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American Bar Association Complete Personal Legal Guide




Excerpted from
American Bar Association Complete Personal Legal Guide: The Essential Reference for Every Household
By American Bar Association

How do you get your legal information? Today many of us surf the Web, moving from site to site as we search for the best information. The Web can be a great place to get information last. Inn ii can also be frustrating. If you're not using the right search terms, you can spend lots of time fouling little information. And even if you're on the right track in your search, you might easily encounter the problem information overload. Often you may find yourself silting through multiple sites that provide conflicting information, trying to figure out who is responsible for providing that information, when it was last updated, or if it was even ace unite in the first place.

That's why this book is so important: It is an authoritative reference you can count on. It has the resources of the nation's premier legal organization - the American Bar Association - solidly behind it. The authors and editors are experts in their fields. I hey know the kinds of legal issues and problems you are apt to face. With their help, we've fashioned a hook that answers the questions you are likely to ask, in language you can understand.

How This Book Can Help You

This book addresses those aspects of the law that affect us every day. In an easy-to-understand, question-and-answer format, it will help you

  • buy or rent a home;

  • get a mortgage, refinance your home, or find the best deal possible on a credit card:

  • order products online, over the phone, or from a catalog;

  • buy or lease a car;

  • understand your rights in the workplace;

  • understand your rights to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other benefits: and

  • devise an estate plan that will provide for your family, protect you if you become incapacitated, and save you as much as possible in taxes.

You may still need to talk to a lawyer after reading this book, hut you'll have the advantage of acting as an informed consumer. We provide guidance that will help you decide whether you need a lawyer and, if so, how to find one that's right for you and your budget. We give you tips on what lo ask ill your first interview with a prospective lawyer and information about various fee structures and your rights as a legal client. We also explain how the legal system works, how a case moves through the system, and how you can protect your rights at every stage in the process.

Legal issues can pop up at all points in your life. I he law affects everything from getting married to having a child, from buying your first home to purchasing a car to planning your estate, for each of these milestones. This book seeks to help you navigate the legal terrain. It explains your options, discusses how to evaluate your situation, and. If necessary, helps you find an attorney specializing in the area of law applicable to your situation.

New Topics

In the years since the first edition of this book was published, the world has changed greatly. That's why the authors and editors have reviewed and updated every entry, so that you'll have the latest and best information, We've also added new features, including an entire chapter on the law and special-needs children, a topic that is increasingly important to many families. As this legal specialty grows and more children are identified as needing additional services, this area of law is becoming more important - and, in many cases, more complex. I his book now outlines the federal laws regulating special education and disabilities services and defines important rights and terms as they apply to families. Additionally, it provides you with tips and checklists for ensuring that your child receives the best education possible.

We are also proud to offer new sections on international family law issues, such as international kidnapping and child custody disputes, and discussions on disaster readiness to ensure that, in the event of a disaster, you and your family can focus on everyone's safety and not on your legal concerns.

Written with You in Mind

In writing this book, we sought to take the mystery out of the law. We begin each chapter with anecdotes drawn from real life, and then follow with a question-and-answer section. The answers are concrete - they try to point out how the law affects us every day, and what practical steps we can take to assure that our rights are protected. You won't find legal jargon or technicalities here just concise, straightforward discussions of your options under the law. Within chapters, special side-bars also provide practical tips, warnings about potential pitfalls, and clear, plain-English definitions of legal terms.

As a new feature, this edition also provides checklists of key points from each section. Look for the features titled "Remember Ibis" at a glance, they provide key information that can help you navigate a variety of legal issues.

Finally, we've listed additional resources and Internet references in an appendix at the conclusion of ibis book. "The World at Your Fingertips" tells you where to find free or inexpensive materials providing more information about the topics covered throughout the book. Most of these resources can be found on the Internet, and point you to information you can trust for further research and education.



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