Services

BUSINESS FORMATION

We frequently counsel with start-up and existing small businesses to guide you towards the best business entity formation for your needs, maximizing your personal protection from personal liability, while minimizing taxes and optimizing paperwork for you and your business.

We then legally create your new entity, filing your new company documents with the Secretary of State in Kansas or Missouri. We then carefully give you appropriate follow-up instructions for how to implement your new business entity and ensure that you do not lose legal protection for the entity we have so carefully created, and for you personally.

 


CONTRACTS

Dickens Law will make sure your contracts achieve your goals with the greatest legal protection and benefit available. Linda Dickens has thirty years of experience in writing and reviewing contracts, including for individuals AND for Fortune 500 companies, medium, and small businesses. This includes, for example, employment contracts, trade-secret agreements, noncompetition covenants, real estate transactions, buy/sell agreements for businesses, financial agreements, loan related contracts, service contracts, commercial agreements, residential live-in contracts, and much, much more. Linda also taught Contracts and Commercial Transactions for five years at the University of Missouri as an Adjunct Professor, and drafted one of the Kansas City area’s first health insurance plans/contracts for an area hospital.

Dickens Law would be honored to assist you and your business or family by reviewing, negotiating, and/or writing your contracts, as you choose. And, we will do so with the following paramount objectives: Achievement of your Goals, Clarity in All Obligations, Minimization of All Risk, Elimination for Later Disputes, Maximization of your Compensation or Benefit, Minimization of your Expense, and all while Preserving the Relationship(s) between you and the other party(ies).


EMPLOYMENT LAW (FOR THE EMPLOYEE)

Linda spent many years with Kansas City’s top employment law firm defending employers against wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits. She loves to turn that experience around now and protect the rights of employees who have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, wrongfully pursued over Covenants-Not-To-Compete, and/or alleged trade secret violations. Linda has had tremendous success in obtaining compensation for damages suffered as a result of discrimination or wrongful termination, and she has been able to free many clients from the restrictive and unfair confines of Covenants-not-to-compete. She has also successfully freed numerous clients from false accusations of misuse or retention of trade-secrets following employment termination.

Dickens Law has a great passion for protecting and enforcing YOUR rights—your right to be treated fairly, to be compensated fairly, to be free from unfair covenants not-to-compete, free from unfair trade secret accusations, and free from dangers in the workplace. Dickens Law understands that the underlying purpose for their work is YOUR livelihood, family, peace of mind, health, and the financial security you have earned. For many, this is about protecting YOUR right to continue in your chosen profession without unfair interruption.

Linda has had tremendous success freeing countless clients from the restrictions of unfair covenants-not-to-compete, including doctors, financial executives, corporate executives, banking executives, sales and marketing executives, engineers, service providers and high-end hair stylists and designers.

Linda has also exposed fraudulent and unfair employment practices, successfully defeating unfair employers in Kansas and Missouri State and Federal Courts, before the National Labor Relations Board, the EEOC, and Missouri’s Commission on Human Rights, and the Kansas Human Rights Commission. Linda’s efforts have produced substantial compensation for clients as well as the exposure of crimes, state and federal labor law violations, EPA violations, and tax-fraud by unfair employers.

We would be honored to protect YOUR rights, health, and future, and we will do so with power and passion for you and your family.

 


EMPLOYMENT LAW (FOR THE EMPLOYER)

Linda spent many years with Kansas City’s top employment law firm defending employers against wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits, as well as injunctive enforcement of Covenants-not-to-compete and Confidentiality provisions for the protection of trade secrets. She believes strongly that employers need protection for their rights to hire and fire, to be free from frivolous lawsuits, to protect their trade secrets and confidential information, and to obtain the fullest legal protection available in the form of protective covenants such as covenants-not-to-compete.

As a business owner, YOU are the owner of your trade secrets, processes, formulations of data, accounting procedures, customer lists, marketing strategies, and much much more. You are entitled to protect yourself against an employee who might leave your company, set up shop down the street (or internet), and steal your customers or duplicate your processes or strategies. Dickens Law has the most cutting edge legal strategies available for securing full legal protection for these areas and more, to the fullest extent of the law, so you can protect what you have built, thereby protecting your company, your assets, your future, and your legacy.

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ESTATE PLANNING - YOUR LEGACY

In our view, your legacy is far more than the assets you leave behind. It also includes the values you stood for, and the wisdom you accumulated over your lifetime. Let us assist you in constructing an estate plan which reflects those values and passes that wisdom on to your loved ones in a powerful manner, setting tremendous example for your generations to come.

For example, today, many grandparents are concerned that their grandchildren are not learning how to save. Some of our greatest joy has been developing an estate plan which actually an incentive for grandchildren to save in childhood and adulthood. These provisions lovingly pass on Grandma’s and Grandpa’s values for hard work and saving, hopefully setting a pattern which to endure for generations to come.

For grandparents who want to encourage or facilitate higher education, we have many choices of provisions to meet your preferences.

For parents concerned about a break-up in one of their children’s marriage, we take great care to ensure that your estate passes only to your bloodline.

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING

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ESTATES AND TRUSTS

You have worked hard to earn, save, and preserve your estate and assets, whether it is $200,000, two million, or twenty million. Your estate is about your security, your family, and your legacy. Our job is to put your Estate in legal condition to operate smoothly for you and your loved ones, undisturbed by illness, incapacity, death, probate, delays, publicity, excessive taxes, relatives, or out-of-control legal fees. We take this job very seriously, and will deal with you and your family as if we were working with our own relatives. We review hundreds of estate plans each year and we are shocked to see that other qualified professionals are giving inadequate and overpriced estate plans. We call these plans “milking machines” for any of the following common reasons:

  1. The plan is set up to ensure that your estate will go through probate, resulting in a large cash drain and delay for your loved ones;
  2. The plan is set up to ensure that your loved ones have to return to that law firm in order to implement the plan once you have passed, because it is so inappropriately cumbersome that no one but the attorney who drafted it can make any sense out of it; or
  3. The plan is set up for a banking or corporate trustee where such is not really justified, and the result is a large financial drain on your estate, cumbersome decision-making, and unnecessary delays in progress of estate matters.

As you have doubtless heard, estate planning is critical so that when you die, your estate is not consumed by taxes, probate expenses, delays, and legal fees, all at a time when your family is grieving your death. Effective estate planning will accomplish each of the following goals:

  1. Minimize estate taxes
  2. Eliminate probate
  3. Keep your estate private
  4. Distribute your assets according to your wishes
  5. Protect your spouse
  6. Protect your kids or other loved ones
  7. Eliminate the need for court involvement
  8. Greatly minimize future legal fees
  9. Undercut friction between your loved ones over division of your assets
  10. Appoint a legal representative for you in the event you become incapacitated
  11. Anticipate and provide for medical decisions for your care which would otherwise be made by your relatives, a hospital committee, or a judge.

MOST OF ALL: When Dickens Law completes an estate plan, everything possible is completed so that when a client passes, estate assets automatically flow to loved ones and/or philanthropies in the manner chosen by the client, without undue burden or legal fees.

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ESTATE AND TRUST LITIGATION

Where there is no way of settling matters concerning a trust or estate, we routinely represent individuals, banks, and trust companies to litigate issues. Linda’s first trust dispute litigation occurred over twenty-five years ago and she is well experienced and seasoned at this work. Linda works hard to solve these problems effectively and fully, while minimizing collateral damage to relationships, families, clients, business reputations, and in terms of legal fees and expenses which might otherwise be drained from estate or trust assets. Thus, the first goal frequently is to get competing family members to cooperate and hopefully settle, so that the estate is not devoured by too legal fees or too many parties with separate lawyers. Second, we may obtain an amendment or modification to the operative trust document from a County Probate Judge, as this can be done with relatively minimal legal fees. Where necessary, however, we will go to full litigation in the civil division of county court in order to obtain the just ruling our client needs and deserves. In this regard, the following are examples of the variety of trust and estate litigation we have performed:

  • Litigated and won estate/trust assets which were being sought by children of a prior spouse of the deceased.
  • Litigated, then settled disputes between family members over family businesses once mom and dad have passed.
  • Exposed fraudulent amendments to trust documents by greedy relatives.
  • Exposed fraudulent changes to Wills by greedy relatives.
  • Obtained protection from a male predator for a vulnerable female trust beneficiary.
  • Obtained clear title to legal properties in dispute due to poor legal drafting of trust and estate documents.
  • Obtained emergency court relief for the children of a hospitalized mother when religious compound members had taken over giving directions for her care.
  • Obtained court and injunctive relief for an elderly wealthy client being brutalized and bilked by a relative for money.
  • Obtained emergency probate court orders to access bank account records and safe deposit contents.
  • Obtained emergency court orders appointing Special Administrator(s) to conclude contract matters on behalf of the decedent(s).

 


FINANCIAL & INVESTMENT LITIGATION

Linda has represented individuals, banks, pension funds, and trust companies for over three decades on a multitude of issues relating to financial and investment matters. Linda has exposed fraud, theft, negligence, mortgage fraud, and mistakes by stock brokers, investment advisers, brokerage firms, mortgage firms, large banks, and insurance companies, resulting in full compensation for client’s damages suffered, plus legal fees, in virtually every case, and punitive damages where appropriate. On occasion Linda had to involve the FBI, and federal prosecutions and convictions resulted, in addition to compensation for the clients.

Thus, Dickens Law has been very effective at enforcing YOUR business and individual rights in your investments, retirement accounts, bank accounts, ERISA-protected funds, insurance policies, mortgages, and more.

For multiple years in the 1990’s Linda represented pension funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars, ensuring that contributions were made by employers as required by federal law, union agreements, and pension fund plan documents.

In approximately 1987, Linda drafted one of the first preferred provider network agreements in the nation, for a hospital in the Kansas City area, as the market for private health insurance was just beginning to develop.

Linda’s knowledge base in the financial area had its early roots in the late 70’s and early 80’s when she worked during college and law school summers for the Trust Department of United Missouri Bank, allocating income and contributions to pension and profit sharing plans, also completing tax returns for employee benefit plans and employers.

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PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

If you need a prenuptial agreement, we privately confer with you to discuss your specific circumstances and objectives. We then carefully draft the contract you need in order to gain the fullest protection of the law for your property, rights and interests in your upcoming marriage. Your fiancé should not attend with you; he or she is required by law to have her own separate attorney, and our Ethical Code prevents us from representing both of you.

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PROBATE

You have doubtless heard that Probate is an evil that can be avoided, and should be avoided. It’s true. Probate is every state’s process of passing one’s assets on to his/her relatives or chosen heirs if he/she failed to take adequate legal steps to set up proper estate planning documents prior to passing. Very unfortunately, probate is expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome, and it occurs at the very time when those left behind are grieving the passing of their loved one.

Where probate cannot be or has not been avoided, we will efficiently and carefully handle probate procedures, at all times trying to minimize delays, fees, and stress upon the surviving loved ones.

Each probate procedure is different, based upon the nature and value of the assets concerned. In every case, we consult with the client and lay out the choices which will minimize most the delays and expenses involved. Then, we deliberately move probate matters forward in a respectful and caring but efficient manner for those who have been left behind.

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SOLUTIONS & STRATEGIES

Whether you are an individual or a business, there are countless times when you are strategizing to plan for the future or to handle a current problem. In Linda’s thirty years of experience, she has accumulated a vast experience helping people strategize through sticky situations, whether with an employer, employee, competitor, commercial landlord, Retirement Residential Owner, and much much more. Linda will diplomatically handle potentially explosive situations in a manner which will bring parties together in common interest, so that future damage to relationships or even litigation can be avoided.

If you are strategizing for the future to avoid a blow-up in business or a family, navigate difficult financial waters, seek compensation for damages or injury, obtain appropriate benefits, obtain appropriate government or agency relief, or just plain solve a legal situation, Linda is discreet, confidential, practical, and effective. Let us assist you in formulating and/or enacting great legal strategies for accomplishing your goals.

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