JustAnswer Blog: Legal

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Young woman in her 20's with her arm around her mother.

(Photo: Flickr/Rochelle Hartman)

Taxes: How to tell if an adult qualifies as a 'dependent'

Q: I am trying to determine if I can claim my 20-year-old daughter as a dependent on my tax return. She was a student who lived at home during the whole year of 2012. I am not sure if she paid for more than half of her support for the year. She also made a $700 cash charitable...

Two-story brick house with now on the roof, icicles dangling from the gutters.

(Photo: Flickr/chrstphre)

How liable will my heirs be for my mortgage debt?

Q: Can I leave real estate that has an existing mortgage to my heirs? If so, what options do they have?

A: Yes, you can leave real estate with an existing mortgage. Your heirs would not be personally liable for the mortgage; but if it isn't paid, then the bank could...

Man looking at the few coins held in his palm.

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

Can my sibling's ruined credit affect my own?

January 30, 2013

Q: We are receiving credit collections calls for my estranged sister. Is there some way our credit can be affected by this? What responsibilities (if any) do we have? Apart from living with us for a brief time years ago, I have never co-signed any loans for her.

A: I...

Man's hand writing something on a legal document.

Best ways to find a lawyer with a successful record

January 18, 2013

Q: How can I check to see if my lawyer is successful?

A: While there are no official statistics or records kept anywhere, there are a couple of things you can do. First, see if they are listed in Martindale Hubbell, which are ratings of lawyers by their colleagues on both...

Timing a short sale and your tax return

Q: If I started the short sale of my home in 2012 but it closes in 2013, will I still be eligible for debt forgiveness under the 2007 extended law? Currently I am waiting on underwriters to approve the HUD document.

A: The key date for the purposes of the debt forgiveness...

Dice near the "income tax" space on a Monopoly game board.

(Photo: Flickr/Alan Cleaver)

Basic tax facts for sole-proprietor small businesses

Q: I am a very small independent photographer who made $1,500 over the past year. How do I pay taxes on that?

A: You could be considered self-employed as a sole proprietor. You could claim the income on Schedule C when you file your personal tax return. Any expenses...

Tan Scrabble tiles spelling the word "loan"

(Photo: Flickr/Philip Taylor)

If my husband dies, am I responsible for his car loan?

Q: If my husband passes away with an auto loan in his name only, the car would be at home with me. But am I responsible for paying off the auto loan, or can I turn it back in?

A: If the loan is only in his name, then you are not responsible for the debt. His estate would...

Young woman studying in a law library.

(Photo: Flickr/Tulane Public Relations)

What does it take to become a paralegal?

Q: I am thinking about going back to school to pursue a new career as a paralegal. Can you please tell me what a paralegal typically does, and, if possible, the average salary a paralegal might make per year?

A: I have been an attorney for nearly three decades, and have...

A smiling male consultant.

(Photo: Flickr/Global Integration)

Should I set up an LLC for my consulting practice?

Q: I've started working as a "consultant" for my sister's successful small business, from time to time. She is my only client right now. Should I form an LLC or Inc. and have her pay the "business" and then I pay myself? Is there any benefit for me in doing this? We're talking about $50-...

House at dusk with porch light on. (Photo: Flickr/Paul Sableman)

(Photo: Flickr/Paul Sableman)

What conditions make a reverse mortgage workable?

Q: I am a 72-year-old widow with limited income, and I'm considering a reverse mortgage. I bought my home 7 years ago for $206K and put down $100K. I refinanced almost 2 years ago, and the appraisal came in at $160K. I still owe $103K. I'm not sure if a reverse mortgage is the way to go...

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