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Legal Services

What is an example of property law?

For example, a person may own a piece of property with sole ownership, or they might have a joint tenancy with others. If they have joint tenancy, they may or may not have a right to transfer their share of ownership to someone else at any time or at their death.

Why is property law important?

The right and freedom to property allows personal freedom and to pursue their own interests. Furthermore, it provides an incentive and allows people to live and work for a purpose.

What are the two main types of property?

Real and Personal Property Overview

There are two basic categories of property: real and personal. The assessment procedures and the tax rate will vary between these two categories. Real property, in general, is land and anything permanently affixed to land (e.g. wells or buildings).

What does property law involve?

Overview. Real property law is about helping clients to manage their rights and responsibilities as landowners and advising on transactions to realise the economic potential of their properties. … They may also litigate when disputes related to real estate and property arise.

How old do I have to be to have a will?

Any person 16 years and older can have a will drawn up provided that person is mentally equipped to understand the impact of his or her actions. A witness to a will must be at 14 years or older.

How can I make a valid will if I cannot sign my name?

A testator can sign a will by means of a mark, e.g. a thumbprint or making of a cross. Someone else may also sign on their behalf. In both cases, whether they make a mark or someone else signs on their behalf, it must be done in the presence of two or more competent witnesses and a commissioner of oaths, all of which to be present at the same time. You can find a commissioner of oaths at your local police station.
The will must contain a certificate by the commissioner of oaths, that he is satisfied as to the identity of the testator and that this is the will of the testator. The certificate must be signed by the commissioner. Each page of the will must also be signed by the commissioner anywhere on the page.

A witness to a will may not sign by means of a mark.

Who can witness my will?

Witnesses must be 14 years of age or older, mentally competent and cannot be beneficiaries to your estate. If someone stands to benefit from your will, they cannot sign as a witness. Work colleagues or friends who are not nominated in the will are ideal, as they can usually be found and called upon in the unlikely case of a dispute.

When do I nominate my spouse as an executor & when should I nominate an independent executor to administer my estate?

It is generally advisable to nominate your spouse as an executor. It enables them the freedom to compare and choose most suitable financial or legal assistance in administering the estate and the ability to negotiate a rate. In cases where one anticipates that there is likely to be conflict among your beneficiaries it is advisable to have an independent executor.

How do I lodge a grievance?

If your manager is being difficult without proper reason you would be entitled to lodge a grievance against your manager. The grievance would usually be in writing and lodged with your superiors manager or HR. The grievance should suggest a desired outcome. If the grievance is not resolved within a reasonable time you would be entitled to refer the matter to the CCMA or possibly resign on the basis of constructive dismissal and refer the matter to the CCMA

What is Constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal – Section 186(e) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 defines dismissal in this context as occurring when: “an employee terminated a contract of employment with or without notice because the employer made continued employment intolerable for the employee”.

I have just been dismissed / received a warning at work what should I do?

The law requires that disciplinary sanction be effected for a fair reason and in accordance with a fair procedure. If the employer fails on either count the CCMA may order compensation or reinstatement or both.

I am a victim of sexual harassment at work. WHat should I do?

You should immediately take the matter up with Human Resources or a senior manager. If the employer fails to take steps to protect the employer being sexually harassed both the employer and the person harassing the employee will face sanction.

I am getting divorced. Do I need an attorney?

It ordinarily is a good idea to consult with a lawyer about major life events or changes, such as a divorce. S/he will protect your rights, as well as the rights of your children. S/he keeps current with the laws in your state concerning marriage, divorce, marital property, child custody and visitation, and family support.

What are the legal grounds for obtaining a divorce?

The grounds for divorce depend on the state, and may be based on no-fault or fault. A no-fault divorce is available in some form in all 50 states; many states also have fault-based grounds as an additional option. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither the husband nor the wife officially blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Common bases for no-fault divorce are “irreconcilable differences,” “irretrievable breakdown” or “incompatibility.” Another common basis for no-fault divorce is that the parties have lived separately for a certain period of time (varies from state to state) with the intent that the separation be permanent. The list of grounds for a fault-based divorce may include: adultery, physical cruelty, mental cruelty, attempted murder, desertion, habitual drunkenness, use of addictive drugs, insanity, impotency, and infection of one’s spouse with venereal disease.

Who determines how assets are divided in a divorce?

Generally, spouses are free to divide their property as they see fit in what is called a “marital settlement agreement,” which is a contract between the husband and the wife that divides property and debts and resolves other issues of the divorce. Although many divorces begin with a high level of acrimony, a substantial majority are settled without the need for a judge to decide property or other issues. However, if the division of property cannot be settled, then the court must make the determination. Laws vary from state to state. As a starting point, many states allow both parties to keep their “nonmarital” or “separate” property.

How do courts determine who gets custody of children in a divorce?

If the parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the courts decide custody based on “the best interests of the child.” Determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, no one of which is the most important factor.

If I cannot pay taxes, should I file a return?

Yes. You may face civil penalties or even criminal charges if you fail to file a return on time. You will continue to accrue interest on the overdue taxes and may face collection efforts from the IRS, but this situation is still better than the alternative.

Can I get an extension to pay my taxes without incurring interest and penalties?

Taxpayers rarely get extensions to pay taxes without interest and penalties. A taxpayer may be able to avoid penalties in some cases if they can show the IRS that they are facing a severe hardship. This involves filing Form 1127 to ask for a six-month extension. Sometimes the IRS will grant an extension only in return for posting a bond, which usually is not feasible for a taxpayer who is struggling to pay their taxes.

If I failed to file a tax return as required, how long can the IRS pursue me?

The IRS usually will not pursue a taxpayer who failed to file a return if at least six years have passed since the return was due. It does not have the authority to pursue criminal charges after that time. It does have the authority to impose civil penalties at any time in the future, but this does not usually happen.

How long should I keep my tax records?

You should keep your tax records for six years, or at least three years. The normal time limit for an audit is three years, but the IRS can conduct an audit up to six years after a return if the taxpayer may have significantly underreported their income.

What body of law governs a contract for the sale of goods?

A contract for the sale of goods is governed mainly by state law. Most states have adopted Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which provides rules for all phases of a sales contract including formation, modification, performance, and available remedies in the case of a breach.

What body of law governs a lease of goods?

A contract for the lease of goods is also primarily regulated by state law. Most states have adopted Article 2A of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which pertains to leases of goods.

What is a secured transaction?

Many lenders require a security interest before they will extend a loan. A secured transaction occurs when the borrower conveys a collateral property interest to secure a loan. Should the borrower default on the loan, the lender may take possession of the specified property.

What is a negotiable instrument?

A negotiable instrument is an unconditioned, signed writing that represents money that is to be transferred to another. Checks, certificates of deposit and promissory notes are examples of negotiable instruments.

What exactly is litigation law?

Litigation law governs topics regarding filing a lawsuit, seeking damages and compensation, trials and other litigation related topics. It also covers the individuals who take part in a lawsuit – both the defendant and the plaintiff.

What is the difference between a criminal and civil trial?

In a criminal trial, typically the state or government is representing the people in order to seek punishment or consequences for someone who has committed a crim. Civil suits typically take place when two individuals or parties cannot come to an agreement in a dispute by themselves..

If I take someone to court for monetary compensation and win, how can I ensure that I will receive my money?

The court clerk will typically file a judgment against the other party – stating that they owe you money and what amount. This can be used by you to obtain the monies owed or take property of the other party in an equal amount.

Is mediation covered under litigation law?

In some cases, yes. Mediation is when two parties decide to try and settle things outside of the court room, even though the court will have to approve the decisions and legally record those decisions. Typically, a third party acts and mediator – such as an attorney or certified mediator.

Legal Services

Property Law & Conveyancing

What is an example of property law?

For example, a person may own a piece of property with sole ownership, or they might have a joint tenancy with others. If they have joint tenancy, they may or may not have a right to transfer their share of ownership to someone else at any time or at their death.

Why is property law important?

The right and freedom to property allows personal freedom and to pursue their own interests. Furthermore, it provides an incentive and allows people to live and work for a purpose.

What are the two main types of property?

Real and Personal Property Overview

There are two basic categories of property: real and personal. The assessment procedures and the tax rate will vary between these two categories. Real property, in general, is land and anything permanently affixed to land (e.g. wells or buildings).

What does property law involve?

Overview. Real property law is about helping clients to manage their rights and responsibilities as landowners and advising on transactions to realise the economic potential of their properties. … They may also litigate when disputes related to real estate and property arise.

Litigation

What exactly is litigation law?

Litigation law governs topics regarding filing a lawsuit, seeking damages and compensation, trials and other litigation related topics. It also covers the individuals who take part in a lawsuit – both the defendant and the plaintiff.

What is the difference between a criminal and civil trial?

In a criminal trial, typically the state or government is representing the people in order to seek punishment or consequences for someone who has committed a crim. Civil suits typically take place when two individuals or parties cannot come to an agreement in a dispute by themselves..

If I take someone to court for monetary compensation and win, how can I ensure that I will receive my money?

The court clerk will typically file a judgment against the other party – stating that they owe you money and what amount. This can be used by you to obtain the monies owed or take property of the other party in an equal amount.

Is mediation covered under litigation law?

In some cases, yes. Mediation is when two parties decide to try and settle things outside of the court room, even though the court will have to approve the decisions and legally record those decisions. Typically, a third party acts and mediator – such as an attorney or certified mediator.

Family & Matrimonial Law

I am getting divorced. Do I need an attorney?

It ordinarily is a good idea to consult with a lawyer about major life events or changes, such as a divorce. S/he will protect your rights, as well as the rights of your children. S/he keeps current with the laws in your state concerning marriage, divorce, marital property, child custody and visitation, and family support.

What are the legal grounds for obtaining a divorce?

The grounds for divorce depend on the state, and may be based on no-fault or fault. A no-fault divorce is available in some form in all 50 states; many states also have fault-based grounds as an additional option. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither the husband nor the wife officially blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Common bases for no-fault divorce are “irreconcilable differences,” “irretrievable breakdown” or “incompatibility.” Another common basis for no-fault divorce is that the parties have lived separately for a certain period of time (varies from state to state) with the intent that the separation be permanent. The list of grounds for a fault-based divorce may include: adultery, physical cruelty, mental cruelty, attempted murder, desertion, habitual drunkenness, use of addictive drugs, insanity, impotency, and infection of one’s spouse with venereal disease.

Who determines how assets are divided in a divorce?

Generally, spouses are free to divide their property as they see fit in what is called a “marital settlement agreement,” which is a contract between the husband and the wife that divides property and debts and resolves other issues of the divorce. Although many divorces begin with a high level of acrimony, a substantial majority are settled without the need for a judge to decide property or other issues. However, if the division of property cannot be settled, then the court must make the determination. Laws vary from state to state. As a starting point, many states allow both parties to keep their “nonmarital” or “separate” property.

How do courts determine who gets custody of children in a divorce?

If the parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the courts decide custody based on “the best interests of the child.” Determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, no one of which is the most important factor.

Tax Law

If I cannot pay taxes, should I file a return?

Yes. You may face civil penalties or even criminal charges if you fail to file a return on time. You will continue to accrue interest on the overdue taxes and may face collection efforts from the IRS, but this situation is still better than the alternative.

Can I get an extension to pay my taxes without incurring interest and penalties?

Taxpayers rarely get extensions to pay taxes without interest and penalties. A taxpayer may be able to avoid penalties in some cases if they can show the IRS that they are facing a severe hardship. This involves filing Form 1127 to ask for a six-month extension. Sometimes the IRS will grant an extension only in return for posting a bond, which usually is not feasible for a taxpayer who is struggling to pay their taxes.

If I failed to file a tax return as required, how long can the IRS pursue me?

The IRS usually will not pursue a taxpayer who failed to file a return if at least six years have passed since the return was due. It does not have the authority to pursue criminal charges after that time. It does have the authority to impose civil penalties at any time in the future, but this does not usually happen.

How long should I keep my tax records?

You should keep your tax records for six years, or at least three years. The normal time limit for an audit is three years, but the IRS can conduct an audit up to six years after a return if the taxpayer may have significantly underreported their income.

Wills & Estate Planning

How old do I have to be to have a will?

Any person 16 years and older can have a will drawn up provided that person is mentally equipped to understand the impact of his or her actions. A witness to a will must be at 14 years or older.

How can I make a valid will if I cannot sign my name?

A testator can sign a will by means of a mark, e.g. a thumbprint or making of a cross. Someone else may also sign on their behalf. In both cases, whether they make a mark or someone else signs on their behalf, it must be done in the presence of two or more competent witnesses and a commissioner of oaths, all of which to be present at the same time. You can find a commissioner of oaths at your local police station.
The will must contain a certificate by the commissioner of oaths, that he is satisfied as to the identity of the testator and that this is the will of the testator. The certificate must be signed by the commissioner. Each page of the will must also be signed by the commissioner anywhere on the page.

A witness to a will may not sign by means of a mark.

Who can witness my will?

Witnesses must be 14 years of age or older, mentally competent and cannot be beneficiaries to your estate. If someone stands to benefit from your will, they cannot sign as a witness. Work colleagues or friends who are not nominated in the will are ideal, as they can usually be found and called upon in the unlikely case of a dispute.

When do I nominate my spouse as an executor & when should I nominate an independent executor to administer my estate?

It is generally advisable to nominate your spouse as an executor. It enables them the freedom to compare and choose most suitable financial or legal assistance in administering the estate and the ability to negotiate a rate. In cases where one anticipates that there is likely to be conflict among your beneficiaries it is advisable to have an independent executor.

Labour Law

How do I lodge a grievance?

If your manager is being difficult without proper reason you would be entitled to lodge a grievance against your manager. The grievance would usually be in writing and lodged with your superiors manager or HR. The grievance should suggest a desired outcome. If the grievance is not resolved within a reasonable time you would be entitled to refer the matter to the CCMA or possibly resign on the basis of constructive dismissal and refer the matter to the CCMA

What is Constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal – Section 186(e) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 defines dismissal in this context as occurring when: “an employee terminated a contract of employment with or without notice because the employer made continued employment intolerable for the employee”.

I have just been dismissed / received a warning at work what should I do?

The law requires that disciplinary sanction be effected for a fair reason and in accordance with a fair procedure. If the employer fails on either count the CCMA may order compensation or reinstatement or both.

I am a victim of sexual harassment at work. WHat should I do?

You should immediately take the matter up with Human Resources or a senior manager. If the employer fails to take steps to protect the employer being sexually harassed both the employer and the person harassing the employee will face sanction.

Commercial Law

What body of law governs a contract for the sale of goods?

A contract for the sale of goods is governed mainly by state law. Most states have adopted Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which provides rules for all phases of a sales contract including formation, modification, performance, and available remedies in the case of a breach.

What body of law governs a lease of goods?

A contract for the lease of goods is also primarily regulated by state law. Most states have adopted Article 2A of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which pertains to leases of goods.

What is a secured transaction?

Many lenders require a security interest before they will extend a loan. A secured transaction occurs when the borrower conveys a collateral property interest to secure a loan. Should the borrower default on the loan, the lender may take possession of the specified property.

What is a negotiable instrument?

A negotiable instrument is an unconditioned, signed writing that represents money that is to be transferred to another. Checks, certificates of deposit and promissory notes are examples of negotiable instruments.

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