Tag: Utah attorney

Solutions are our Focus!

We Focus on Solutions!!

I had an experience lately. A client paid a large Salt Lake firm more than $20,000 on a case that was valued at less than $3000 if he won the whole case.  Can you imagine that?  I was stunned and wondered how this happened. Then, I think I figured it out.  His attorneys were focused on the process, following the rules, instead of finding solutions to his problem.  There are these things in the law that most people, including attorneys, are clueless about called the Rules of Civil Procedure.  Here is a link to the Utah Rules: https://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/urcp/

What are The Rules of Civil Procedure?

The Rules of Civil Procedure are the rules that say how to do things in court.  There are over 100 of them in Utah.  Crazy!  These rules set deadlines for many things.  They say that no matter what you must do this and you must do that.  Some of the most costly ones are the rules governing discovery.

What is discovery?

Discovery is the process where people in a lawsuit exchange required information about the case with everyone else in the case.  This is the process that cost my friend above so much money.  Did circumstances require that much discovery in his case?  The strict reading of the rules says that you have to do it.  But, was it in his best interest to do it?  I do not think so.

We approach cases looking for solutions

Here at our firm we approach cases with a greater focus on the solution to our client’s problem over focusing on doing all the discovery we can in every case.  Some cases will require it; there is no getting around it.  Often we are able to talk to the other attorney and decide what information is absolutely vital and focus on getting that information exchanged and then we dive into finding solutions.

How is this different?

This is a different way of approaching a case than a lot of firms. It is faster, less painful, and usually results in a faster, less expensive and better outcome for our client.  For my friend I reviewed the contract that gave rise to his problem and in a couple of yours found a solution that could save him an additional $30,000 on the contract that this firm had not seen in $20,000 plus in attorney fees.

Call us! We can help!

So, if you want to hire a firm that is going to pay attention to finding the solution, you need please give us a call.  We can help! We can find solutions!

Custody Battles

Custody Battles

One thing we have done a lot of are custody battles.  They can be some of the most difficult cases to handle. It is highly emotional and probably one of the hardest thing someone will do is go through a contested battle for custody of their children. One of the things that makes these types of cases so hard is that the law gives lists of factors in the code, but leaves it to a judge to determine which factor is most relevant.  I had a case recently where the judge gave custody to the mom because she had taken the child with her on vacation and the father had not after the parties had separated.

Best Interest of the Child

The governing principle in the law is “best interest” of the child.  Utah law can be found here: Utah Custody Factors.  You can click this link if you want.  It basically comes down to what a judge thinks is best taking these factors into play.  We have been to court a number of times and had trials and hearings on these types of cases and feel we can predict with a reasonable degree of certainty what a judge will do, but we have been surprised more than once.

Mediation

Utah has mandatory mediation in divorce cases.  This is the best option to resolve a custody battle.  It allows you to control the outcome and be more creative than a judge would.  Judges tend to follow the law about parent time. Sometimes you can get a judge to follow the optional schedule.  This means that if you want to do 50/50 parent time or something other than what the Utah Legislature has set out as the minimums you better do it at mediation.

Custody Evaluations

If you cannot agree at mediation a lot of judges will order a custody evaluation.  This is done by a mental health professional who has had training and experience is this sort of thing.  They look at these factors to make a recommendation to the court or to hold a second mediation where they present their recommendations to the parties and give them a chance to try and resolve it before court.  Most of the time the judge will do what the custody evaluation suggests.

Call us we can help

If you are in a custody battle.  Call Travis at 435-674-2564  We can help you figure this stressful and important battle out.

Why Should You Hire an Attorney?

Why Should You Hire an Attorney?

There are so many self-help resources available to people online. Some of these online resources even claim to be by attorneys with attorney help and support.   Some are even owned and run by celebrity attorneys. They all claim to be able to save you money on your legal services. Which brings us to our question – Why should you hire an attorney? I believe there are several reasons.

Attorneys have been to law school and passed the Bar Exam

This is a big deal. Quite frankly, someone who believes they can practice law without having gone through the crucible of law school is simply fooling themselves. I know a lot of attorneys will tell you that they didn’t learn how to practice law in law school, and that’s correct, law school trains the mind to think in a legal way. It is grueling and competitive. To survive law school you need brains, focus, and a great work ethic.

The bar exam is a two-day test. It is the hardest test that I’ve ever taken. One day consists of multiple-choice questions the likes of which would make any cruel teacher or professor squeal with delight due to their complexity and nuance.  One day is a series of essay and practical questions to test the test takers writing and analytical abilities.

We’ve done it dozens if not hundreds of times.

It is extremely likely when you first encounter an attorney it is the first time you have had to deal with a particular legal issue or problem. Attorneys, on the other hand, have as attorneys done multiple cases of a very similar type. Personally I have done thousands of criminal cases, hundreds of divorce cases, dozens of other litigation cases, hundreds of collection cases, as well as assisted in excess of 100 small businesses in their initial set up. I have also drafted more than 100 estate plans.  It would be safe to say that this experience gives me insights that you may not have about these issues.  All of us in our firm have a wide variety of experience that helps us to help you.

Attorneys bring an analytical mind to a problem.

There is a saying that I once heard that goes something like this “When emotion is high intelligence is low”. Being brought into the courts can be a scary, frustrating, and maddening situation. Very often you are hurt, scared, or angry. If these emotions were to be the only thing guiding your decision-making, it is likely that the decisions that you would make concerning your legal matter might not be in your best interest. One of our roles as attorneys is to bring that rational, reasoning mind to a legal problem when our clients are suffering the extremes of emotion. We can even take steps to delay or put off the case until our client is able to be thinking clearly in making their decisions.

Call us! We can help!

If you think any of the above applies to you, and you are currently in a situation that you could use the assistance of an attorney please call and schedule a free consultation at 435-674-2564. Ask for Travis. I will be glad to assist you.

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Special Needs Trusts

Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts are set up to allow people with special needs to qualify for or maintain “needs based” government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). In general, eligibility for these programs require that a persons assets held in a special needs trust will not be seen as “countable” for Medicaid and SSI eligibility. However, those assets held in the trust can still be used to supplement needs based government benefits and provide many of the good things in life such as electronics, companionship, vacations, hair care, dental, education, etc…

Two Types

Self settled is when a person sets up their own special needs trust for their own benefit.

Third party is when someone sets up a special needs trust for someone else.

Basic Rules

There are specific requirements for each of the types of special needs trusts, however they should follow the following rules.

  • Trustee shall only supplement government benefits and never displace government benefits.
  • The Trustee shall not distribute cash or property directly to the beneficiary
  • The beneficiary may not demand payment or that assets be distributed to the trust.
  • Never give the disabled beneficiary a general or limited power of appointment.
  • Trustee shall not make any distributions that would disqualify the beneficiary from needs based government benefits
  • Trust assets are not available to the beneficiary
  • Trustee shall not allow beneficiary to co-mingle funds with the trust assets.
  • The trustee shall not reimburse the beneficiary directly for purchases he or she makes.
  • The Trustee may pay directly for services, provided the Primary Beneficiary does not receive any assets as a result of such expenditure that can be converted to cash.
  • The Trustee may distribute a gift certificate directly to the Primary Beneficiary if the certificate is nontransferable and nonrefundable and cannot be converted to cash.

If you have a situation where you think a special needs trust would benefit you please contact us at 435-674-2564 and ask for Travis Christiansen.

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We make divorce easier

We Make Divorce Easier

We make divorce easier.  Our attorneys understand the process.  They have a combined experience of more than 50 years doing divorce in Southern Utah.  In a way you could say we have been there and done that when it comes to divorces. We have handled divorces where there were almost no assets up to divorces involving CEOs of significant national corporations.

The Process

In Utah the divorce process starts out with someone filing a petition for divorce and serving that on the other party. This petitioner and summons requires an answer. After the answer the court sets some deadlines.  These deadlines involve the exchanges of financial and other information.  Utah requires mediation. Mediation is a wonderful tool to resolve divorces. We work hard to assist our clients in a mediation process. We have learned that if everyone agrees to something in mediation several things take place. First, compliance is higher. Second, the cost are down significantly from what they would be if the matter went to trial. Third, if there are kids involved it generally allows them to move on with their lives sooner rather than later after an extensive court battle between the parents.

We Can Help

Divorce is never easy. We have found that if we can work hard and gather the necessary evidence we are able to assist our clients in getting satisfactory resolutions to their cases. We strongly believe that mediation is the best way to resolve a divorce.

Avoid Expenses

If we are unable to resolve the case at mediation, and there are kids involved, generally the next step is to do a home study or custody evaluation. A home study can cost in the neighborhood of $5000. They take anywhere from 60 to 120 days and involve a deep dive into your personal lives by a therapist.

We are good at Divorce

A lot of folks believe that they can represent themselves in a divorce we have found that simply is not the case. People have paid us more money to clean up a mess they created by attempting to do it themselves than by hiring us to begin with. In summary we make divorce easier.

Click this link to go to our contact page and get in touch with us so we can begin to help you.

Contact Us

Estate Planning – Free Consultation

estate-planning

Trust Choice – Free Consultation

When it comes to doing estate planning it is always critical that you talk with an attorney to make a good trust choice.  We offer a free consultation.   We know that there are a lot of online resources that you can use.  However, if you do not do it correctly and execute documents the way they should be executed your trust could be worthless.

A trust involves at least three types of people which are defined by the role they play in the trust.  The first is the Trustor or Trustors.  This is sometimes referred to as a settlor or grantor.  This is the person who creates the trust.  Then next required person is the Trustee.  This person or persons is who is charged with a fiduciary duty to manage the assets of the trust for the last type of person – the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Trustees

There are usually two types of Trustees.  Immediate and Successor.  The immediate trustees take initial management responsibility.  The successor trustee takes over once the initial trustee is unable to continue serving.

Beneficiaries

There are usually two types of beneficiaries: income and remainder. Income beneficiaries get the immediate income of the trust and the remainder beneficiaries get what is left once the income beneficiaries have passed away or the term of their rights to income have passed.

Can be the Same

In most cases the trustors, trustees, and beneficiaries are the same people.  A person or married couple will create a trust for their benefit during their lifetime. They will be the initial beneficiaries as well.

Other People

Some trusts provide for other people to be involved such as designating an investment trustee, a distribution trustee or a trust protector.  There are even special asset protection trusts that have some big advantages when done correctly.

There are numerous types of trusts.  Estate planning, trust choice, wills, trusts, probate and other things can be confusing.

CALL NOW 435-674-2564

It is important determine which will best meet your needs. Call us at 435-674-2564 and set up a free consultation with Travis Christiansen and make sure these things are not left to chance.

Or you can contact us at Our Website.

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We have great attorneys!

We have great attorneys. Travis Christiansen recently was honored for his work by his peers.  He practices estate planning, divorce law, criminal defense, DUI and business law.

Attorney Travis R. Christiansen has Achieved a BV Distinguished™ Peer Review Rating™ from Martindale-Hubbell®.
Travis R. Christiansen, a lawyer based in St. George, UT whose primary area of practice is Estate Planning, has earned a Peer Review Rating™ from Martindale-Hubbell®

St. George, UT May 12, 2017 – Martindale-Hubbell® has confirmed that attorney Travis R. Christiansen still maintains the BV Distinguished Peer Review Rating™ from Martindale-Hubbell, even after first achieving this rating in 2017.

For more than 140 years, lawyers have relied on the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings™ while searching for their own expert attorneys. Now anyone can make use of this trusted rating by looking up a lawyer’s rating on Lawyers.com or martindale.com. The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. It is achieved only after an attorney has been reviewed and recommended by their peers – members of the bar and the judiciary. Congratulations go to Travis R. Christiansen who has achieved the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating™.

Travis R. Christiansen commented on the recognition: “The Martindale-Hubbell BV Distinguished Rating is a credential highly valued and sought after in the legal world. It used to be a sort of secret among attorneys who used the rating as a first screen when they needed to hire a lawyer they did not personally know. Now, thanks to the Internet, the Rating is a great way for anyone ñ lawyers or lay people – to use to screen lawyers. I am thankful to my peers who nominated me for this distinction, and proud to have earned this rating.”