Category: Uncategorized

holiday dinner estate planning

Gift Yourself Security for the 2020 Holidays

With the holiday season here, it has many of us thinking about our loved ones. The holidays often give us joyful and spirited feelings, especially as lights go up and decorations are hung around the house. However, with the numbers of COVID rising in California, you may be wondering whether it is safe to travel or have family get together to celebrate. Despite the facts and information we have received about COVID, there is usually a big question mark as to whether this virus is in someone’s system when they arrive for a holiday party.

What may give you some relief during a time of such unpredictability is getting tested routinely at a local testing site, along with reviewing your estate plan and updating wills, just in case. We don’t know when COVID will end for good, but at least we can prepare in the event that tragedy were to unfold. With most people having recently gotten together with family for Thanksgiving, it would not be an odd thought to consider updating your will. 

 

A Sense of Security Through Estate Planning

Perhaps this year more than ever before, people have been acutely aware about their own mortality. This may cause them to think about whether their affairs are in order and if their estate plan needs to be updated. Estate planning has become an increasingly urgent priority and many people have found that it reduces their anxiety to have a plan set if the unimaginable were to happen.

If you or someone you care about has felt the fragility of what it means to be human lately, then there is no harm in taking action where you can. We can do our best to be careful when interacting with others, but at the end of the day we cannot know for sure if the spread of COVID happened until someone comes up positive later on.

You may want to speak with an estate planning lawyer in the near future, who can help you start completing necessary paperwork, or assist with updating an outdated document. Here are other tasks that your estate planning lawyer can help you with:

 

  • Designate beneficiaries
  • Establish durable power of attorney
  • Implement legal documents including wills and trusts
  • Offer advice that would be in the best interest of you, your family, and assets
  • Answer questions as needed
  • Provide insight about state and federal laws related to estate planning
  • Ensure wishes are carried out by a trusted person
  • Help protect your loved ones and legacy for the future
  • Speak with close friends or relatives of those associated with the estate
  • Help prevent a costly and long probate process
  • Develop solutions such as how to reduce fees or taxes imposed on the estate
  • Handle retirement plans, charitable contributions, life insurance plans, etc. 

 

Don’t hesitate to begin establishing or updating your estate plan as a way to help protect the legacy of you and your family this holiday season. A reputable estate planning lawyer from a law firm near Sacramento can offer the support you need.

Contact Yee Law Group today to discuss your options.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Deal with an Insurance Company

Estate Lawyer

If you sustain an injury through no fault of your own, you can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Dealing with insurance companies requires persistence and negotiation skills to reach the settlement you deserve. A skilled personal injury attorney can combat the following tactics insurance companies use to minimize or eliminate your compensation.

Claiming a Pre-Existing Condition Caused Your Injury

An insurance company’s mission is to pay out as little as possible for every claim it receives. Inevitably, you will need to disclose details about your health. The insurance company will claim that your condition results from your health issue and not the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can combat this argument by making a case that the accident exacerbated your condition.

Creating an Alternate Version of What Happened

Insurance adjusters justify low damage payments by creating loopholes, contradictions, and alternate scenarios that make victims responsible for their accidents. A sharp personal injury attorney can predict these tactics and knows how to counter them.

Pushing You to Settle Quickly

An insurance company may try to force you to settle quickly before the full extent of your injuries is known. This rush to pay takes advantage of your concerns about medical bills or your inability to resume working. It is not unusual for the full consequences of many injuries to first appear weeks or months after an accident. A personal injury attorney will advise you to get a full medical assessment and complete your recommended treatment before acknowledging your injuries’ extent and cost.

Delaying a Settlement

If you don’t accept an insurance company’s initial settlement offer, you may find that processing your case begins to slow down. Unavailable insurance representatives, misplaced paperwork and ambiguous communication are tactics insurance companies use to delay settling claims until they exceed the statute of limitations for legitimacy. A personal injury attorney can prevent this by issuing a formal demand letter with a detailed request for damages.

Requesting a Recorded Statement

Insurance adjusters may ask for a recorded statement with answers to specific questions about the accident. They may use this to manipulate you into saying something that may reduce or eliminate your claim. Personal injury attorneys know that this is unnecessary and can firmly deny the request.

An insurance adjuster’s job is to look out for the insurance company’s best interest. Hire a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, to look out for yours.

Divorce v. Legal Separation: What’s the Difference?

Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are considering the process of legally ending your marriage, you have likely heard two common terms: divorce or legal separation. These terms are typically used interchangeably, but each have different significance in court. So what is the difference between the two? What are the processes? And what is the best choice for your lifestyle?

Divorce

A divorce is the legal end of a marriage. Throughout the court process, your assets will be divided, custody arrangements will be determined and spousal and child support amounts will be calculated. The estates of both spouses are officially split and they are no longer permitted to share health insurance or tax benefits. At the close of the divorce filing process, the wife is legally allowed to change her name.

Separation

In official terms, a “seperated” couple is still married. You can live in a completely different zip code, or even country, from your spouse and still be legally bound together. The only thing that might change in some states is your filing status on your taxes (you would file as “separated” instead of “married’). However, separated couples don’t have legally mediated conclusions regarding bill payments and custody; so if issues arise between you and your spouse, you would need to go through some special procedures with an attorney to ensure you receive the support you’re due.

Legal Separation

A “legal separation” is an official status change for your relationship. To obtain a legal separation, you must file a petition in court. Similarly to a divorce, the court will mandate spousal support and duties, but the couple will remain married.

While legal separation aren’t as common as divorces, they are helpful if the spouses just want time to work through lifestyle or financial decisions currently impacting the marriage. Other couples choose to pursue a legal separation because they hold religious or moral beliefs against the concept of divorce. Still more want to function independently from their spouse but still receive the insurance and tax benefits they enjoyed during marriage.

After filing for a legal separation, you can choose to move forward with the divorce, or just remain separated from your spouse permanently. If the wife does not finalize a divorce, she is not allowed to legally change back to her former name.

Choosing how to end your marriage can be a painful and confusing process, as a divorce attorney, such as from Brandy Austin Law Firm, knows well. This is made even more perplexing by the fact that some states refuse to recognize legal separation. No matter which route you choose, you should work with an attorney who can help you work out the intricacies between divorce and legal separation.

4 Questions You Might Have Following an Accident

When you’re injured in an accident, you probably have a lot of questions. Getting the answers to these questions can help you determine whether to accept an insurance claim, move ahead with a lawsuit, or both. The following are four common questions you’ll probably want answers to.

  1. Which Insurance Company Do I File My Claim With?

The insurance company you file your claim with will be determined by who caused your accident. If you were in an accident you caused yourself, you could file a claim with your own insurance company. If someone else caused your injuries, you would file a claim with the other party’s insurance provider. In a car accident, when the at-fault individual doesn’t carry insurance, you can use your own uninsured motorist coverage.

  1. How Does an Insurance Claim Affect My Insurance Coverage?

In the case you don’t hold any fault in the accident, your insurance coverage wouldn’t be affected at all. The insurance claim would be filed with the other individual’s provider, and his or her premiums would probably go up, but that wouldn’t make a difference for your insurance situation. This is why a thorough investigation is essential. If the other party can somehow twist the facts to show you carried a portion of fault, your insurance premiums would be affected. If your own investigation proves the facts were twisted, you should be fine.

  1. How Soon After the Accident Should I File a Claim?

Most insurance companies ask that you at least report the accident within 30 days, though there are some that do not require that. Beyond reporting the accident and letting the insurance company know you intend to file a claim, you might have years before you have to file the claim. In most cases, it’s best to get it filed as soon as possible so other things don’t get in the way to muddy up the case.

  1. Do I Need a Lawyer If I Don’t Plan to Sue?

Yes. A lawyer can help you through the insurance claims process as well. Your lawyer can also help you understand whether the insurance provider’s offer is actually fair. If it’s not, he or she can negotiate with the insurer.

Contacting Your Lawyer for More Answers

After being injured in an accident, you’ll probably have lots of questions. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand how the insurance claims process works and when it would be appropriate to file a lawsuit. Contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Wiseman Bray PLLC, today to get answers.

When an Employer Retaliates for a Whistleblower Reporting Sexual Harassment

Every employee should have a work environment that they feel safe in, where they can thrive and do their best without concern for mistreatment from an employer or coworkers. Unfortunately, a worker may become victim to sexual harassment at one point or another in their career. The key is knowing how to respond and what resources are available to protect you. 

What constitutes as sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can take on many forms, but it is important for an employee to know what types of behavior is unacceptable. Sexual harassment can happen to any worker regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, or financial status. Here are specific examples of what can be considered sexual harassment:

  • Making sexual gestures towards a coworker
  • Displaying sexually suggestive art, objects or other items (pictures, cartoons, posters, computer screen backgrounds, calendars, etc.)
  • Making verbal remarks, epithets, jokes, or slurs that are of a sexual tone
  • Verbal or non-verbal advances towards an unwilling coworker to engage in sexual activity
  • Verbal abuse that is sexual in nature, including comments about a coworker’s body or appearance
  • Using sexually degrading words to describe a coworker
  • Writing obscene letters, electronic mail, invitations, or messages to a coworker

What are my options if I am being sexually harassed?

If you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment, there are steps you can take to see the person is held responsible and you are protected from future mistreatment. First, document the harassment by writing down a detailed account of what happened. Then, consider contacting your human resources representative to report the incident so the matter can be handled professionally and promptly. If you feel your safety is seriously threatened, do not hesitate to call the police. 

What if I am afraid of retaliation for being a whistleblower?

Whistleblowers are employees who report misconduct of an employer or coworker, often to an anonymous hotline as a way to request further investigation. An employee could either have witnessed or have been the victim of a sexual harassment incident. All in all, if such harassment happens to you, immediate action should be taken to prevent future violating behavior. 

What if my boss fired me because I reported the sexual harassment?

Employees who either experience first-hand themselves or witness a coworker being sexually harassed, may be afraid to report the matter. An employee may be fearful of employer retaliation or even being fired. The fear of punishment or further harassment can keep an employee quiet. 

What can an attorney do to help me in regards to what happened?

An employee that was both the victim of sexual harassment and retaliation for being a whistleblower, may be entitled to a substantial amount of financial compensation. An attorney can help an employee decide whether it is in their best interest to file a lawsuit against the employer for restitution. A lawyer, like a whistleblower retaliation claim lawyer in Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, can also offer advice, insight, and help protect your rights if they have been violated. 

estate planning after divorce

Updating Your Will and Estate Plan After a Divorce

After a divorce, your will and estate plan are probably not the first things on your to-do list. Making the appropriate changes to the plan can be an essential action that provides the peace of mind in knowing your future wishes will be carried out to the letter.

 

How a Divorce Impacts Your Estate Plan

Married people typically tend to leave their property, assets, and other valuables to their spouse and children from the marriage. But after a divorce, many individuals no longer want that pre-established plan to remain unchanged. Some may wish to merely reduce their ex-partner’s inheritance. Others choose to unname their exes as beneficiaries and direct more assets to the children. 

If you do not alter your plan, your ex could receive some of your assets in a way that you did not originally intend. Even if laws dictate that a divorce voids gifts to an ex-spouse made in a will signed before the marriage dissolution, other estate planning devices may still apply. For instance, you might have named your ex as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a trust. The only way your ex is by changing the beneficiary designation.

 

Updating and Changing Your Estate Plan

Once you’ve decided that changes to your estate plan due to divorce are in order, seek out the legal advice of an experienced attorney. An estate planning lawyer can review your plan and point out which parts need to be modified. Generally, putting these changes in effect means signing a new will and other documents. If you have any retirement accounts, powers of attorney, or other structures in place, those documents may need changes as well.

As you consider enacting the new estate plan, you will need to think about how to redistribute money that might have gone to your spouse if the marriage hadn’t ended in divorce. Perhaps you would instead give funds to a charity or save more of them for your children’s’ college tuition. Through estate planning devices such as life insurance, 529 plans, and trusts, your estate planning attorney can help you accomplish your new goals.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that many changes occur in the course of your life. You should update your estate plan after any significant life changes that impact where your hard-earned assets will go once you’ve passed on. For example, you might remarry, relocate to a different state or country, have additional children, inherit money, or lose a family member. All of these are good reasons to review your plan for potential updates and changes.

 

Get Help Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

Dealing with a divorce can be an emotional and overwhelming time. While there is much to consider and decide, taking action regarding your estate plan before and during your divorce can give you and your heirs financial protection while eliminating unexpected complications.

An estate planning attorney can point out what options are right for you, helping to secure everything you’ve worked for and accomplished in your life. To begin your estate planning today, contact an estate planning attorney at Yee Law Group to set up your free estate plan evaluation. 

Common Bankruptcy Questions

Estate Planning Lawyer

Most people only have a vague idea of how bankruptcy works. When people think of someone filing for bankruptcy they imagine rich people being dragged from their houses while all of their gaudy possessions are thrown into boxes. The truth is far less dramatic but can seem more convoluted. If you are looking to file for bankruptcy, or in general have no way to pay off your debts, these are probably some of the questions you are asking.

What Is Bankruptcy?

In the simplest sense, bankruptcy is a system that allows individuals and businesses to go to court in order to get their debts canceled. Depending on the type of bankruptcy being filed for, the amount of debt and the amount of personal wealth the person has all play a role in determining how the debt gets discharged.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Debt relief is a very personal thing and can become necessary through no fault of the person filing. Even so, since anyone filing for bankruptcy is going through a court system, having a lawyer to help navigate the technicalities and legal jargon can be a huge help. While it is not required like in criminal or civil courts, having a lawyer is highly recommended.

What Are the Different Types of Bankruptcy?

A business or individual can file under two different chapters: Chapter 7 and chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the more straightforward of the two: the court reviews all property and income of the person filing. Once the value of their property, along with whether any property is exempt, is determined, the court appoints a trustee to oversee the selling of the debtor’s property. All of this money goes to paying back the creditors and any debt left is discharged. This is the type of bankruptcy that most people imagine when they think about filing for bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a bit less straightforward. The debtor agrees to a court-mandated repayment plan in exchange for getting to keep all of their property. Income, the amount of debt and other factors analyzed by the court determine how much the debtor must repay, and how that repayment is structured. Generally, payment plans are between three and five years long. At the end of the repayment plan, if all payments were made on time, then any remaining debt is discharged.

Set up a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer, like the attorneys at Kamper & Estrada, PLLC as soon as possible.

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wills Lawyer

Wrongful death can occur because of a number of different reasons, though it is usually the result of an accident caused by someone’s negligence. You can make a wrongful death claim if you are the survivor of the person who has died. The claim is made against the person who caused the accident. Before you begin this long process, you should have a full understanding of what a wrongful death claim entails and if it is worth your time and effort. Here’s the basics for a wrongful death claim and lawsuit.

What Counts as a Wrongful Death?

The majority of wrongful death cases involve accidents, but there are examples of intentional harm (such as abuse in nursing homes) that can be claimed. Car accidents, workplace accidents, workplace illnesses, medical malpractice, accidental poisoning, overdoses, property liability accidents, and pedestrian and bicycle accidents are the most common situations. In each of these cases, one party can be held liable because their negligence contributed to the accident and therefore the death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim and Lawsuit?

People who can sue are the survivors of the deceased. Usually this is parents, children, spouses, life partners, and certain other family members. The survivors often have a dependency on the person who has passed away, be it financial support or companionship. Adult children may be unable to sue over the death of a parent because they are no longer dependent on them. A judge may determine if survivors have a right to sue.

Who Can Be Sued?

Any person or party who acted negligently and caused the death can be sued. This could be a driver who caused a car accident, a manufacturer who released faulty equipment, a property owner who failed to fix tripping hazards, or a construction company who constructed a faulty design. In some cases, fault may overlap to several parties, and you may sue each of them depending on their involvement.

What Damages Can Be Claimed?

Damages can be split into economic, non-economic and punitive categories. Economic damages can be medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and lost inheritance. Non-economic refers to damages that have no monetary value, such as pain and suffering and loss of love, care, protection, or companionship. What you can claim often depends on your relationship with the deceased.

To determine where you stand in a wrongful death claim process, consider contacting a wrongful death lawyer, like from Wiseman Bray, PLLC. Every situation is different, and there may be state laws you don’t know about that affect your case. Never hesitate to seek help, especially if there is a chance you could receive compensation.

Fault vs No-Fault Divorce

Estate Lawyer

Both Fault and No-Fault divorce relate to the reason for calling for divorce, so why is there a need to specify? Well, as a child support lawyer, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, will tell you, the reason for the divorce is different and the distribution of property in the divorce is different and affected by Fault or No-Fault divorce. A fault divorce requires the spouse that is seeking the divorce to prove the other party is at fault and that requires a divorce. In a no-fault divorce, no blame is assigned to either party. 

Grounds for a Fault divorce

Cruelty- this is defined as “willfully causing pain or suffering to your spouse.”

This is a relative term, where each case must be determined on its own fact. In order for a judge to uphold cruelty, the cruelty needs to be a willful, persistent infliction of unnecessary suffering, which can be either mental or physical.

Adultery- this is defined as “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one that is not the husband or wife of the offender.”

Can be proven with hard proof or circumstantial evidence such as receipts or bank statements showing purchases of gifts, jewelry, loans, or trips for a lover. It is also important to note that acts of adultery after you file for divorce and are no longer cohabitating can still be used to support a fault-based judgement.

Felony criminal conviction

If your spouse is convicted of a felony, then that is grounds for divorce. If during your marriage your spouse was convicted of a felony, imprisoned for at least one year, or has not been pardoned, then you have grounds for a fault divorce. 

Abandonment

If the other spouse has voluntarily left the complaining spouse. They must also have left with the intention of abandonment and remained away for at least one year.

  • Other uncommon grounds 
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Impotence or infertility
  • Cultural or religious differences

Grounds for a No-Fault divorce

No fault divorces do not require a reason for the divorce or any blame to be placed on either party. However, they still have to show why exactly a court should grant the divorce. Common grounds for a no-fault divorce include:

Insupportability

This is the common ground for divorce. This claim only means that the divorce is no longer endurable, insufferable, and intolerable. To qualify for this you have to show that the marriage has become unsupportable due to the conflict and that the conflict destroys the marriage. You should also have no reasonable expectation that the parties are getting back together. 

Living apart

The court may grant divorce without fault if they have been living apart for at least three years without cohabitation.

Defenses

There are no defenses available for a no-fault divorce. If one party is objecting to the divorce, that objection itself is seen as an irreconcilable difference that would justify the divorce. There are several defenses to a fault divorce. 

Condonation- this is someone’s approval of another’s activities. If one spouse does not object to the husband’s actions, such as adultery, then the husband could argue that the spouse condoned the behavior. 

Connivance- this is setting up a situation so that the other person commits a wrongdoing.

Provocation- this is when one party provokes the other party into committing a certain way. 

Collusion- this is when both parties agree to collude that there was a problem, when there really wasn’t in order to get a quicker divorce. 

These defenses are rarely used, because proving a defense would require witnesses and involve a lot of time and expense. Efforts will likely come to nothing, as there are high chances that the court would grant the divorce, eventually. 

Get Legal Help with Trust Litigation

A person creates a trust because they want to ensure their assets are safe and can go to certain beneficiaries. When a person writes their trust, they name someone as trustee to control it; in some cases, they may name themselves as the first trustee and they may name a close friend or family member as the second trustee. This allows them to have control over their assets until they want them to be dispersed. While it may seem like a hard thing to argue, it is possible for people to question the legitimacy of a trust. This is where a trust litigation attorney comes in. They know that you may have questions about a person’s trust and could be concerned that circumstances forced a person to change their trust or a person’s trust changed without their knowledge. To see how an attorney can help, contact a law office now. 

Why does trust litigation occur?

Unfortunately, not everyone is as concerned about the trustor’s health and welfare. Instead, more people may be concerned about whether they are “getting their fair share” when it comes to being a beneficiary of the trust. A dispute can quickly arise if someone believes they were left out or if someone was added. It can be hard to determine what the trustor wants when these kinds of questions arise, which is why it is imperative that you have a trust litigation attorney on your side to help gather the evidence.

Another common instance is if the trustee does not live up to his or her duty. A trustee is supposed to take care of the assets and make sure that they get to the right people. If a trustor told a beneficiary that he would get certain assets and the trustee did not get those assets to the beneficiary, he may have reason to believe that the trustee is not conducting his or her job appropriately. It is the trustee’s job to ensure the wishes of the trust are fulfilled and the assets get to where they need to go. 

If you or a loved one believe that someone may have had undue influence or forced the trustor to make changes to the trust, you should also reach out to our trust litigation attorney. Especially when people get older, it is possible that someone (a nurse, a family member who was never close) may attempt to form a closer bond with the trustor in order to add their name into the trust. When you suspect something like this, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. 

If you have more information about trust litigation and how an attorney, like an estate litigation attorney from Klenk Law, can help, please do not hesitate to reach out.