US Legal, Inc. Newsletter – September 2009

Welcome to USLegal’s September Newsletter. With the popular launch of our latest LegalLife Guide, A Survivor’s Guide to a Death in the Family, we want to call your attention to our entire selection of LegalLife Guides. Read on for more information on our practical handbooks.

At USLegal, customer satisfaction is our greatest asset and goal. If we’ve made your legal life easier, please tell your friends and family about us. If you have a routine legal need, make us your first stop. And now, our news:

USLegal’s LegalLife Guides – A Wealth of Practical Information

Last month we highlighted our latest LegalLife Guide, A Survivor’s Guide to a Death in the Family, and had a tremendous customer response. So we want to call your attention to our entire selection of LegalLife Guides. These practical, plain-language handbooks are are among our best selling products, full of explanatory information on home sales, landlord-tenant law, and much more.

Our new Survivor’s Guide is a practical guide to coping with the death of a spouse or family member. Topics include: funeral and burial rites, arrangements and expenses; essential documents; Social Security information; support groups; access to safe-deposit boxes; vacant-dwelling insurance; decedent’s last will and probate proceedings; income tax liability of the decedent and the decedent’s estate; claiming a decedent’s income-tax refund; claiming benefits under a policy of life-insurance; anatomical gifts; and rollover or distribution from a decedent’s qualified retirement plan or IRA.

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Legal News In Brief

We track breaking legal news at the USLegal Reporter. Check in regularly to stay updated on top national legal stories. These are some of the items of interest we’ve spotted in the last month:

Congress Considers Yahoo-Microsoft Partnership
Yahoo and Microsoft have proposed a partnership in search and advertising, prompting legislators to review privacy issues in behaviorally targeted marketing practices that track users’ activity online. Federal legislation has been proposed to allow users to actively “opt in” to programs that track their browsing. Currently, users to opt-out of behavioral tracking and few people bother to do so. Yahoo reported that out of 140 million U.S. visitors to its sites in July 2008, “approximately 75,000? visited its opt-out page. Microsoft reported that out of 130 million U.S. visitors to its sites in August 2008, only approximately 1,800 opted out. eMarketer estimates that spending on behaviorally targeted advertising in the U.S. will quadruple to $4.4 billion by 2012.

First Provisions of New Credit CARD Law Go Into Effect
While most provisions of the new Credit CARD Act don’t go into effect until next February, two provisions went into effect last week. The first change in effect is that credit card companies must notify customers 45 days before changing interest rates or other significant terms of an account. They also must make sure customers have 21 days between the time statements are sent out and when the payment is due, which is an increase of 7 days from previous rules. Under the new provisions in effect, credit card statements will contain clear explanations of how long it will take to pay off a balance if you make only the minimum payment each month. Credit card companies will no longer be able to raise interest rates on existing balances if you’ve been paying on time, won’t be allowed to raise rates the first year an account is open unless the promotional rate was initially explained, and will have to review accounts every six months if they do hike rates, to reassess the increase and determine if it should be lowered. They will also no longer be allowed to charge fees for going over credit limits unless the consumer agrees to pay that fee, and must apply any amount of payment over the minimum to the highest interest rate balance first. Consumers facing rate hikes will have the right to cancel a card and pay it off over time at the lower rate if they choose to do so.

Animal Rights Groups Sue Over Helmsley Estate
Three animal rights groups are suing over a judge’s ruling that allows the trustees of Leona Helmley’s estate to use funds to benefit people, rather than animals. In February, a judge ordered that the trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust have sole discretion to decide which charities will receive funds from the trust. In April, the trustees gave $136 million to hospitals, foundations and the homeless. $1 million was donated to groups that benefit animals and train guide dogs for the blind. The groups, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Maddie’s Fund, claim that the trustees are engaged in a scheme to deprive dog welfare charities from sharing in the funds of the Helmsley estate and acting against the wishes expressed in Helmsley’s will. The hotel heiress’ estate has been valued between $5 and $8 billion, with $12 million left in a trust for her Maltese dog named Trouble. A judge later reduced that trust amount to $2 million.

Check out controversial legal issues of the moment with us at the USLegal Blog. Lately, we’ve been discussing the Supreme Court’s rehearing of Citizens United v. FEC. Will the Court allow unlimited corporate money in political campaigns, or reaffirm the McCain-Feingold Act’s limits on corporate spending? Voice your opinion in the comments section.

Have a Legal Question? Ask a Lawyer

If you want to find out more information about a certain area of law, consider USLegal’s Ask a Lawyer service. The service enables you to submit your question to a lawyer who will provide you with legal information.

The charge for this service is $15.95 per question.

Legal advice is not provided. If your question cannot be answered without providing legal advice, you will not be charged. In the event you desire to retain an attorney, you will be provided with sources for choosing an attorney for you to consider.

Law and Legal Definitions

Hand of One is Hand of All Theory

“Hand of One is Hand of All” is a legal theory, whereby all those who participate in a crime become guilty as the actual wrong doer. In other words act of one is considered act of all. This is an accomplice liability theory.

“One who joins with another to accomplish an illegal purpose is liable criminally for everything done by his confederate incidental to the execution of the common design and purpose.”[State v. Curry, 370 S.C. 674, 684 (S.C. Ct. App. 2006)].

This was further expanded by the Supreme Court of South Carolina in State v. Kelsey, 331 S.C. 50, 76-77, 502 S.E.2d 63, 76 (1998),where it was held that “if a crime is committed by two or more persons who are acting together in the commission of a crime, then the act of one is the act of both.”

For additional information on the marvelously named Hand of One is Hand of All theory, read the full entry.

For more legal definitions, please visit USLegal’s free online legal dictionary.