10 Best Law Schools In The U.S.

So you've completed your undergraduate degree, or are in the midst of it at a 3/3 program, and law school is on your horizon. A 3/3 program is one offered by some schools which allows students to overlap their first year of law school with their senior year of undergrad, finished undergrad and being awarded their degree at the same time as finishing their first year in law school. Whether you are entering as a 3/3 or a first-year applicant, the best law schools are good to keep your sights on. In this article, we'll explore a list of 10 of the best law schools in the United States.

 Law School FAQ

Stack of law books

Following is a presentation of commonly asked questions pertaining to law school. We'll explore what law school it, what opportunities it brings, and also the importance of keeping in mind the cost of law school and the prospect of making money upon finishing it. As we'll see, the best law schools and the worst law schools alike can cost quite a bit of money--generally over $50,000 annually for three years--so choosing the right institution for you is essential to support your successful law school career.

What Is Law School?

What Is Studied in Law School?

What Can You Do with a Law Degree?

How Do I Become a Lawyer?

How Important Is Going to the Best Law Schools?

How We Reviewed

people studying in the library

In the review of the best law schools in the United States, we have focused upon the curriculum and quality, the pros and cons of each university, and the cost of a law degree. As noted below, the cost of a law degree from the best law schools can vary widely. It is important to remember that our review of a law school will be objective, but your decision is entirely subjective. Choosing the best law school for you will be a decision made through a combination of considering the school's curriculum, as well as the culture, location, and staff; so make sure to take your time and check out schools before deciding.

Overall Price Range of the Best Law Schools

open doors along the corridor

The overall price range of a law degree from the best law schools will generally be somewhere around $50,000 annually for academics, in addition to the cost of living. This is given that no scholarships or grants are received. Scholarships may be awarded to persons based upon membership or demographics, application to particular programs, or achieving victory in particular competitions.

What We Reviewed

School

University of California — Berkeley

University of Virginia

University of Michigan — Ann Arbor

University of Pennsylvania

New York University

Columbia University (NY)

University of Chicago (IL)

Harvard University (MA)

Stanford University (CA)

Yale University (CT)


University of California — Berkeley

Curriculum

A pristine Northern California campus with the traditional law school curriculum.

Pros 

 Cons

  • Very low acceptance rate of 23%
  • Bar passage rate of 83.1%
Tuition

Just over $19,000 for in-state residents, and a little over $32,000 for non-residents. Note that here and for all other schools explored, the cost of living is not included, and this can be substantial depending upon the locale.


University of Virginia

Curriculum

A traditional curriculum that achieves an 87.9 percent employment rate at graduation, with a professional assessment of 4.4.

Pros

  • Excellent employment rate at graduation
  • 90.3% employed 10 months after graduation
  • 93.2% bar passage rate

Cons

  • Virginia is not California
Tuition

About $47,900 for in-state and $52,900 for out-of-state students.


University of Michigan — Ann Arbor

Curriculum

In the aquatic Ann Arbor region, this school has a 7.3/1 student-to-faculty ration for the traditional law school curriculum.

Pros

  • 97.9% bar passage rate

Cons

  • Somewhat high student-to-faculty ratio compared to the competition
Tuition

Around $57,000 for in-state and $60,500 for out-of-state students.


University of Pennsylvania

Curriculum

The traditional law school curriculum with an overall score of 89/100 by CNBC.

Pros

  • 97.6% bar passage rate
  • 94.5% employed at graduation rate

 Cons

  • Low acceptance rate of 18%
Tuition

The tuition here is around $47,600 for everyone.


New York University

Curriculum

A strong traditional legal curriculum with an entering undergraduate body with average 3.66+ GPAs.

Pros 

  • 97.3% bar passage rate
  • 27% acceptance rate

 Cons

  • Lower employment rates at graduation than some competitors
Tuition

Tuition at this institution is about $64,000, making it one of the most expensive we've explored.


Columbia University (NY)

Curriculum

Columbia offers a classic legal curriculum in a historic setting that supports learning.

Pros 

  • A bargain for the level of prestige
  • 96.1% bar passage rate

 Cons

  • No in-state discount
Tuition

The tuition at Columbia is about $56,000.


University of Chicago (IL)

Curriculum

The windy city's premiere legal curriculum with strong corporate opportunities.

Pros 

  • 97.7% bar passage rate
  • 95.3% employed at graduation

 Cons

  • Very high average entering GPA of 3.73-3.95
Tuition

In Chicago at this institution you'll pay around $62,000 each year.


Harvard University (MA)

Curriculum

Harvard is the most classic of legal curriculums available in the United States at the historic campus in Cambridge.

Pros 

  • Beautiful campus and surrounding environment
  • The nation's most prestigious law school

 Cons

  • 91.6% employed at graduation
Tuition

The cost at Harvard is about $64,000 for each of the three years of law school.


Stanford University (CA)

Curriculum

Stanford provides a nationally respected traditional legal curriculum sufficient to sit for the UBE.

Pros 

  • 4/1 student-to-faculty ratio
  • 91.3% employed at graduation
  • Low cost of tuition

 Cons

  • Lower bar passage rate than the competition at 91%
Tuition

At just about $47,500, Stanford is one of the cheapest private best law schools.


Yale University (CT)

Curriculum

Of the best law schools, Yale's traditional curriculum is ranked at the top of the nation.

Pros 

  • 99% bar passage rate
  • 4.2/1 student-to-faculty ratio

 Cons

  • Low employment at graduation rate of 83.3%
  • Low employment at 10 months after graduation rate of 83.3%
Tuition

Students pay around $62,000 a year for law school at Yale.

The Verdict

Of the law schools reviewed, the costs vary substantially, while the curriculums are largely the same. The decision to attend one of the best law schools is something that is entirely personal and something you decide upon after considering your goals with your law degree. Stanford was the best combination of pricing, prestige, and ranking, at around $47,000 and ranked at number 2 in our list of the top 10 best law schools. Harvard may have the highest prestige, yet is ranked in at #3, and while Yale is ranked at #1, it has one of the worst employment at graduation rates of the schools reviewed.

Spending over $250,000 to acquire a JD if you intend upon practicing in a small town with a limited number of clients can be a financially ruinous decision. Spending $250,000 to acquire a JD if you will work for a corporation earning $300,000 annually is an investment that is entirely worthwhile. Consider what works for you, and be prepared to study.

For more information on lawyers, law school, and other related matters, check back to Lawyer Search for ongoing updates and articles.

How To Change Your Name After Marriage: The Legal Process

Did you recently get married? If so, congratulations! Before you put that pen away after writing all those thank-you notes, there is one more thing to make your union official. It is important to know how to change your name after marriage.

If you're interested in changing your last name to reflect your spouse's, then this is the guide for you.  There is not a lot to remember on how to change your name after marriage, but there are some documents that you will need to bring with you. Some of these steps you can do ahead of time to make sure it goes smoothly, and whatever you do, don't panic because you do have some grace time to make the transition, but it's best to start as soon as you can.

3 Ways to Change Your Name

Each state has different processes when it comes to changing one's name. You won't need to know all of these, but as a reference, they are included here. While none of these are complicated, there are certain documents that are needed to verify your identity. You will only need to focus on the marriage license section, for it is the one that will show you how to change your name after marriage.

Utilizing the Court System

pointing out on document for signature

The first and most popular option is to go through the courts and get your married name approved by a judge. This is for anyone that wants to change their own name. It is not just for those that wish to only change it due to marriage.

Using It Repeatedly

man pointing to himself infront of a woman

Another form of changing one's name is constantly using the name you wish and being recognized by it. It is not approved in some states, so you should check first in your own before doing so.

Marriage License

man signing papers

This is the one that will be what you will use to help get your name changed. It is a certificate that you signed at your marriage. It required both of your signatures and also those that witnessed as well as the marriage officiant.

Why You Should Learn How to Change Your Name After Marriage

It is important that you follow these procedures for they will prevent any legal ramifications in your future. We all have busy lives, and a newly married couple is the busiest of all. They are learning how to function as a married couple and do not need any additional interference while doing so. By learning how to change your name after marriage, it will keep undue stress off your new marriage.

Especially in this time of identity fraud, it is important not to have alternative identities causing confusion. In America, it is very important that you can prove who you are and keep your affairs registered under a legal name to avoid being questioned or accused of wrongdoing. Someone could use your maiden name and build up debt obligations while you are living your life under your married name. When people steal another's identity, it can cause a number of problems, and the credit bureau will have a hard time sorting things out if you don't have legal documents to back you up. That's bad enough, but also at risk is your credit score and long-term financial health.

In other instances, you can consider the woman who didn't change her identity properly after she was married and was regularly stopped at airline security when she traveled. Usually, it worked out, but think of the relief knowing you are traveling with the correct legal ID and are able to present it without any hesitation. Also, you'll find it difficult to complete simple transactions like when moving into a new home and having to transfer the utility or water accounts. Again, here we find that handling this matter properly and promptly makes for a much more pleasant and successful transition.

Legal Requirements on How to Change Your Name After Marriage

You must make sure that you meet all legal requirements before submitting a name change. This will ensure that you have all the legal points in and not create any problems later.

Permanent Address

Fraudulent Name Change

Proper Court

Who to Notify After Your Name Change

couple holding hand while walking

There are several other places that you will need to contact once you have your marriage certificate. Remember, that you will need the original marriage certificate and no copies. The original one has the raised seal. This is a vital step on how to change your name after marriage; not having it will hold up the entire process.

Social Security Department

DMV

Local Post Office

Internal Revenue Service

Correct Your Voter Information

Banks and Other Debtors

Passport and Other Legal Papers

Utility and Electric Bills

Update Your Airline

Conclusion

woman laying on autumn leaves

Not having a lot of stress is the key after one gets married. We want to keep living our happily ever after for as long as we can. By learning how to change your name after marriage, we are ensuring that no unwanted surprises will come your way. It is best to take care of the legal requirements right away and get your marriage license so that you can apply for the changes to your accounts, credit cards, and all other necessary documents. Once this is all done, you can breathe easier and enjoy your new life with a new name.  

How to Become A US Citizen: Understanding The Legal Process

U.S. Citizenship has become a hot topic in the media, especially with the controversy over immigration and the refugee crisis. Millions of people worldwide dream of becoming a citizen of the United States, lured by the ideals of the American dream and full of hope for expanded possibilities. However, the actual process involved for how to become a US citizen is complicated and extensive, with numerous requirements to fulfill. There are a few different paths that an immigrant can take depending on his or her life circumstances.

Becoming a citizen of the United States gives immigrants many new opportunities, but there is great difficulty and complexity in learning how to become a US citizen and all the legalities involved. While the smartest move is probably to get an immigration lawyer to help you navigate the laws, here is some general information to give you an idea of what's involved, as you seek to learn how to become a US citizen.

4 Ways to Become a US Citizen

If you have been following recent politics or come into contact with immigrants, you may have wondered how to become a US citizen. There are four main paths to citizenship, each of which has different rules and requirements. There are typically many steps along the journey, and it can take many years: a fact that can be discouraging for those striving to become a citizen. It is also necessary to prove that the incoming immigrant is a moral person who plans on being a contributor to, rather than a leech upon, society.

How to Become a US Citizen: Naturalization

USA flag

One way to obtain citizenship is through naturalization, the legal process that an immigrant or foreign citizen must go through to become a U.S. citizen. There are certain requirements that an applicant must complete, including the completion of an application, attending an interview, and passing English and civics test. Once these steps have been completed, the applicant takes an oath of allegiance and is accepted as a U.S. citizen. These criteria help to ensure that only genuinely committed immigrants become citizens of the United States.

The first step in becoming a naturalized citizen through naturalization is obtaining a green card, which means that you are a legal permanent resident of the United States. This allows you to work and live in the United States freely. You may obtain a green card if you:

  • have a relative living legally in the United States
  • receive a job offer in the United States
  • have lived legally in the United States as a refugee or asylum seeker for a year
statue of liberty

Relatives living legally in the States can immediately sponsor a spouse, child under 21 years of age, or parent. If the U.S. citizen wants to sponsor a sibling or child over 21 years of age, the wait time is much longer: typically a few years. Those with a job offer can petition themselves for a green card or ask their employer to do so. This strategy of obtaining U.S. citizenship is a popular route, but it can take a long time.

How to Become a US Citizen: Marriage

wedding rings

Another viable option for receiving U.S. citizenship is through marriage. To use this route, you must apply for a green card by submitting the Form I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative, which establishes the relationship between the immigrant and the resident. You must show evidence of the marriage with official documents such as a marriage certificate.

If the immigrant spouse lives with the U.S. citizen already, they can adjust their status as the Form I-130 is being completed. The other form to submit is the Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status, which can be turned in with the Form I-130. If the immigrant spouse lives outside of the United States, they must wait to acquire a visa and then have an interview at a consulate or embassy. Once the spouse is accepted as a citizen of the U.S., they can file to adjust status with Form I-485.

How to Become a US Citizen: Parents

mother and daughter

Some immigrants achieve U.S. citizenship through having parents who legally live in the U.S. The parents must be married to each other and have physically lived in a state or territory of the U.S. for at least five years before the child in question is born. Two of those five years must have been after the parent was 14 years old, and the child's birthdate needs to be on or after November 14, 1986. One exception to the five year rule is if the U.S. citizen parent spent time serving in the American armed forces or worked for the U.S. government.

Another way to gain citizenship through parents is through adoption. Parents must have legal custody of the child in question, and they must have lived with the child in the United States for at least two years. It is necessary for the child to be accepted into the United States as an orphan or conventional adoptee. The child must be adopted outside of the United States before turning 18 years old.

How to Become a US Citizen: Military Service

soldier lending his hand to two young boys

If you serve in the United States military and are wondering how to become a US citizen, you can be eligible to apply for naturalization if you complete some of the requirements that apply to the five-year green card holders. Along with serving in the military, applicants must prove certain aspects about themselves to show that they will be a benefit to American society.

They must show that they are a person of good moral standing, have not been convicted of any serious crimes, pay taxes, pay any child support they might owe, and are overall viewed as a positive community member. In addition, they must be literate in English and understand the basics of U.S. history and government.

The requirements for applicants to achieve citizenship through the military vary depending on if the country is at war or at peace. A person serving during a period of hostility may apply for naturalization immediately as long as they complete their military service honorably. For applicants who serve in the military during peacetime, the applicant must serve for at least one year and get a green card. Those serving during peacetime must apply while still in military service or within six months of ending that service.

Do You Need an Immigration Attorney?

hammer and book of justice

If you are unsure of the next steps or qualifications after researching how to become us citizen, it is a good idea to find an immigration attorney. If you have already attempted to become a citizen and discovered that you were ineligible, it's time to ask an attorney to determine how to fix your situation. If you have issues with your record regarding a criminal past or difficulty paying taxes or child support, discuss with your immigration attorney how to solve this problem.

If you are unsure if you meet the requirements for naturalization, or you believe that you should receive an exception, you may be able to fix your situation with the help of an attorney.

Personal & Residential Requirements & Other Helpful Information

business man speaking on the phone while dotting on some notes

Another requirement for naturalization is being fingerprinted, which involves making an appointment with the USCIS, getting your fingerprints taken, and mailing additional documents if necessary. The next step involves being interviewed and tested, a part of the process that can be time consuming and stress inducing for immigrants.

You must make an appointment, bring your identification, answer questions about your background, and take your English and civic tests. After passing all of your tests and interviews, you are expected to take the last step: the oath of allegiance. To complete this phase, applicants must check in to a ceremony, return the Permanent Resident Card, answer questions about your whereabouts since you completed your interview, and take the oath.

Conclusion

The process of is long and complicated, full of steps that require planning and persistence. The United States takes citizenship very seriously, since being a citizen of our country is seen as a great privilege and a way to gain access to many opportunities. To become a part of our country, you must demonstrate that you have earned this right through your upstanding moral character and willingness to persist through the many steps of the citizenship process.  The United States is full of diverse and talented people, many of whom have come from afar to find a better life or to escape struggles back home. Part of the beauty of this country is its blend of different experiences and cultures. The phrase "melting pot" was aptly chosen as a description of American society.  The keys to becoming a US citizen are to be determined to contribute meaningfully to society, to have the diligence to follow through on all the application process requirements, and possibly to get an attorney to help you. Most immigrants who have attained their citizenship through this kind of hard work and determination will tell you that the process is well worth it.

Your Guide to Independent Contractor Agreement

Hiring independent contractors, rather than employees, can be beneficial for businesses. This is because you cannot control them as you do employees since they work as consultants and are self-employed. You save resources regarding training them and also don’t need to pay bonuses. However, you should document the independent contractor agreement carefully since they need to sign it to avoid issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The independent contractor agreement is very important if you contract the consultant to develop software, a product, a manual or book, or any other type of intellectual property.

As the contracting party, you need to document what rights you expect to retain with the end product so that the independent contractors cannot interfere with the intellectual product. However, you have to first understand what an independent contractor agreement is, along with things you consider when drafting it. So, what does this contract entail? This article highlights what an independent contractor agreement is, what you should consider when drafting it, and the guide to the contract. We have also addressed key tax and business issues you will encounter when dealing with consultants or independent contractors.

What Is an Independent Contractor Agreement?

An independent contractor agreement is basically a written contract between two parties for a specific project or service. It usually applies where a company or a person is hiring another to help on a short-term task or project. It differs from an employment agreement since it clearly spells out why the consultant or independent contractor is not an employee for tax and legal purposes.

The independent contractor agreement mainly addresses several elements. It specifies the hiring entity or person that may need special services in the short-term and establishes that there is no need for hiring them as an employee. It has to encompass a contractor who is the entity or person hired for a task or project. It must include the services offered. For services offered, the agreement should specify the task to be performed or delivered. It has to stipulate the compensation, which is how much the contractor will be paid. It includes the effective date which is when the agreement begins and when the job starts.

It has to specify the termination process. This is whether the hiring entity or person can end the relationship at any time. This is what is referred to as an “at will” contract.  It should also address the number of days a written notice is needed to end the contract. It also includes the fringe benefits, which specify that the contractor cannot participate in any of the hiring entity’s employee health, pension, sick pay, health, or any unemployment benefits. The entity can also hire its own assistants, but is solely responsible for the expenses like Medicare or Social Security taxes.

The contract may also be referred to as:

  • Company contractor agreement
  • Client/service freelancer agreement
  • Independent consultant agreement
  • Freelance contract
  • Freelancer agreement
  • Contractor agreement
  • Freelancer contractor agreement

Advantages and Disadvantages of Working with Independent Contractors

Working with independent contractors has a number of advantages, including:

  • You can use contractors for a project or task when needed
  • Contractors provide special expertise
  • You establish a flexible relationship with the contractor
  • You will cut on costs on tax contributions

However, it has its downsides, including:

  • You may end up paying high fees to the contractor
  • You do not have full control over the contractor
  • There is a chance you will run into tax problems
  • You cannot establish continuity in the relationship with contractors, instead, an employee here would be preferable

Things to Consider When Drafting Your Agreement

A good independent contractor agreement includes the following aspects:

1.Timing

The agreement needs to spell out when the services are to be performed. Here, the hiring entity should consider including a late-penalty fee if the services are not delivered in the documented time or when the product is delivered late.

2.Services

The contract spells out the services that the independent contractor will perform. Here, you should specify all the things that you expect to be done by the independent contractor so that he or she can be paid.

3.Reporting

The contract needs to spell out when progress reports should be made by the independent contractor and to whom he or she reports. You should be careful here not to have excessive control over the contractor since it could potentially lead to the identification of the contractor as an employee as far as tax is concerned.

4.Payment

The contractor expects to be paid but only if he or she delivers the product or services. The clause regarding payment in the contract should address the amount that the contractor will be paid, the manner in which he or she will be paid (per hour or per project), and when the payment is due. From the perspective of the hiring company, it should ensure that the product or service is of reasonable quality before being obligated to pay the entire amount. Otherwise, you do not have to pay until you’re satisfied with the work.

5.Subcontractors

If the contractor expects to use subcontractors, he or she should provide approval over them, and we recommend that they execute an appropriate contract with you.

6.Warranties

In the contract, you need to spell out any warranties from the contractor, including the contractor’s warranty that the services or product delivered should be of high-quality, timely, and professional.

7.Work for hire

The contract should stipulate that the work product that the contractor develops for the hiring company is considered a work for hire under the copyright laws and owned only by the hiring entity and not the contractor.

8.Confidentiality

The contract needs to clarify that the contractor must keep any proprietary information about the hiring company confidential and that the contractor will not use any information that the entity provides other than for the benefit of the hiring company.

Your Guide to an Independent Contractor Agreement

Protecting Your Interests

Prior to hiring an independent contractor, you have to first do a background check to establish whether the person is the right person to perform the job. If you want to verify the information that the person provides, have the person sign a background check just to make sure the information provided is accurate.

Confidentiality and Invention Assignment Contracts

Have the contractor or consultant sign a confidentiality agreement, especially if you run a tech-oriented firm since you’ll pass a significant amount of confidential information. Since the contract comes up with a product or business idea, it is your best interest to maintain ownership. In areas where you are sensitive about confidentiality and the company’s ownership of the product, ensure that the contractor or consultant signs the Confidentiality and Invention Assignment. This will ensure that the contractor doesn’t pass on confidential information and that the final product or idea belongs to the company, not the contractor.

Tax Considerations

Tax laws demand that you treat contractors and employees differently. Contractors are beneficial since you reduce the tax liability but you need to be careful to correctly fill out tax forms and agreements to avoid the IRS disagreeing with your assessment. For tax purposes, the following is required for independent contractors:

  • No Social Security contributions
  • No Medicare taxes contribution
  • No withholding of federal taxes
  • File Form 1099-MISC with IRS if you pay the contractor $600 or more per year
  • No compensation insurance
  • No contribution to unemployment insurance funds or taxes
  • No sick leave or holidays
  • No overtime payments
  • You do not have the right to control how the contractor works, what you’re interested in is the final product
  • You don’t have the right to control the business aspects of the worker’s activities

If the IRS determines that the contractor should have been classified as an employee, rather than a contractor, you may be penalized as follows:

  • Pay Medicare contributions that would have been withheld
  • Pay federal income tax that should otherwise be withheld from the employee
  • You’ll be penalized for failing to properly pay taxes and file tax returns
  • Criminal sanctions, you could be imprisoned or face fines up to $100,000
  • A larger penalty if it is established that you were negligent or fraudulent
  • Pay tax interest should have been withheld
  • Pay personal liability for corporate officers, up to 100% of the amount that would otherwise be withheld

Independent Contractor Tax Forms

IRS requires you to fill the following forms:

1. Form W-9: This requires you to collect Social Security numbers or the Employer Identification Number (EIN).
2. Form 1099-MISC: Once you pay the contractor $600 or more in a year, send the form to IRS and to the contractor at the end of the year.

Conclusion

It is vital for a business to first establish whether the person providing services is an independent contractor or employee so you understand if you have to withhold taxes, pay unemployment tax on wages, pay and withhold Social Security and Medicare tax, or provide benefits to this person. For independent contractors, you don’t have to withhold or pay any type of tax when working with them. When working with contractors, the hiring entity must first ensure that the person or company signs the independent contractor agreement.

The contract includes aspects like timing, services offered, reporting mechanisms, payment, subcontractors (if any are involved), warranties, work for hire, and confidentiality. For tax purposes, ensure you file with the IRS Form W-9 and Form 1099-MISC. We hope that this article has adequately addressed what an independent contractor agreement is, what you should consider when drafting it, and key tax and business issues involved.

How Does Bail Work: Understanding Your Rights

Being arrested is a likely scenario for many, especially with the increased vigilance of the law enforcement agencies. If it happens, you do not want to stay in jail as this will ground your day-to-day activities. This is why many people’s first thought upon landing in jail is about getting out. One way of doing so is by posting a bail. This is security to ensure you appear in court proceedings until the final judgment. So how does bail work? This content highlights what a bail is and how it works.

What Is Bail?

A bail is a bond, a cash, or property that an arrested individual gives to a court of law to ensure that he or she appears in court if needed. If you don’t show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant of arrest. How does bail work? For you to answer this question, you have to first know about the types of bails. There are five types of bails.

1. Cash Bail

This is where the accused pays the full amount of bail in cash. Sometimes, the court can accept a credit card or even checks.

2. Surety Bond

How does bail work when you opt for a surety bond? A surety bond is also referred to as a bail bond and can be used for any amount of bail. However, it is especially useful when the accused cannot afford to pay the bail. It involves a relative or a friend of the accused contacting a bail agent, also referred to as a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman bails the accused after receiving a collateral. In addition, the bail bondsman typically must be paid a commission of the bond. However, the bail agent risks the full bond if the defendant does not appear in court for proceedings on the required date.

3. Release on Citation

Sometimes, an officer does not book the suspect at all but will instead issue a citation that says the accused must appear in court on a particular date. This process is less thorough compared to taking the suspect to a police station and performing the normal booking procedure.

4. Property Bond

How does bail work when paying with a property? Some instances will need the defendant to provide property, which acts like a bond. Here, the court gets a lien on the property in the amount of the bail. If the accused doesn’t appear in court, it forecloses on the property to recover the bail.

5. Release on Own Personal Recognizance (O.R.)

  • The judge may also release the accused on O.R., which implies that he or she shows up on the arranged court date and doesn’t have to pay bail. This is applicable when the charge is a minor, nonviolent crime and when the accused is not a danger to others or a flight risk. Flight risk is when a person is likely to flee and not appear for the court proceedings.
    A defendant released on O.R. signs a promise to show up in court. This usually happens at the first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, then the accused asks for a low bail. Factors that can convince a judge to grant O.R. release include:
  • You have family members, including parents, a spouse, or children living in the community
  • You have lived in the community for many years
  • You’re employed
  • You have no criminal record
  • You have been charged before but have always appeared as required

What Is a Bail Bondsman?

So how does a bail work when you don’t have money to post bail? This is where you need to seek the services of a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman is also known as a bailer or bail agent. It is the person who provides bail as a surety for a criminal defendant’s release. The bail bondsman is covered by a special insurance company called a surety company that pledges to pay the full amount of a surety body if the accused does not appear in court. In return, the bail agent charges the client a 10% premium and collects collateral, for example, a car or boat, a title to a house, electronics, or jewelry.

By getting the relative or friend involved, the bail agent hopes that the defendant feels compelled to appear in court since the relative or friend will pay the bail agent’s premium and has collateral. The bail bondsman’s bond is also at stake and if the accused does not appear in court, which is referred to as jumping or skipping bail, then it is the agent responsible for paying the entire bond. If the accused jumps bail, the bail bondsman might seek a bounty hunter, but only if it is legal in that state.

Commercial bail bonding is illegal in some states including Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. In other states, the bail bondsman needs to be licensed.

How Does Bail Work?

So how does bail work? A bail works by releasing the defendant in exchange for an agreed amount of money that the court holds until all the court proceedings are complete. The court, by offering the bail, hopes that the defendant shows up for all court trials on specified dates in order for them to recover the bail.

Court trial typically starts weeks or months after the initial arrest. You don’t want to spend all that time in jail, so posting a bail is the most viable option for you. Therefore, if not for a bail, many individuals, some of whom may be innocent, would have to wait in jail until the trials begin. This inconveniences the defendant endures can be a source of financial hardship since the person cannot work. Besides, the individual will also miss a lot in his or her life, such as holidays and family events.

Not everyone is eligible for bail, particularly dangerous suspects or a person who has been linked to criminality before. This implies that not all persons released on bail are acquitted, and thus, to prevent dangerous suspects from being released, the court implements these safeguards.

Bail Process

How does bail work and what is the bail process? If you are arrested, you will first be taken to a police station to be processed or booked. When you’re booked, a police officer on duty records information about you as the suspect. This includes personal information, such as the birthday, name, address, and appearance along with the alleged crime.

Then the police officer will conduct a criminal background check by taking your fingerprints and a mugshot and then seizes and inventories any personal property. The property is returned when you’re being released. You are also checked for intoxication and required to make a phone call to inform your family member of the arrest. You are then put in a cell, typically with other recently booked suspects.

When you have committed less serious crimes, you may be allowed to post bail immediately after being booked. If you cannot post bail immediately, you must wait (less than 48 hours) for a bail hearing. The judge then determines whether you are eligible for posting bail and at what cost. The bail amount depends on the severity of the crime but is also dependent upon the judge. Some jurisdictions have a standard bail amount. For instance, Los Angeles recommends $25,000 for sexual assault or perjury, $1,000,000 for kidnapping and intending to rape, and $100,000 for manslaughter.

However, the judge also considers the defendant’s criminal record and the history of showing up for past court proceedings, if any. The judge may also look into the defendant’s ties to the community, whether the suspect can harm others or any other considerations that may be raised by the attorney. Sometimes, bail can be waived altogether.

Conclusion

Our main goal was to address the question of how bail works. A bail is considered a bond, a cash, or property a defendant gives to a court of law to ensure that he or she appears in court proceedings.

There are different types of bonds. Cash bail is when the accused pays the full amount of bail in cash. Surety bonds entail securing the services of a bail bondsman and are useful when the accused cannot afford to pay the bail. A person can also be released on a citation. This is applied when the officer does not book the suspect but will instead issue a citation that says the accused must appear in court on a particular date. You can also be released via property bond where the property acts like a bond. Last, they may release you on O.R. where the judge releases the accused on his own recognizance.

A bail is important as it works by securing a person’s release, if arrested, in exchange for an agreed amount of money that the court holds until all the court proceedings associated with the case of the accused individual are complete. This way, you get to resume your day-to-day activities. We hope that this article has adequately answered the query, “how does bail work?”

What Are The Advantages Of A Revocable Trust

Choosing the right technique to ensure a smooth transition in the ownership or control of a property can offer piece of mind. A revocable trust is a preferred option for many people because it allows them to oversee this process while the grantor is still alive. A revocable trust also offers other benefits that some consider advantageous over a will. Of course, planning for events after one is gone is not something that everyone wants to think about, especially younger individuals, though a revocable trust does manage to bridge some issues that people have with last wills and testaments.

What Is a Revocable Trust?

There are different types of trusts and, in fact, trusts are commonly encountered in the financial industry. Trusts can also be used by individuals who are interested in accomplishing much the same tasks as a last will and testament. Indeed, revocable trusts are often contrasted with wills in order to demonstrate some of the ways that revocable trusts stand out.

One thing that is important for men and women considering revocable trusts is to keep in mind is that they are revocable, giving them a leg up over irrevocable trusts. Laws pertaining to revocable trusts will also differ in different jurisdictions in the United States.

General Benefits

Although the benefits of revocable trusts will be discussed in more detail later, one advantage of this technique is that it allows the grantor, the person creating the trust, to also benefit from the trust while they are still alive. This can be contrasted with the case of a last will and testament, in which the terms of the will do not take effect until the demise of the writer of the will. Revocable trusts, as the name implies, also give the grantor the flexibility of “changing their mind” should they decide later that the trust was not all that it was cracked up to be, or circumstances necessitate a change in plans.

In general, a trust is a relationship in which a property is transferred from one party to another for the benefit of a third party, known as the beneficiary. Revocable trusts are unique not only in that they can be canceled or revoked, but in that the trustee, the party to whom the trust has been transferred, can also be the grantor.

In this case, a co-trustee is ordinarily appointed for a number of reasons, not least of which is to be able to administer the trust property in the event that the grantor becomes mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to perform their duties as trustee. This may be a little confusing but should become clearer as we examine the issue more closely.

Trust Law and Other Types of Trusts

  • Some of the key aspects of a revocable trust become clearer when trust law and other types of trusts are examined. There are three terms that are important to understand in learning how trusts are created and how they work. These terms are:
  • Trustor: also called the settlor or grantor, the trustor is the first party who settles the property on the second party
  • Trustee: this is the second party upon whom the property has been settled
  • Beneficiary: the beneficiary is the party on whose behalf the property is administered
  • Trust deed: the document that defines and clearly names the above-mentioned roles and the property

In the case of a revocable trust, the grantor (or trustor or settlor) creates the trust and may be able to name themselves of a trustee depending on their jurisdiction. Whether as grantor or as trustee, they retain certain rights over the trust, including the ability to direct how the trustee uses funds and the ability to revoke the trust. Trusts normally involve transfers of property, often to protect the grantor from loss of the property or for tax reasons. The ability of a grantor in a revocable trust to retain much power over their property renders revocable trusts both unique and unusual.

Other Types of Trusts

There are other types of trusts that are frequently encountered both in the financial world and in situations of death and division of property. In reality, trusts existed in ancient times and as English customary law is derived from Roman law, the present understanding of trusts that exists in English-speaking countries today is a legacy of the ancient practice. Other common forms of trusts include:
  • Discretionary Trust
  • Land trust
  • Offshore Trust
  • Public trust (charitable trust)
  • Testamentary trust

The Probate Issue

The term probate refers to the legal process by which a last will and testament is accepted by a court, or the process by which the property of someone who dies intestate (without a will) is administered. An easy way to remember what probate means is that it is the process by which the testamentary document (the will) is proven by the court. The reason why probate is important here is that all last wills and testament involve a court in some regard. Furthermore, if a person dies intestate, then probate is also involved, as already mentioned.

Revocable trusts are unique in that they do not require probate involvement at all. The trust established during the lifetime of the grantor who the trustee and the beneficiary are, privately, and the involvement of probate is not needed. Also, wills registered with the court are public record, meaning that the assets and the named individuals are also public record, whereas a revocable trust is a private matter and only the involved individuals and their counsel would be party to the specifics of the trust.

How Are They Used?

Many people think of trusts as a way to avoid taxes or to protect property in situations where an individual has some sort of financial liability. Indeed, trusts were commonly used in the United Kingdom in the wake of the land acts of the early 20th century to protect large landholdings from the death duties that were instituted to break them up. A death duty (a tax on property levied after someone has died) often necessitated the sale of property, but if the property was transferred before the individual died or placed into trust, the death duty could be avoided.

Although revocable trusts are not quite the same as these other types of trusts, they do accomplish the goal of ensuring a smooth transition of property prior to the demise of the property owner. Revocable trusts are seen as alternatives to last wills and testaments because they do allow you to provide for your upkeep should you become ill or otherwise incapacitated during your lifetime. A will would only take place at the time of your demise. A revocable trust would also allow you to do away with the trust should you no longer find that a trust is necessary.

Illness

Some revocable trusts do not automatically address the issue of illness or incapacity, so individuals worried about this situation should make sure that their trust includes language that covers it. In cases where individuals become ill or incapacitated and do not have a trust, the court ordinarily has to appoint a conservator or guardian to manage their finances and other concerns on their behalf.

A revocable trust therefore accomplishes the tasks of providing for your property while you are alive while also providing for you should you become incapacitated. It is important to note that it may be important to have a will in addition to a trust.

What Are the Advantages of a Revocable Trust?

There are many advantages of revocable trust compared to a will. Although revocable trust property can be taxed (even though it is in trust) and the property in the trust is not protected from creditors, a revocable trust does have some features that give it a leg up over a will. Here are some of the major advantages of this type of trust:

  • Multiple copies avoid the situation of locating the original will document
  • Probate not needed in a revocable trust
  • Investments are not interrupted by death or disability
  • Assets immediately available without the need for a probate court action
  • Privacy
  • Ability to revoke the trust at your discretion

A trust of this type is therefore able to accomplish some of the functions of a last will and testament while avoiding some of the inconveniences, such as delays due to involvement of the court, disputes regarding the will, and assets not immediately being available due to various factors. As mentioned, most people choose also to have a will to deal with such issues as guardianship of minor children or other issues that would not be part of the trusteeship. Therefore, a trusteeship of this type can be used to provide both practical benefits and peace of mind to the grantor.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, no one wants to spend too much time thinking about their own demise, but addressing this eventual reality will allow both you and your family to be prepared financially when the time comes. Wills are important and necessary, but they do have their drawbacks. A revocable trust allows an individual to provide for their beneficiaries and even for themselves should they become ill or incapacitated.