Avoiding Pitfalls with Home Remodeling Contractors (Part 2)


The content below is a transcript from the home remodeling panel discussion at the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund’s conference Deal With It: A Women’s Conference, held in Los Angeles, Ca on August 5, 2018:

If you are having some work done by a contractor in your house and something goes missing, what do you suggest a homeowner do?

I’m not sure if there is really a good answer to that question because unless you have proof, then it would be difficult to accuse anyone. Nowadays everyone has a video camera in their house, so it’s possible that you may have proof. But in the absence of evidence, you will find yourself in a “He Said/She Said” situation and you are kind of stuck with that.
(more…)

Avoiding Pitfalls with Home Remodeling Contractors (Part 1)

The content below is a transcript from the home remodeling panel discussion at the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund’s conference Deal With It: A Women’s Conference, held in Los Angeles, Ca on August 5, 2018:

When you have your budget for a remodel, how can you make sure all your materials are included in the price?

It can be tricky. First, you want to make sure that your contract is very detailed. There are very few general contractors out there that will truly provide what I consider a detailed contract that actually describes what you are going to get. For example, if you are going to get cabinetry for your remodel, the contract should specify:

  • Type/Material
  • Color
  • Hinges
  • The contract should specify this and other details of your cabinetry down to the nth detail.

    Another way to avoid potential pitfalls with a home remodeling contractor (more…)

    Landlords Beware: “Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”

    Landlord Attorney in Woodland Hills - BedbugsMost of us are familiar with the little rhyme: “Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite”.  This age-old rhyme has taken on a special meaning for Los Angeles landlords as Los Angeles juries have awarded bed-bug suffering tenants multi-million-dollar judgments.

    The New York Times reports that a Los Angeles jury awarded tenants a $1.6m jury verdict against their landlord. The tenants initially notified the landlord that bedbugs were infesting their apartment. The landlord took swift action, instructing the tenants to throw away all their furniture (note that this is not necessarily the best practice — the Environmental Protection Agency recommends only throwing away those items that cannot be sanitized) and paid for the apartment to be fumigated. However, the landlord’s efforts to control the infestation failed. The tenants continued to be bitten and made many more complaints over the next four months before the landlord finally replaced the carpeting in the unit, which eliminated the infestation. Still, it was too late. The tenants sued and won. It is unclear if the landlord offered to compensate the tenants for the loss of their use and enjoyment of the apartment. However, had the landlord taken swift and effective action when first notified of the infestation, offered to pay the tenants to relocate temporarily, and perhaps even offered them additional compensation for their pain and suffering, it is certain the landlord would have prevailed at trial, minimized the judgment against it, or headed off a lawsuit altogether. (more…)

    Elder Law: Top Challenges Upcoming Seminar

    Elder Law Attorney Woodland HillsLos Angeles Attorney KC Marie Knox will be a featured speaker at the National Business Institute’s (NBI) upcoming seminar “Elder Law: Top Challenges” on Friday, February 16, 2018. KC Marie Knox is a partner with Hymes Schreiber & Knox, LLP, where her areas of practice include probate administration, probate litigation, estate planning, trust administration, trust litigation, and asset protection.

    Elder law is a rapidly evolving practice area, hurtling new regulatory and practical challenges at attorneys at a neck-breaking pace. Go beyond simple gifting techniques to trouble-shoot your clients’ long-term care problems. Learn what asset transfer methods cause problems down the line and how to prevent and fix them. Ensure clients’ Medicaid eligibility even under the toughest and most urgent of circumstances. Get practical guidance for litigating financial and other types of elder abuse. Enhance your practice – register today!

    Although this legal course is designed for attorneys, it will also benefit trust officers, accountants and CPAs, tax professionals, nursing home administrators, geriatric care managers, nurses, and social workers.  The course provides continuing legal education credit for attorneys and continuing professional education for accountants depending on which state you reside in.

    The course content includes:
    (more…)

    KC Marie Knox Recognized in the Valley Lawyer Art Contest

    Bass Guitar Lawyer ArtLos Angeles Attorney KC Marie Knox isn’t just a talented lawyer. She has a creative, artsy side that made recent news. KC was recognized by the San Fernando Valley Bar Association’s “Valley Lawyer” magazine for her painting of a (bass) guitar.

    ARTIST’S INSPIRATION

    “Being a partner in a law firm, a mother to two wonderful elementary school aged children, a wife to a very patient husband, and just someone who likes to be busy, I needed to find a way to sit still for more than 20 minutes and relax. I took a painting class and Ioved it! When I sit and paint, I can put everything else out of my mind and focus on just what’s in front of me and truly create something from just three simple primary colors, and black and white, of course.”

    KC MARIE KNOX is a partner at Hymes, Schreiber & Knox, LLP, a law firm in Woodland Hills focusing on business, real estate and wealth protection. She received her JD the University of San Diego School of Law and has spoken on various topics for the National Business Institute, and has served as an adjunct professor at Abraham Lincoln School of Law.

    Read the full issue of August’s Valley Lawyer magazine here (KC’s mention on p. 37): https://sfvba.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/VL-August-lowres.pdf

    How to Avoid the Nightmare of Giving Up Business Ownership

    Business Attorney in Los AngelesContinuing from our last post, Pitfalls of Giving Up Equity in a Business Venture, Ownership of your business is key. It is the symbol of your own hard work and passion, and security for the success of your future decisions. The more ownership you give up, the more you assume the responsibilities to other parties who can hold up your progress, especially if they have selfish or malicious intentions.

    Don’t make life more complicated. It at all possible, avoid giving away ownership. To help you in this key strategy, here are some basic tips:

    1. Work with you attorney to develop a rock solid Buy-Sell Agreement that protects your interests and decision making capabilities.
    2. Include stock option plans, profit participation programs, bonuses, and incentive-based programs to mitigate equity grants.
    3. Evaluate key man insurance, disability policies, and other strategies that emphasize employee benefits without giving away ownership.

    (more…)

    Pitfalls of Giving Up Equity in a Business Venture (Part 1)

    Pitfalls of Giving Up Equity in a Business VentureFrom entrepreneurs to trusted advisors, financing a new business venture can be extraordinarily challenging. When you are considering your options, however, be very cautious about giving up ownership. Such a strategy can help get your business started in the short run, but it also can be a complete headache in the long run.

    An Ounce Now, A Pound Later…

    • Imagine that you are an entrepreneur with a great idea and superb business model, but no start-up capital, or at least not enough to take flight with your business. You go to your parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, friends, and your spouse’s brothers, sisters, and friends (you get the picture).
    • They spare you some change, and in return, you offer them something as a symbol of your gratitude, something that will pay huge dividends later when your idea takes off and the big-money suitors come knocking: ownership in your business
    • A few years later, guess what? Congratulations! A large publicly traded company wants to acquire your business. Your hard work has paid off. Your potential acquirer wants to write you a check for several million dollars. All you have to do is cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s and the deal is done. In order to do so, however, your attorney tells you to have a meeting, take a vote, and make sure all of the other owners are on board.

    Uh-Oh, I Didn’t Forsee This…

    From the initial start-up capital to the equity you granted key employees, your business now has 10 other co-owners, all of whom are entitled to vote on the proposal. By the way, as part of the acquisition, the acquirer wants to move your operations to Ohio. Plus, in the years since you started the business, you and your spouse went through a messy divorce, but your ex-father-in-law and ex-brother-in-law are still owners. (Trust us; we’ve seen this and much worse …)

    With all of these variables, do you think getting a consensus vote from all the co-owners will be easy? Not a chance! Some people are not so keen on the idea of moving to Ohio. Others (your ex-in-laws) see the dollar signs and know that they can make life very difficult for you if they refuse to go along with the acquisition.

    What’s the Solution?

    (more…)

    New Name, Same Dedication…

    Hymes, Schreiber & Knox, LLP

    We have changed the name of our firm from Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP to Hymes, Schreiber & Knox, LLP. The name change comes after the passing of Samuel H. Anker and the promotion to partner of our long-time firm member, KC Marie Knox.

    KC Marie Knox received her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law and, after several years of practice, began working with our firm in 2007. KC has been an integral part of the firm, focusing her practice on estate and business planning, probate, trust administration and estate litigation. KC brings a depth of experience to our firm and its clients.

    KC has had her articles on “Digital Assets” published in the San Fernando Valley Lawyer Magazine and has been a presenter for the National Business Institute, speaking on issues related to elder law. She volunteers as a settlement officer with the Probate Settlement Panel at the Los Angeles Superior Court. In addition to her work as an attorney, she is an adjunct law professor at Abraham Lincoln University School of Law teaching courses in Wills, Trusts & Estates as well as Community Property since 2011. KC, along with her husband and two children, have close connections with the San Fernando Valley where they work, volunteer, and go to school. KC volunteers as a Board of Trustees Member for Northridge United Methodist Church and as a Girl Scout Leader.

    (more…)

    Make Sure Your Agreements Are in Writing

    Real Estate Attorney in Woodland HillsA recent California Court of Appeals decision once again demonstrated how important it is to always get your agreements in writing.  While the decision was in the context of a real estate broker’s claim for a commission, the basic principle can be applied to all agreements.

    In its decision which was issued on December 1, 2016, the California Court of Appeal reiterated the long-standing rule in California that a real estate broker’s claim for commission is not enforceable unless the agreement to pay that commission is in writing.  In the case that was before the Court,  the buyers told their broker friend that they were looking for a home.  Being a good friend, he agreed to assist and represent them in their search for which he was to be paid a commission.  Being “friends”, they did not bother to put that agreement in writing.  The broker found a home for the Buyers and made two offers on  their behalf.  The Seller made counteroffers, at which point the Buyers then asked their attorney, also a broker, to assist them.  Their attorney then made an offer on their behalf for the same property, which was accepted.  When his claim for a commission was rejected, the original broker sued for his $925,000.00 commission. (more…)

    What To Do If You Don’t Want To Be Kept On Ice Indefinitely

    Business Attorney Woodland Hills IceFran the funeral home director called the other day. Our office had been providing ongoing legal services related to her business structure. She knew that, in addition to other services our law firm provides, one of the areas we specialize in was “dealing with the dead”.

    Her problem was a unique one to most, but perhaps not something that uncommon in her industry. Her question-I have a family “feuding” over what to do with their recently deceased husband/son’s body-and she was now in the middle.

    A couple of months before John had died, and while he was very ill, his wife had contacted the funeral home to pre-arrange for services and cremation. When John died his body was delivered to the funeral home to proceed with those arrangements. Shortly after the body arrived, Fran was contacted by John’s nephew who explained that due to religious reasons the body should not be cremated or disposed of in the pre-arranged manner. The wife did not agree. In the meantime, Fran had a body “on ice” at her business for who knows how long

    The question: Who had the right to control the disposition of John’s remains?

    John did not have did not have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care which would have allowed him to designate who he wanted to be responsible for the disposition of his remains. Because he did not have that document, the person who had the right to control the disposition of his remains is determined by California law.

    (more…)