Beware of Non-Government Affiliated Trademark Solicitations!

 

blog4Please be aware that private companies that are not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) are using trademark applications and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to issue trademark-related solicitations. These solicitations may include offers for legal services, for trademark monitoring services, record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and even to “register” trademarks in the company’s own private registry.

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Some applicants have reported paying fees to these companies, mistakenly under the assumption that they were paying mandatory fees to the USPTO.  If you receive documents that appear to be from an official government agency, please be sure to read the fine print. If an address is provided, always perform a search to verify that the location is legitimate. Sometimes these companies will provide an address for a vacant building or office space. Usually, an official correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.”

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Unfortunately, if you have already submitted any payment to these companies for services offered, the USPTO is unable to provide a refund. The USPTO encourages you to file an on-line consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), at www.FTC.gov. If you receive one of these solicitations and you’re unsure of its legitimacy, or if you are interested in filing for a new trademark, we can help! Contact us today so that our legal professionals can discuss your options.

5% Down Payment on a Home Purchase will Not Last for Long!

In the past, it has been difficult for buyers to to get a mortgage without having a large down payment requirement.   Some available options this year and going into next are the Federal Housing Administration’s low down-payment program.  Now, banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and TD Bank are offering as low as 5 percent in some mortgages to create an opportunity in the market and compete with FHA’s down payment loans.
TD Bank offers the “Right Step” loan with 5 percent down on mortgages and allows for 2 percent to be paid as a gift from a relative or third party.  Most of the banks now offering 5 percent mortgages are requiring borrowers to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), and maintain mortgage and home insurance until there is 20 percent equity built up in the home.  FHA requires PMI for the lifespan of the loan.  To know what works best for you, research your options.
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Source: Money News

What is the Purpose of a Power of Attorney in Estate Planning?

There are many aspects to consider when planning your estate such as living wills, last will and testaments, trusts, beneficiaries, and so on. While all of these moving parts work together to create a successful estate plan, the power of attorney (“POA”) is one of the most significant of them all. This is because without this document, many of your assets may go unprotected in the event that you cannot manage things on your own.

If a POA is not named, and you are in an unstable condition, you will not have access to your assets unless they go through a guardianship proceeding with the courts. These proceedings can be very costly and time consuming, and you do not have the freedom to choose who that guardian may be. Appointing a power of attorney gives you this protection, and also allows you to take advantage of tax reduction.

A Power of attorney is always necessary, even in the case of joint ownership. These laws have changed dramatically within the last ten years, and documentation must be updated and checked on regularly to make sure they are in alignment with the new legislation. Call us at Gulati Law for a free legal checkup to find out the status of your estate plan and what we can do to ensure a smooth process.

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The Biggest Estate Planning Mistake

The most common mistake that can be made when estate planning is the failure to keep your forms and documents up to date.  As simple as it sounds, there are countless instances where people who did not have updated beneficiary forms inevitably ran into complications later in the process.

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Without proper documentation, the money and property you saved for your loved ones may fall into the hands of ex-spouses, irresponsible or untrustworthy family members, or other unintended heirs.  Besides having control over who gets your money and how much, designating a beneficiary also avoids probate in some circumstances.  Updating your estate plan regularly, you can be certain your wishes will be carried out in your absence the way you want them to.

Here are some of the forms that you should update regularly: bank accounts beneficiary lists, retirement accounts, life insurance benefits, and so on.  If a divorce, death, or any other life or relationship change occurs that will affect how you plan your estate, it is imperative you make those document changes immediately.  Contact us today to speak with a Florida Estate Planning Attorney and ensure you are protected in all aspects of your estate planning.

Source: Estate Planning Digest 

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