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Benjamin A. Stolz
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Benjamin Stolz’s Answers

98 total


  • Bankruptcy?

    My home is on the brink of foreclosure. The value is approximately 1.2MM, with an outstanding mortgage of 1.05MM. Additionally, there is an IRS lien on the property in the amount of 1.1MM. Is my best bet to attempt to forestall foreclosure (the...

    Benjamin’s Answer

    I agree in general with my colleagues; however, it appears to me that your real issue is how to deal with the 1.1MM in tax liability. Depending on how old the liability and other factors, you may have options to resolve the IRS debt both inside and outside bankruptcy. I would look for a bankruptcy attorney that also does tax work. If the underlying tax liability is old and the returns were timely filed, you may have some options in bankruptcy (ask your attorney to explain). You also need to discuss the potential tax liability of losing your home with him or her. You could be exposed to cancelation of debt income, although you may have defenses, including insolvency. You case has a lot of potential complexities and it would really pay to follow my colleagues advice. Find someone good and do some careful planning before you make any final decision. Also, do it quickly.

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  • My daughter forged my name to school loan documents several years back. Is there recourse

    Because it was a family member I made the payments. I have a brain tumor and cannot continue with the payments. My daughter is not willing to take over the payments. What can I do?

    Benjamin’s Answer

    I concur with my colleagues on their comments. Our represents student loan borrowers and you should contact a firm that can discuss bankruptcy and undue hardship. No attorney can guarantee success in discharging a student loan in bankruptcy, but the test for undue hardship has elements that may apply to your situation.

    In addition, a total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge relieves you from having to repay a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program. Given the practical reality they you were presumably NOT the student. Its unclear that this option would be available, but other options may be.

    I strongly suggest you consult an attorney familiar with both bankruptcy and student loan discharge options. Federal student loans in default can cause serious problems when enforced collection begins. Enforced collection can include wage garnishment, Social Security offsets and IRS Tax refund intercepts. If you cannot locate someone local, contact our office and we will look into this PRO BONO for you.

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  • My LLC (& one DBA) is being sued and the LLC is broken into two DBAs - can I protect the DBA that is not involved in the lawsuit

    My CPA has stated that simply changing the name of the business to another name is not going to protect the company from risk of the lawsuit. He stated that I need to set up a new LLC to protect this side of the business from the risk of the lawsu...

    Benjamin’s Answer

    Although I believe its implied in my colleagues responses, a D/B/A/ is just a label under which your legal entity operates, its has no independent existence. In general, a company with several lines of business might operate them as a division for planning purposes (mostly larger corporations). Certainly, have two lines of business might be a reason to use two d/b/a for purely marketing reasons or to brand websites, but as stated, you have one legal entity and it likely holds all the assets. If its is sued then, the assets of the LLC would be at risk. At any rate, as my colleagues indicated, moving around assets when you anticipate a lawsuit or are in one can get you in hot water. So, it is wise to consult local legal counsel on these issues as quickly as you can.

    A quick point for general reference. Texas has what is called a Series LLC. A series LLC, formed under Texas law, is an LLC that provides in its governing documents for the establishment of a series of members, managers, membership interests, or assets that have separate rights, obligations and liabilities and business purposes from the general LLC. Each individual series has the ability to sue and be sued, enter into contracts, hold title to assets, and grant liens or security interests in its assets.

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  • Can a non-profit 501c write off vehicle expenses

    a 501c has three cars, can they depreciate the value or write off gas & mileage

    Benjamin’s Answer

    You usually capitalize the cost of a motor vehicle you use in a business. You can recover its cost through annual deductions for depreciation. Non-profit organizations typically use the straight-line method for depreciating fixed assets. In this method, the depreciation expense is the same in each year of a fixed asset's useful life.

    There are dollar limits on the depreciation you can claim each year on passenger automobiles used in your business. See Publication 463.

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  • Need to form a non-profit organization in Michigan and need to find an attorney that has experience forming 501a's & foundations

    Planning to form a non-profit healthcare organization in Michigan and need to find an attorney that has experience forming 501a's & foundations. We need to set up the proper structure and are seeking experienced counsel in this specific area.

    Benjamin’s Answer

    You might find this resource useful. In addition to AVVO Find Lawyer function, both the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and the Michigan Bar Association have resource listings for professionals and the Bar will have a referral service. Many firms including ours represent clients before the IRS in all 50 states, so you should have no trouble finding counsel. Just be sure to ask about qualifications and prior experience as you noted in your query on AVVO. Best of luck!

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  • Case for derivative action by Texas law? Partner in LLC has been directing clients to his new business. No operating agreement.

    Current 50/50 partner in LLC want to dissolve company and receive cash payout. Refused to shut the doors, asking instead for an option to buy out. Partner took 3 weeks to get back with an offer (which was obscenely inflated). During that time h...

    Benjamin’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The Texas Business Organizations Code replaced the Texas Limited Liability Act some time ago. Even though you have no Operating agreement, there are legal limits on what one LLC member may do. It would be necessary for most attorneys to sit down with you before they could advise whether litigation is warranted. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation during which time they can collect all the facts and give you an idea of the advisability or litigation and its costs. As you might imagine there is also a tried and true aphorism "just because you can does not mean you should". its important to review your situation carefully because even if actionable, can you recover. This is just one of many considerations you should discuss with a local business lawyer.

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  • How much does it typically cost for consultation and advice on LLC issues without existing operating agreement?

    A member wants to exit an LLC of 5 managing members completely, but an operating agreement does not seem to exist. Withdrawing and surrendering member wants to clear his name from any ownership and/or liabilities after several failed attempts of ...

    Benjamin’s Answer

    Many attorneys, including our firm, offer a short 30-minute consultation at no cost. These initial consultations will usually give you some idea of the cost after the attorney has obtained a more detailed picture. Even without an Operating agreement, the Texas Business Organization Code controls many of the issues you bring up.

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  • Can a non-profit recover fees or damages from a suit filed by a group of members?

    Some members of our Washington non-profit PBC are suing the board of directors over a vote which they believe dissolved the PBC and transferred our property to another non-profit. If it gets expensive to defend against this, is there any way for ...

    Benjamin’s Answer

    There are many variables that would affect your answer. I would refer to applicable state law, your non-profits bylaws, and hopefully the Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance policy that would usually afford the board a degree of protection. I strongly suggest the Board consult with a local non-profit attorney. Claims against directors and officers tend to be costly
    and disruptive to an organization. Perhaps even worse, if found guilty of misconduct, board members could be personally liable, placing their individual assets at stake.

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  • Is there a legal way to recover a large charitable donation if the charitable entity did not conduct themselves as promised?

    +$17,000 donation made to our church with the expectations of core values to be maintained when we agreed to membership. These core values began to change dramatically and we decided to leave because they no longer were following them.

    Benjamin’s Answer

    I agree with my colleague. In the future, I suggest that you use an attorney familiar with charitable gifts and nonprofit matters to help you plan any significant gift. Restricted and Designated Funds can provide some assurance that the gifts will be used for a particular purpose or NOT used for other purposes as the case may be. For example, donors can make contributions to a church designating how the contribution is to be spent. Such gifts can be for a church-approved building fund, missions fund, organ fund, etc. It is very important to note that restricted/designated contributions are held by the church “in trust” for the specific purpose outlined by the donor. In the event the church misapplied the funds, you might then more easily pursue the matter.

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  • What are the laws regarding US based 501 (c) (3) nonprofit soliciting donations from Canadians?

    Can a US based nonprofit 501 (c) (3) receive donations from Canadians? Must a 501 (c) (3) organization be registered as a charity with the Canada Revenue Agency in addition to being registered in the US with the Internal Revenue Service?

    Benjamin’s Answer

    If your Canadian donors have U.S. income, they can generally claim any gifts to U.S. charities that would be allowed on a U.S. return. In general, Canadians can claim the eligible amount of your U.S. gifts up to 75% of the net U.S. income you report on their Canadian return.

    However, some Canadians may be able to claim the eligible amount of their gifts to certain U.S. organizations up to 75% of their net world income. In order to qualify for this tax treatment, they must live near the border in Canada throughout the year and commute to their principal workplace or business in the United States, And, that employment or business must be their main source of income for the year.

    Your question gets into pretty complicated area, so its worth consulting a local non-profit attorney to help you further review this matter. You can find more information on the subject at the Canadian Revenue Agency located at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca

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