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About elmix

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  • Location Munich
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  1. Lawyer charging for... basically nothing

    Thank you for all of the helpful comments!   Since the devil is nearly always in the details, I just would like to emphasize that my first contact (email) with the law firm was addressed not to any attorney, but generically to 'Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren' -- with a brief description of the problem and the direct question about the costs for legal support.  I assumed (maybe falsely) that the email would most likely be read and answered by a secretary or assistant.   However, within a few hours, an attorney called me;  I did not call him.  He did not mention that the call was an 'Erstberatung' or that there would be any costs.   @ yourkeau:  Maybe we will try the https://www.frag-einen-anwalt.de/ site.   @ RedMidge:  I checked the firm's website again and did not find any information about any fees.  Since I explicitly asked about fees/costs in my email (initial contact), I would expect -- perhaps naively-- that anyone from the firm responding would tell us upfront about any fees.   @ jeba:  Isn't the Rechtsanwaltskammer mainly for protecting the interests of the lawyers?  This firm is in Augsburg.  According to my internet search, it seems that the Rechtsanwaltskammer in Munich is also the appropriate one for Augsburg?   @ PandaMunich:  Thanks for that link.  Yikes -- most of the posts so hostilely attacked the OP and vehemently defended the lawyer that it made me think most of the posters were lawyers themselves.  I think a key difference between that OP's and our situation is that the lawyer called me.     @ john g.:  Your words are a balm! I wouldn't call you naive;  you are honest and fair.  The uploader has made the video you posted unavailable to viewers in Germany (probably in France, too! ), but I think I found another posting of it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e9xM1zei3A   We've had to deal with so many unscrupulous characters in our search to buy a home and now in the building process that it is refreshing to know that there are still people with integrity.  Yes, karma!   Thanks again for all the replies!    
  2. Lawyer charging for... basically nothing

    We did not have any appointment with the lawyer.  We also did not agree to any consultation.     He did not inform us of any fees, though I had explicitly asked about these in my email (first contact).  Nor did he inform us that his phone call (he called me) was an 'Erstberatung'.   I had also contacted other law firms in the same manner and none have sent us a bill (at least not yet -- fingers crossed).  I was very explicit with each firm that we were inquiring first what kind of costs we might incur in our situation if we decided to pursue legal counsel.   We are not interested in suing a lawyer, but we do not think his bill is justified and would like to write him a response and refuse to pay it.    It looks like we will write our own response -- at least initially -- since we can't get sorted with another lawyer through our legal insurance so quickly.   Are there any laws to which we can refer in our letter for rejecting this bill?     Are there any organisations to which we can report his behaviour?     Thanks again.    
  3. Lawyer charging for... basically nothing

    My situation is similar to the OP's, though our initial contact was by email.  My SO and I have had problems with our general contractor.  About a month or so ago, we emailed several law firms with a brief description of our situation and the explicit question about how the costs for legal help would be calculated as well as a request for an estimate of the costs.   One attorney called within a couple of hours of receiving the email.  He did not mention that there would be any charge/cost for the phone call.  I did not agree to engage him or his law firm. I told him that I would discuss everything with my SO.  At the end of our conversation, he said he would email me documents, such as a contract, remuneration agreement, power of attorney, etc.  He did this within a couple of days.  I did not respond to the email.   About a week and a half ago we received a bill from him for an initial phone consultation ('telefonische Erstberatung').  for over 200€.  He had not mentioned when he called that this was an 'Erstberatung' or that there would be any costs for his phone call to us.     We have legal insurance (it doesn't cover our initial problem with the general contractor) and they approved a consultation with another attorney to discuss the problem of the bill with the first attorney.  However, the legal insurance might not cover anything (such as a written response) beyond the first consultation.  Whether additional costs will be covered will only be determined after the second attorney contacts the insurance company and provides some information.  And the attorney whom they recommended is on holiday.     We can contact other attorneys, but we would like to respond to the first attorney as soon as possible.  We are hoping that it might be sufficient if we just write a letter ourselves stating that we reject the bill since we did not agree to engage this firm.    Are there any laws to which we can refer for rejecting this bill?     Would us writing a letter at least buy us some time to organise another attorney?   Does it make sense to contact the Rechtanwaltskammer to complain?  Or is there another organisation to which we can turn for help?   Thanks in advance for any advice!    
  4. After more than three years of looking for a property to buy, my husband and I finally found one and applied for a mortgage. We just heard from the mortgage broker (Allianz) that apparently there is a new law that went into effect on March 1, 2020 which restricts US citizens from obtaining mortgages. I could not find any information about this online, but maybe I’m just not searching for the right terms.   A little background information (not sure if it is all relevant, but then again I never expected that my US citizenship would be a problem): Neither my husband nor I are EU citizens; my husband is not a US citizen either.  We both have permanent residency (Niederlassung) here and both work here.  He is the primary breadwinner, but I will be contributing the bulk of the down payment (about 30% of the purchase price, plus the closing costs). This money is coming from my US account; I was planning on transferring it into a German account.   The mortgage broker said that, because of these new restrictions, the loan and therefore the property could only be in my husband’s name. If we wanted to have any provisions for what might happen if we were to separate/divorce some day, these could only be done in a postnuptial agreement (Ehevertrag).  In addition, I would need to gift my husband the money for the down payment, since the contract for the house would only be in his name.    My questions are:   1.  Is this true? If so, could someone please post a link to where I can find this information online (no problem if it’s in German)?   2. Are there any other alternatives in which I could remain as one of the owners of the property?   3. If the property must remain in only my husband’s name, what implications would that have later for inheritance taxes for each other or for children? The property value is definitely over the tax exempt amount (Freibetrag).   Thanks!