Copyright © 2016 by Kevin Michael Burke, Attorney & Notary · All Rights Reserved · This firm's U.S. legal practice is regulated by both the Florida Bar and the Ohio Supreme Court
American Attorney Services, Our Offices 1, Yeowood Farm, Iwood Lane, Wrington, Bristol, BS40 5NU, United Kingdom
Tel: 01934 837280 Web: www.americanattorneyservices.co.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Bristol, UK based US law firm offering legal services in both the USA and UK.
This firm's legal services are regulated by the Florida Bar and the Ohio Supreme Court. Its notarial services are regulated by the Florida Department of State.
Call us today: UK: 01934 837280 US: 239-443-4549
There is a whole alphabet soup of US visa and most US immigration firms do not offer representation in all types of US immigration visas. Among the visas we do not handle are fiancee visas, L-1 visas, K visas, and H-1B visas. We do not take on existing immigration applications. Our immigration work is limited to representing individual and business clients in seeking waivers of ineligibility, spousal, or family-based permanent immigrant visas, and in obtaining EB-5 or E-2 investment visas.
You may need to bring a claim or defend against a claim in Florida state or federal court. We have dealt with complicated business and real estate litigation matters to help protect our client's rights. In 2015/2016 we represented a UK client with no connections at all to the USA against a US bank which despite our client's misidentification defense had obtained a $400,000 default judgment. The Bank's lawyer's simply refused to listen to client until we were retained, made investigations, and made clear the bank's error through online court filings of affidavits and documentary evidence.
We represent US and foreign clients in the sale and purchase of Florida villas, condominiums, and commercial property. You may be told by Florida estate agents that you do not need your own lawyer. However, you are making a very large purchase. The agents and title company have an interest solely in getting you the sign the contract. They are not impartial. So who is on your side? Who is there to help ensure that you are not taken advantage of? We have a range of services at different prices so that your legal interests are protected, and any estate planning can be addressed.
We prepare Florida wills and trusts for both Americans and foreign nationals (mainly UK residents). Trusts should always be considered as they offer a valuable means of avoiding the cost and delay of a Florida probate, which is very different from UK probate. UK residents often need their Florida estate planning documents to be drafted to take account of UK legal and tax ramifications. Without the insertion of specific language, UK lifetime tax issues may result. Most US lawyers are unfamiliar with how to assist their clients to avoid any negative foreign tax or legal implications.
Florida Wills and Trusts
In addition to Florida based clients, we also deal with international clients and issues regularly. In estate tax return matters, we have seen domestic firms require estates to pay large estate tax bills plus monthly interest & penalties that could all be eliminated with the right treaty documents being filed. In probate cases, domestic firms have informed foreign nationals that expensive & lengthy formal probate was their only option when in fact summary probate or the admission of a foreign probated was all that was required.
Florida Probate & US Estate Tax
If you've been injured in Florida, you will need to pursue compensation through a fairly complicated legal system. You need to be able to get legal advice (after disclosing all relevant facts and background) as to your rights, the nature of the legal process, the type of claim, what now needs to be done, the likelihood of success, the range of potential compensation, and as to what steps must timely be taken to protect your claim. We work with experienced Florida counsel also accessible to you, and - where applicable - are able to bridge the gap between the US and UK legal systems.
Florida Personal Injury
In addition to the above areas of Florida law, our practice also includes the establishment of Florida and Ohio partnerships and corporations, the preparation of US Estate & Gift Tax (equivalent of IHT returns in the UK) returns for foreign estates holding US assets, Florida divorce or dissolution of marriage and family law, representation in the Florida federal courts, etc. We are qualified to provide advice as to Florida and Ohio law and offer a Florida civil law notary notarial capacity. In relation to US immigration, American lawyers qualified in any state are authorised to practice immigration law nationally. The preparation of US Estate & Gift Tax Returns is a federal and not state matter and returns can be prepared in relation to assets in any US state.
Who can UK residents turn to for legal assistance in US matters?
It is not always easy knowing who to turn to for legal assistance in the UK for UK legal matters, never mind when you may need assistance or advice in relation to foreign legal matters.
For UK businesses and individuals who need US legal assistance, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Who do you go to? How do you find a lawyer who can assist you? Can I find a solicitor or lawyer in the UK who can assist me with a US legal matter? Do you need to find an American lawyer? What is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?
Okay, one thing at a time. First, in the USA and unlike the situation in the UK, there is only one type of lawyer. A lawyer in the USA is the same thing as an attorney or as an attorney-at-law.
Our firm is often contacted by potential clients saying they are looking for a "US lawyer". Are you aware that there is strictly speaking no such qualification as a "UK lawyer"? In the United Kingdom, there are three separate court systems being Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England & Wales. Each has its courts, its own equivalent of the Law Society and/or SRA, and each appoints its own solicitors. Due to this, an solicitor of England & Wales would not generally be permitted to act as a solicitor when he or she is physically in Northern Ireland, nor could he or she file court pleadings with the courts of Northern Ireland as he or she is not a solicitor in that jurisdiction. It may be that some solicitors may of course have applied to and been added to the lists of more than one jurisdiction.
Turning back to the United States, it has 50 states and additionally a federal system, each with its own courts, own notaries, and each with its own equivalent of an SRA and/or Law Society which maintains a register of those lawyers qualified to act in its courts. So now it may become more clear that, for example, a New York attorney cannot generally provide legal services in a matter which relates to Texas law, or vice versa, etc. As in the UK, some US lawyers are qualified in more than one jurisdiction (state).
For some areas of US law, it is sufficient to be qualified in any one or more of the US states to be able to offer such legal services to any clients. This generally relates to matters of federal law such as US immigration, or the preparation of US estate & gift tax returns. In such matters, it is irrelevant what in what state or states the lawyer is qualified.
However, for most areas of US law, only a lawyer qualified to act in a particular jurisdiction may represent clients in the courts of such jurisdiction. A more important point may be that no lawyer's insurance policy would cover advice given to a client where the lawyer was advising as to the law of a jurisdiction or providing services relating to the laws of a state in which he or she is not qualified.
Due to the above, and in order to avoid wasting your time where we may not be able to assist you, one of the first questions we always ask a prospective client is what particular US state does the matter relate to.
Now to return to the earlier questions, can you use a UK solicitor or lawyer?
If there is both a US and UK element in a particular case, then a UK solicitor or lawyer may be able to assist or advise in relation to the UK element, He or she however cannot generally assist in a US related matter unless he or she is also qualified in the relevant US jurisdiction. As there are in the UK a number of solicitors who have also become qualified in US states such as New York or California, etc., and a number of US attorneys who have become UK solicitors or lawyers, including myself, then it is possible in some cases to use a UK solicitor or attorney.
If you as a UK resident retain a US resident US lawyer you may find that he or she is unable to identify or deal with any arising UK or other international legal or tax elements of your US matter. Even in what appear to be straightforward matters, you need to take care in relying upon offered solutions which may be appropriate for a US resident or citizen as it is important that any proposed solution take account of unique implications for you as a UK resident or citizen.
As a UK resident in a US legal matter, you should where possible seek to take both US and UK legal advice so as to protect your interests and know your real options.
American Attorney Services is here in your time zone and should you wish, you can come to our offices in Wrington near Bristol to discuss your US legal matter in detail.
Being a small firm, we are committed to our clients. Being international in outlook, we provide our personal attention to British, Irish, US, and other multinational individual and corporate clients in both domestic and cross-border matters between the US and the UK. These matters include various “inbound” British law matters and “outbound” US matters. By way of example, we help UK and other European businesses who wish to set up in the US, assist UK and other European resident individuals and businesses in purchasing property or businesses in Florida. Depending on the particular US state, we can help in the incorporation of a new US business, deal with disputes and assist in ensuring the necessary documentation is executed, completed correctly, and notarised where required so as to be accepted in the US. In all our matters, we seek to provide a pragmatic approach and utilise our extensive experience to create solutions. For many of our professional legal colleagues in the US and UK, because of our ability to provide legal services of both jurisdictions, we are often the first port of call for transactions involving US and UK entities.
* Are you considering emigrating to the USA through an EB-5 visa or E-2 visa investment visa?
* Are you looking for legal assistance in buying or selling a property in Florida?
* Are you seeking to either bring a claim or defend against a claim in the Florida courts?
* Have you suffered an injury in Florida?
* Seeking a waiver of inadmissibility further to criminal convictions from the past?
* Are you looking into obtaining a Florida will?
• Seeking a spousal (non-fiancee) or other family-based USA permanent immigrant visa?
* Are you looking for assistance in dealing with US estate tax returns?
* Looking for assistance in dealing with probate in the Florida courts?
* Are you trying to avoid probate in Florida through the use of a Florida trust?
Florida Property Purchases & Sales
Florida Court Litigation