The Will and Estate Planning

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Estate Planning | 0 comments

It may be true that only a small percentage of American families are enormously wealthy however, no one will be able to deny that every family has something of value, something that it holds dear and precious. The failure or, sometimes, the refusal to accept this fact is one of the reasons why some of those who face death fail to make sure that the financial future of those they will leave behind is secure. Assets include a piece of antique furniture, a vehicle, jewelry, bank account, life insurance, a pension plan, a small piece of land, a small business, a painting, or anything to which value may be assigned. A person, who has one or a number of these, but fails to express through a Will his or her intent of leaving a part or all of his/her properties to someone, then it shall be the court which shall decide who will inherit the properties left behind. The basis of this authority of the court is the Law of Intestacy; this law follows a predefined plan of distribution that is based on the laws of the state where the owner of the estate resides.

Thus, failure to draft a Will shall move the court to make the following decisions on behalf of the owner of an estate, asset or anything that has value. If the owner is:

  • Single and without a child, then the court shall grant all properties and assets to his/her parents. However, if the parents are already dead, his/her siblings will be named as heirs.
  • Single, but has a child. All properties and assets go to the child; if there is more than one child, then everything will be distributed evenly to all the children.
  • Married but without a child. Some states would name the spouse as the sole inheritor, other states, however, would give only a third or half of the properties to the spouse and the remainder shall be given to the owner’s parents (if the parents predecease the owner, then to the siblings).
  • Married and with child. Half or a third of the properties will be given by the court to the spouse, while the remainder shall be placed under the child’s name (or equally distributed among the children if there is more than one child).

In instances where the estate owner has more than one child but wants to leave a bigger share of his/her estate to his/her child who has gotten married and also has children, this can be made possible but only if such intent is stipulated in his/her Will.

There are many other steps and documents that a testator will need to go through and prepare, as the Will is only the first step in the Estate Planning process. And Estate Planning, as explained in the website of the Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. law firm, is a remarkably important step to take in order to ensure that your loved ones will be provided for in the event that anything unforeseen should happen to you. Done well, estate planning can be a powerful tool for providing security and stability to your loved ones.

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The Necessity of Modifying Custodial and Support Arrangements

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Divorce, Family Issues | 0 comments

In a contested divorce,two major issues which spouses need to settle are child custody and child support. Psychologists and other child custody experts know how important it is for a child to continue having a strong relationship with both parents, specially after divorce. Due to this, if both parents are seen fit by the court, then the court usually decides on granting joint physical custody, wherein both spouses are given equal time with their children. Joint custody is, of course, a special case as the normal decision is to grant custody to only one parent (whom the court sees as the most able to cultivate a positive relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent). Whatever decision is made, though, judges, in all U.S. states, consider one common factor: the best interest of the child.

There are instances, however, when the court-appointed custodial parent fail to live up to the court’s expectations, becoming neglectful in his/her obligations either in the proper performance of a custodial parent’s functions or in recognizing and respecting the non-custodial parent’s rights.

These failures may call for a modification in the court’s original decision. The following acts are considered to be failures committed by a custodial parent:

Alienating the child from the non-custodial parent by creating situations that will denying him/her of his/her visitation rights;

Taking away a child’s affections for the non-custodial parent through false accusations, ill-talks, and/or negative comments ;

Consciously and systematically brainwashing the child in order to turn him/her against the non-custodial. This negative attitude is called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS); and,

Ignoring a divorce decree stipulation that says he custodial parent should inform the non-custodial parent about any plan of moving to another city or state, or any plan of a change in residence.

Petition for modification in custody, though, is not the only thing a non-custodial parent may ask the court to make; so is a change in child support agreements. As explained in the website of the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, modification of support fall under two types: increasing child support payment and decreasing child support payment.

Petition to increase child support payment is usually made by a non-custodial parent due to any of the following reasons:

  • Increase of income;
  • Income of custodial parent has decreased;
  • The financial needs of a child or the children have increased; and,
  • There is a sudden increase in health care costs for a child

On the other hand, petition to have child support payment be decreased may be due to any of the following reasons:

  • Income of the custodial parent has significantly increased;
  • The support required for the care of the child has decreased;
  • The custodial parent remarried; and,
  • The child will soon be turning 18

Whether a non-custodial’s parent is request for modification in child custody or child support ruling, it can be advantageous to have a knowledgeable attorney guiding him or her every step of the way.

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Social Signs That Your Elder Might Need Assisted Living

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Senior Care | 0 comments

When we become busy with our lives, there comes a time where we pay less attention to our loved ones, especially our elders, according to We go on to continue our careers or start families away from home, and there won’t be any family members left to accompany the seniors. Whether or not our elders can still take care of themselves, there are different factors that contribute to the health problems that they may encounter. They may physically be able, but the lack of bond with family or friends could lead to desolation, which, in turn, could compromise and complicate their health.

Whether you think your elder is still strong, you should consider the following social signs that may indicate that it is time to send them to an assisted living facility, according to Firstly, observe whether or not the elder still has active friendships – whether the elder spends time with friends or is participating in group activities. The lack of companion may lead to sadness and heart problems in the future, so it is best for the elder to still connect with people.

The next thing you should look into is if your elder spends the days just staying at home, may it be because the elder is not capable to do so or is generally scared of going out. According to, people may perceive sending elders to an assisted home as “locking them away,” but in truth, these facilities are made to provide care and happiness to the residents. Assisted living exists to make the lives of the elderly easier and make their living situation feel more normal by helping them achieve daily tasks like taking a bath, dressing, eating, and many more. Assisted living also helps the elderly by providing spaces for socializing and special conditions (such as Alzheimer’s). According to the Mayo Clinic, including physical activity in daily routines can help seniors as they age.

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Help Keep Roads Safe: Don’t Drive Drunk

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

It is an unfortunate truth that car accidents are a standard event in the States. According to data in the US Census Bureau, there were 10.8 million documented motor vehicle injuries in the year 2009. The road may pose plenty of dangers for drivers. That’s why it’s significant that drivers assist in keeping the roads safe by subsequent security techniques and prescribed traffic principles.

Traffic infractions and crimes often lead to a court date plus more than simply fees. Drivers that are careless and negligent on the road could cause injuries and serious accidents. This really is especially true for those who insist on driving while intoxicated. As found by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-DUI happens too often in roads all over the country. In reality, data shows that drinking and driving have triggered over 10,000 deaths in 2012. One way the government tries to curb these amounts is by stricter execution of important traffic policies and regulations.

Among the policies which have been useful in recent years are sobriety checkpoints established throughout the nation in several states. They could then check for the motorist’s blood alcohol content (BAC) amount usually via a breathalyzer test. Anyone discovered driving with a BAC level beyond what’s legally required can stand to encounter penalties such as license suspension and jail time. It’s illegal for private individuals to be driving with a BAC level above 0.08 percent. For business drivers, the authorized BAC level reaches 0.04. Meanwhile, anybody under age 21 is under a zero tolerance policy, meaning they should not have any hint of alcohol in their system.

Driving under the influence of alcohol may lead to devastating consequences, especially when others become seriously hurt in the accident. Such consequences are easy to avoid as long as motorists remain mindful of their duty behind the wheel as the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP puts it. Understand that you can consider action at law when you have been hurt in an accident brought on by a drunk driver and receive just compensation for the trauma you experienced. It’s better to check with an attorney operating in your area.

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How The Jury Affects Your Settlement

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

The amount of compensation from a personal injury claim that a plaintiff or claimant can depend on a number of factors, but they can be settled out of court. Settlement occurs between the plaintiff/claimant and the defendant or the liable insurance company. What most people are not aware of is that even in out-of-court settlements, the jury can still affect the result of the settlement and the compensation.

Settlements are generally a compromise between two parties, an agreement they both have set considering how much the jury would award the plaintiff/claimant as well as the odds of winning the case. How a jury awards compensation depends on certain factors, and it is important for both the plaintiff and the defendant to know how these factors affect the outcome of the compensation in order to make the settlement fair for both parties. Here are the factors to consider:

  • Apportionment of Liability – this can depend on the state that the accident was tried, but the jury is responsible for apportioning (or measuring) the liability of the parties involved in the accident (including the plaintiff), along with the non-parties, and appropriately reduce the award. Jurisdictions in every state can differ – there are some that allow shared liability, while others (who follow comparative negligence) will not award any compensation if the defendant is determined to be less than 51% at fault for the accident.
  • Collateral Source Payment – the amount of compensation awarded can be cut down by any collateral source payments. These are payments given by third parties (such as workers’ compensation or medical insurance) given to compensate for the plaintiff’s injuries. In majority of the cases, the jury is not notified of the any collateral source payments since they can unfairly influence them to not award any compensation. The final decision whether to award the compensation will still rest with the judge.
  • Jurisdictional Damage Caps – depending on the jurisdiction and state laws, limitations can be put on the amount of reward that the plaintiff can get. Jurisdictions have complete control over the caps on compensation, so best to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
  • Reduction to Present Value – future economic damages can be very difficult to compute, so in order to protect both the plaintiff and defendant from issues that can arise in a long-term payment plan, the jury is responsible of lowering the future economic damages according to present value. Personal injury lawyers are the best people who can explain how the computation goes.
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Are There Damaging Side Effects with Xarelto?

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Personal Injury, Product Dangers | 0 comments

Recent evidence through the various cases of complaints against Xarelto, as manufactured by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, that there are very serious and damaging side effects upon consumption of the drug. Some of the side effects include vomiting blood, urinating with unnaturally colored urine (red, pink, or brown), or defecating with stool that is either red or black with an unnatural consistency that resembles coffee grounds.

There are more damaging side effects that have been linked with Xarelto. One of which is severe internal bleeding – especially in the gastrointestinal area. When there is internal bleeding surrounding an organ (such as the brain, heart, liver, etc.), there is a strong likelihood that the organ will malfunction or cease from operating entirely, putting the person at risk. Another side effect that has more lethal consequences is that it could possible cause brain hemorrhaging in a patient.

This kind of situation is not one that should be taken lightly. Upon its approval by the FDA in 2011, sales of Xarelto soared and it remains to be widely popular, according to the website of Williams Kherkher. Worldwide, its sales reach up to $1 billion. The manufacturers of this drug are then profiteers of the pain and suffering that this drug has caused. Some of the lawsuits filed against the manufacturers, with regard to Xarelto, have claimed that the potentially harmful side effects had been known from the very beginning and that this knowledge was concealed from the public, still allowing for the drug to be mass produced and consumed by thousands of people.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or fatalities due to the consumption of this drug, it is recommended that professional legal help with experience in handling lawsuits concerning defective pharmaceuticals is contacted in order to receive proper and competent representation in a court of law.

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Symptoms Involved with Bloody Stool

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Personal Injury, Product Dangers | 0 comments

Finding blood after a bowel movement is an uncomfortable and frightening occurrence. The presence of blood in stool may be a sign of a serious health concern that should be taken seriously and dealt with in a swift manner. Bloody stool might have other complications and pain associated with it, from abdominal pain to difficulty breathing that may help identify the cause of the bloody stool.

There may be a number of reasons for red and black matter in stool, however it is a common side effect of the blood thinner Xarelto. Xarelto and its manufacturers Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are claimed to cause serious bleeding incidents that were not warned against or disclosed to their patients prior to prescription of the drug. Blood in the stool is a strong indicator that a medication may be causing internal damage and a physician should be consulted immediately.

Abdominal pain is often the first sign of a serious health problem. This can be accompanied by indigestion, flatulence, or nausea. More serious signs that require medical attention would be the accompaniment of vomiting or blood in the stool. These symptoms in tandem may be signs of a life-threatening condition.

Chest pain or pressure, excess bleeding, fever, fatigue, and rapid heart rate are normal indicators accompanying bloody stools. According to the website of lawyers at Williams Kherkher, bowel movements may also appear dark black or have the consistency of coffee grounds. These signs may allude to more serious health concerns caused by stress, medication, or other factors.

If you or a loved one noticed blood in stool or experienced other side effects after being prescribed Xarelto, you may be entitled to compensation of the physical and emotional damages sustained. Contact a Xarelto lawyer in your state to discuss your legal options.

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Four Most Common Causes of Construction Deaths

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Having a friend, family member, or co-worker die in a preventable accident will forever plague a memory. Unfortunately, this happens on work sites, both instantaneously or as a result of a past injury. According to the website of Hach & Rose, there are four leading causes of death on work sites: falls, struck by object, caught in between, and electrocutions. While these instances happen by accident, they can be prevented through a higher degree of responsibility employed by workers and overseers.

Falls can happen to anyone on any site that is not maintained. When things get in someones path, they can be easily tripped over. When scaffolding isn’t set up correctly, workers fall. When sites have defective ladders, they break. All of these are ways in which workers can sustain serious injuries. Whether it be as simple as a scratch, or as serious as a brain injury that leads to paralysis, inspection of materials and walking areas can reduce damages.

Being struck by an object often happens at construction sites where there are multiple levels of a structure being worked on simultaneously. Workers are at differing heights of the structure, and when they aren’t aware of surroundings, those below can suffer the consequences. Precautionary actions aimed toward this topic are trash chutes, hard helmets, and covered surfaces under which workers walk. All of these factors can reduce the chance of being struck by a falling object.

Electrocutions vary in voltage delivered to the worker, however have potential to be deathly. Sources of electrical accidents result from wiring, overhead power lines, outlets, and machinery electrocutions. It is possible to insulate overhead power lines, thus reducing the probability that they will cause injury. Furthermore, there is a permit system that outlines working guidelines regarding electrical circuits.

While caught-in betweens are not the leading cause of construction death, it is because they don’t happen as often. However, when this happens, it is twice as likely to result in death to the worker. Excavation sites are weak, and often support more than they can handle. Cave-ins lead to caught-in betweens, and workers should be trained on precautionary actions to prevent them or how to react when they do happen.

Construction accidents can be traumatizing. Falls, struck by object, electrocutions, and caught-in between accidents are extremely scary and dangerous. If you are a victim of any of these as a result to mismanagement or oversight, you can pursue the responsible party for your injury.

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Controlled Dangerous Substances in New York

Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 in Drug Offenses | 0 comments

New York state laws on controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are probably more comprehensive than others, including not only the better-known drugs such as heroin and marijuana, but also the compounds used in their manufacture. There are classified into “schedules” which Schedule I considered the most dangerous and Schedule V the least. Accordingly, the sanctions will depend on the class of drug involved. The laws are typically the same for all types of CDS of the same schedule with the exception of marijuana, which is treated a little differently from other Schedule I CDS. Classification of specific drugs is found in the New York Public Health Law § 3306.

In some instances, such as for prescriptive drugs, possession of CDS may be justified if you have an active prescription but it comes with specific limitations. A criminal lawyer in Westchester, NY would be able to advise a client about these criteria to better understand your legal position.

In most other cases, however, possession of CDS in any amount can get you arrested and charged depending on the type (schedule) and amount of CDS you have in your possession. The charges (and penalties) can range from a Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine) to a Class A-I felony (a minimum of 15 years in prison and up to $100,000 fine). There are extensive whens, ifs, and buts when it comes to drug charges in New York, and can be confusing to the layperson.

If you are being charged with drug possession in New York, it will not be a good idea to try to explain it away on your own. There are many laws that impact on a drug charge, and it would be best to let an experienced criminal defense lawyer sort it out to avoid making things worse. A good lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed or at least mitigate the charges.

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Lawsuits Filed after Medical Products Harm Patients

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Personal Injury, Product Dangers | 2 comments

After a number of class action lawsuits filed against them, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lily & Co. have been ordered by the federal court to pay $9 million for punitive damages following allegations that the medication Actos, used for treatment for patients with Type-2 diabetes, has increased the risks of cancer in their patients.

After much deliberation and studies, it was found out that the manufacturers of Actos hid the cancer risks and put their patient’s health in danger, with many patients already suffering from complications caused by the diabetes treatment. About 2,700 individuals have filed a lawsuit connecting the drug to liver damage, cancer, and other health complications. Following the court’s decision, victims and their lawyers hope that the message regarding the danger of the drug is showed load and clear.

After the lawsuits were filed, the sales for Actos have steadily declined, with many of its competitors (mainly generic brands) raising the competition. Actos was once the best-selling treatment for Type-2 diabetes after doctors informed that it was a better and safer alternative to Avandia, another diabetes treatment. According to the website of morcellator lawyers Williams Kherkher, the manufacturers of the Actos drug provided a defective product, provided misleading data and information, and failed to provide information regarding the cancer risk of the drug that rendered patients vulnerable to life-threatening complications.

There are many medical drugs and products that the FDA have approved and are just presently exhibiting the complications. Another medical product that has caused patients health complications is the DaVinci surgical robot. The National Injury Law Center says on its website that patients who have been harmed by the surgical machine to file for lawsuits in order to have compensation from the manufacturers of the machine. Complications from the DaVinci surgical robot can cause health and financial issues that could affect the patient and their family long term. The negligence of the manufacturers and their disregard to the health of their patients should not be taken lightly.

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