Adoptions

Adoptions

The first legal step in adoption is the termination of the parental rights of a child's birthparents. The final step is the finalization of adoption in court, making you your child's permanent, legal parents. Along the way, there are many points where adoption laws will have an effect on your child's adoption. Forker & Suter, LLC services all couples, including same sex couples, throughout your adoption process.

From the termination of parental rights, consent to adopt, navigating the birth certificate process, through the finalization of the adoption and the adoption decree we are here to assist you and your legal needs. With dozens of years of experience, and a thumb on the pulse of consistently changing adoption law, trust our dedicated staff to secure your adoption. If you have any questions for us, the legal process, or how we can help your family grow please do not hesitate to call us today. We are eager to assist you.

Taxation

Taxation

Income taxation in the United States as we know it on Form 1040 has been around for more then 90 years. The complexity of income tax has increased significantly as time has lapsed since the implementation of the federal income tax laws. The tax laws are constantly changing and developing as our society changes and develops.

Recent changes in the income tax law include the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This act is a massive economic stimulus package which included a New Making Work Pay Credit, as well as enhancements for the child tax credit and first time home buyer credit.

In order to keep up to date and understand these laws, it is necessary to spend a considerable amount of time reviewing and educating yourself as a professional. Due to the complexity of the laws, most individuals need the expertise of a tax professional in order to accurately accumulate the information and file their individual Form 1040 each year.

In addition to income tax, there are also estate and gift tax laws that are constantly evolving and may have an impact on an individual’s particular situation.

Forker & Suter, LLC provides a variety of tax services. We can provide in depth tax planning for individuals, as well as business entities tailored to your specific situation and needs.

We will prepare and electronically file your individual, partnership, corporate, or fiduciary tax returns. In the event you are being audited by the IRS or the State, we can provide assistance in accumulating the necessary information and advise you in completing the audit.

Our trained tax professionals at Forker Suter, LLC welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss the various tax strategies available for the upcoming tax year.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate planning involves the process of reviewing the assets, debt, and equities of an individual, and determining the most efficient and cost effective way to transfer those assets to their beneficiaries. There are various vehicles available as options for completing the transfer of assets upon the death of an individual.

The first step in an effective estate plan is to meet with a client and complete a detailed outline of the various assets owned by the individual and how they are titled. In addition, it is necessary to review the debt owed by the client. Many times our clients own an interest in various types of entities that require special attention to the transfer of the ownership interest in the event of the client’s death.

Once all of the information has been gathered and reviewed with the client, the various vehicles available for transfer are outlined for the client to review in order to determine what best fits their needs. One method of transferring a person’s assets upon their death is by Last Will and Testament. In order to transfer assets under a will, it is necessary to probate the will of the decedent. The probate process is a procedure under Chapter 59 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated that involves court supervision of the inventorying of the assets, payment of bills and expenses, sale of assets, and the distribution of the assets to those named in the will. The named executor in the will is responsible to see that wishes of the decedent are properly followed.

Another means of transferring assets is by revocable living trust. A revocable living trust is established during the grantor’s lifetime and the assets are titled in the name of the trust. The grantor acts as trustee and controls the assets during his or her lifetime and upon the grantor’s death, a successor trustee takes control. The successor trustee is charged with the duty of paying the decedent’s final bills, filing tax returns, and any other administrative task. The successor trustee then sees that the assets are distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the trust. A revocable living trust can be advantageous in that there is no probate, as is the case with a Last and Will and Testament and the matter is kept private since there are no court proceedings which are a matter of public record.

Assets may also be transferred by titling the assets in a form other than individual ownership. These methods include joint tenants with the right of survivorship, transfer on death, or payable on death. Under these methods, the assets transfer by operation of law upon the death of the client and thus, probate is again avoided.

In addition, we will consider the income, gift, and estate tax implications involved in your estate plan so that if there are cost savings available to the client, they will be apprised of any opportunities to avoid these taxes.

We will prepare other necessary documents to complete your estate plan, such as durable power of attorney for financial decisions, durable power of attorney for health care decisions and living wills.

Our estate planning team at Forker & Suter, LLC will discuss and prepare an estate plan tailored to your particular situation. We will review your assets and particular needs so that you will have the peace of mind of knowing that your estate will be transferred to your loved ones in a cost effective manner.

Real Estate Transactions

Real Estate Transactions

The most common type of real estate transaction is the sale of real estate. This involves the preparation of a contract reflecting the terms and conditions negotiated between the buyer and seller. Kansas law requires that a real estate transaction must be in writing to be legally binding. Therefore, the preparation of a real estate contract is the first necessary step in any real estate transaction.

Normally, a real estate transaction involves a down payment made by the buyer, followed by the balance of the sale proceeds paid to the seller at closing. During the time between the initial signing of the contract and the closing of the real estate transaction, the title to the property is reviewed to determine that the buyer is acquiring title to the real estate free and clear of any encumbrances. The closing is usually held at the office of a bank of title company. The final payment is made to the seller and the buyer receives the deed to the property.

A specific type of real estate transaction may involve an installment sale as contrasted to the entire purchase price being paid at closing. In this type of transaction, the buyer makes specific payments on specific dates to the seller over a period of time. Normally, the deed conveying title from the seller to the buyer is held in escrow until all payments have been made.

Another type of real estate transaction is the foreclosure on a real estate mortgage, installment contract, or material man’s lien filed against real estate. This process involves the filing of a petition in the District Court, asking the Court to determine that the defendant is in default and that the real estate pledged as security should be foreclosed, title quieted, and the real estate sold at public auction with the proceeds applied to the debt.

Another civil action that is sometimes required is called a partition lawsuit. This occurs when two or more people own an interest in the same real estate and wished to divide that interest by judicial authority. This proceeding would be required if the owners cannot agree to the division of the property between them in kind.The process includes the filing of the petition, appointment of appraisers who determine the value and whether the property can be physically divided equally, the ultimate sale of the property, if necessary, and distribution of the net proceeds. This process usually occurs when parties cannot agree upon how the real estate should be divided or whether it should be sold, and therefore, is usually adversarial in nature.

On occasion, two parties wish to exchange real estate instead of each of selling to a third party, resulting in the exchange of property with no present tax consequences. This is known as an Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 Exchange or sometimes referred to as a like-kind exchange. These exchanges can become complicated and require a considerable amount of planning and document drafting in order to put the exchange in effect. There are, however, certain tax advantages to these type of exchanges which must be reviewed and considered to determine if a Section 1031 Exchange is a viable option for the client. There are also certain time-sensitive deadlines that must be met in qualifying the like-kind exchange for deferral of reporting the gain under the IRS rules and regulations.

The real estate attorneys at Forker & Suter, LLC can assist you in all of these various transactions depending on your need and particular situation.

Criminal Law

Criminal Law

When a society and its government decide that certain conduct is dangerous to citizens, or damaging to the society as a whole, such conduct is labeled a crime and is made punishable by sanctions such as fines and imprisonment in either the county jail or state penal system. Most crimes are identified in statues that have been enacted by federal, state and local government legislatures. These crimes are prosecuted in federal, state and municipal courts. The person charged with a crime is called the defendant.

In Kansas, crimes are divided into two major categories - felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious crimes. A conviction for a felony will result in the defendant being sentenced to confinement in the state penal system.

In Kansas, non-drug felonies are ranked 1 through 10 with a Severity Level 1 felony being the most serious. Examples of Severity Level 1 felonies are rape and aggravated kidnapping. Drug felonies are ranked 1 through 4, again with a Severity Level 1 drug felony being the most serious. An example of a Severity Level 1 drug crime is the manufacture of methamphetamines.

Depending upon the defendant's prior criminal history and the severity of the crime for which the defendant is convicted, the judge will make a decision as to the length of sentence and whether the defendant should serve the sentence in the Kansas Department of Corrections or be placed on probation from that underlying sentence. Even when a defendant is granted probation from the underlying sentence, should the defendant not be successful on probation, the defendant's probation can be revoked and the defendant sent to the Kansas Department of Corrections at any time during the term of probation.

In Kansas, misdemeanors are ranked as A, B or C misdemeanors. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor, such as a theft conviction, carries a potential maximum sentence of up to one year in the county jail and a $2,500.00 fine. A Class B misdemeanor, such as a second driving under the influence conviction, carries a potential maximum sentence of 6 months in the county jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. A Class C misdemeanor, such as disorderly conduct conviction, carries a potential maximum sentence of up to 30 days in the county jail and up to a $500.00 fine. Again, a conviction for a misdemeanor offense can result in an underlying jail sentence with probation from that jail sentence. A defendant who does not successfully complete that probation can also be ordered to serve the jail sentence upon a revocation of the defendant's probation.

Domestic Law

Domestic Law

The area of law known as domestic law, or family law, encompasses a broad range of issues generally revolving around family relationships. Perhaps the most common of these is the area of divorce and child custody. A divorce is a legal dissolution of the marital relationship and a conclusion of the personal and financial rights and obligations of that relationship. Those issues generally addressed in a divorce are the custody and support of the children; an allocation of the assets and debts of the parties; maintenance (alimony); and payment of the fees and cost associated with the divorce.

Like a divorce, an annulment is also a legal dissolution of the marital relationship and a conclusion of the personal and financial rights and obligations of that relationship. However, an annulment differs from a divorce and is only available under certain conditions. Whereas, a divorce recognizes the marital relationship and dissolves that relationship, an annulment treats the parties as if the marriage never occurred due to some condition at the beginning of the marriage which created a situation where the marriage was flawed from its inception.

Less common but certainly as important are those areas of family law which create rights and duties of the parties involved such as step parent adoptions, step parent and grandparent parenting time, name changes and guardianships.

Personal Injury/ Tort Law

Personal Injury/ Tort Law

A tort is an act that injuries someone in some way and for which the injured person may sue the wrongdoer for damages or relief. A tort is a negligent or intentional act, not arising from a contract or statute. A tort is considered a civil wrong as contrasted with an act that results in criminal liability for the wrongdoer. However, some acts may spur both criminal and civil liability.

An intentional tort is an act such as an assault, battery or trespass. Torts may also be unintentional, done as a result of negligent acts, such as medical or legal malpractice or an automobile accident. In cases involving both intentional and unintentional torts, the court may award the injured party relief from the wrongful conduct, including monetary damages.

The most common tort is that of negligence. Automobile accidents resulting in injuries to other drivers or pedestrians make up the most common negligence lawsuits. A party injured as a result of the negligence of another may recover money damages for past and future loss of income; past and future medical expenses; pain and suffering; and permanent impairment or disfigurement.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is governed by the federal law found in Title 11 of the United States Code. As federal law, it supersedes any conflicting state law by reason of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. With the exception of exemptions, it is the same from state to state.

Bankruptcy chapters
Most cases are filed under four kinds of bankruptcy proceedings. They are referred to by the chapter of the federal Bankruptcy Code that describes them.

Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. It is a liquidation proceeding in which the debtor's non-exempt assets, if any, are sold by the Chapter 7 trustee and the proceeds distributed to creditors according to the priorities among creditors established in the Code. Chapter 7 is available to individuals, married couples, corporations and partnerships. Individual debtors get a discharge within 4-6 months of filing the case. If there are assets which are not exempt, the trustee takes control of those assets, sells them and pays creditors as much as the proceeds permit. Any wages the debtor earns after the case is begun are the debtor's; the creditors have no claim on those earnings. If the debtor’s earnings exceed a certain level, which changes each year, they may not be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and may be required to file under Chapter 11, 12 or 13.

Chapter 11 is a reorganization proceeding, typically for corporations or partnerships. Individuals, especially those whose debts exceed the limits of Chapter 13, may file Chapter 11. In Chapter 11, the debtor usually remains in possession of his assets and continues to operate any business, subject to the oversight of the court and the creditors committee. The debtor proposes a plan of reorganization which, upon acceptance by a majority of the creditors, is confirmed by the court and binds both the debtor and the creditors to its terms of repayment. Plans can call for repayment out of future profits, sales of some or all of the assets, or a merger or recapitalization.

Chapter 12 is a simplified reorganization for family farmers, modeled after Chapter 13, where the debtor retains his property and pays creditors out of future income for 3-5 years. The process under chapter 12 is very similar to that of chapter 13, under which the debtor proposes a plan to repay debts over a period of time - no more than three years unless the court approves a longer period, not exceeding five years. There is also a trustee in every chapter 12 case whose duties are very similar to those of a chapter 13 trustee. The chapter 12 trustee's disbursement of payments to creditors under a confirmed plan parallels the procedure under chapter 13. Chapter 12 allows a family farmer or fisherman to continue to operate the business while the plan is being carried out.

Chapter 13 is a repayment plan for individuals with regular income and unsecured debt less than $360,475 and secured debt less than $1,081,400. The debtor keeps his property and makes regular payments to the Chapter 13 trustee out of future income to pay creditors over time (3-5 years). Repayment in Chapter 13 can range from 10% to 100% depending on the debtor's income and the make up of the debt. Certain debts that cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 can be discharged in Chapter 13. Chapter 13 also provides a mechanism for individuals to prevent foreclosures and repossessions, while catching up on their secured debts.

From the Administrative Office of the Us. Courts

Why Choose Us?

Dan Forker graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1966 and admitted to the Kansas Bar that year. He began practice as an associate of the firm of Hodge, Reynolds & Smith where he is now the senior partner and the firm name has become( )Forker & Suter, LLC. Since 1989 he has concentrated his practice in the Bankruptcy area and, with the enactment of the Chapter 12 provisions of the Code, became one of the leading Kansas practitioners dealing with farm bankruptcies both in Chapter 12 and Chapter 11 filings. He has a high percentage of successful reorganization bankruptcies with confirmed plans under both chapters of the Code. He has been involved in multiple large agriculture and commercial Chapter 11 filings and currently has five Chapter 12 cases on file that will involve Code section 1222(a)(2)(A) issues.

Debt Collections

Debt Collections

Forker & Suter, LLC has an active and growing debt collection practice. The firm represents area individuals, small and medium sized businesses to collect past due accounts. The types of businesses represented include chiropractors, landlords, optometrists, and medical providers. The firm has a dedicated paralegal, Carmalee Winebrenner, and a partner, Greg Bell, who assist clients in all areas of debt collection, from the initial demand letter through post-judgment collection efforts.

Forker & Suter, LLC utilizes Collection Partner, a debt collection software package designed specifically to organize, track and provide an accounting for each and every creditor and debtor. The software is designed to be flexible and to accommodate a diverse collection practice including retail, commercial, medical and much more. The Collection Partner is an important tool to communicate with and keep clients informed. Critical Information such as the current amount of principle and/or interest owed, payment information and the status of a particular matter can easily be retrieved and provided to a client.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION

129 W 2ND AVE
HUTCHINSON, KANSAS 67501

PHONE :: 620.663.7131
EMAIL :: INFO@FORKERSUTER.COM

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