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Plano Business Attorney – Doing Business in Other States…The Right Way

Doing Business in Other States…the Right Way.

Why Registering Your Company is vitally important.

As Businesses grow and expand, many times those expansions will lead them across state lines. It is important to understand the legal implications for such a decision. Here are a few recommendations on what to think about when expanding your business:

1) Make sure that your company is first registered in your home state. A good business law attorney can help you make sure you have the type of entity (e.g. Corporation, LLC, LP, etc.) that best fits your needs.

2) Register your company with the new state you are expanding into.

3) Talk with a CPA about the tax implications for your move. You’ll want to ask about whether or not you’ll need to charge sales tax in the new state (which does not always apply for web-based businesses), whether you have to remit Use Taxes, and whether you will need to file a State Franchise Tax Return in your expansion site state.

If you should have any questions about this issue or another Business Law issue, please give our Dallas Business Law Attorneys a call at 214-236-2712.

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Richardson Business Lawyer – Checking Your Employee’s Immigration Status

Remember to always check your new employee’s immigration status…

new green card

In our highly-regulated society, it is hard for the business owner to keep track of all the laws that apply to them. For this reason, I wanted to point out a law which is many times overlooked by small business owners, but can create huge problems for businesses.

I am talking about the requirement that all business owners verify that their employees have an immigration status that legally allows them to work. Generally this means that employees who were not born in the U.S. must provide proof of one of the following types of employment authorization: 1) Certificate of Naturalization (showing they have gained citizenship); 2) a Legal Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a “Green Card” (which shows that they have gained legal permanent resident status, a rung below full citizenship); 3) an EAD (Employment Authorization Document); or 4) an OPT Card (for students who are utilizing the opportunity to work one year with only a few strings attached after they graduate from an American University). The instructions for the I-9 (see link below) give a detailed list of which documents are required, and in what combination.

It is extremely important that small business owners get copies of these documents and fill out an I-9 Form (found here) within 3 days of the beginning of employment. Employers must keep these I-9′s on file for many years in case they are ever audited. There can be STIFF penalties for failing to do so, and for willful violators, there can even be criminal sanctions. The requirements for employers and an explanation of the system are found here.

One last thing to note. The government just changed the look and feel of the “Green Cards.” While these cards have not been green for a long time (causing a great deal of confusion), the United States Customs and Immigration Service has now redesigned them to not only be more counterfeit-proof, but also, logically, green.

If you have any questions about Immigration Law, please call our Dallas Immigration Attorneys at 214-236-2712

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Plano Business Lawyer – Choosing a Business Name that is legal

For many owners of start-up businesses, choosing a name for their business can be a daunting task. Here are some things to consider when choosing a name:

1) Does it convey the right message? If you’re starting a CPA Firm, naming the business after the partners may convey the right feel of expertise and refinement, but if you’re starting a local bakery, such a stodgy name may not help promote your image as well–you may need to try something a little more catchy.

2) Does it adequately describe my business? For many small businesses on a tight marketing budget, having a name that describes what you do can be a huge boon. Not only does it help customers quickly identify if they need your product or service, but it also helps draw traffic to any websites or web postings you may have when people search for the specific product or service you offer.

3) Is it legal? Before naming your company, you will always want to consult your attorney on issues regarding the rights to your proposed name. A business attorney can help you understand whether you must include any special designations (e.g. Inc.), whether it is advisable to trademark your name/logo, and how you should register your name with your state.

In addition to these tips, see this article which provides some helpful ideas for naming your business.

If you should have any questions about this issue or another Business Law issue, please give our Dallas Business Law Attorneys a call at 214-236-2712.

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June 13, 2012

Immigration Reform – Part IItexas state seal

Today we continue our look at Immigration Reform Efforts that are going on right now in the United States. Today, we will look at the Texas Republican Party’s new stance on immigration law.While other states (such as Arizona and Alabama) in the past few years have enacted controversial immigration laws (which some critics claim violate basic human rights), Texas has largely refrained from enacting such broad bills against illegal immigrants. During this time, debate has raged within Texas (as it has across the nation) on what the solution is for the state and national issues surrounding immgration.

According to this article, last week at the State Republican Convention, Texas Republicans voted for a more moderate stance on immigration reform to be included in their official party platform. This platform, while calling for stronger border enforcement also included more moderate stances–including advocating a national guest worker program that would affect potentially hundreds of thousands of migrant workers by giving them work permits, and advocating alternatives to the current system of mass deportations of illegal immigrants.

While the members of the party could not agree on all of the particulars of what these stances would look like (e.g. what alternatives would there be to mass deportations, how would they increase border security without increasing the size of the national government, and how would a guest worker program work in practical terms), the fact that the Texas Republican Party was able to agree on even these more moderate stances towards immigration reform shows that the tide is shifting in terms of public perception of immigration reform. As we noted yesterday, a large number of evangelical Christian leaders are now calling for comprehensive immigration reform, and these evangelical Christians are the same group that heavily supports the Republican Party.

Though proponents of immigration reform may not think that Texas Republicans came very far in making these more moderate statements about immigration reform, the important thing to note is that they did make a move towards moderate approches to immigration reform. This move could prove significant, as many other smaller states are likely to follow Texas’ lead since Texas holds so much power internally within the national Republican Party.

We’ll look tomorrow at what other states are doing in terms of immigration reform.

Note: If you have any questions about immigration reform or any other immigration question, please give our Dallas Immigration Attorneys a call at 214-236-2712.

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June 12, 2012

Series on Immigration Reform – Part 1:Evangelical Leaders Call for Immigration Reform

immigrationvisa

We’ll be starting a series today on Immigration Reform in the United States, and what is likely to happen in the coming months and years. Most experts in the immigration field agree that Immigration Reform is long overdue. Likewise, our immigration law attorneys at Cook & Gore agree that something must be done to overhaul the entire system. Our system of Employment-based Visas hinders the growth of businesses, our Family-based petition process creates confusion and tears apart families, our deportation procedures are broken, and there is a great need to deal with the white elephant in the room–what status to give to the millions of illegal immigrants who are already in the United States (and have been living here for years).The need for Immigration Reform has become so acute that even evangelical Christian leaders, who have in the past shied away from these issues, have started to mobilize their support for comprehensive immigration reform.

As I was reading my Twitter feed this morning, I noticed that Max Lucado, a best-selling Christian author and pastor near San Antonio, Texas, had this to say:

Max Lucado (@MaxLucado)
6/12/12 8:53 AM
I’ve joined 150+ evangelical leaders in calling for #immigration reformbit.ly/KKpkn7

If youclick on the link, you will see that the list of evangelical leaders who have joined together in calling for reform is quite extensive. It includes the Presidents of some of America’s largest Christian denominations–the Southern Baptist Convention, the General Council of the Assemblies of God, the Christian Reformed Church of North America, and many others. Likewise, this list also includes the signatures of heads of prominent Christian ministries–such as Focus on the Family, the Willow Creek Association, World Vision, and many seminaries and colleges.

This groundswell of support from leaders in many different churches and across denominational lines speaks volumes. The fact that all of these leaders agree that Immigration Reform is a top priority says something about how important it is for our politicians to deal with this issue head-on. As this article says, these evangelical Christian leaders are so committed to this issue that they will be airing radio ads in key states about the need to attack this issue and find compromises between party lines.

So we see that there is a growing consensus that immigration reform is necessary. Let’s look tomorrow at what is being done about reform in some of the individual states.

Note: If you have questions about immigration reform or any other immigration question, please feel free to call our Dallas Immigration Attorneys at Cook & Gore. Our phone number is 214-236-2712, and we would be happy to help answer any questions you may have.

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February 24, 2012

Alabama’s New Immigration Law Shows The Need For Comprehensive Immigration Reformimmigrationvisa

Alabama’s new Immigration Law, which places restrictions on immigrants similar to that of Arizona’s controversial immigration law (e.g. police are required to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest or detain who they believe could be an illegal immigrant), has highlighted the growing rift between states regarding the proper way to implement immigration reform. While some states such as Alabama and Arizona are pushing these new laws despite questions about racial profiling and discrimination, other states desire guidance from Congress on how to counteract illegal immigration.Recently, evangelical pastors and lay leaders from around the country met on the campus of Samford University to discuss the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In general, the message was the same from all of these pastors–we, as a country, desperately need to find workable, humane solutions to the problems with our current immigration laws. As one of the pastors said: “We are not asking people to break the law, we’re asking to reform a broken law.”

The debate over how to reform our country’s antiquated immigration laws is not going to be an easy one. Republicans and Democrats are far apart on the major issues involved, and it will take a great deal of political maneuvering and strategy to find a workable compromise to these issues. However, it is imperative that these issues be brought to the forefront, and that this debate begins sooner rather than later at the Congressional level. Leaving States to decide on these key issues will only create a fragmented system or patchwork laws, and will not get to the heart of the real issues, which involve federal immigration laws. No matter which side of the aisle you are on, almost everyone can admit that our Immigration System is broken and in desperate need of repair. Our hope is that the debate over how to repair this system will happen sooner rather than later in Congress, and that the solutions Congress devises are not merely “band-aid” type solutions.

If you have any questions about this or any other immigration question, give the Dallas Immigration Attorneys at Cook & Gore a call at 214-236-2712.

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August 2, 2011

Will Employers Be Required to Verify

their Workers Immigration Status Using E-Verify?



A new bill in Congress, proposed by Representative Lamar Smith of San Antonio, would require farmers and other employers to start using the government’s E-Verify system in all cases where they hire workers. As Jesse McKinley and Julia Preston note in an article you can see here, this could create many problems for the farming industry. While having a system to check employees’ immigration status is considered by many as a good concept, it is a concept that is fraught with peril. One concern, of course, is that this system would cause employers to unlawfully discriminate in the hiring process. However, an even bigger concern is that the government’s E-Verify system is woefully inadequate and prone to errors. This article from the Society for Human Resource Management highlights some of those problems, and discusses a study that was released this year that shows major problems with the E-Verify system.

One of the major problems with this type of piecemeal legislation is that it only seeks to remedy one of the symptoms of the problem without first treating the entire problem with a systematic approach. Most immigration lawyers and those who work with immigration law daily agree that in order to fully solve our nation’s immigration problems, a comprehensive immigration bill must be pushed through Congress and signed by the President. Such a bill would need to cover many issues, and provide solutions to many problems, including the status of persons who have lived in the U.S. illegally for many years, the status of the E-Verify system for employers, the current quotas and waiting periods for legal immigration, and much more. Let’s hope that sooner rather than later our political leaders can see the need for our nation to grapple with all of these issues in a comprehensive way rather than through piecemeal legislation.

If you have any questions about this or any other immigration question, give the Dallas Immigration Attorneys at Cook & Gore a call at 214-236-2712.

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July 15, 2011

Checking Your Immigration Case Status

Did you know that you can check your immigration case status using USCIS’ website? Here’s how:


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July 15, 2011 (Part II)

The Citizenship Interview and Test

We at Cook & Gore have many clients that ask how they can best prepare for their Citizneship Interview and Test with USCIS. The following video will help you prepare for this important day:

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Dallas Probate Lawyer – Frequently Asked Questions About Probate Law

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate Law

As Probate Lawyers, we hear many questions from people who are confused by what “probate” is and what the process entails. Below are some of our answers to the most frequently asked questions about Probate Law:

What is “Probate?”

A: Probate is the process of administering an estate (i.e. all assets and liabilities) of a deceased person by settling all claims and then distributing the deceased person’s assets to the heirs and/or beneficiaries.

My Loved One Just Died? Do I really need to probate my family member’s estate?

A: Yes. It is extremely important that you probate the estate so that you can legally transfer all of the assets of your family member. For instance, many types of property (including a house and other real property) cannot be transferred without the court order of a probate judge.

Can I Transfer My Loved One’s Assets without going to Court?

A: No. Unfortunately, in order to transfer those assets, you must go to court in most situations.

Will I need an Attorney to help me probate my loved one’s estate?

A: Yes. In most counties (including Dallas), the probate court judges require that you have an attorney represent you in order to probate the estate. But this is not a bad thing—probate is very complicated, and having an attorney guide you will make a huge difference in helping you be able to transfer property easily and efficiently.

What type of Attorney can help me in probating the estate?

A: It is important to find an attorney that specializes in probate law. Many lawyers incorrectly advise their clients about probate law because it is not an area that most lawyers ever practice in or study deeply. Therefore, it is important to search for a lawyer who has already handled probate cases like yours, and who can help guide you through this process.

What type of documents will my attorney need to be able to help probate the estate?

A: You will need to give your attorney the following documents:

  1. Your Loved One’s Will, if they had a Will
  2. A copy of their life insurance policies, if any
  3. A list of all of their assets (e.g. bank accounts, home, cars, retirement accounts, boats, etc.)
  4. A list of all close relatives (including spouse, children, adopted children, grandchildren, and former spouses)
  5. A list of any known debts (including mortgages, credit card bills, bank loans, etc.)

What will I need to do to apply to probate my loved one’s estate?

A: First, your attorney will help you file an Application to Probate the Will (or, if there is no Will, an Application to Probate the Estate). This Application will list a proposed Executor or Administrator for the Estate (i.e. a person who will be responsible for wrapping up the affairs of the estate, paying creditors, and transferring property to the beneficiaries). Once the court names an Executor or Administrator for the estate, your attorney will then work with you to pay creditors, file an inventory of the estate, and distribute assets to the heirs or beneficiaries of the deceased person.

How much will this court procedure cost?

A: The costs vary depending on whether your loved one had a Will or not. If your loved one had a Will, the total cost to probate the estate will be around $1,500-$2,000 in most cases. However, if your loved one did not have a Will, the total cost to probate the estate can vary widely.

 

What is the end result of all this court action?

A: After going through all of this, the Executor or Administrator of your loved one’s estate will have the power to do the following: 1) Pay your loved one’s remaining debts, 2) Reimburse family members for the cost of the funeral, burial, etc., and 3) Disburse your loved one’s property to the beneficiaries listed in the Will (or, if there is no Will, to your loved one’s heirs). While all of this court action and supervision may seem unnecessary in situations where all the family members are in agreement, state law requires that every estate go through these procedures to ensure that property is properly transferred and that all the person’s heirs are protected as much as possible.

If you have had a loved one die recently, and would like to talk with a Dallas Probate Attorney, we would be glad to help. Give us a call today at 214-886-7633