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Law FAQ


What Is Title Insurance?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

If you are buying or refinancing a home, the mortgage company will probably require that you buy title insurance to protect their mortgage. But most people don't know exactly what they are buying or even why it is needed.

The most important thing an attorney does in any real estate purchase or refinancing is the title search. Simply put, this is a search of the public records to determine if the Seller (or the person you are buying the property from) can give you good title to the property, does he own 100% of the property with no liens or other claims? The Seller's title depends on the title which he or she received from the person who owned it before the Seller, and from every other person who has owned it before the Seller, and from every other person who has owned the property over the years. The title insurance certifies to you that the public records have been searched and that you are getting a good title.

If you are financing your purchase or refinancing, the mortgage company will require that you purchase title insurance to guarantee to them that the title the Seller is giving to you is good. Because such title insurance also covers any problem the attorney may not have been able to discover by a search of the public records, it is a good idea to purchase coverage to protect you as well. The cost of such owner's coverage is inexpensive and is good for as long as you own the home without any further payment. In Delaware, your attorney can provide such coverage for you.

We are proud of our staff, and of our experience in real estate transactions, and look forward to providing you with quality, friendly service at a good price. Contact us if you are thinking about buying a new home.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


If I File For Bankruptcy, Will I Lose My Home?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

The primary concern of most people who are considering filing bankruptcy is whether or not they will be able to keep their home. In almost all cases the answer is yes, as long as you can make your mortgage payments. The fact is that most people are able to keep their home, cars, and other property and still take advantage of the bankruptcy laws to reduce their debt.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


What Is A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a husband and wife in Delaware are permitted to keep up to $125,000 worth of equity in their residence (after 1/1/2012), $25,000 per spouse of other assets and all retirement assets. Your home, cars and other property which may have a mortgage or lien against them are not included or only partially included towards these amounts. In most cases, you will be able to keep your home, cards and other property, provided the payments on those loans continue. You will be excused from paying any unsecured debts. If you own more than the protectable value of assets, other forms of bankruptcy may still provide you some relief.

If you are having trouble paying your bills, call for a free initial consultation, we'll tell you what alternatives you may have to bankruptcy, and whether or not you qualify for bankruptcy relief.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


What Is A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is also known as a Wage-earner Plan. It can be used to protect a home or other property, if you and your spouse have more assets than can be protected in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You must have regular wages or income, and you will have to make a monthly payment to a trustee who will divide payment among your creditors. How much you must pay will depend on the plan you file with the Court. If the plan is approved by the Court, once you pay all of the monthly payments to the trustee, you will be excused from paying any amounts still owed to unsecured creditors.

If you are having trouble paying your bills, call for a free initial consultation, we'll tell you what alternatives you may have to bankruptcy, and whether or not you qualify for bankruptcy relief.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


I Know Someone who Filed For Bankruptcy. How Can He Keep His Home and Car?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

The Bankruptcy Code provides that people who qualify for and file for bankruptcy relief are entitled to a fresh start. In Delaware, that means a husband and wife can keep up to $50,000 of net assets and up to $125,000 of net equity in their home. The value of homes and cars, to the extent that they are collateral for mortgage or other loans, are not included in the above amounts. As long as the payments continue on those loans, the house, car and other property can usually be retained.

If you are having trouble paying your bills, call for a free initial consultation, we'll tell you what alternatives you may have to bankruptcy, and whether or not you qualify for bankruptcy relief.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


If I Loan A Friend Or Relative Money, Do I Really Need A Written Note?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

Whenever you lend money, the best advice is always to make sure you obtain a written note. Not only is it evidence that the money was meant to be a loan and not a gift, but it lets the borrower know that you intend to be repaid. It also allows you to state when you expect repayment, whether or not you expect interest, and what your rights will be if you are not repaid.

You may also want to consider whether or not to take any collateral to protect the repayment. If so, you need to be sure that you are getting a lien on that collateral that will stand up if the loan goes bad. If the lien is not properly protected, you may end up with no collateral at all.

Before you loan to a relative or friend, always consult with an attorney.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


Why Should I Re-finance My Home Now?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

Most people know that mortgage rates are lower than they have been in many years. What they don't know is just how much they can save by re-financing now. A 2% difference in the interest rate over 30 years will save a homeowner $38,829.60 on a $75,000.00 mortgage, with a payment reduction of $107.86 each month. In many cases, the homeowner can keep the same payment amount and reduce the length of the mortgage from 30 to 15 or 20 years.

These savings will more than pay for the initial cost of re-financing, and often times the mortgage company will include the cost of re-financing in the new mortgage.

If you have any questions about re-financing or any other legal matter, call for a free initial consultation.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


How Much Will It Cost Me To Re-finance My Home?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

Most people realize they can save money by re-financing their home, but they often don't think they can afford the up front costs of refinancing. May times the new mortgage lender can add those costs into the new mortgage with little reduction in the savings. Your attorney can often save you money in circumstances when he or she can rely on your old survey instead of ordering a new one, or by asking the title insurance company to give you a reissue rate on your old title policy. Before you re-finance, ask about these tems.

If you have any questions about re-financing or any other legal matter, call for a free initial consultation.

For Additional Information:

E-mail: hjjf@delawarelaw.com

Telephone: (302) 734-7401


How Much Automobile Insurance Should You Have?

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

During my initial consultation with clients who have been injured in an automobile accident, I always discuss with them the limits of automobile insurance coverage that they carry. Under Delaware Law, all Delaware registered motor vehicles are required to have only 15/30 liability coverage (this equates to $15,000.00 per individual up to a maximum of $30,000.00 per accident), and 15/30 of Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP). Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) must be offered at the time an insurance policy is purchased or at such time as changes to the policy are made (for example, adding or deleting a vehicle or a driver:, but is not mandatory. In most instances, these minimum levels of coverage are insufficient to protect the client from any liability claims, asserted by third persons and to protect the client from the costs of being injured (i.e. Medical bills and lost wages) or from other drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. So how much insurance do you have and how much insurance do you need? The obvious answer is that you need well in excess of the minimum currently required in Delaware. Please keep in mind the functions of the various types of coverage:

(1) Liability insurance protects you against the claims of others. If by some unfortunate occurrence you cause a motor vehicle accident in which someone else is injured, your automobile insurance company is required to provide to you a defense (i.e. A lawyer to defend you) and is required to pay any judgment rendered against you up to the limits of your liability coverage. In many instances, 15/30 is simply not enough to compensate an injured person and without additional coverage, you run the risk of personal liability.

(2) Personal injury Protection, or PIP coverage pays medical bills for a period of two years following the accident what are necessary, reasonable and related to the accident, up to the limits of coverage, and pays lost wages during the two year period which are caused by the accident, again, up to the limits of coverage. PIP coverage can be purchased in increased increments up to the level of liability coverage. So, for example, if you have purchased more liability coverage than the minimum required by law, say 100/300, then, in such event, not only have you more realistically insured yourself from the claims of others, you also can then purchase PIP insurance up to 100/300 as well.

(3) Uninsured/Underinsured coverage can also be purchased up to the limits of your liability coverage and designed to protect you from the negligence of others who have either chosen not to purchase any automobile insurance (the uninsured motorist) or who have elected to purchase only minimal amounts of insurance (for example 15/30 minimum as required by Delaware Law), or who have elected to purchase liability insurance less than the coverage that you have purchased. Many times I see badly injured people who elected not to purchase UM/UIM coverage or who elected to purchase only minimal amounts of UM/UIM coverage, and it is my sad dudty to inform that that there simply is not sufficient insurance available to fairly and justly compensate them for their injuries or to pay their medical bills and/or lost wages.

So how much insurance should you have? My recommendation to my clients is that they have at least 100/300 of liability coverage, of PIP coverage and of Uninsured/Underinsured coverage. Of course, additional levels of coverage above the 100/300 are also available and should be considered. There is no doubt that insurance is expensive, particularly as the number of vehicles and number of drivers insured upon a particular policy increase; however, it is heart breaking to see a person who is catastrophically injured through the negligence of others without adequate sources of insurance. In truth, you can probably never have too much insurance; however, minimum limits are simply not sufficient for your own protection.

***(the contents of this article do not constitute legal advice nor establish legal representation. Visitors to this web site who have specific legal questions should consult with an attorney who engages in personal injury law. Listings of area of practice does not represent official certification as specialists in these areas.)


If You Are In An Automobile Accident.

By Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher

No one expects that they will be involved in an automobile accident. That is something that happens to the other guy. However, automobile accidents are occurring with increased frequency and there is a distinct possibility that it could happen to you. If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are some things that you need to be aware of so as to insure that the proper medical attention is received, that the claim can be handled by the applicable insurance carrier promptly and efficiently, and to protect your legal rights. So, if you are involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver, what should you do?

I recommend the following:

1. Always call the police no matter how slight the accident. The police are trained in accident investigation including immediate attention to those who may be seriously injured. Never simply exchange driver's information, (i.e. Name, address and phone number and insurance information) with the other driver and depart the scene without an accident investigation by the applicable law enforcement agencies.

2. Severe injuries are obvious, less severe injuries may not become apparent for some time after the accident. Therefore, when questioned about injuries at the scene, do not state that you are not injured unless you are certain that that is the case. Soft tissue injuries often take hours or days to become symptomatic and minor aches or pains following an accident can often become increasingly symptomatic over time.

3. If you suspect that you are or may be injured, do not refuse medical attention at the scene. Although a trip to the emergency room may seem inconvenient at the time, it is better medically to diagnose an injury as soon as possible so that appropriate treatment may be administered, and the injury and the treatment will be documented by the emergency department.

4. Every Delaware registered motor vehicle is required to carry personal injury protection insurance which is no fault in nature. Personal injury protection or PIP insurance is designed to provide a source of payment of medical bills and lost wages for a period of two years following the accident, up to the limits of coverage, which, in Delaware is required to be at least $15,000.00 per person and up to $30,000.00 per accident. Therefore, as soon as you are able, you should place your insurance carrier on notice of the accident and request a PIP application form and claim number. The name and address of the insurance carrier together with the claim number should be presented to each health care provider with whom you treat and they will bill your insurance company directly. If the accident is not your fault, your insurance company will be reimbursed by the insurance carrier for the person who caused the accident and therefore your rates will not go up. Remember, the Delaware Legislature wisely enacted the PIP statute so as to provide an immediate source of payment of your medical bills and lost wages in the event that you are injured in an automobile accident. Therefore, if you are injured in an automobile accident, you should seek all of the medical treatment that you need without having to worry about how it will be paid for. (The Delaware PIP statute provides that PIP shall pay for all necessary, reasonable and related medical treatment and lost wages for a period of two years up to the limits of coverage).

5. Write down a narrative statement of the accident so that you can refresh your memory later.

6. Keep a pain diary with daily entries chronicling how you are feeling, the effects of your injuries upon your normal activities, hour state of mind, and your medical treatment.

7. Get the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible.

8. Take 35mm photographs of any injuries (bruises, cuts, etc.) and of any obvious damage to your vehicle, both interior and exterior, and, if possible, take photographs of the other vehicle involved in the accident.

9. Contact an attorney who practices in the area of automobile personal injury.

***(the contents of this article do not constitute legal advice nor establish legal representation. Visitors to this web site who have specific legal questions should consult with an attorney who engages in personal injury law. Listings of area of practice does not represent official certification as specialists in these areas.)