Student loans are treated differently than other unsecured debts in bankruptcy. A debtor seeking to discharge liability for a student loan must demonstrate “undue hardship.” While this standard is more stringent than for ordinary unsecured debts, the a very high percentage of debtors with lingering student loan debt assume that student loans are by definition non-dischargeable under any circumstances. A recent study found that only about 0.1% of debtors with student loan debt filing for bankruptcy make any attempt to discharge the student loans. Yet, statistically, when debtors decided to challenge their student loans, they successfully...Read More
For decades, Washington State left the its overtime rules essentially unchanged. But recent changes going into effect in July 2020 will dramatically increase the threshold for exemptions to overtime eligibility. When combined with the recent increase in Washington State’s minimum wage of $13.50/hour effective January 1, 2020, these changes will are expected to affect approximately 259,000 Washington workers by 2028. The new rules generally require employers to pay overtime to employees who work over 40 hours in a week and whose weekly salary is less than a certain multiplier of the state’s minimum wage. Starting July...Read More
In 2013, I wrote an article touting the “Friendly Quiet Title” as a more efficient means of adjusting your boundary line, when compared to a city/county boundary line adjustment (“BLA”). In recent years, the time and money savings of a Friendly Quiet Title have only increased when compared to the BLA.
For example, as of January 2020, King County’s base BLA fee is up to $3,615. Add a degree of complexity (such as vacant land or land with critical areas), and the base fee increases to $5,568. These fees will presumably...Read More
One of the features of Washington’s new LLC Act is a clarification of the fiduciary duties owed by members and managers. The Act provides that the only fiduciary duties members of a member- managed LLC and a manager of a manager-managed LLC are the duties of loyalty and care. Members in a manager-managed LLC do not owe fiduciary duties.
The duty of loyalty is limited to:
Account to the LLC and hold as trustee for the LLC any profit, or benefit derived by...Read More
Do you remember that old real estate contract your parents entered into in the 1970s to buy the family home? Or perhaps that loan they took out against the home in the 1980s that they paid off after a few years? It is possible that your parents decided that these long completed real estate transactions might not make for the most interesting dinner conversation. Unfortunately, you might someday end up thrust into a strange and frustrating, but surprisingly common, situation where these old forgotten clouds on title from decades ago linger on like ghosts.
Selling a home involves an almost overwhelming number of considerations. How should you stage your home? What will be your listing price? How many open houses should you have? Does your house need any touch ups? The list can go on and on. Indeed, even after an offer is accepted, a seller still has to worry about financing contingencies, inspection contingencies, closing requirements, and what will happen with the earnest money deposit if there is a dispute between the parties.
In the midst of all of this, a home seller might be forgiven for glossing over...Read More
If you have a LLC or corporation registered with the Washington Secretary of State, be aware of scams and misleading letters. Scammers have been increasing their efforts, especially against new business owners. These hoaxes suggest you are required to pay for certificates, posters, or other documentation, when in fact, the state requires no such documentation or you are being overcharged to receive it. The Secretary of State posts information on many of these scams on its webpage. For example, the most recent grift purports to inform business owners they need to pay for a Certificate of...Read More
Each district court in Washington State has a small claims division that provides an avenue for parties to resolve small monetary disputes. This division is generally referred to as small claims court. Small claims court utilizes a very streamlined process so that parties can resolve small disputes without having to spend extensive time and money in pursuit of judicial relief.
Effective July 28, 2019, the jurisdictional limit for small claims court has increased from $5,000 to $10,000 in all cases brought by “natural persons”, otherwise better known as human beings, while all other parties (i.e....Read More
On January 1, 2020, Washington state’s new graduated real estate excise tax takes effect. The excise tax (aka transfer tax) is paid upon closing the sale of real property. The amount of tax changes depending on the value of the sold property. The existing excise tax is a flat 1.28%.
The new excise tax is graduated, meaning the percentage increases on defined tranches of sale proceeds as the sale price increases. Below is a list of the graduated tax brackets based on sale price, and the new excise tax rate assigned to each bracket. The increases...Read More
Businesses have life cycles: birth (formation), life (operation), and death (liquidation and winding up). Many business owners form a limited liability company (“LLC”) by filing a Certificate of Formation, but fail to complete the necessary structuring of the LLC to maximize the benefits of LLC. When utilized properly, the flexibility the LLC offers coupled with its liability shield makes it superior in some cases to other entities. However, when not properly considered, an LLC can cause disastrous consequences to its owners and the business itself.
Take the time to draft an “operating” agreement (aka...Read More