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Snow Jensen & Reece Law Blog

What you need to know about non-competition agreements

Having your "ducks in a row" is absolutely critical when running a business. If you aren't handling important issues in a timely manner, or if your documents lack the compliance and completeness that they need to be enforceable, then your company could be at risk. We could write pages and pages on this topic, but today we're just going to look at a small piece of what we are talking about. Today, let's talk about non-competition agreements.

Many companies make their new employees sign non-competition agreements when they are hired. These contracts tell the employee that they are forbidden from revealing trade secrets and company information to competitors and other companies. In exchange, the individual is given employment.

What assets can be transferred outside of probate

In the state of Utah, the purpose of probate proceeding is to enact an orderly process where the assets of a deceased person are legally transferred to other people, usually a person’s heirs and beneficiaries. Order is key in probate, because of the disputes that can arise over who is the rightful owner of a loved one’s assets.

Because of this, it is helpful to know what assets can be transferred without the need for probate. This post will highlight a few of them. 

Utah Qualified Domestic Relations Orders - Never Make These Three Mistakes

Under Utah law, spouses in a divorce case are entitled to one-half of any retirement funds that have accrued during the marriage. This includes 401Ks, IRAs, annuities, and the like. But unlike other divisions of marital property, this one is not achieved by the Utah divorce decree itself-it must be carried out by a separate court order called a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO.

Is there an 'inexpensive' trust I can utilize?

It would be nice if trusts could be established without a financial cost being attributed to their creation. In reality though, you have to be prepared to spend a little money to protect your assets in a trust. Given this notion, there was a prevailing notion about trusts many years ago that they were only meant for wealthy people who had a lot of money. In a way, this stigma bled into estate plans. People thought they only needed to plan for their wealth if they had a lot of it.

But that simply isn't true. No matter what your wealth is, you should have an estate plan in place to protect your loved ones -- just like you should utilize trusts (if it's appropriate) to amplify your estate plan and protect your finances for the good of your beneficiaries.

On the probate process, and why avoiding it is ideal

Probate sounds like an arduous process, doesn't it? Even without the context of estate planning, the word "probate" doesn't exactly sounds fun or promising. With the context of estate planning, it is made even clearer that probate is not fun or promising. Probate is the process of transferring your assets and property to other parties -- but it is done under the supervision of a court. 

Usually this happens when the individual doesn't plan his or her estate in an optimal way. Maybe they didn't utilize trusts or organize their will in a way that could avoid the probate process. So how do you avoid probate?

The special needs trust: what it provides

Last month, we wrote a post about some of the types of trusts that you can utilize to bolster your estate plan. Having a trust is a great way to improve your estate plan, protect your estate from the probate process, and to ensure that your assets are properly handled and distributed to your beneficiaries and heirs when you pass away.

Some circumstances, though, require a family to utilize a special needs trust for their child. This type of trust can help when a family has a child that is disabled or is in need of medical assistance for most of their life. The special needs trust is important for many reasons, but one stands out.

Lawsuit over Oregon's healthcare website ensnares Oracle

Many people may not be aware of this, but the state of Oregon's healthcare website was "botched" and it's launch has cost the state a lot of money. The company that was behind the website is Oracle, and the two sides have been engaged in a legal battle ever since the controversial and ultimately flawed website was launched.

While the state of Oregon claims that Oracle was fraudulent and accused them of racketeering, Oracle has fired back saying that the state's own incompetence resulted in the botched website. The state of Oregon filed a lawsuit against Oracle, claiming $6.5 billion in damages. Oracle fired back with it's own legal claims, saying that the state of Oregon actually agreed to a $25 million settlement last year that they have since reneged on.

Three common types of trusts, and what they can do for you

Trusts play a vital role in many estate plans. Trusts are utilized to protect certain assets from taxes and the probate process, while also making the execution of an estate plan a bit simpler and efficient. There are many different types of trusts, and so today we're going to talk about a few of the common trusts that people use to bolster their estate plans.

Revocable trusts are a very common type of trust. They are often called "living" trusts, because they are created while the trustmaker is alive. Revocable trusts can be changed, altered and revoked during their existence. The trustmaker can transfer assets and property to the trust, and then those assets and pieces of property would be protected from the probate process. Revocable trusts don't protect the assets from creditors, though.

What to know before engaging in a landlord-tenant dispute

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, there will likely come a time where you don't agree with the other party. Maybe you feel like your landlord doesn't take your concerns seriously enough. Maybe you know that your tenant is disruptive and that other tenants have made complaints about him or her. No matter which side you are on, the resulting dispute could become a huge problem if you let it get to that point.

That's why the best tip we can give when it comes to landlord-tenant disputes is to avoid them in the first place. There are simple steps either side can take to make this happen. For a tenant, make sure you are respectful to your landlord and that you communicate with them clearly. Also, read your lease and know all of your rights before initiating any dispute. For a landlord, you should also be responsive to your tenants' issues and be respectful to them when you deal with them.

Estate planning terminology 101

Just hearing the term "estate plan" can make people shudder. It sounds like a difficult and painstaking process that people would rather just ignore or put off until a later date. While creating and maintaining an estate plan can be difficult at times, it doesn't have to be pain-staking. Knowing what you are dealing with and having a legal adviser by your side when things get tough is a crucial part of improving the whole process.

Ultimately, we all need estate plans. They allow us to pass on our assets, our property and our belongings to the people we love and care about. Without an estate plan, your assets may not be handled the way you want them to be handled upon your death.