Category: General Law

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What Cases Do a Real Estate Attorney Handle?

A real estate attorney is knowledgeable in real estate law and is equipped to help in matters pertaining to real estate transactions. They can handle all of the legal aspects of a real estate transaction or litigate real estate cases. Whether you need assistance with the legal process of buying property or have a dispute you need to settle, a real estate attorney specializes in such cases and is a valuable asset.

Not only does a real estate attorney secure the legal transfer of property from seller to buyer, but they can offer needed assistance to ensure the party’s interests are protected. Buying a home or property is a large investment, and you will want an advocate who best represents your interests at closing. If you are buying or selling property, it may be helpful to work with a real estate attorney in Portland, Oregon. If you’re uncertain if you need an attorney, read below to learn what real estate attorneys do and how they can help with your particular needs.

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

A real estate attorney has in-depth knowledge of all aspects of real estate law and can offer legal assistance with the purchasing process. This includes the land and any structure on it, for residential or commercial property. They can help prepare and review documents, facilitate the transfer of funds, verify the title is clear, and even attend the closing to ensure your interests are protected.

Their scope of expertise is varied, and they are equipped to facilitate document preparation for land purchases, commercial property purchases, financing, leasing, selling, and new construction property. Additionally, if problems arise during a deal, they can litigate any disputes pertaining to the property and work to resolve the issues while minimizing costs.

Buying a Home

Buying a home or property to build on can be an overwhelming process, especially for a first-time homeowner. There are a lot of steps and legal procedures that must be followed to guarantee a legal transfer of the property. This process includes a number of fees and transferring money, as well as negotiating closing costs and any inspections or repairs that are needed.

A real estate attorney can guide you through all the necessary steps to ensure the transfer is legal while working to protect your interests and help negotiate costs. They will evaluate the seller’s offer and make sure the responsibilities of the seller and buyer are clearly defined. Depending on your state of residence, an attorney may be required by the title insurance company or mortgage lender to ensure a secure transaction.

Not only will a real estate attorney help you understand the purchase contract, but they will also prepare and file necessary documents and ensure there are no liens, covenants, or easements registered against the property. They will also evaluate any adjustments prior to closing, review the papers you’re required to sign at closing, and ensure you have received a valid title with no surprise liabilities. They can also secure title insurance should there be any potential problems in the future.

Selling a Home

A real estate attorney can also be obtained by a seller to help prepare the purchase and sale agreement as well as negotiate the terms. Having an attorney on your side during the process can be a valuable asset. They can fix any issues with the title and securely prepare the paperwork while ensuring a smooth transfer of money and deed. This includes preparing the deed, reviewing documents at closing, and arranging both the security deposit transfer as well as insurance certificates. If you’re a first-time seller, an attorney can be the peace of mind you need to make sure you have legally transferred your home and that your interests are protected.

Boundary Disputes

If you own property, it may become necessary to protect yourself from any violation of your boundary line. An easement may allow someone to use your land for limited purposes, such as crossing your land to access a public road or allowing utility companies to access any pipes or electric lines on your property.

While easements give these parties the right to use your land, sometimes, the issue and property line are more obscured. You may be uncertain about the property boundary between a neighbor. Where does the boundary lie? Or maybe you innocently encroached on the adjoining landowner’s property to make an improvement. A real estate attorney can evaluate the boundary dispute and negotiate a settlement or represent you in court to protect your property interest.

Estate Planning

A subset within real estate law is estate planning. This branch focuses on your assets and what happens to them when you pass away. This includes the transfer of property and the creation of wills and trusts. An attorney will ensure your family is cared for and your assets are passed on to the person or organization of your choice with as minimal taxation as possible.

Landlord-Tenant Law

Renting real property affords both the landlord and tenant certain rights. Sometimes, these rights can be violated, and one of the involved parties will require the protection of their interests. However, it can be tricky to navigate whose rights were violated and how to proceed. Landlord/tenant laws are complex and may require expert representation. These laws apply to both residential and commercial property and cover all aspects of renting real property, such as leases and evictions. A real estate attorney is equipped to handle the diverse and various aspects of this branch, from form reviews to fair housing disputes.

No matter what your legal needs are, our real estate attorneys at Warren Allen LLP in Portland, Oregon, are here to expertly guide you. Whether you’re buying or selling a home or looking for guidance or representation in a current dispute, you can put your trust in us. Our skilled attorneys will focus on helping you achieve your legal goals, regardless of the forum. If you’re in Oregon or Washington, contact us today for exceptional service and sound legal advice.

 

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What Training and Certifications Are Required of Attorneys in Portland Oregon?

Whether you’re just graduating from high school and deciding which career path to choose for the first time or have been working in a different profession for years and are ready for a life change, deciding to become a lawyer can be both exciting and daunting. There are many steps to take before you’re permitted to represent another person in a court of law. Figuring out which steps are required and in which order takes some work. Becoming a lawyer requires dedication and commitment through the education and testing process, and it also requires a large financial obligation to pay for the schooling and certifications required by the state.

Many lawyers have decided on this career path because it provides a lot of job satisfaction, as it allows you to use your legal skills to help others and protect those without a voice, such as children, animals, and the environment. Not only is it a meaningful career path, but it also provides financial stability with a large earning potential, and it allows you the flexibility to choose your own law field to specialize in based on which areas of law you’re most interested in. Lawyers can work across multiple fields of law throughout their careers.

Your attorneys in Portland, Oregon, from Warren Allen LLP did the legwork for you, and we’ve listed below the steps to take to start your career journey and become a professional lawyer. If you would like to speak with an attorney in the Portland, Oregon, area, contact Warren Allen LLP for legal advice or representation.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step in becoming a lawyer is earning your bachelor’s degree from an accredited undergraduate school that’s recognized by the US Department of Education. You aren’t required to select a particular major in order to apply to a law school that’s accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), and you can graduate with either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

However, there may be certain classes that can be completed during your undergraduate degree that will be helpful when earning your law degree, as they prepare you for those lessons that will be required during your post-graduate law program. Taking classes such as criminal justice and political science, business and economics courses, and classes in communications can all help prepare you for the classes required during law school.

Pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Once you graduate from an undergraduate program recognized by the US Department of Education, you’re ready to study for your Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is a standardized exam that must be completed before applying to any ABA-accredited law school. The exam includes multiple-choice questions that test your logic, reasoning, and reading comprehension. You will also be required to submit a 30-minute writing sample that doesn’t count toward your LSAT score but is used by law school administrators to evaluate your qualifications for entering their law program.

The Law School Admission Council’s website is a great resource for preparing for the LSAT, and you can also sign up to sit for the exam on their website. You must apply to take the LSAT online, and the test is only available to take during certain times of the year, so it’s important to visit the Law School Admission Council’s website to find out when the exam will be offered in your area. You should receive your LSAT score about three weeks after completing the exam.

LSAT scores will range from 120, which is the lowest possible score, to 180, which is the highest possible score. Each law school program will require a certain score to be considered a candidate for their law program, and that score will vary with each school. The average LSAT score is around 150. The exam will be around 100 questions, and you will need to get about 60 questions correct to pass with a 150.

Graduate From Law School

After graduating with an undergraduate degree and completing the LSAT, you’re now ready to apply to an ABA-accredited law school. Three ABA-accredited law schools in the Portland, Oregon, area are Lewis and Clark Law School, University of Oregon Law School, and Willamette University College of Law. In order to sit for the Oregon State Bar Exam, you must have graduated with a Juris Doctor (JD) or Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from an ABA-accredited school.

Most law programs will have students complete internships where they get to put into practice what they learned in the classroom. All ABA-accredited law degree programs offer the same foundational law classes that include civil, criminal, and constitutional law; international law; legal research and writing; contracts, ethics, wills, and trusts; and estate and property law.

Pass the Oregon State Bar Exam

You can sign up to sit for the Oregon State Bar Exam within 120 days of your graduation date from an ABA-accredited law program. The Oregon Bar Exam is given twice a year, in February and July, and is given over two days. You must apply to sit for the Bar exam by November 15 for the one offered in February, or by April 15 for the exam offered in July.

The Oregon State Bar Exam application can be found on the Oregon Bar Association website. The application requires providing six character statements and information on your last five employers. It costs $750 to sit for the bar exam. Oregon Bar Exam results are typically mailed six weeks after completing the test.

Maintaining Your License With the Oregon Bar

Once you pass the bar exam, you’re now an attorney in Oregon. Attorneys in Portland, Oregon, are required to participate in the Bar’s New Lawyer Mentoring Program (NLMP) within the first year of becoming a licensed attorney. To maintain your Oregon legal license, you must complete 45 credit hours of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) courses every three years. Course information can be found on the Oregon State Bar website.

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What Are the Types of Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the power to represent or act on behalf of another person in business, private affairs, or any other legal matter. For instance, it can be used to allow one person to sign a contract for someone else, make financial transactions, make health care decisions, and so on. In fact, a power of attorney may be the most important of all the legal documents there are. Because of this, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly and should be discussed and researched first by all parties involved.

The person who is giving the power to another person is referred to as the principal, grantor, or donor. The person receiving the power is referred to as an agent or attorney-in-fact. The agent is able to make the power of attorney very broad or can limit it to just certain acts. There are four different types of power of attorney for you to choose from—special or limited power of attorney, general power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and springing durable power of attorney.

1. Special or Limited Power of Attorney

If you don’t want to give someone the ability to act on behalf of all of your rights, a special or limited power of attorney is likely what you want to choose. It gives the agent the power to act for you in only a very specific, limited purpose. There will be a specified time in the document when the power of attorney privileges end.

Common uses of a special or limited power of attorney include granting the agent the ability to sell a home or other real estate, sign a deed on behalf of the principal, or cash checks payable in the principal’s name.

2. General Power of Attorney

As the name suggests, this is the broadest level of power of attorney, and it’s quite comprehensive. With a general power of attorney in Oregon, the agent can act entirely on behalf of the principal. Any rights the grantor has are now shared with the agent. This means that the agent can manage the principal’s personal finances, including opening accounts and signing for them. The agent is also able to file lawsuits, make financial investments, manage the business, apply for benefits, collect debts, cash checks, and purchase or sell things all on behalf of the principal.

To revoke a general power of attorney arrangement, the principal needs to legally take it away, become incapacitated, or pass away.

3. Durable Power of Attorney

Whereas a general power of attorney is revoked when a principal becomes incapacitated, a durable power of attorney endures. This means that you should assign someone as a durable power of attorney in Oregon when you want to give them authority only if you’re not able to act on behalf of yourself or if you want to give them an immediate authority that will continue after you become incapacitated. This form of power of attorney can be limited or general in scope. A durable power of attorney in Oregon will remain in place until the principal’s passing or if they revoked it before becoming incapacitated.

A common reason people choose a durable power of attorney in Oregon is if they have been diagnosed with a disease such as Alzheimer’s. By choosing a durable power of attorney, you’re making sure that there is someone who can begin to act on your behalf or continue to act on your behalf when the disease progresses to a level where you’re no longer able to act on your own.

If you don’t assign a durable power of attorney and become incapacitated, a court will have to appoint a guardian or conservator for you, which is why it’s good to assign a durable power of attorney sooner rather than later.

4. Springing Durable Power of Attorney

As you may be able to tell from the name, this form of power of attorney is similar to a durable power of attorney, but it only begins once a specified event has happened where the principal has become incapacitated. Because of this, it’s very important that if you choose this type of power of attorney, you are extremely careful in the document to determine the standard for what would trigger the power of attorney to become effective. Both the principal and the agent need to understand what triggers this springing durable power of attorney to begin and make sure that it’s crystal clear in the document so there won’t be any misinterpretation.

Not every state in the US has this type of power of attorney, but there is springing durable power of attorney in Oregon if this is an appropriate option for your situation.

Some Considerations Before Sign the Paperwork

Becoming involved in a power of attorney privilege is an important decision and responsibility for both parties. If you’re the principal, you’re allowing someone else to act on behalf of you. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the different types of power of attorney first to ensure you’re choosing the type that’s correct for you and will benefit you the most. It’s also important that you assign a power of attorney prior to becoming incapacitated.

If you’re considering naming a power of attorney in Oregon, at Warren Allen LLP, we’re here for you. We’ve been serving Portland and the Pacific Northwest since 1971 and have a thorough understanding of power of attorney. Please feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to discuss the topic further with you and hear about your needs. We can then help to assess your situation and provide you with a recommendation as to which power of attorney we would recommend for you. We understand that this is a big decision to make, and we’re here to guide you through the process and make it a bit easier.

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