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Portland Area Law Blog

Has one of your employees been accused of harassment?

Not much is easy about being a business owner in Oregon. You certainly have a lot to worry about. One thing you hope you never have to deal with is complaints of harassment at your establishment. After all, you've done what you can to make your business a good place to work. Unfortunately, as you know, you cannot control all of your employees' actions, and you've recently found out that one of your employees has been accused of harassment, which has left you in a tough position.

The actions you take after receiving a harassment complaint can hurt you and your company if you are not careful. Federal law prohibits harassment in the workplace. When such accusations are made, it is an employer's job to investigate and take action. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, you may be accused of not doing enough, failing to protect the victim, or going too far -- wrongfully terminating the accused. It is impossible to please everyone, and lawsuits may result.

Estate administration and litigation: Problems with an executor?

The person designated to be the executor of your loved one's estate is a person he or she trusted to handle his or her final affairs. Unfortunately, not all executors are fit to fulfill their roles. Those who find themselves at odds with their loved one's executor may be able to do something about it during the estate administration process. It may require court intervention to resolve, but legal counsel who understands Oregon probate law can assist with that.

Executors have a lot on their plate. An individual in this position is charged with locating estate planning documents, opening a probate case, paying taxes and debts, and divvying assets according to the decedent's wishes -- among other things. All of this can take time. Unfortunately, some executors may make mistakes along the way, which can cost beneficiaries dearly in the long run.

Thinking about a DIY will? Think again

Most adults in the United States have not taken the time to prepare estate plans. Many do not even have a basic will in place. Some Oregon residents may not want to think about it, some may feel having a will is unnecessary and others simply never get to it before their time on this earth is up. Anyone who wants to jot his or her wishes down quickly may consider a do-it-yourself will -- but is a DIY will worth it?

A DIY will might be sufficient for a person who has no special concerns and few assets. The keyword in that sentence being might. Outside of being a cheap and quick option for obtaining a will, there is nothing else that is good about DIY wills.

Is being a personal representative a good fit for you?

While many people feel honored to manage the financial affairs of a beloved friend or relative, some are unaware of what’s involved in being named the executor of an estate, known as a personal representative here in Oregon. The duty requires you to have a lot of patience, free time and solid organizational skills.

Personal representatives must be prepared to spend a lot of time overseeing the final wishes for another person’s estate. They may also need some investigative skills if assets are hidden or forgotten, and they should be prepared for potential conflicts between or with beneficiaries.

Alternative dispute resolution does not always work out

No one wants to go to court to settle a dispute if they can avoid it. After all, litigation can be drawn out and expensive. Alternative dispute resolution methods exist to help those who wish to avoid court do just that. ADR can work in most cases, if all involved parties are willing to put in the work and negotiate. Unfortunately, some in Oregon and elsewhere may find ADR does not always work out as they had hoped.

A recent example of failed ADR is the U.S. Women's soccer case. The players filed discrimination lawsuits against U.S. Soccer in an effort to seek equal pay and resolve a few other issues. They claim they are paid roughly 60% less than male players. U.S. Soccer denies the accusations made in this case.

The most common issues that can lead to business litigation

Anyone who owns and operates a business in Oregon or elsewhere knows that problems often arise that require legal assistance to resolve. Like it or not, this is just part of it. Here are some of the most common issues company owners face that can lead to business litigation. 

Problem number one: Unhappy customers. It is impossible to keep all clients happy all of the time. If there is a problem with a product or service, one has every right to seek a resolution. Many times, such issues can be resolved in private; however, there are times when lawsuits are filed, and litigation cannot be avoided. Depending on how one handles this type of situation, it can do a lot of damage to one's reputation.

Things to consider when purchasing commercial real estate

When buying a home, one wants to make sure the property is in good repair, that it passes all necessary inspections, that it meets one's needs and that one has financing in place. The same can be said for commercial real estate. Buying commercial property is a big investment. Oregon residents who wish to take this kind of thing on may want some assistance to ensure a smooth acquisition process.

Before looking at property, identifying financing is a must. One needs to know how much he or she has to work with. Having financing figured out from the get-go will help the acquisition process move along quickly.

Rather than estate litigation, think mediation

If you have a loved one who passed away recently, and you or someone else has an issue with the contents of his or her will -- or lack thereof -- you may find yourself in an Oregon probate court, fighting things out. Rather than estate litigation, though, you could consider mediation as an alternative to going to court. Why might you want to take a chance on mediation?

Mediation works -- in most cases. In order for it to be effective, all involved parties have to be willing to talk and negotiate. It does not matter how complex the issues at hand may be. It can work if all parties are eager to put in the effort to make it work.

Oregon's first to have statewide rent control: effects on tenants

As a tenant, you know how difficult it is when rents keep rising. The Oregon Legislature recently passed a bill trying to address this. What does it do and how is it likely to affect you as a tenant?

What does the new law do?

Oregon estate administration and litigation: Contesting a will

Closing out a loved one's estate can prove to be a challenging task. No one looks forward to it. Everyone looks forward to getting it over with. Unfortunately, probate in Oregon can take much longer than expected if someone chooses to contest a will officially. Estate administration and litigation can drag on for months or even years if this happens.

In order to successfully challenge a will, the individual filing the claim has to have sufficient evidence that the document is invalid. Obtaining such evidence is not always easy. Presenting such evidence and fighting one's case in court is difficult as well.

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