US Expert Opinions – Monte Silver, US lawyer
US legal opinions for litigation and transactions around the world
What is a US legal opinion?
A US legal opinion is a document written by a lawyer which provides an opinion on a US federal, or state law.
When is a legal opinion needed?
In many lawsuits outside the United States, the need arises to establish what the US law (state or federal) is on a specific issue, given the facts in the case.
As neither the judge, lawyers or parties know what the US law is on the subject, an expert opinion is needed from a US lawyer. In such cases, two possible options exist:
a. The parties agree on the expert. As neither the court not the parties know a US lawyer, a search begins for an acceptable neutral US lawyer.
b. The parties do not agree on an expert. In this case, each party must engage in it’s own search for a US expert. And each party then provides its expert opinion to the local court.
Even after a legal opinion has been provided, the parties or the court may wish to clarify certain issues. In such cases, the court may order the parties to have their experts address follow up questions in writing. Or alternatively, the expert may be asked to make himself/herself available for examination (in person or by way of video conference).
In many cases, legal opinions are prepared as part of an agreement. Common issues include:
a. Authority. Has the entity signing the agreement duly approved the agreement under the relevant law? Does the person signing the contract have signatory authority?
b. Legality. Legality and/or regulation of a business in the United States. This subject comes up in highly regulated areas, such as Cannabis, alcohol, cybercurrency or gambling.
c. Lending funds. Before providing loans, lenders will often demand securities/guarantors located in other countries.
d. Tax issues. A party receiving money pursuant to a contract needs assurance that the US payor is not required to withhold a portion at the source, or that the foreign recipient of the funds will not incur US tax liability.
Our principal advantages:
Do you provide notary services?
I have inherited something, but the court needs a US legal expert to confirm that I am the beneficiary under US law.
That is exactly what we do. We provide the court with a legal opinion on such issues of validity of wills, choice of law, community/separate property issues, intestate succession (where there is no will).
I am in a divorce proceeding and there is a retirement US fund. Who gets it?
The issue of which spouse gets what percent of a US retirement fund arises in divorce proceeding. The judge is asked to divide the marital assets. However, as the fund is governed by US/state law and subject to US tax, a US legal expert is required to opine on the issue of “who gets what” under the relevant law.
If you may need a US legal opinion, contact us.