Archive for the ‘HALT’ Category

Recommended Website: HALT

September 3, 2013

WHAT WE DO FOR YOU:

Improve Legal Access – HALT works to strengthen protections that assure consumers access to accurate and timely legal information and assistance.
Empower Legal Consumers – HALT educates policy makers, the media and the public about the rights of legal consumers, and promotes increased accountability in the legal profession.
Hold Lawyers Accountable – HALT works to strengthen consumer protections against unethical, negligent and incompetent attorneys.
Strengthen Small Claims Courts – HALT publicizes the advantages of small claims courts, educates consumers about how to use these user-friendly courts, and advocates for systematic reforms that increase access to them.

Source:
HALT

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Iowa Supreme Court Sides With HALT

November 3, 2011

On August 26, 2011, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected a proposal offered by the Office of Professional Regulation that would have allowed lawyers who voluntarily agree to be suspended to keep the reason for their suspension confidential.

“The Court’s decision to give this anti-consumer proposal the boot before it could even be distributed for public comment is very promising,” said HALT Executive Director Rodd Santomauro. “HALT has long supported increased transparency in lawyer discipline systems and applauds the Iowa Supreme Court’s quick action.”

According to a new HALT study, Iowa is one of 21 states that provide online access to court decisions or case briefs associated with attorney disciplinary proceedings. Thirty states give legal consumers absolutely no information about the details of an attorney’s misconduct.

The Iowa Office of Professional Regulation has now been tasked by the Court to come up with proposals that actually increase consumer protection. Those proposals will be released for public comment before the Court takes final action.


Full Article and Source:
Iowa Supreme Court Sides With HALT

>The Quick & Legal Will Book

January 2, 2011

>Start the new year off by writing your will!

The Quick & Legal Will Book is your essential guide to preparing the most important legal document any of us possess—your will. With easy-to-use forms and step-by-step instructions, this invaluable resource will help you to craft a will that meets all of your estate planning needs.

Source:
HALT Books

The 101 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes

November 26, 2010

101 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes offers an informative and entertaining look at what not to do when setting up an estate plan. The author, an estate planner for some of today’s most famous celebrities, explains how to avoid common pitfalls and make decisions that will allow you to execute a fool-proof estate plan that protects you and your family.

Source:
The 101 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes

HALT Releases New Citizen’s Guide

November 6, 2010

HALT has just released its latest Citizens Legal Guide Is Your Lawyer’s Bill Too High? How to Avoid (and Resolve) Fee Disputes. This easy-to-understand guide, the newest addition to HALT’s library of free self-help publications, explains how lawyers typically charge for their services and how billing practices can sometimes go awry.

While some fee disputes are the result of a lawyer padding his or her bill, many are actually misunderstandings or simple bad math. Fee disputes can be triggered by internal law firm practices that are unfair to clients, such as overstaffing, uncompensated staff turnover, unnecessary research, and redundant expert witnesses and consultants. They can also reflect lax financial controls for expenses, overhead costs, travel, and entertainment. There may even be issues caused by outright fraud – for example, when a lawyer charges for more hours than were actu­ally worked. If you receive a legal bill that seems too high, you need to question it.

Source:
HALT Releases New Citizen’s Legal Guide

Read Is Your Lawyer’s Bill Too High

The Executor’s Guide

October 24, 2010


If you’re faced with wrapping up the affairs of a loved one who has died, you may feel overwhelmed by all the work ahead—especially when you’re grieving. But with the right legal and practical information, you can do it. The Executor’s Guide shows you how to get organized, get the help you need and make progress one step at a time. You will also learn how to navigate an unfamiliar land of legal procedures and terminology.

Source:
HALT

NASGA Supports HALT’s ‘Lawyer Discipline Best Practices Petition’

September 29, 2010

Make sure your voice is heard – sign HALT’s Lawyer Discipline Best Practices petition. We need every member of the legal reform movement to stand up and be counted.

Every year, tens of thousands of people who pour hard-earned money into lawyers’ pockets find themselves battling the very person they hired to help them. And every year over 100,000 Americans who file complaints against lawyers with their state’s disciplinary agency walk away unhappy. In 2006, more than 123,000 complaints were filed against lawyers, but 92% led to no discipline or only informal “private” discipline. Less than 1% led to disbarment.

Signing HALT’s petition is one way you can demand action on ten common-sense reforms that push discipline agencies to:

*Disclose a lawyer’s complete and disciplinary history so that consumers can make informed decisions about whether to hire an attorney.
*Host a user-friendly Web site that is easy to find and provides helpful information about the discipline process.
*Discipline lawyers with formal, serious and public measures.
*Permanently disbar lawyers who commit abusive practices against clients.
*Abolish gag rules that prevent people from speaking publicly about complaints they’ve filed.
*Publicize the availability of lawyer discipline programs through required client notification and local advertising.
*Open lawyer discipline hearings to everyone to increase the public trust.
*Provide ordinary citizens with a majority voice on the panels that decide attorney misconduct cases.
*Grant clients and witnesses immunity from civil liability for any information given to the agency during a disciplinary investigation.
*Allow citizens to appeal initial complaint dismissals and hearing panel discussions.

HALT’s reform efforts are having an impact. Oregon, California and Nebraska are just three states that have implemented reforms that improve transparency and accountability.

But we need to show that legal reformers support HALT’s efforts in every state. Will you please help?

Our goal is to collect 1,000 signatures from each state.

Sign HALT’s Petition

>Guide to Avoiding Probate

March 10, 2009

>

Looking for ways to save money? Avoid probate.

Probate, the legal process for settling a deceased person’s estate, can be a nightmare even for those acquainted with the law. The process takes eighteen months on average, and much longer if administrative mishaps occur or family members fight. It can also be expensive with attorney’s fees and court costs eating up substantial shares of the estate.

For these reasons, many people prefer to avoid probate altogether. Here are the most popular estate-planning strategies for doing this:

Owning Property Jointly
Naming a Beneficiary on Retirement Funds
Naming a Beneficiary on a Life Insurance Policy
Opening “Payable on Death” Accounts
Creating “Transfer-on-Death” Registrations for Securities and Vehicles
Creating “Transfer-on-Death” Real Estate Deeds
Writing a Living Trust
Giving Outright Gifts
Using Simplified “Non-Probate” Alternatives

Full Article and Source:
Avoid Probate To Save Time and Money

HALT—An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform
1612 K St NW Suite 510
Washington, DC 20006

202-887-8255
Visit HALT at www.halt.org

Guide to Avoiding Probate

March 10, 2009
Looking for ways to save money? Avoid probate.

Probate, the legal process for settling a deceased person’s estate, can be a nightmare even for those acquainted with the law. The process takes eighteen months on average, and much longer if administrative mishaps occur or family members fight. It can also be expensive with attorney’s fees and court costs eating up substantial shares of the estate.

For these reasons, many people prefer to avoid probate altogether. Here are the most popular estate-planning strategies for doing this:

Owning Property Jointly
Naming a Beneficiary on Retirement Funds
Naming a Beneficiary on a Life Insurance Policy
Opening “Payable on Death” Accounts
Creating “Transfer-on-Death” Registrations for Securities and Vehicles
Creating “Transfer-on-Death” Real Estate Deeds
Writing a Living Trust
Giving Outright Gifts
Using Simplified “Non-Probate” Alternatives

Full Article and Source:
Avoid Probate To Save Time and Money

HALT—An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform
1612 K St NW Suite 510
Washington, DC 20006

202-887-8255
Visit HALT at www.halt.org

Understanding Attorney Fees

December 17, 2008
Consumers spend billions of dollars each year on legal fees. While some are satisfied customers who are getting competent legal help at reasonable prices, many others believe legal fees are way too high and would rather leave a legal problem unresolved than pay for services they cannot afford. As a legal consumer, your best defense against paying more than you should is to educate yourself about legal fees before signing on the dotted line.

To learn more about lawyer fees and tips on how you can lower your legal costs, download HALT’s new guide Understanding Attorney Fees (pdf)

Visit HALT at www.halt.org

or write to HALT for a free copy at:
HALT—An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform
1612 K St NW Suite 510

Washington, DC 20006
202-887-8255