Easy Access to Quality Legal Services in Australia

A lawyer can be of help to you in many ways. Do you have a case in court and you will like the case to be handled professionally? Then you should link up with a professional lawyer for that. If you will like to prosecute a case, a lawyer can always help you out, enabling you to cart away victory. The usefulness of lawyers is not limited to the court room; they can also be useful in several other areas. Those who want to prepare their wills or sign contracts can equally benefit from the professional expertise of a lawyer. If you reside in Australia and will like to hire a lawyer, take some time to properly assess the law firms around you so that you will not end up with unreliable ones. One law firm you can always trust for professional legal representation is https://www.cornwalls.com.au/.

In the remaining part of this write-up, we will show you some of the many features that make this outlet one of the best places to visit for quality legal representation in Australia.

All round legal services

You will find the attorneys from this law firm to be reliable in all sense of the word. They will always be there to meet your needs for legal representation. Do you need a professional lawyer for anything related baking & finance or corporate & commercial industries? You will find the lawyers at this law firm ever ready to meet your needs. They can also assist you with issues related to employment. If your employer is abusing your rights in any way and you will like to seek justice, just come over to https://www.cornwalls.com.au/ and the lawyers here will stand in for you, ensuring the employer acknowledge your rights.  Those in need of family lawyers are also welcome at this law firm. They can help with will preparation and handling of your estates. They will lawyers do their jobs with passion and commitment.

Long years of service

This law firm had been around for a very long time and has cut a niche for itself as one of the leading law firms in Australia offering all-round legal services.  Since inception to date, the law firm has been of help to so many people and none of their clients had ever complained before about the service they offer. You can benefit from the legal services offered at this outlet irrespective of where you reside in Australia.  The reliability of the lawyers at this law firm is incomparable to what you can ever find elsewhere. You will always get value for money when you patronize the outlet. In addition, the services offered here are highly affordable.   Consequently, you can benefit from them even if you are on a tight budget.

What to Check to Get a Good Lawyer

You can settle a family dispute between you, but you need a lawyer when going to court. There will be costs, professional fees, and a generally long process. Most of the time, the cost of solving the problem is much greater than the cost of preventing it.

Qualification

Legal practice is broadly defined as assisting another person’s legal needs through applying legal principles and knowledge by a person with legal training. However, according to this definition, a legal assistant or even a secretary with knowledge of the law who has been trained by the very fact of working for a specified time in a law firm is considered to be practicing law.

When looking for an attorney, look for a qualified attorney. It means to make sure your attorney has completed the legal course, successfully passed the bar exams and is licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the specific legal assistance is requested. It is perfectly ethical to apply for an attorney licensed before you start sharing your private secrets with them.

Expertise

A lawyer can be good in any of the following categories of law: international law, labor law, civil law, tax law, litigation, or criminal law. These are the main categories. Each qualified attorney has their own experience. Therefore, you may hear about a trial attorney or an immigration attorney. However, remember that legal expertise is acquired through experience, not simply because they believe they are good at it.

Personal qualities

It is one aspect of the legal profession where a young, inexperienced attorney can get ahead of an experienced one. Young Burke Lawyers are often energetic, responsive, and helpful. They tend to treat their clients like babies. They take care of everything, even the insignificant. But this is how paying customers want to be treated.

The personal qualities depend mainly on the type of client he is. If you are a serious guy, you may prefer to hire an older retired attorney. The type of lawyer is less interested in what you say. Lawyers have become routine, like brushing their teeth in the morning. Their strategies have been tried and tested, so your chances of winning will be significantly higher in your case if you understand them.

Credibility

Trust in an attorney can be seen in various contexts. It could mean that there is no bad reputation. It can be built on charisma combined with referrals from previous satisfied clients. It can be destroyed by the lawyer himself, for example, when he provides legal advice and revokes his own legal opinion without mitigation. Of course, no lawyer will attract clients if he is not trustworthy.

Summary

So now, a lawyer has a qualified, experienced, and trustworthy attorney with the personal qualities one needs. Your attorney will tell you that he is ready, capable, and happy to help you most of the time.

What are the duties of the lawyers?

Lawyers are the one who deals with all the legal activities that would encounter in our day to day life. They will know all the clauses and all the loopholes that are present in the legal system so that by using all those points they will fight against you to win the case that was filed against you. Mostly these people will deal with cases that don’t know by normal people how to deal with them in court. These people will deal with lots of issues including family problems land issues and many more. London divorce lawyers will deal with the problems that would encounter between the wife husband. They will try to solve the problems initially before they are getting a divorce as the divorce will separate two families. If both are willing to take divorce they will apply in court and they have to attend the court calls whenever they get a date to express their reasons to the judge. They have to inform the judge for what reasons they are seeking the divorce and divorce judge convinces them they will get a divorce.

What are all the benefits that will get after a divorce?

  • Divorce is a mutual understanding that both of the persons from the couple don’t want to live together anymore. This will be done under legal supervision so that in future no problems would face by both of them.
  • If this is done under legal supervision they will get a certificate declaring that both of them have taken divorce in the interest of both of them. London divorce lawyers will assist you in getting the divorce and all the benefits that would get after the divorce.
  • Some benefits will get with the divorce that will be received by any of the partnersand this will be decided based on those who are getting damage or loss after the divorce. This will be decided by the judge based on the argument that has been done by the lawyers.
  • You need to explain all your situations to the lawyer so that based on the words and information that you have provided the lawyer will do an argument in front of the judge and try to make justice for the person who hired. Be truthful to the lawyer and don’t hide any information from the lawyer.

Conclusion

Lawyers will help you in getting a divorce and all the benefits that you will get after a divorce.

 

Best Lawyers In Tallahassee

If you are considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, the first thing that you will want to do is to determine which bankruptcy lawyers in Tallahassee can best assist you with your case. If you live in or around Tallahassee, chances are good that you have several of these attorneys in mind.

Bruner Wright P.A. has represented literally hundreds of individuals and companies throughout the state of Florida who has had their bankruptcy filed against them. As a result, he is very familiar with all of the requirements that must be met in order for an individual or company to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He will be especially helpful to you if you happen to reside in or around Tallahassee and if you have been considering filing for bankruptcy as a means of solving your financial problems. Mr. Bruner will be especially helpful to you if you own a small business or if you have recently been laid off from your job. Because the laws governing bankruptcy proceedings vary in each state, having a lawyer who is very knowledgeable about the laws in your particular area will make the process much easier to complete.

Besides offering his highly skilled legal expertise, Bruner Wright P.A. is also well experienced with dealing with creditors, tax liens, insurance policies, trusts, and charitable contributions. In addition, he has extensive experience with administrative services, which includes filing federal and state taxes, arranging and managing insurance policies, and handling a variety of court matters including divorces, estates, and child custody cases. If you are in need of a bankruptcy lawyer, you should definitely contact David Bruner to schedule an initial meeting.

No matter what type of legal problem you are facing, Bruner Wright P.A. can be your perfect legal counsel. You will be glad that you contacted a Tallahassee bankruptcy lawyer. It is very important that you take advantage of the many resources available to help you find the best lawyers in Tallahassee at an affordable price.

When you meet with a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important that you ask questions so you can develop a clear understanding of his fees. Because the law can be complex, it is important that you understand exactly what is being charged for each particular aspect of your case. This is an area where a bankruptcy lawyer will most likely charge a consultation fee. There will also likely be a retainer fee if there is a court settlement or trial. Once you have decided if this type of law firm fits your needs, you can decide whether or not you would like to proceed with them.

Once you have decided if you want to hire a Tallahassee bankruptcy lawyer, you should set up an initial meeting with Bruner Wright P.A. They will review your case, and then they will offer you a free consultation. You can discuss your options about filing for bankruptcy and they will give you a free legal consultation to evaluate your case.

This post was written by Trey Wright, one of the best bankruptcy Tallahassee attorneys! Trey is one of the founding partners of Bruner Wright, P.A. Attorneys at Law, which specializes in areas related to bankruptcy law, estate planning, and business litigation.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

 

 

Looking For IRS Tax Attorneys in Los Angeles?

When it comes to IRS Tax attorneys in Los Angeles California, you will be amazed at the number of options that are available. There are so many factors that will determine which IRS tax attorney you will choose. Do you want a private tax attorney or one that is part of a firm? Is your tax situation such that you will need a tax resolution firm to help you?

The IRS Tax Attorneys in Los Angeles will have the experience you need to get what you are looking for. They know how the IRS operates and can advise you on how to handle your tax situation. The IRS can be very frustrating and confusing, but with the help of the right IRS tax attorneys in Los Angeles California, you can get through this situation without any problems. You do not want to pay any more money than you have to, and by using the IRS Tax Attorneys in Los Angeles you can get the results that you need.

It is understandable that you might not have all the information that you need to make a good decision when it comes to choosing the right IRS tax attorney. However, if you take some time to find the right attorney for your needs, you will be able to get the help that you need. You should also consider how much experience they have with tax cases. You should only hire an experienced attorney if they have been handling such cases for a while.

When you are trying to find the best IRS tax attorneys in Los Angeles California, you should take a few things into consideration. For example, does the particular attorney has a lot of experience dealing with the IRS? If so, this means that they will probably know all of the answers to your questions. Experience will mean that they will probably make fewer mistakes while representing you in court. In turn, this can be a huge benefit when it comes to resolving your tax problems successfully.

Another thing to look for in the IRS tax attorneys in the Los Angeles area is how knowledgeable they are about the particular tax laws in the area. Knowing the laws can help you learn what you should do when faced with the IRS, instead of just letting them take control. This can be an extremely helpful way to avoid making mistakes, which can result in you paying more taxes than you should be paying.

You should definitely contact the IRS for help. However, you should try to find the IRS tax attorneys in Los Angeles that can best handle your case. You can do this by looking at the website of the agency. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about the IRS tax controversy and find the best attorney in the area for your needs. This is an important step, as you definitely want to hire someone you can trust to represent you. If you use these steps to help you find the best attorney in town, you should be able to get your problem resolved quickly.

This article was written by Alla Tenina. Alla is one of the best IRS Tax attorneys in Los Angeles California, and the founder of Tenina law. She has experience in bankruptcies, real estate planning, and complex tax matters. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

 

Musical Warfare: How to Use Music As a Form of Torture and Assault

Introduction

Although I could easily make this article about the most horrible songs ever written and how they get stuck in our heads, this is not what our topic is about today. In this article, we will discuss torture, its anatomy, and the role music can play in it. We will differentiate between different types of torture, how our senses can be used against us to cause us pain, the after-effects of torture, military uses of music in psychological operations, sonic technologies developed specifically for sieges and law enforcement applications, and how artists are speaking out against the use of their music in these operations. So strap yourself in and continue reading because you’re in for ride.

Pain and Perceptions of the Ear

The human ear is defenseless. It’s unable to keep sound out, so it must take in all it hears. Without earplugs, anti-noise headphones or other defensive technologies the ear is helpless to protect itself. One of the great advantages of using music as an implement of torture is that it leaves no physical mark. At least, so it seems. Because sound moves particles in the air and pushes the vibrations into our ear, the effect has a potential for danger. With an increase in the volume of sound, the vibrations push particles ever more strongly into our ear, thereby causing harm over time or immediately according to conditions. Here’s a brief description on how the ear can be damaged causing hearing loss and auditory malfunction.

Hair cells reside in the cochlea. Bundles of hair-like extensions, called stereo cilia, rest on top of them. When sound waves travel through the ears and reach the hair cells, the vibrations deflect off the stereo cilia, causing them to move according to the force and pitch of the vibration. Different forms of sound cause them to move in a variety of ways. For instance, a melodic piano tune would produce gentle movements, while heavy metal would generate faster, sharper motion. This motion triggers an electrochemical current that sends the information from the stereo cilia through the auditory nerves and eventually to the brain.

­When you hear exceptionally loud noises, your stereo cilia can become damaged and mistakenly keep sending sound information to the auditory nerve cells. In the case of loud sound sources such as rock concerts and fireworks displays, ringing happens because the tips of some of your stereo cilia have actually broken off. You hear those false currents in the ringing in your ear (or head), called tinnitus. However, since you can grow these small tips back in about 24 hours, the ringing is often temporary.

So as you can see although music torture is classified along with other forms of psychological torture, the damage that high volume sound can really cause is actually physical. If music torture causes the loss of hearing, the remedy for this physical ailment is not months or years of counseling, but rather a hearing aid. Deafness is a physical malfunction, not a psychological or emotional issue.

The Differences between Physical and Psychological Torture

Torture is the practice or act of deliberately inflicting severe physical pain and possibly injury on a living being. Although psychological and animal tortures also exist, the forms of torture can vary greatly in duration from a few minutes to several days or even longer. Reasons for torture can also vary greatly and they can include punishment, revenge, political re-education, deterrence, interrogation, coercion, or a sadistic gratification of observing the tortured in agony and pain.

Physical torture methods have been used throughout recorded history and can range from a beating to the use of sophisticated custom designed devices such as the rack. Exceptional ingenuity has been shown in the invention of instruments and techniques for physical torture, which exploit medical knowledge of the vulnerabilities of the human body such as the sensitivity of nail beds to pressure, or of the soles of the feet to heat. Other types of torture can include sensory or sleep deprivation, restraint or being held in awkward or damaging positions, uncomfortable extremes of heat and cold, loud noises or any other means that inflicts severe physical or mental pain. Physical torture is plainly the inflicting of severe pain or suffering on a person.

Psychological torture, on the other hand, uses non-physical methods to cause emotional or mental suffering. Its effects are not immediately apparent unless they alter the behavior of the tortured person. Psychological torture is less well known than physical torture and tends to be subtle and much easier to conceal. In practice the distinctions between physical and psychological torture can often be blurred. In contrast to physical torture, psychological torture is directed at the psyche with calculated violations of psychological needs, along with deep damage to psychological structures and the breakage of beliefs underpinning normal sanity.

Music torture is clearly difficult to categorize. Physically, the ear can become damaged, although no blows were inflicted upon the victim. On the other hand, music torture can prevent a victim from maintaining a normally functioning consciousness. Psychological torture also includes deliberate use of extreme stressors and situations such as mock execution, shunning, violation of deep-seated social or sexual norms and taboos, or extended solitary confinement. Because psychological torture needs no physical violence to be effective, it is possible to induce severe psychological pain, suffering, and trauma with no externally visible effects. Torturers often inflict both types of torture in combination to compound the associated effects.

In fact, music torture is most effective when it is combined with other forms of torture such as mock executions, simulated drowning, sexual and religious humiliation, stress positions or sleep deprivation, the exploitation of prisoners’ phobias, the use of mind-altering drugs, hooding, forced nakedness, the use of dogs to frighten detainees, exposing prisoners to extreme heat and cold, physical assault and threatening the use of such techniques against a prisoner or a prisoner’s family.

In addition, music torture is sometimes used with medical, pharmacological, and even tickle torture. With medical torture, medical practitioners use torture to judge what victims can endure, to apply treatments that enhance torture, or act as torturers in their own right. Pharmacological torture is the use of drugs to produce psychological and physical pain or discomfort. Tickle torture is an unusual form of torture which can be both physically and psychologically painful. But more commonly, music torture is mixed with using

The Analysis and Effects of Music Torture

So what aspects of music make it possible to turn it into a weapon of torture? Three aspects come to mind and they are a) type of music, b) loudness, or volume, and c) the length of exposure. Often in military operations such as torture or interrogations, the music of choice is usually something which is extremely annoying or very stimulating. For example, several days after Paris Hilton announced that she would release an album, the Pentagon decided to buy 50,000 copies to use against insurgents in the Anbar province in Iraq. Other choices of music can range from various types of heavy metal such as Metallica to songs from children’s T.V. shows such as Barney and Sesame Street.

The annoyance or stimulating factor of the music used is further intensified when the loudness or volume level is deafeningly high. In some cases, the volume levels have been reported to be as high as 120 – 150 dB, which equates to the sound range of a chainsaw, thunderclap and even a jet take-off. In addition, the length of exposure further exacerbates the effect of the music torture by causing the disorientation of the other senses. In psychological operations and during interrogations, it’s quite common for a single song to be played at extremely loud volume levels for a 24 hour period. All of these factors combined are what give music torture its effectiveness as an assault weapon.

The consequences of music torture reach far beyond discomfort and immediate pain. Many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which includes symptoms such as flashbacks (or intrusive thoughts), severe anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, depression and memory lapses. Torture victims often feel guilt and shame, triggered by the humiliation they have endured. Many feel that they have betrayed themselves or their friends and family. All such symptoms are normal human responses to abnormal and inhuman treatment.

For survivors, torture often leads to lasting mental and physical health problems. Music torture in particular is difficult to prove, especially when some time has passed between the event and a medical examination. Many torturers around the world use methods designed to have a maximum psychological impact while leaving no or only minimal physical traces. Typically deaths due to torture are shown in an autopsy as being due to “natural causes” like heart attack, inflammation, or embolism due to extreme stress.

Physical problems can be as wide-ranging as sexually transmitted diseases, muscular-skeletal problems, brain injury, post-traumatic epilepsy, dementia, and chronic pain syndromes. Mental health problems are equally wide-ranging, but the most common are post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety disorder. One of the most terrible psychological effects of torture is the killing of desire and curiosity, while the core feature of the post-traumatic landscape of torture is psychic deadness.

Gauntanamo captive Binyam Mohamed, who has since returned to England after years of imprisonment and torture, was interviewed on London’s Mail on Sunday. In this interview, he talked about how his sonic torture started in a Kabul prison in 2002 where he was held for eighteen months in complete darkness before his transfer to Gauntanamo in 2004. His body conveys no direct physical markings of his claims of abuse, but he relates how, “There were loudspeakers in the cell, pumping out a deafening, non-stop volume, 24 hours a day. They played the same CD for a month, The Eminem Show. When it was finished it went back to the beginning and started again. I couldn’t sleep. I had no idea whether it was day or night.”

Military Uses of Music Assault

History’s most infamous musical assault occurred against the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas (1993). The story goes that the FBI wore down the compound dwellers over the seven week siege, exploiting the defenselessness of the ear, by broadcasting sleep-preventing decibel levels of massively distorted music.

A few years earlier, the U.S. tried to force out Manuel Noriega from Panama City with a non-stop bombardment of heavy metal music by the likes of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. In December 1989, the United States invaded Panama. Noriega took refuge in the Holy See’s embassy on December 24, which was immediately surrounded by U.S. troops. After being continually attacked with hard rock music, including Van Halen’s hit song Panama and “The Howard Stern Show” for several days, Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990.

In Guantanamo Bay and prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq reports have surfaced claiming that interrogation techniques involve the uses of extremely loud music to soften prisoners. Reports from Guantanamo Bay also indicate that disturbing chicken noises were played over a loud-speaker for more than 25 hours to induce sleep deprivation. Loudspeaker systems are also used to communicate with enemy soldiers by intimidating them with frightening voices. Apparently, this is form of sonic attack is an effective method for getting insurgents to surrender, along with intimidating phone calls made directly to the families of insurgents and enemy commanding officers.

Amnesty International has also received reports describing various kinds of humiliation and torture prisoners and detainees the world over has endured. The most common methods often reported include prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings, prolonged restraint in painful positions, hooding, exposure to loud music, and to bright lights.

Music Torture Technologies in Bullet Points

On November 18, 1998, now-defunct Synetics Corporation was contracted to produce a tightly focused beam of infrasound intended to produce effects that range from disabling to killing a target.

In 1999, Maxwell Technologies patented a HyperSonic Sound System, which is a highly directional device designed to control hostile crowds or disable hostage takers.

In 1999, Primex Physics International patented both the “Acoustic Blaster” and the Sequential Arc Discharge Acoustic Generator, which produce repetitive impulse waveforms of 165dB. Both sonic weapons are designed for “antipersonnel applications,” produce their effects with high intensity impulsive sound waves by electrical means, and are believed to be controllable at a distance of 50 feet or more.

American Technology Corporation has also development the Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, 10 years earlier. This is a weapon capable of projecting a ‘strip of sound’ (15 to 30 inches wide) at an average of 120 dB (maxing at 151 dB). Because the LRAD is designed to hail ships, issue battlefield or crowd-control commands, or directs an attention-getting and highly irritating deterrent tone for behavior modification, its sonic projection is intelligible from 500 to 1,000 meters away. Wielded by the 361st PsyOps company, the LRAD was deployed to prepare the battlefield in the siege of Falluja in November of 2004. The device was armed with Metallica’s “Hells’ Bells” and “Shoot to Thrill.”

Artists Protest the Use of Music Torture

Honestly, positions are mixed among musicians in regard to the use of their music in torture. Many support the military position of do whatever it takes to stop the terrorists, while others are deeply opposed to the use of any form of torture on a humanitarian basis. For example, the Associated Press reported that Stevie Benton of the group Drowning Pool said, “I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that.” My position, as a citizen and not as an artist, is based on the concept of political freedom, so I support any government that respects the freedoms of its citizens. However, when it comes to crime, I want law enforcement and the judicial system to prosecute those who violate the rights of others with an appropriate fine or incarceration. And in regard to war, military law should apply to combatants captured on the battlefield. In such cases, both forfeit their rights.

In contrast, the Associated Press also reported that various musicians were coordinating their objections to the use of their music in interrogations through an initiative called Zero dB. Zero dB is an initiative against music torture set up by legal charity Reprieve. This charity represents over thirty prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Zero dB aims to stop torture music by encouraging widespread condemnation of the practice of music torture by calling on governments and the UN to uphold and enforce the Convention against Torture and other relevant treaties.

The initiative is backed by the Musicians Union which is calling on British musicians to also voice their outrage against the use of music to torture. Musicians and the wider public are making their own silent protests against music torture which are being shown on Zero dB. Participating musicians will include minutes of silence in their concerts to draw their audience’s attention to the USA’s use of deafening music against captives.

Among the musicians united in their objections were Christopher Cerf, a composer for the children’s show Sesame Street, Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. Others include R.E.M., The Roots, Rise Against, Rosanne Cash, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Trent Reznor, Billy Bragg, Michelle Branch, Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett, David Byrne, Marc Cohn, Steve Earle, the Entrance Band, and Joe Henry. Many others are sure to follow.

Royalty Payments from Music Torture

While the Zero dB initiative seems really cool, there just seems to be something wrong with the idea that those engaged in music torture ought to pay royalties to the musician’s whose songs are used in the torture process. The Guardian reported that the US military may owe royalty payments to the artists whose works were played to the captives. For those artists who do not want their music to be used for this purpose, it’s definitely appropriate for the military to stop using their music on an immediate basis. However, once the military has ceased to use their music in torture sessions, these artists shouldn’t return to receive royalty checks. On the other hand, artists who do want their music to be used in torture sessions, for whatever reason, should be given royalty payments, unless they arrange pro-bono usage rights to the military.

Experts Offer Differing Opinions on the Future of Pensions

Josh Gotbaum, Director (CEO) of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and Dallas Salisbury, President & CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, provided their perspectives on the future of pensions at the Wall Street Journal CFO Network Annual Meeting in June. They were asked to address whether there is a pension crisis in the United States and how organizations can handle increasing pension obligations.

Gabriella Stern, Deputy Managing Editor of the WSJ Digital Network, discussed these issues with both authorities in their presentation, “The Great American Pension Crisis: Funding Past Promises and Future Retirement.” The dialogue offered a dichotomy of viewpoints on the best way government, businesses, and individuals should move forward.

Retirement Outlook-To Worry or Not to Worry

What keeps Josh Gotbaum up at night is the fact that although people are living longer and their opportunities are increasing later in life, the institutions that help people through retirement are not improving.

According to Gotbaum, only about half of people who work have any kind of an employer provided plan. Of those who participate, the burden is on workers to figure out how much to save and what to invest, which isn’t always in the best interest of getting to retirement.

Gotbaum doesn’t place blame on any one organization, but believes that every entity has a role to play in getting people to save more. He identifies key players in the pension arena, and their associated responsibilities, as:

1. Individuals-Make it known that you want retirement help from employers.

2. Businesses-Employers are infinitely better at negotiating the terms of plans, and as a result, are more likely to promote retirement savings than a person going it alone. This applies to either a defined benefit plan or a 401(k) plan. Companies don’t necessarily have to put up more money, but they can encourage people to divert more of their own earnings into savings.

3. Government-Instead of adding regulatory requirements on those who offer traditional pension plans, government needs to rethink what can be done to make it easier for businesses to afford and offer employees a greater variety of pension options.

Dallas Salisbury, however, is more optimistic that employers have stepped up to the challenge.

According to Salisbury, when the federal government led the move to a defined contribution system in 1984, they did it for one primary reason-the median job tenure of the American labor force. In a simultaneous and reinforcing move, Bank of America adopted an individualized account system.

Employment tenure statistics have essentially remained unchanged from 1952 to 2011, says Salisbury. Over time, an average employee has stayed at a firm for four years. For workers aged 55 to 64, the average employment tenure has remained at less than 10 years during this time period. These job numbers emphasize the relatively rapid job turnover for most of the economy, according to Salisbury. The old defined benefit system that subsidized employees who stayed with one company for 25-plus years actually represents a small percentage of the American workforce.

In 1974, the year ERISA passed, 13 percent of people over the age 65 had pension income. By 2001, 23 percent of private sector workers had some pension income. Employers are using automatic enrollment at growing rates, according to Salisbury. The Employee Benefit Research Institute has looked at the population of workers today that have defined contribution programs, and compared them based on turnover and the “what if” scenario of being in a cash balance defined benefit plan instead. A majority (86%) do better through the defined contribution system than they would with a cash balance plan.

If there is a crisis of retirement today, Salisbury supports economist Alan Krueger’s argument that the crisis relates to health care more than retirement income. All of the major insurance carriers that have built a long-term care policy base over the last 20 years are exiting the marketplace, he observes, which will impact Medicare and Medicaid.

Defined Benefit System vs. Defined Contributions

Gotbaum argued that companies should be allowed to continue to offer defined benefit pension plans to the 20 percent in the private sector if it makes sense to them. He makes the case, however, that it is difficult for defined benefit plans to cut costs. Gotbaum cites examples of states or cities that need to trim costs in their traditional pension plans. Municipalities can turn to employees and ask them to contribute to the cost.

It should be possible for the 20 percent of people in the private sector who are in traditional defined benefit pension plans to be able to stay there, Gotbaum contends. From his perspective, companies can legally, and without increasing costs, improve their employees’ retirement security by changing investment options. One example is to offer employees annuities as an option for better retirement security, while still being cost competitive.

Salisbury’s advocacy, alternatively, is that it is in employers’ best interests to take an active role in pension plans so that tomorrow’s retirees have money to maintain a comfortable lifestyle and sustain the country’s consumer-oriented economy.

Fifty percent of people reportedly are forced into retirement because of health, disability issues, or a change in their job situation. Twenty-six percent retire early because their employment disappeared. These individuals need accumulated savings to buy consumer products and help drive the economy. As demographics lead the U.S. to a point where about 21 to 22 percent of the population will be over the age of 65-compared to 13 percent today-these older American will need financial assets to fund their future.

If pension income falls short, Salisbury argues, the U.S. economy risks negative implications for long-term economic growth. If you want everyone to have a plan and you have a high mobility labor force, then you need to make sure you have something that is for everyone, he supports.

Gotbaum summed it up by saying it slightly differently. “Go to your HR departments and don’t just say I need a retirement package that fits. Say, I need choices, and what can I get?” The HR department can respond with a variety of options, resulting in happier employees who will be able to continue fueling America’s consumer-driven economy well into the future.

Be Careful When Relying on the Canada Revenue Agency

You want to know in advance how a transaction will be taxed, so you ask the CRA. Or perhaps the CRA reviews your business and there is a dispute, but you reach a written settlement. Unfortunately, that is not always the end of the story.

In one recent case the taxpayer sold agricultural netting products (used to cover crops to protect them from birds and the like). They were uncertain as to whether GST/HST applied to the sales – it does not apply to fish nets, but the legislation was silent with respect to agricultural netting. The taxpayer contacted the CRA head office and was advised that the agricultural netting fell within the same exemption as fish nets, and GST did not apply on the sale (zero-rated in GST terminology). In fact the taxpayer inquired repeatedly in order to be sure of the point, since the consequences of not charging GST when it is due can be severe. However, when the auditor came calling, the CRA took a different view and said it was taxable. The Court agreed that since agricultural netting products were not specifically referred to in the legislation, they fell under the general rule of taxability. The taxpayer was liable for all of the GST they should have collected, but did not, in reliance on the CRA advice they had received.

But surely you say, the taxpayer could rely on the CRA advice and would only be liable on a go forward basis. That would be logical, and that would be fair, but that would also be wrong. As the Court said, the Court’s “only jurisdiction is to apply and interpret the Act as written”. As the Court has previously said about oral or written statement of law from the CRA, “… they will not generally bind the Crown, nor can estoppel generally apply against the Crown as regard to positions of law”.

In another recent court decision, the Quebec Superior Court considered the position of two taxpayers who had been audited by the CRA and had signed a written settlement agreement with the CRA. The agreement provided that if the two taxpayers undertook certain actions, there would be “no adjustment to taxable income” for specified taxation years. The taxpayers undertook the actions contemplated by the settlement with the CRA, and then the CRA went ahead and assessed them anyway, directly contrary to the agreement. The CRA took the position that the agreement was invalid on the basis that its employees did not have jurisdiction to enter into such an agreement. (In the end, the Quebec court declined to hear the case, saying it was better left to the Tax Court of Canada.)

Seeking the Services of a Competent Lawyer

If you are facing a legal problem that involves big amounts of money, the wisest move is always to hire a lawyer.

These legal professionals are not only capable of providing sound legal advice. More than that, they know the technicalities of different cases and they can help you resolve a concern without making matters worse.

Now you have to realize that selecting a lawyer involves many factors. You can’t go with a random choice and you have to make sure that the attorney has sufficient skills and experience. In short, you can’t afford to hire the wrong person.

To find the right attorney, consider the following suggestions:

1. Ask referrals from those you know.

You have higher chances of successfully finding a competent lawyer as you ask colleagues and friends. Inquire about their experiences working with lawyers. Be specific and ask about the attorney’s performance whether they were satisfied or not. That way, you’ll have a better idea about who to hire and who to avoid.

2. Do your own research.

Asking for referrals is merely the beginning. You have to do your homework, too. You may visit the official websites of different law firms. View the profiles of the different lawyers and get information about their education, experiences, and any awards they’ve received. More importantly, you should check out online testimonials posted by previous clients.

Aside from the internet, you may also turn to other useful resources. For instance, you can contact the local chamber of commerce if you need help finding a business lawyer. On the other hand, you can count on men or women support organizations if you’re looking for family or divorce attorneys.

3. Arrange for a meeting with your prospective lawyer.

After trimming down your choices to a smaller number, paying a visit to their offices and arranging for a short meeting should be done.

You have to hire the one you are most comfortable with. Do not make a final decision unless you are not really confident about the person.

Also, such meetings are an excellent opportunity to inquire about the accompanying fees. Some attorneys charge by the hour while others will only require a flat fee. Find out ahead of time so you can tell if you can afford their legal services or not.

To sum it up in a few words, your main goal is to look for a well-respected lawyer with a good track record and a price that’s within your budget limits.

Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney in the UK

Power Of Attorney

This specifically refers to the UK – laws will vary by territory.

Should a relative become incapable of managing their finances, being granted power of attorney means you’ll be responsible for their financial affairs, paying their bills etc. This is a difficult step to take and we understand that in all likelihood neither you nor your relative wants to ‘admit’ that it’s necessary.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

Under the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, anyone who lacks the capacity or has the inability to make decisions will have all their financial affairs passed to the Court of Protection. If this happens you’ll then be in a situation where neither your relative nor yourself have a say in the control of money, but you’ll also be charged a fee for the privilege!

During the first two years of the Court of Protection it handled £3.2 billion in assets and last year charged £23 million worth of fees.

By preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney you can avoid the rule of the Court of Protection being implemented. Additionally I do advise that this is prepared in advance of any illness/incapacity so that it can be simply registered when required. This can help you avoid unnecessary extra stress and government interference at a sensitive time. It also means your relative can be fully involved in the process of preparing it – so it can be done in a way that they are definitely happy with.

The Two Types of Power of Attorney

There are two types of power of attorney – you can appoint someone to be one or both of these.

Health and welfare power of attorney allows the appointment of one or more people to help manage a person’s daily routine and care. This can include meals, clothes, medical care, care homes and decisions on life-sustaining treatment. This can only be used once a person is incapable of making their own decisions.

Property and financial affairs power of attorney allows the appointment of one or more people to manage a person’s financial affairs. This can include paying bills, collecting benefits, selling property etc. This type of appointment can be made at any time.

Who Can and Can’t be Appointed

You need someone willing, able and trustworthy to be your attorney. They can be a friend, a relative, a professional (e.g a solicitor), a husband, wife or partner.

They can’t be under 18, incapable of decision making themselves, or bankrupt (in the case of a property and financial affairs attorney).

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