Tag: Estate Lawyer

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.

 

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. 

What Factors Determine the Terms of Alimony?

Estate Lawyer

As you may have heard from loved one and friends who have gotten divorced, the entire process can be prolonged and quite painful. The couple divorcing may have to make plenty of decisions regarding their children, shared assets, finances and more. Perhaps a very tense and complicated topic to delegate is whether a spouse should receive alimony, including how much and for how long the financial support lasts. Understandably, the divorcing couple may not be able to agree upon this decision on their own. Sometimes, a judge has to make the ultimate say about whether a spouse must make payments to the other. 

Here in the article below, we have strived to answer the question: What factors determine the terms of alimony? Please read on for more information! 

What factors may a judge take into consideration when determining alimony?

While the laws surrounding alimony between divorcing couples can greatly differ depending on where you live, there are several factors that tend to be common when alimony orders are created. When your judge chooses whether a spouse shall receive alimony, these are the common factors that can contribute to the final decision:

  • How long the couple was married (months, years, decades)
  • The age of each spouse
  • The wellbeing of each spouse (physical and emotional health)
  • The spouse’s level of financial need and to what degree the supporting spouse can make these payments
  • The standard of living that was established during the marriage
  • The potential earning capacity for each spouse (including education level)
  • Which parent has more responsibility in caring for shared children
  • The income available to each spouse from investment of assets
  • The distribution of marital property between each spouse

In what circumstances may an alimony order be changed?

It is possible that later on after the alimony order has been decided by a judge, that one or both spouses goes through a major life change. Depending on that life event, a spouse may request a modification of alimony terms. However, if there is a statement within the final alimony order or divorce judgement that does not permit alimony to be changed, then the request is likely to be denied. Here are circumstances which may necessitate a modification of an alimony order: 

  • Either spouse has recently had a huge increase or decrease in their income
  • Either spouse has had a serious change in their health status (newly developed illness or disability)
  • The spouse receiving alimony payments has gotten remarried
  • The spouse making alimony payments has become retired
  • Either spouse has become recently deceased

What if I have questions or concerns about the alimony process? 

Couples who are confused about the alimony delegation process, may turn to a legal professional familiar with these types of situations for legal support. It is normal for couples to be heartbroken and angry during the divorce. Many soon-to-be divorced spouses may find having a divorce attorney, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, to work on their behalf, can help lessen the weight of such an emotionally turbulent proceeding. 

How Can You Afford a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident?

Estate Lawyer

After a motorcycle accident, if you’ve been injured and are struggling to get back to work, you’re probably also facing some serious medical bills. You’re stressed and worried about day-to-day expenses. Hiring a lawyer can seem out of the picture but accepting a low settlement offer may not solve your problems either. Here’s what to know about talking to a personal injury lawyer.

Consultations with Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Won’t Cost You Anything 

Most criminal lawyers and family law attorneys work by the hour. You could pay $250 and up per hour to have someone work on your divorce. Personal injury lawyers use a contingency fee. This means that they take on the risk of winning your case with no up-front fees. You can talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case to decide what the best steps are for you without worrying about paying them.

How Will Your Attorney Get Paid?

If the lawyer takes your case, you agree to give him or her a percentage of the settlement. Normally, this amount is from 33 to 40% of the settlement. If the lawyer settles your claim, they take their fee and pay for expenses out of the sum, then you receive the rest. If they don’t get a settlement in your case, then you don’t owe them a fee.

Can You Handle Your Settlement on Your Own? 

Obviously, you don’t have to have a lawyer on your side to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company. Here are five reasons to retain legal counsel:

  • Studies show that claimants with attorneys generally receive larger settlements than those who try to do it alone.
  • Your lawyer takes the stress off you to let you focus on healing.
  • Motorcycle accidents have many elements that determine your settlement. You may not know all the factors that could affect your claim.
  • Your attorney can help you protect your rights.
  • The insurance company may try to minimize your injuries and damages. You need someone to fight for your side.

You Have Nothing to Lose by Talking to a Lawyer 

Spending 30 minutes talking to a motorcycle accident lawyer can give you peace of mind moving forward. That’s a small price to pay against wondering if you should have had legal counsel on your side. If the lawyer doesn’t take your case, it isn’t personal — it just means that they aren’t willing to take the financial risk based on the value of the case. This too is information that can help you settle with the insurance company. Make an appointment to discuss your case with a lawyer, like a motorcycle accident lawyer from Wiseman Bray PLLC, today. 

What Roles Do Fiduciaries Play?

Estate Lawyer

A fiduciary is an institution or person who can act on your behalf. When you choose a fiduciary, it has to be someone that you trust. He or she will have a legal obligation to be honest and to act on your behalf.

Fiduciaries can have a role in your estate before and after your death. This person can be an attorney, banker, financial advisor, real estate agent and more. If you’re unsure about the role a fiduciary carries, it’s important to remember that you can have multiple fiduciaries and they can fulfill different roles. Here are three of those roles.

Your Child’s Guardian

In the unfortunate event that you die while your children are still minors, there must be someone that can take care of them. To choose someone who cares for your kids and to make choices on their behalf, you have to have a lot of trust for the person. Normally, you would add the name of the person you want to take care of your children in your will.

Even if you are married, the two of you must have someone named for your children. In the unfortunate event that both of you pass away, you need to know that your children have an advocate and someone to care for them.

Your Health Care Agent

Your healthcare fiduciary is someone that can make medical decisions on your behalf. This is especially important if you are incapacitated for any reason. A power of attorney or durable power of attorney can make all healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. In some instances, you can have an institution as your fiduciary, but not in the case of medical care. This person can also not be a healthcare provider.

Your Financial Advisor

Your fiduciary must be someone that you trust. When you die, most of the fiduciary responsibility is on your executor or trustee. You may want your executor or trustee to have some financial background. At the beginning of your estate plan, you may use a financial firm or a bank to provide you with financial assistance.

Fiduciaries are a crucial part of your estate plan. They are anyone who you can count on to make decisions on your behalf after you die. To find out more about fiduciaries and how to choose someone that you trust, consult with an estate planning lawyer, such as from Citadel Law Firm, as soon as possible.

Functions and Limitations of Basic Estate Planning Documents

Estate Lawyer

Even if you do not have a lot of assets, you should still have an estate plan in place. It doesn’t have to be complex; you can limit it to simple, basic documents if that is appropriate for your situation. There is some overlap between the functions that estate planning documents perform. At the same time, each has its limitations. Financial advisors often recommend a comprehensive estate plan that contains multiple documents. Here is an overview of a few of the most common estate planning documents, including their functions and limitations.

Will

Also referred to as a last will and testament, the will is an estate planning document that most people are familiar with even if they do not know about the others. The two main functions of a will are to give instructions for the distribution of your property after you die and to name a guardian for your minor children, if you have any. The will only takes effect when you die. Assets contained in a will must go through the probate process, which means it can take time before your beneficiaries receive their inheritance. A will is not the place to give funeral instructions as the ceremony usually takes place before it is read. It is also not a good idea to leave money to a person with special needs in a will because bequeathing a lump sum could hurt the person’s eligibility for government benefits.

Trusts

A trust allows you to set aside assets for distribution to the beneficiaries you designate according to a schedule you establish. There are different kinds of trusts, which means you can choose one that fits your specific needs. People who have to provide for the care of a person with special needs often choose a trust to do it since they can set up the trust so that it does not hurt the person’s benefit eligibility. Trusts also allow your heirs to receive their inheritance without going through probate. However, some people find that they still need a will for any assets not in a trust or for designating a guardian, which requires a will in many states.

Advance Directive and Power of Attorney

Also called a living will, an advance directive outlines the type of medical treatment you do and do not want to receive if you are no longer able to make your own health care decisions. Incapacitation can occur for many reasons, such as dementia or coma. An advance directive does not give someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf. For that, you need a health care power of attorney.

Attorneys, like an estate planning lawyer from Klenk Law, can help you create an estate plan that works for you. Contact a law office for a consultation.

Can You Kidnap Your Own Child? 

Estate Lawyer

Kidnapping is considered an unlawful act in which a person knowingly holds another individual captive or against their will. At times, kidnappers are strangers, but in some cases a kidnapper can be a family member or even a parent. Often when parents are engaged in unpleasant custody battles, emotions tend to escalate. Rarely, but not completely unheard of, will a parent purposefully move a child from one location to another in an effort to  conceal them from the other parent. While this act may seem harmless as most believe it is in the best interest of their child, this act of kidnapping is a serious allegation and can result in criminal charges. How will a court determine if an act is indeed associated with parent kidnapping? Here are three questions that you may encounter as a result of unlawfully moving your child:

  • Are you a legal guardian or parent of the child?

One of the most important matters in parental kidnapping situations is determining your relation to the child. In order for a court to determine the best interest of your child, the totality of circumstances must be weighed, including your relation to the child.

  • Do you have current court orders prohibiting the movement of your child?

In most cases with child custody orders, courts may elect to enforce parental rights. If there is no custody order in place, the act of moving your child may not constitute parental kidnapping, but your acts may still be seen as an interference with the time that the other parent deserves with your child. 

  • With what intent did you move your child?

In some cases, there may be exceptions to parental kidnapping. If you are escaping domestic violence, you may be able to argue that moving your child was a result of  fleeing a violent situation and the act was committed with the intent of protecting him or her.

Understandably, child custody battles and child custody litigation are difficult situations and may invoke a fervor of emotions that only the engaged parties understand. If you have been accused of unlawfully moving your child with hidden motives, you may risk the chance of retaining or getting child custody in the future. Furthermore, if you are in the midst of a custody battle you should seek the assistance of a qualified child custody lawyer, like a child custody lawyer in Dallas, TX, before commiting the act of concealing your child. 

It is important to note that every child custody case is different. If you or someone you know has been affected by allegations of kidnapping or is embroiled in a custody battle, contact an attorney to schedule a consultation for legal advice that will answer all of your legal questions. 

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into the repercussions of kidnapping your own child. 

Why Permits Are Necessary

Estate Lawyer

Home improvement projects take on a life of their own. Sometimes a person wants to change the paint color in the living room and suddenly they find themselves completely overhauling their bathroom. It is natural to want to make changes in a home but it is important to remember that there are limits to the changes that can be made without city approval. If a home is undergoing major construction, the city must ensure that there is a plan, accountability, and standards to be met.

Planning:

 Architects, plumbers, and electricians are all trained professionals who have studied extensively to do the job they are hired to do. An uncle who does botched construction jobs because “they work anyway” is not a professional. Before a project is started there needs to be a plan drawn out or a blueprint that specifically states the intentions of the renovation. This plan is then submitted to the city with the permit application and the city determines whether the plan is approved or denied. If approved, construction can begin immediately. If denied, the plans must be revised to meet the city’s expectations. This process depends heavily on the extent and complexity of the renovation.

Approval and Accountability: 

Permits are required when the remodeling of a home can put at risk the integrity of that home. Changing the cabinets in the kitchen is not the same as taking out a wall. Creating an opening from the kitchen up to the living room has become the newest trend, but that means that there is a section of support that is no longer there. Every home improvement show on HGTV has a contractor that pulls permits all the time. A permit sets a cohesive set of standards and requirements that everyone must follow. It also alerts the city of any possible issues that may occur.

On October 12,2019 a hotel building under construction in New Orleans collapsed. Although the incident was only a partial collapse, twenty people were injured and two others lost their lives. Upon further investigation, it was uncovered that the metal decking used on the roof for the floors was changed and the city never approved them. This in turn, was the cause of the collapsed infrastructure. The persons held responsible or liable for this event were the engineers.

This is only one of many events that have happened throughout the years, so it is important to remember that it is the safety of the people involved in the projects that really matter.

People are constantly trying to create the next wonder of the world. It is not the city’s intention to limit the engineers or the contractors, it is their duty to ensure that safety is kept on the forefront of every project. The Empire State Building in New York is 86 floors high, creates static electricity between people, and overlooks six states on a clear day. This project was built in a short thirteen months and is a wonder. Properly built, the structure stands tall almost ninety years after its construction was completed.

Permits in Arlington:

Every city has a unique approach for processing permits, but the city of Arlington allows for its residents to apply for permits online. One can apply for a permit but it is important to remember that the person who is applying for the permit is perceived by the city to be the “contractor.” A contractor is the person solely responsible for ensuring that all construction meets the specific city codes. In the event that a person hires an architect, plumber, or electrician, those professionals would be considered the contractors and therefore responsible for meeting city codes.

No matter what kind of home improvement project is around the corner, it is important that a person remains well informed. Every city has their own website with information about individual ordinances, codes, and details about what projects require a permit. Pulling permits may be a hassle and seem tedious at times but it is better than having to tear down half the project for not having a permit. It really is all about safety. Permits for major projects are not optional, they are a requirement that needs to be honored. 

If you’ve been injured from a construction site that did not follow the proper safety guidelines, a personal injury lawyer in Arlington, TX can advise you on your next steps for taking legal action.

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and why you need building permits.

Am I Required To Leave an Inheritance to My Family?

Estate Lawyer

You may be wondering if you are required to leave your children or spouse property or money upon your death. While consulting an estate planning attorney will help you regarding your specific situation, here are some guidelines regarding your family’s right to inherit from you after your passing.

Are You Required To Leave Anything to Your Spouse?

There are some legal protections for spouses – or registered domestic partners – when it comes to survivorship. States that adopt common law offer protection against being disinherited completely. Additionally, most states enforce the rights of a spouse to receive a sizeable share of the property of a deceased spouse.

In a common-law state, a spouse that has been under-provided for will generally have the option of either taking what is offered by the will or rejecting the gift and taking the minimum share allowed by the state.

In some states, your spouse may have rights to the family home. This can vary from direct ownership to just the right to live there for the rest of his or her life. Additionally, each state will range in the amount of property that is entitled to the surviving spouse depending on their needs and whether there are surviving children.

Are You Required To Leave Anything to Your Children?

Generally speaking, you are not required to leave an inheritance to your children. There are two exceptions to this rule, however. Some laws give certain rights to minor children and laws that protect children who are overlooked in a will by accident.

Depending on the state, a minor may inherit the family home if they are less than 18 years old. Children that have been unintentionally overlooked in a parent’s estate will have different rights according to the state. In general, these laws will apply to offspring that were born after the will was signed and assumes that the parent didn’t intentionally leave the child out. As a result of these protections, the child will be able to claim part of the decedent’s property. If you have a specific idea about what you would like each child to receive, it’s a good idea to name each one of your children in your will to avoid any confusion.

If you have concerns that someone in your family may contest your will, it’s best to get legal advice. Estate planning attorneys, like an estate planning lawyer in Allentown, PA, can help secure your future wishes, even if your family has a different idea of what should happen to your property.

 


 

Thank you to the experts at Klenk Law for their input into estate planning, wills, and probate law.

Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Estate Lawyer

Nobody wants to declare bankruptcy, but when you can’t get out from being under financially, bankruptcy is often the best solution. Once you’ve decided to take this step, the next decision is which type of bankruptcy to file. Each type is designed to offer specific remedies for specific circumstances. Learn more about what type is best for you and walk into your bankruptcy lawyer’s office prepared.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is best described as a legal process in which people who can’t repay debts to creditors can get relief from most or all of their debt. There are many circumstances in which talking to a bankruptcy lawyer and filing makes sense. Some of the top reasons include the following:

  • Your creditors are suing for payment of debts
  • Your home is in danger of foreclosure
  • You routinely use one credit card to pay off another

All of the above are signs that a bankruptcy may be the best choice to prevent further financial ruin, but which type of bankruptcy is right for you? There are two basic types of bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn more about them.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

One of the most common types of filings is a  Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Taking about three or four months to finish, this bankruptcy will discharge most types of unsecured debt. This type usually allows you to keep most or all of your property and can even temporarily halt a foreclosure. Chapter 7 is generally available to people with income that is less than the median of their state. In general, this type of bankruptcy is ideal for debtors with few assets and little or no employment.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is a little longer-lasting and has some benefits over Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you repay creditors via a repayment plan that can last from three to five years. In exchange, you get to keep all of your property. This type of filing will also completely stop a foreclosure and help you make up missed payments. For this reason, a Chapter 13 is ideal for debtors who are employed, yet face mortgage delinquency.

There are other types of bankruptcies designed for businesses or very specific cases, but these are generally the most common two. Needing to file for bankruptcy can be disappointing, but it can give you the fresh start you deserve. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN, to learn more about how to start the bankruptcy filing process.

 


 

Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.