complex, but estate tax code is even more complex. That’s why finding a qualified estate planning expert is so important to the future of your assets. You might find yourself saving a considerable amount of cash down the line with a phone call or two.

Obviously, you make your own choices. If you fail to draft the documents made up as a result of estate planning, the government will swoop in and take all it can, leaving your friends and family with less than their fair share of inheritance while they curse your name. Whether you want that to happen is completely up to you.

Will I Need To File Income Taxes?

Believe it or not, not everyone has to file income taxes for each year. Generally speaking, if you have a total income for the year that does not exceed what the standard deduction is plus a single exemption, and you are not another taxpayer’s dependent, you are not obligated to file your federal income tax return. You should also know that the amount of income that you are able to earn before you need to file a return will also depend on your age, the kind of income, and what your filing status is.

Every taxpayer is eligible to claim what is known as the standard deduction. If they are not the dependent for another taxpayer, they will also be able to claim one exemption along with the. The amounts for the deduction and the exemptions are at a fixed rate set out by the federal government prior to the tax filing season, generally increasing for inflation purposes each year.

Someone who is at least 65 years of age or older and receiving social security during the year will be subject to the same requirements for filing as another taxpayer. the exception will be if you are married and filing a separate tax return than your spouse that you resided with during that year.

Any taxpayer that is claimed on someone else’s return as a dependent will be subject the filing, whether it be a child or adult. A dependent is not able to claim an exemption of their own, so a tax return will be necessary if they have earned income that is greater than the standard deduction of a single taxpayer.

If you have any questions as to whether or not you have to file income taxes for the upcoming year, you can consult an LA tax professional law office to give you some insight.

Do You Need To File Business Taxes?

If you have a business then yes you need to file taxes. This really depends on where you live and what you are doing as business but you usually do have to pay some form of taxes to operate in an area. Here is more on the matter.

You are going to have to file an annual tax return if you have a business. Any business is going to have to pay this kind of thing if they want to keep operating in an area. This really depends on where your company is located and where it operates out of. If you have any people that are working under you in the United States, for instance, then you need to pay taxes on your business and each employee is going to have to pay their share of taxes.

You need to hire a business tax expert if you want to make sure that you are paying everything on time in the right amount. If you are not smart about this than you may regret it later because you will have to pay more in fines than you owed in taxes. Plus you’ll have to pay what you have in back taxes back to the government. If your business is doing well then this may not be that big of a deal but if you’re not doing that well then you could lose all that you have invested in your business if you don’t pay your taxes on time or in the right amount.

Do you need to file business taxes? Now you know the answer to your question and you can get started with taxes if you have a company. It is important that you pay them on time and that you pay the right amount or else you could regret it later.

What’s The FDIC?

While plenty of people have heard of the FDIC, there are a lot of people that don’t know what it actually is. FDIC stands for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It’s a government-run organization that provides deposit insurance to the customers of US banks.

Why Was The FDIC Created?

After the Great Depression, a lot of people lost trust in American banks. The FDIC was created to restore the trust that was lost. Because of this organization, people knew that any money they deposited would be safe and secure.

How Does The Deposit Insurance The FDIC Provides Works?

If a bank is unable to give a customer their money, the FDIC can ensure that the customer receives the money that they are owed. That money comes from the Deposit Insurance Fund. The current balance is mandated to be 1.15% of the total insured deposits.

The FDIC is backed by the United States government. This means that both the deposit fund and government resources stand behind depositors. When you have insurance through the FDIC, your money is completely safe.

What Kinds Of Banks Can Receive FDIC Insurance?

Not every bank is eligible to receive FDIC insurance. Banks must classify as either well capitalized or adequately capitalized if they want to receive the benefits of this insurance. If a bank’s funds drop below a certain point, they will be place on a problem list. If a bank’s capitalization level reaches a critical point, the bank can be taken over by the FDIC.

If you’re going to be keeping your money in a bank, you will want to learn more about the FDIC and the insurance that it provides. After all, this deposit insurance is what will keep you safe if your bank becomes insolvent. The FDIC is great for banks and their customers. Check out their website.