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MEET THE TEAM: Tricia Huvane, Senior Paralegal

Head Shot Tricia Huvane Robert Silverman LawTricia received her paralegal certificate from Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, California in 1986 and has been employed as a paralegal in private law firms for over 25 years. Prior to joining Mr. Silverman’s practice in 1997, she handled complex asbestos litigation and large corporate mergers and acquisitions for firms in San Francisco and Walnut Creek. She currently specializes in estate planning, probate, trust administration and business formation matters.

Tricia believes excellent customer service is what sets the R. Silverman Law Group apart. She strives to provide clients with a positive and professional experience when working with her and to put them at ease with her compassion and understanding. She has a “can do” approach to problem solving and enjoys working together as a team.

Professional Associations:

National Notary Association (NNA)

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ADVICE FROM ROB SILVERMAN: Protect Your Assets – Before It’s Too Late

Illustration how to protect your assetsBy Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

We live in a world that loves to litigate. Protecting yourself and your assets is therefore of the utmost importance. As this blog post will explore, insurance coverage helps, but you should consider the limited liability benefits of forming a business entity – especially if you own any investment property or small businesses.
Think of insurance coverage as the foundation of your protection, but remember that the four walls protecting you from the litigious outside will be the incorporation of your assets into a business entity.

In our litigious society, a fear of lawsuits is prevalent and understandable. People are always at risk of committing negligent acts and omissions that cause, or allegedly cause, harm to others. Of course, a much bigger problem arises when the person who is alleged to have committed such negligent act or omission has no applicable insurance coverage.
Many people, including knowledgeable professionals and business owners, are not well informed about detailed aspects of their property and casualty (P&C) insurance coverage. I encourage you to have detailed discussions with your P&C insurance agent about whether or not you have personal and business policies containing: a) appropriately broad scope of coverage for the areas in which you have risk; b) reasonably high coverage limits; c) optimal deductibles; and d) umbrella coverage under which you cost-effectively boost your limits.

The challenge is that even people who have terrific insurance policies have some risk because every insurance policy contains exclusions. Thus, everyone, particularly those who own a small business or a real estate investment property, has gaps in protection. Such people are exposed to unlimited liability for claims, lawsuits, and damages that may arise out of such business or real estate investment venture. If someone files suit and obtains a judgment against the owner of such business or investment property, the owner’s personal and other (unrelated) business assets are vulnerable – available to satisfy the judgment.

One can go a long way toward filling these protection gaps by forming one or more business entities, such as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. By properly forming, capitalizing, and operating an LLC or corporation in connection with a business or investment property, the owner is legally entitled to limited liability. This means that a potential judgment creditor can only obtain a judgment against the LLC or corporation; not the owner. Consequently, the only assets available to satisfy such potential judgment are those owned by the LLC (i.e. not the owner’s personal or unrelated investment assets).

Suppose that someone who prudently owns his business or property in a LLC or corporation is sued and the claim isn’t covered by insurance. What can the owner do? In a hypothetical situation, a client contacts me to inform me that two employees of his small mortgage business had sued his corporation and sued him personally, claiming sexual harassment. The client said these former employees had been “bad apples” and that there was no basis for the lawsuit. Nevertheless, the client is worried about what some jury might be led to believe and asks me if I could help him: i) immediately form a business entity for his apartment building; and ii) transfer substantially all of his assets to a close relative. The client naturally wanted to protect his assets so that they would not be available to these employees if they happened to win their lawsuit and be ordered to pay a large damage award.

I would first suggest that he check with his business insurance agent to see if he might have applicable insurance coverage. Unfortunately, most business policies (“General Liability”) exclude or contain very limited coverage for sexual harassment claims; and only special policies – that only a small percentage of business owners purchase (“Employment Practices Liability Insurance”) – include relevant coverage.

Next, I would warn that there was a whole body of (complex) law dealing with “fraudulent conveyances” that would render ineffective the transfer of all or most of his assets out of his name. Essentially, these laws prevent people from effectively thwarting known or anticipated creditors from collecting a judgment if such transfer renders the alleged wrongdoer insolvent.

The “bottom line” is that it is critical to employ asset protection strategies before a problem arises. One should consult with an insurance professional and/or an attorney in advance of any claims or threatened claims. At that point, it’s possible to create viable protection by taking various asset protection measures. Some of these include: purchasing optimal insurance, forming one or more business entities, creating trusts for the benefit of loved ones containing spendthrift provisions, and sheltering assets, as appropriate, in highly creditor-protected vehicles, such as 401Ks, IRAs, and life insurance.
As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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ESTATE & TRUST ADMINISTRATION: Need to find an experienced estate & trust administrator in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on a Revocable Living Trust, “Summary” Estate Administration, Trust/Estate Beneficiary Representation and Will & Trust Disputes.

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ESTATE PLANNING: Leaving a Powerful Legacy – Part Two

By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

INTRO: I spend most of my time helping clients establish and update their estate plans so that they can efficiently pass on assets to loved ones. I also like to help clients enhance or “supercharge” their estate plans so as to transform them into real “legacy plans.” A powerful way to do this, as described in my article below (and on my website) is to have a legacy video created. Your video can be your heart-felt way to share special life stories, values, life lessons, or any number of things you deem important. This can be a source of meaning and joy to your loved ones and future descendants that goes far beyond anything you can do via traditional estate planning.

Frequently, due to modesty, humility or self-doubt, people believe their lives aren’t particularly special. I believe nothing is further from the truth. Everyone has interesting experiences to share and significant lessons they’ve learned.

So, what might you do beyond simply planning for the succession of your monetary assets? You could write an “Ethical Will,” which is not a legal document and can take on any number of different forms. It can be as simple as writing a list of core values; a statement of hopes for loved ones; an expression of gratitude; a brief life story; foundational lessons to share.

Alternatively, you can essentially have your Ethical Will filmed. For many people, just talking about their life is easier and preferable to putting pen to paper. Moreover, the visual medium can create a magnificent, emotional connection to loved ones if filmed and edited well by a professional who specializes in such projects.

My interest in this realm has increased significantly in recent years – both for my own family and for the benefit of my clients. This has led me to develop a great association with April Bell, a well-respected, local professional story-teller and video producer (and really nice person) who has been featured in the N.Y. Times. By arranging for my clients to work with April, they are able to create their own, special, short film, which becomes a wonderful gift to family and friends that can be enjoyed and cherished for decades. It is also very satisfying, if not transformative, to the people making it – reinforcing that they have lived remarkable lives in their own way.

I’m proud and excited to offer my clients the ability to “supercharge” their estate plans – transforming them into true “legacy plans.” They can now seize the opportunity to pass on not only their “valuables,” but also the stories and values that have made them who they are. I encourage you to visit my website (www.rsilvermanlaw.com) to view my brief video describing this service and look at the “Legacy Planning” page that contains more detailed information.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find an estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Revocable Living Trust, Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Special Needs Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts & Advanced Estate Planning, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), “Crummey Trust”, and various types of Charitable Trusts.

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ESTATE PLANNING: Leaving a Powerful Legacy – Part One

By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

INTRO: I spend most of my time helping clients establish and update their estate plans so that they can efficiently pass on assets to loved ones. I also like to help clients enhance or “supercharge” their estate plans so as to transform them into real “legacy plans.” A powerful way to do this, as described in my article below (and on my website) is to have a legacy video created. Your video can be your heart-felt way to share special life stories, values, life lessons, or any number of things you deem important. This can be a source of meaning and joy to your loved ones and future descendants that goes far beyond anything you can do via traditional estate planning.

If you or any of your relatives or friends like the idea of creating your own legacy video (or creating one for your parents or grandparents), I encourage you to contact me. I would be delighted to tell you more and to put you in touch with April Bell, the terrific legacy video producer with whom I’ve associated to provide this very special service.

As people get older, they often appreciate how interesting history is and how many valuable lessons can be learned by studying it. Ironically, family history, including the stories and lessons closest to our hearts, is not often given much attention. Many people know shockingly little about the lives of their grandparents and some don’t know all that much about the younger lives of their own parents.

As the saying goes, “life is short.” We all want to be productive and useful during our lives, and wish to leave a meaningful legacy of some kind – maybe to the world, but certainly to our loved ones. How does one do that?

A good starting place is to protect your loved ones by engaging in good, practical financial, insurance, and estate planning. I take great pride in playing an important role for my clients by helping them establish comprehensive estate plans.

Most folks, however, miss a wonderful opportunity to incorporate something more special into their planning – taking specific steps to ensure that their stories, values, life lessons, hopes, aspirations and/or dreams are passed on to loved ones.

Lip service is given to how these “intangibles” are ultimately much more valuable than material wealth. Yet, compelling and marvelously illuminating personal and family stories, feelings, morals and such are too often lost forever when someone dies. Sadly, the essence of these deceased loved ones is then unavailable to help teach their descendants the ways of the world; how to adjust their compasses; and what tools they might employ to help them enrich their life journeys.

PART TWO: More advice from Rob in ESTATE PLANNING: Leaving a Powerful Legacy – Part Two.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find an estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Revocable Living Trust, Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Special Needs Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts & Advanced Estate Planning, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), “Crummey Trust”, and various types of Charitable Trusts.

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LEGAL RECAP: Estate Planning – 05/08-11/17

Legal Recap of the Week

TRUST ADMINISTRATION: “Summary” Estate Administration

Walnut Creek CA Attorney Robert J. Silverman explains what you should know about “summary” estate administration.

Read more

ADVICE: Pass On More Than Your Wealth, Pass on Your Legacy

R. Silverman Law Group can help you create a Legacy Video to archive both where you came from and who you are in a meaningful, lasting way.

Find out more

TRUST ADMINISTRATION: Revocable Living Trust

Walnut Creek CA Attorney Robert J. Silverman explains what you should know about Revocable Living Trusts.

Read more

LEGAL FYI: What is Probate?

Walnut Creek CA Attorney Robert J. Silverman explains the probate process.

Find out more

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This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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REAL ESTATE LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find a real estate attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Real Estate Titling, Limited Liability Company (LLC) Formation, Purchase/Sale Transactions (Residential & Commercial), Commercial Leasing, Real Estate Legal Representation, Joint Ownership (aka T.I.C or Equity Share) Agreements, Buyer/Seller Disputes, and Promissory Notes & Deeds of Trust.

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LEGAL FYI: What is Probate?

Probate Title On Legal DocumentsBy Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

What is Probate?

When a person dies with a Will or without a Will, but has no Revocable Living Trust, a Probate is usually required. A Probate is, quite simply, a court-supervised estate administration proceeding. The Probate Court judge oversees the process, admitting the last, valid Will, if the decedent had one, and working with the appointed Executor (person designated in the decedent’s Will as the “personal representative” of the estate) or Administrator (if no Will exists, the person who petitions the court to manage the estate) to administer the estate in an orderly manner. The law requires that the personal representative (typically, with the assistance of professionals, such as a trust/estate attorney, C.P.A. and others) satisfy many substantive and procedural requirements. The proceeding typically takes at least 8-9 months to complete and often lasts more than a year. An attorney is nearly always hired to help the Executor or Administrator fulfill many, important substantive and procedural requirements during this long process.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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ESTATE LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find an estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Revocable Living Trust, Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Special Needs Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts & Advanced Estate Planning, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), “Crummey Trust”, and various types of Charitable Trusts.

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TRUST ADMINISTRATION: Revocable Living Trust

Blackboard with Trust wordingBy Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

Revocable Living Trust

To the extent they are drafted well, thorough and practically designed, are often relatively straightforward to administer, both during the life of the settlor(s) – the person(s) who established the Trust – and following the death of the settlor(s). If the Trust was executed and funded properly, it has the important advantage of allowing it to be administered privately, without requiring an expensive and inconvenient court Probate proceeding. Nevertheless, the Trustee (i.e. manager) of the Trust has many general and specific rights and obligations that few laypeople know or understand. The obligations (among the central one – that the trustee act neutrally and in the best interest of the Trust beneficiaries) are many, and include a host of legal requirements that must be followed, notifications to be given, and forms to be prepared and filed. As such, it is usually both short-sighted and dangerous for a Trustee to attempt to administer a Trust without hiring an attorney experienced in handling Trust Administration to assist him or her.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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ESTATE LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find an estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Revocable Living Trust, Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Special Needs Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts & Advanced Estate Planning, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), “Crummey Trust”, and various types of Charitable Trusts.

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ADVICE: Pass On More Than Your Wealth, Pass on Your Legacy

Why Should You Make a Legacy Video Part of Your Estate Plan

You should invest in a Legacy Video – the centerpiece of a 21st Century Estate Plan – because it will tell your story; because stories last for generations; because stories transfer wisdom and capture even the most wandering of minds; because us humans, we are wired for story. Because, while Estate Planning documents can help you effectively and efficiently pass on wealth to your loved ones, only with a Legacy Video will you be able to pass on your personal history and philosophies – the essence of who you are. Because your family will be eternally better off having your video legacy merely a click away.

Find out more about Legacy Planning

 

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TRUST ADMINISTRATION: “Summary” Estate Administration

Blackboard with Trust wordingBy Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

Sometimes, circumstances are such that a decedent did not have a Revocable Living Trust, but a full Probate proceeding may not be required.

Instead, certain documents may be prepared and/or a much more expedited court proceeding can be initiated. An example of such “summary administration” is for small estates – generally those in which the decedent died with total gross assets of less than $150,000 (other than accounts that were titled jointly with someone else or that had a designated beneficiary) and owned no real estate.

Another example is a situation in which all or substantially all of the assets were owned as community property with a spouse who survived the decedent. In cases where summary administration is available and appropriate, loved ones can usually benefit from legal services rendered relatively quickly and with a modest investment of attorneys’ fees and applicable costs.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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ESTATE LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find an estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Revocable Living Trust, Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Special Needs Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts & Advanced Estate Planning, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), “Crummey Trust”, and various types of Charitable Trusts.

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LEGAL RECAP: Estate Planning – 05/01-04/17

Legal Recap of the Week

ESTATE PLANNING QUESTION: How Does Long Term Care Fit In?

Attorney Robert Silverman writes about the importance of planning your long term care. Read his advice.

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READ NOW: The Estate Planning “Game” – How the Rules Work

The estate planning “game” requires an understanding of how all the rules work. Walnut Creek CA attorney Rob Silverman explains the optimal way to play.

Read the rest

REAL ESTATE: Pitfalls of Intra-Family Real Estate Transactions – Part One

Estate planning and real estate are the areas upon which my law practice is focused. As such, I periodically advise and assist clients with intra-family real estate transactions. These real estate transactions frequently involve overlapping estate planning considerations, and often require amending the client’s estate planning documents (including, primarily, their Living Trusts).

Read Part One

REAL ESTATE: Pitfalls of Intra-Family Real Estate Transactions – Part Two

Rob has seen too many of these transactions cause big problems when people proceed without comprehensive legal and/or tax advice. Read more of his advice.

Read Part Two

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This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

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REAL ESTATE LEGAL SERVICES: Need to find a real estate attorney in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on Real Estate Titling, Limited Liability Company (LLC) Formation, Purchase/Sale Transactions (Residential & Commercial), Commercial Leasing, Real Estate Legal Representation, Joint Ownership (aka T.I.C or Equity Share) Agreements, Buyer/Seller Disputes, and Promissory Notes & Deeds of Trust.

Read more