Probate of Real Estate

 

The probate process will ensure that real estate goes where the deceased left instructions for it to go in his or her will.  If the deceased left no will, the probate court will distribute real estate based on state law.

Probate

Probate is a process conducted by a state court to distribute your property after your death.  Certain types of property avoid the probate process and get distributed directly to heirs, such as life insurance policies, certain bank accounts, gifts, trusts, and certain kinds of joint property ownership.  All other property must pass probate to get to your loved ones.  Many people plan their estates to avoid probate.  While probate ensures that your property is distributed fairly among your loved ones, it is a costly and lengthy process that can delay your gifts to your family and friends.

Real Estate in Probate

If real estate ends up in probate, it will either be distributed to family members according to the will of the deceased or intestate distribution laws, or it will be sold to pay creditors of the estate, or it will be sold by court order to distribute value more efficiently among family members. Probate real estate is conveyed through an Order of Final Distribution or some other method selected by the probate court.

If You Die Without a Will

If you die without a will (intestate), probate will ensure your property is distributed fairly among your family members.  Each state has laws of intestate distribution that prioritize family members in line to receive property from your estate.   Of course, a will or a trust is the best vehicle for ensuring your property is distributed after your death according to your wishes.

If You Die With a Will

If you already have a will, the probate process will carry out your will precisely.  You won’t have to worry about certain family members not receiving their property or taxes going unpaid.  The court oversight in probate makes sure these tasks are completed per your wishes and according to the law.  Probate also makes it easier for you to name guardians and conservators of your dependent children and adults.

 

Portland Real Estate Lawyers

Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys are the men and women lawyers of Portland who handle the real estate transactions in and around the greater Portland, Oregon area.

A “Portland real estate lawyer” is the same thing as a “Portland real estate attorney”. There is no difference between “lawyer” and “attorney” and this context.

In most residential purchase situations the real estate lawyers and attorneys get involved after the brokers or agents are done with the parties and an earnest money agreement has been agreed to and signed. Usually the broker or brokers help put together the contract, but a person can certainly get the help of a lawyer or attorney at this stage if they want to.

Both the buyer and the seller usually get their own lawyer or attorney and the transaction goes ahead from there.

If the buyer is getting a new mortgage then the buyers lawyer or attorney will often take care of that on behalf of the bank or other lender as well.

In mortgage refinancing situations the mortgage lawyer or attorney sometimes acts for both the borrower and the lender. This happens as well with second mortgages or lines of credit secured by mortgages.

Special caution needs to be taken in situations involving situations where there is no broker or where there might be only one broker involved.  

The main job of the buyer’s lawyer in most situations is to make sure that the buyer gets their name on the property.  The main job of the seller’s lawyer in most situations is to make sure that the seller gets their money.  The bank, if there is one, will often use the buyer’s lawyer as well and the main job on behalf of the bank is for the lawyer in most situations is to make sure that the bank’s mortgage or other security documentation gets properly registered against the property.

Portland real estate lawyers do much more than the “standard” purchase described above. They must have a deep and really varied knowledge of the law and of how to apply it to various situations.  They must be familiar with both federal and state laws.

Special care must be taken if there are rental tenants in a property that is being either bought or sold. They have rights that can carry over to the new owner. You need to discuss this with your lawyer or attorney.

A title insurance company or an attorney is typically used by the buyer to investigate whether the title is marketable. Title insurance companies also insure the buyer against losses caused by the title being invalid.

Here are just a few of the areas that most Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys will have experience in. Keep in mind that the best Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys probably have a broad background but do most of their work in particular field.

Residential Real Estate

Portland real estate lawyers are involved in practically every single purchase, sale and refinancing of residential real estate in Portland. This includes both residential house and condominium sales.

The lawyers often get involved in negotiating all kinds of things and holding deals together. The realtors don’t always do a perfect job of putting an offer together. Dower issues arise.  Purchase money issues arise.  Property tax matters need to be adjusted so each party only pays their share and not more. Title, survey and boundary issues come up. The real estate lawyer or attorney must be familiar with all areas of residential real estate contract law including contract, specific performance, non-disclosure, fraud, misrepresentation and more. When financing is being obtained the purchaser’s lawyer or attorney will sometimes act for the bank or lender as well. These mortgage lawyers are responsible for making sure the mortgage gets properly signed and registered. It takes a great deal of coordination and communication among all the parties to close the deal.

Commercial Real Estate

Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys are involved at some stage in every purchase and sale of commercial real estate. This includes land and buildings whether they be corner stores, shopping centre’s or high rise office buildings. Commercial real estate law involves commercial purchases, commercial sales, real estate investment opportunities, construction, development issues including, land use planning, zoning issues, farm purchases, farm sales, leasing, landlord and tenant matters, financing, refinancing, mortgages, second mortgages, foreclosures and everything that goes along with these situations. If there are changes in “the market” before the deal closes then it can really complicate things. One party or the other may suddenly want out. The legal matters that come up in commercial real estate situations can be extremely complex.

Construction Real Estate

Behind every construction project in Portland there is a real estate lawyer or attorney. These projects might be developing residential real estate or they might be constructing commercial properties. These construction real estate lawyer’s deal with owners, lenders, contractors, municipal officials, land titles offices, utility providers, builder’s liens, mortgages, mortgage advances, construction defects and claims, construction accident claims, progress payments, warranties and all of the situations that go along with these. Construction real estate lawyer’s negotiate mortgages, re-financing’s, purchase and sale agreements, commercial leases (i.e. office, medical, dental, restaurant, industrial property, or shopping center leases) and more. As with any real estate deal, if the market changes before the deal is concluded (i.e. before the project is complete and money has changed hands) it can really get interesting as one party or the other may suddenly want to get out of the deal. Being a construction real estate lawyer or attorney is a high pressure, fast paced and demanding profession.

Personal Injury

Carney, Appleby, Nielsen, & Skinner, PLC, located in Des Moines, Iowa, handles all cases related to Personal Injury without a fee to you unless we receive a recovery throughout the state of Iowa.

We understand that a personal injury may be the most difficult situation you or your loved ones will ever face. When you hire us, you are retaining dedicated personal injury attorneys experienced in all aspects of serious injuries and malpractice claims. If you are critically or severely injured, our experienced and aggressive trial attorneys will actively pursue litigation and fight for your rights in a court of law. Carney, Appleby, Nielsen, & Skinner, PLC, handles all a variety of personal injury cases, including:

Motor Vehicle Accidents – We represent clients who have injuries resulting from car accidents and car crashes, trucks, 18 wheelers, buses, motorcycles, trains, and pedestrian accidents

Medical Malpractice – We litigate claims resulting from injuries that result from improper health care provided by a doctor, nurse, chiropractor, therapist, hospital, dentist, or clinic, or another health care provider.

Premises & Products Liability – We handle all matters that relate to injuries that are the result of dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, such as slip and falls, fall downs, elevator or escalator injuries, construction accidents, or injuries as a result of defective or unsafe products.

Trustee Sales

The trustee sale is where foreclosed homes are sold.  For homeowners, this sale could be the final death knell of your current home ownership.  For investors or other home buyers, however, the trustee sale could be a place for great bargains. 

The Basics

Foreclosure is a legal procedure to collect the delinquent balance of a mortgage loan by forcing a sale of the home securing the loan.  When a borrower takes out a mortgage loan secured by a home, the borrower gives the lender a security interest in the home.  Based on this security interest, a lender can take back a home if a borrower defaults on mortgage payments and use the proceeds of the home sale to pay the delinquent balance.  The forced sale of the home may be conducted by the court under judicial foreclosure or by the mortgage lender under nonjudicial foreclosure.  The actual home sale process in California is referred to as the trustee sale.

Nonjudicial Foreclosure in California

California favors nonjudicial foreclosure.  Under a nonjudicial foreclosure, the lender uses its power of sale to sell a home secured by a delinquent mortgage in order to cure the delinquency.  The court is not involved in a nonjudicial sale.  Both the power of sale and the nonjudicial foreclosure are typically written into the deed of trust document.  The deed of trust establishes a mortgage on the home.  The deed of trust is so named because a trustee holds the deed to your home until your mortgage is paid off.  When your mortgage falls delinquent, it is this trustee that conducts the sale of your home to recoup the delinquent mortgage balance.

Trustee Sales

Trustee sales follow strict rules.  The sale must occur between 9AM and 5PM on a business day and is held in an auction format led by an auctioneer.  Bidders for foreclosed homes must be able to pay the full amount of their bid in cash or a cashier’s check on the day of the sale.  The auctioneer qualifies bidders prior to the sale to ensure they have the money to back up their bids.  Trustee sales do not permit home inspections by bidders – the bidders buy “as-is.”  Once a home is sold at a trustee sale, all liens attached to the home, except for property taxes, go away and the buyer takes the home free and clear.  If people are still living in the home, the buyer must initiate eviction proceedings to get them out of the home.

Riverside and Corona attorney, the McAndrew Law Firm, specializes in real estate law.  Lead attorney, Richard McAndrew, has practiced real estate law for over 11 years.  He is a member of the California Bar Association, Riverside County Bar Association, and San Bernardino Bar Association.  Mr. McAndrew has helped hundreds of clients just like you conduct real estate transactions or know and assert their rights regarding real estate.  Let the McAndrew Law Firm take a look at your real estate interests and offer counsel on your rights under real estate law.  Contact the McAndrew Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.

Sanity-Saving Strategies For Second-Home Buyers

Several years ago, after vacationing at picturesque Bald Mountain, Idaho, Victor Bernstein and Gail Landis decided the area was ideal for their second home.

Low interest rates and the volatile stock market had done much to convince them — along with hundreds of thousands of other Americans in recent years — that a vacation home would be a good investment.

They set out to find a large house in the nearby resort town of Sun Valley. But finally, after a two-year search, they scaled back their plans.

“We just realized what we were looking for was too big of a commitment, too far away, too soon,” Ms. Landis says. The couple ended up buying a small three-bedroom condominium as a kind of base from which to scout the area more thoroughly, and they now are in the process of upgrading to a larger house.

People could learn a lot from the couple’s experience.

To many Americans, buying a second home represents the great escape from the daily grind. More than just a place to lay your head, second homes can be a chance to live out your dreams. All too often, though, prospective buyers set out with unrealistic expectations, or worse, they make big decisions with a kind of hasty abandon that few would display when purchasing a primary residence.

The result is that second homes often turn out to be disastrous investments. People buy properties they can’t afford, or will never use. They buy in areas that are overpriced or overbuilt. And they buy in communities that are the perfect getaways for a couple of weeks — but wear thin when the weeks turn into months.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. What follows is a look at some of the biggest errors made by buyers of second homes, along with advice on how to avoid such mistakes and make those dreams come true after all.

Get to Know Your Market Firsthand

This may seem obvious, but given the number of people who ignore it, it bears repeating: Research the local market properly.

“A lot of people vacation somewhere for a week or two and think they want to live there, but they don’t know anything about the area,” says Tim Richards, an Ocean City, Md., real-estate agent who specializes in second homes. “People need to know when the vacation becomes a reality, it’s much different.” For instance, a quiet, relaxing vacation spot may be a popular spring-break destination for college students or an annual meeting spot for bikers with noisy motorcycles.

Even if you’re sure about the area you want to buy in, an effective search can take years, considering that most of your hunting will be done on weekend visits or subsequent vacations.

As a result, experts recommend renting or buying a smaller home in the area — as Ms. Landis and Mr. Bernstein did — to learn the lay of the land before upgrading to a larger investment. A few months after buying their condo, the New York couple found the property they’d been looking for just a few blocks away: a plot of land with an older house that they decided to tear down and replace with a five-bedroom dream home.

“The two-step process was critical for us,” says Ms. Landis, who plans to vacation in her new two-story home this summer after construction is complete. “A house is a big financial commitment, and you really don’t want to make a mistake.”

Don’t Settle for Less Than What You Really Want

Sometimes people make sacrifices when buying a primary residence in order to be closer to work or to send their children to a better school. But a second home should be about pure enjoyment. It’s important to get it exactly right.

Julie Beyer, a substitute teacher in West Salem, Wis., searched for her ideal property for two years and wound up still making a purchase that was hasty. Her dream was to own a lakefront home in northern Wisconsin. But after long and fruitless searching, the 45-year-old Ms. Beyer and her husband, Mark, settled for a plot of land two miles from the closest lake and began planning to build on it. Four months later, they found what they had wanted all along and bought that as well: a three-bedroom, fully furnished lakefront home in Willard, Wis.

But now the Beyers are saddled with the unwanted land.

“I’m still paying property taxes on the land, and it’s tough to sell because most people want a lakefront property,” Ms. Beyer says. “We should have been more patient.”

Look Into Zoning and Other Restrictions

Becoming familiar with local politics, laws and other peculiarities is also important. Many communities, particularly those in coastal areas, have special zoning requirements and other ordinances of interest.

Richard Roll wasn’t aware of the zoning laws in Nantucket, Mass., when he bought his second home. The retiree from Stamford, Conn., thought the area in front of his vacation home was designated as conservation land, which would be protected from residential and commercial development. But because of quirks in the local zoning laws that he wasn’t aware of, Mr. Roll later found out the area was not protected and that buildings could go up there.

“That really put a cloud on the property in terms of resale value,” says Mr. Roll, who has since sold the property and bought a two-bedroom condo in Singer Island, Fla. “It weakened how much we got for the property, and it took us a year to sell the house even though it was a great property.”

Bone Up on Mortgages, Insurance and Contractors

Lenders historically have charged higher rates for second-home mortgages; they view second homes as a greater risk because they’re often the first thing to go when borrowers need to tighten their belts. Such views are changing, though, and experts say that investors can shop around for competitive rates. Local lenders, meanwhile, because they’re familiar with the area and want a local customer’s business, can sometimes offer better rates than national lenders.

You may have less luck finding a good deal on home insurance. Because second homes aren’t occupied all the time, and so are at a greater risk for theft and fire, premiums tend to be higher than they are for comparable primary residences. In addition, they may not be close to a fire hydrant or fire station. Those buying in a remote mountain location or in dry areas may want to consider additional fire insurance. Similarly, houses on flood plains may need flood insurance. Sometimes insurance won’t even be available on a property for some of these same reasons, so make it a contingency on any purchase offer.

You need to be especially careful when hiring a contractor for a second home since you may not be familiar with local builders or know who to ask for references. When retiree Mordecai Arnold was building his second home, a three-bedroom log cabin he designed himself in Auburn, Ala., the retailer that sold him the logs referred him to a contractor to complete the construction. The contractor collected $28,000 upfront, finished only about 10% of the work, then walked out on the job.

“I accepted a recommendation, but I should have done research,” says Mr. Arnold, who tracked the contractor down only to find him in prison. Mr. Arnold ended up spending an additional $28,000 to fix the mess the contractor left. “I also shouldn’t have paid the money in advance. Very few legitimate builders and contractors insist on full payment in advance.”

Is It a Fixer-Upper?

Maintenance issues in second homes can be a bigger concern than they are for a primary residence, if only because you don’t want to spend your getaway weekends doing a lot of chores.

One way to avoid making a purchase that will drain both your time and budget is to hire a professional home inspector — one that doesn’t do repairs — to determine the maintenance requirements. Upkeep should be evaluated in addition to potential repairs. For instance, many homes in rural areas use septic systems, which require periodic treatment to prevent buildup and may require cleaning depending on frequency of use. Some rural homes use wells instead of the community water utility, which may mean the well water has to be tested.

“One thing you definitely don’t want to do is have your second property managing you,” says Jed Gray, a Sun Valley real-estate agent. “You want to be able to enjoy your property.”

David and Karen Strohl of Chicago learned that lesson the hard way. They were thrilled when they bought their second home in Lakeside, Mich., a popular town on the southeast shore of Lake Michigan about 75 miles away from their primary residence. But the couple’s enthusiasm waned after they realized they were spending most weekends overseeing repairs of such things as the roof and basement.

“We had a lot of work, a lot of projects, to get the house in shape,” Ms. Strohl says. “If you have maintenance issues, you might not be doing the same amount of traveling to other destinations, and you might start to resent that.”

The Strohls have now finished their renovations, after several years, and say they’re happy with their home.

Don’t Expect a Cash Cow

For second-home owners using their property as an investment, experts warn not to depend on rental income to cover their mortgage and other expenses. Unless the property is in a prime location such as an oceanfront or other popular resort area, it’s unlikely that rental income will cover all the costs because of the seasonality of most vacation destinations.

New Law To Boost Panama’s Real Estate Sector

Panama’s real estate sector is poised for an “unprecedented boost” as a result of a new law recently passed by the country’s National Assembly giving multinational companies performing certain tasks a significant tax break, according to company specializing in investment property in Panama.

The Knightsbridge Investment Group says that the new rules, known as ‘Law 41′, are designed to encourage the establishment of multinational companies in Panama, and give exemption to multinationals from the payment of income tax in the Republic of Panama for all services provided to any entity domiciled outside Panama. In addition, the legislation allows licensed corporations to hire trusted foreign employees to fill management positions in the company, authorizing them to work and reside in Panama, which could spell an influx of international professionals moving to the jurisdiction.

While years of economic and political stability, a healthy tourist industry, and the expansion of the country’s greatest economic asset, the Panama Canal, have underpinned the country’s real estate market, Knightsbridge Investment Group has suggested that Law 41 will give the country’s real estate sector an “unprecedented boost”. HP and Caterpillar are just two of the first to announce new offices in Panama City, with Proctor and Gamble also rumored to be relocating a significant part of its Latin American business to Panama, Knightsbridge claims.

Residential sales prices have been increasing, particularly in prime locations, but Knightsbridge says that another interesting trend has been those related to Class A office space. Vacancy rates for Class A office space are already down from 30% last year to 3%, meaning that today there is virtually no available Class A space in Panama City.

In addition, with Class A office space in such demand, lease rates have increased by approximately 20% over the past year, the company stated. “Average lease rates for Class A are $16-$20 per m2 per month with total occupancy costs at $22.74 per m2 per month (below those in the region including Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Uruguay, Caracas, Bogota, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro) giving ample space for growth and also allowing for multinationals moving to Panama” announced Alan Morrison, Vice President of Knightsbridge Investment Group, Panama City “In addition, current sales prices are favorable, with the average sale price at $2,200 per m2. With these prices and Law 41 providing the final impetus for Multinational Corporations to relocate to Panama, the time is right for those looking to make an investment in real estate in Panama,” Morrison concluded. 

The Constitution for the United States of America

Article. I.

Section. 1.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three. When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies. The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section. 3.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote. Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies. No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided. The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States. The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide. Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member. Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal. Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.

But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law. Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and post Roads; To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section. 9.
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken. No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State. No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. Section. 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress. No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section. 1.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President.

But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Section. 2.
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III.

Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States;–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.

Section. 1.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section. 3.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section. 4.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, “the,” being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word “Thirty” being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words “is tried” being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word “the” being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.

Equal Protection Under The Laws

United States Constitution: Fourteenth Amendment: Equal Protection Under the Law

14th Amendment of the Constitution. All citizens of the Untied State are entitled to equal protection under the law. Sounds nice. As always, the rhetoric and the reality are not often one in the same. However as a result of the civil war 1865 congress ratified the 14th amendment to the constitution the equal protection clause of the constitution.

Classifications are used to define standards such as fundamental rights, suspect classification, rational basis tests, and so forth. The equal protection clause under the 14th amendment has some crossover into due process of law considerations. However, the laws are no mutually exclusive.
State Action: There must be state action. Exclusive public functions, traditional and exclusive public function, or significant state involvement facilitating private action.

Strict Scrutiny: This standard applies the maximum level of scrutiny. If there is a suspect classification or fundamental right involved the standard of review is strict scrutiny. There must be a Compelling Government interest narrowly tailored so as to be as least restrictive on the rights of the individual as possible or the law will be held to be unconstitutional. The burden of proof is on the government.

Areas were we apply the strict scrutiny standard:

1. Fundamental Rights (privacy (strict constructionists don’t like), procreation, marriage, voting, interstate travel, 1st amendment rights)
2. Race
3. Ailienage or National Origin

Intermediate Scrutiny: The standard of review for intermediate scrutiny is Important Purpose substantially related to that important purpose. The burden of proof is on the government.

The court will apply an intermediate level of scrutiny for Quasi-suspect Classifications such as:

1. Sex (Gender) – O’conner arguably moved the court more towards strict scrutiny
2. Ilegitmacy

Rational Basis: Under the Rational Basis test, a law will be upheld if it is rationally related to a legitimate government interest. Reasonable regulation rationally related. We apply the rational basis test for non suspect classifications. Generally speaking the law will be held to be constitutional under the rational basis test. It has the lowest threshold standard. The burden of proof is on the challenger.

1. Non Suspect Classifications
2. Age
3. Poverty
4. Education
5. Right to Die
6. Homosexuality
7. Housing and Substinance

Taking the Help of Lawyers Software

Litigation software ensures that the workflow is well maintained. A centralized and comprehensive data storage system is required for the storage of expert witness information, case-related information and information about the defendant and the plaintiff. Such a system is necessary for the management of a law firm’s huge volume of data and also for handling multi district litigation cases. Some of the systems enable proper workflow documentation and also that of the business process and therefore takes into account diverse aspects including team interaction.

Law firm software also includes the use of a litigation program that can help the solicitors to frame strategies while contesting their case.  Information can be searched and retrieved easily and customized reports published instantly. The software is also enabled to schedule meetings, notify the members of a team about the latest update, track case documentation and also schedule case events.

Some of them are also used for the preparation of budget proposals and also make projections for the sake of insurance coverage litigation, responding to the queries of the insurers and also assign tasks.

Litigation software simplifies the process of billing to a large extent. A number of issues need to be taken into account and therefore it is necessary to choose the software accordingly. Billing software helps to keep a track of all case related expenses and therefore the lawyer can bill the client accordingly.

The enhanced search features of a software help to look up files instantaneously. The search process is reduced to a matter of seconds.
Every manufacturer wants to create software that would be‘one-stop shopping’ software. There is a huge demand among law firms for such a product among law firms and vendors, on their part, are attempting to create software that would serve multiple needs at a time and make the task of the solicitors easy.