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When an Elderly Parent Refuses to Write a Will

Most adults can benefit from having a will or some form of estate planning when it comes to ensuring their legacy. Without a will of some kind, it can be impossible for surviving family members and friends to know their final wishes. This can create a tremendous emotional burden for loved ones who are left behind. Unfortunately, when an elderly parent refuses to write a will, it can become a challenging roadblock.

There are several reasons why someone may not write a will. These are some of the most common explanations:

  • They have procrastinated about writing it.
  • They are not emotionally prepared to deal with writing a will.
  • They have succumbed unexpectedly to a life-threatening illness before having the opportunity to write a will.
  • They cannot afford to write a will.
  • They believe they do not have sufficient assets to justify writing a will.

Unfortunately, without a will it will be difficult if not impossible to know their final wishes, including the distribution of their assets which will then have to go through the probate process. However, convincing an aging parent to do so is not as easy as it sounds in every situation.

Begin Small

Sometimes taking small steps is best when dealing with elderly individuals, especially a parent.

  • Designating a power of attorney is an inexpensive step that can be accomplished quickly.
  • Combining a power of attorney assignment with a living will can be a good next step. Power of attorney can also be assigned separately for fiduciary responsibilities and medical directives. Very often the power of attorney is assigned to a close family member or friend who will be part of the potential inheritance group.

Make an Inventory of Assets and Liabilities

A durable power of attorney will allow the individual the legal right to represent the parent in any of their personal affairs, which also means the power of attorney holder can investigate all financial issues of the parent.

  • The issue of dying intestate is that assets are subject to tax and divided according to state law.
  • Establishing a will means that assets can be placed in irrevocable trusts that effectively transfer ownership of those assets to the inheritance pool. This means the assets are not considered property of the elder parent and therefore will not be taxed upon their death.
  • Allocation of physical property can also avoid probate and taxation if they are transferred prior to death as well.

Consult with an Estate Attorney

Working with an estate lawyer Sacramento trusts can be advantageous when explaining to an elderly parent what the outcome of dying without a will can be. In addition, an attorney can advise on how to move forward legally with drafting a will after a power of attorney is assigned. Allocation of assets following the death of an elderly family member can be a highly-contested legal issue when certain individuals believe they stand to inherit property but foul play was involved. An estate attorney can work with the elderly parent and an immediate family member to minimize the risk of a contested will.

Yee Law GroupThanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and elder law.

Three Types of Drug Malpractice Claims

As personal injury attorneys who handle pharmaceutical malpractice cases, we realize that people trust scientists with our health to produce new drugs that will increase our quality of living. These people also trust their doctors to make sure that the right prescription and the right dosage are assigned. But sometimes there handwriting is poor and it can lead to a similar drug being prescribed. Sometimes clerical staff enter a dose incorrectly in the computer, leading to too much or too little of a drug being administered. A variety of other types of errors can occur with prescription medications that are used for on or off-label indications.

There are three common reasons for a pharmaceutical malpractice claim to be filed: : (1) Drug Recalls, (2) Product Failure and (3) Long-Term Side Effects of prescription drugs. Improperly prescribed medication and improperly filled prescriptions can also be crucial pieces of a successful pharmaceutical malpractice lawsuit.

  • A recent, fast-growing development in pharmaceutical malpractice has been prescription drug recalls. Reasons for prescription drug recalls include:
  • Increased pressure for both profits and medical relief causes many drugs to be rushed to market. In recent years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has simplified clinical trials to speed up the process of bringing new medications to the public
  • Long term side effects are difficult to determine, especially in a patient with multiple issues
  • Conflict of interest: the testing that is done on some prescription drugs, is done by the same pharmaceutical companies which are under a lot of pressure to get those drugs profitable.

There have been numerous prescription drug recalls for drugs that were supposedly safe but led to life altering and possibly fatal side effects in pharmaceutical malpractice lawsuits. Here are a few examples:

  • Fen-Phen: Fen-Phen had been approved for many years as an appetite suppressant in the management of obesity. Heart valve disease was a side effect because of the combination of drugs used in production. Other cardiac effects became linked and recall occurred.
  • Celebrex: Celebrex was an inhibitor approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. There are now concerns that Celebrex usage may increase the risk of heart attack or strokes in some people who take it.
  • Vioxx was a treatment for osteoarthritis, menstrual pain and management of acute pain in adults. There were concerns with Vioxx and Celebrex that their use might increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Sadly, in some pharmaceutical malpractice cases several similar wrongful deaths must occur to demonstrate a link between the death and the medication, before a drug recall is made. Improperly filled prescriptions can occur at several stages of ordering and filling a prescription. and there are typically two different kinds of this type of pharmaceutical malpractice case. In both types, the doctor or the pharmacist can be held liable for one of the following:

  • A prescription contradicts another prescription that the patient is already taking.
  • A pharmacist gives an incorrect medication or an incorrect dosage of the correct medication. It can take some investigation to determine at which point in the chain the error happened.

It can be challenging to navigate the healthcare maze when you are worried a loved one was hurt or died due to a medication error. Let a medical malpractice lawyer Naperville IL relies on provide guidance to make sure that those negligent are held responsible.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into medical malpractice claim.

Why Hiring an Attorney is a Smart Idea

Deciding to invest in commercial real estate can be daunting, especially when you are new to the process or start getting in the multi-million dollar ventures. Hiring an experienced broker will help you find investments that meet your criteria such as location, expected returns, and quality of the asset. They may also help you understand key factors in the real estate investment market like, triple-net properties, 1031 exchange, sale leaseback, etc.  Yet, it’s wise to take a few extra steps to protect your investment, and hiring a real estate attorney is right up at the top of the list.  Below we’ve outlined just a few of the most prominent reasons you should spend the extra money to hire an attorney specializing in real estate.

  • Structuring Your Business.  The right attorney will help you structure your business to protect your personal assets.  It’s better to get set up right from the beginning than have to defend yourself later on in a lawsuit.  An experienced attorney will know whether to be an individual owner, LLC or some other business entity for holding strategies and future tax advantages, let alone which business entity will have the right liability protection.
  • Title Issues in Real Estate Purchases.   An experienced attorney can review the title and alert you to any issues that may arise.  Defects and/or encumbrances may get hidden and a good attorney will conduct a thorough review and protect you from any issues that may inhibit your ability to use your investment as planned.
  • Encroachments and Surveys.  Typically, real estate transactions will be accompanied by a survey of the site.  The real estate attorney can check compliance against zoning and usage regulations, and ensure you are free of any encroachments from neighboring parties.  A good attorney will identify any issues and work with the seller to get them resolved ahead of the actual transaction.
  • Review Existing Leases.  This is important, especially in a single tenant net lease property where you have higher risk with just one tenant.  You’ll want the attorney to help you fully understand the allocation of costs to maintain the structure and roof as well as the burden of operating expenses, taxes, etc.  The attorney should also handle the estoppel agreement process which can be tricky and is extremely important as it outlines the process for rent payments and security deposits.

Let’s face it.  There is a lot of legalese that goes right over our heads.  You need an attorney that not only can make sense of all of it, but effortlessly guide you through the process and protect your investment at every turn.  What you should remember is that real estate law is a specialty.  Simply hiring your neighbor’s uncle who is a divorce attorney, may end up costing you money in the long run.  Take the time and spend the money to hire the right attorney.


CalkThanks to our friends and contributors from Calkain for their insight into real estate law and litigation.

Do’s And Don’ts For Pedestrians Who Are Injured In A Motor Vehicle Accident

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in the United States today. According to the Center For Disease Control or CDC, most pedestrians are hit by vehicles in urban areas at night. While some pedestrian accidents are not serious, others leave accident victims with injuries that will affect them for the rest of their life. The following is an overview of personal injury law and how it relates to pedestrian accidents. If you have been injured by a driver while walking, it may be helpful to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options.

Do

There are some important steps you can take to increase your chances of obtaining a settlement after a pedestrian accident. Below are some “Do’s” to keep in mind:

  • Do Get The Driver’s Contact Information

If you are physically able to after your accident, request the driver’s contact information. Drivers are legally obligated to stop after being involved in an accident, so this gives you a chance to obtain the name, phone number, driver’s license information, and insurance information. Your options may be limited if the driver did not stop and you are the victim of a hit and run accident.

  • Do Report the Accident

It is important to report the accident to the police after being hit by a vehicle. Report the accident to the police, no matter how minor your injuries may seem at the time. Many injuries will gradually worsen over time. For this reason, it is important to have a record of the accident so you can file a claim for your injuries.

Don’t

There are also things you should not do after being involved in a pedestrian accident. Some of the “Don’ts” include:

  • Don’t Admit Fault

Obtaining compensation in a pedestrian accident hinges on you being able to prove the driver of the vehicle was negligent and caused your injuries. Some cases are easy to prove who was at fault, while others may not be as clear cut. No matter the circumstances surrounding the accident, it is important to never admit fault to anyone at the scene. Doing so may result in your statements being used against you later on in court.

  • Don’t deny yourself Medical Treatment

You must seek medical treatment after being hit by a car. Even if you do not feel you are seriously hurt, it is important to seek treatment and keep copies of your medical records. Many people refuse medical treatment immediately following an accident only to find their pain suddenly increase a day or two later.

If you have been injured by a negligent driver while walking in a public place, contact a personal injury attorney for advice. After a brief consultation, an attorney will offer an opinion on whether or not you have a strong case and possibly how to move forward with it. Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ can count on to represent you may help you obtain a fair settlement for the injuries you sustained as a pedestrian from the at-fault driver.


ASThanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.

5 Things To Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Drivers in virtually every state are required to have car insurance in order to operate a vehicle legally. Unfortunately, not all drivers abide by this law; others may not have sufficient coverage in the case of a severe accident. Over 14% of drivers today carry very little or no insurance for their vehicle; getting in an accident with an uninsured motorist could be very costly for accident victims that do not have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

If you’re not familiar with this type of insurance coverage, here are a few things you should know about it:

  1. Uninsured motorist coverage can provide financial assistance for drivers who are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

This type of coverage is intended to cover your own costs if the other driver is liable for causing the accident but does not have car insurance. The specific options available for uninsured motorist coverage vary by state and insurance company.

  1. You purchase this coverage through your own insurance provider.

Many insurers include this type of coverage in their standard auto policy, and some are required by state laws to do so.

  1. There may be coverage limits on your uninsured motorist coverage policy.

As with most auto insurance policies, there may be a limit or cap on the amount of money your insurer will pay out for your uninsured motorist coverage after an accident. In most cases, you could choose between two types of uninsured motorist coverage:

  1. A combined single limit: The limit is the maximum amount of money you may receive per accident.
  2. A split limit: This is broken down into maximum dollar amounts for two components:
  3. The maximum dollar amount for each person’s accident-related costs
  4. The maximum dollar amount of money for everyone’s combined costs

As an example, if you have split limit coverage of $20,000/$45,000, the $20,000 would be the maximum paid out for injuries experienced by one person in the accident. The $45,000 is the maximum amount your insurance company would pay out for the total cost of injuries experienced by every person involved in the accident.

  1. Drivers in “No-Fault states” might not have to worry about uninsured motorist coverage.

Should you live in a no-fault state, the issue of who was at fault for an accident is not important because your insurance company would compensate you for your losses regardless of liability.

In a state with tort car insurance, drivers may not be protected in the same way and might need to purchase uninsured or underinsured coverage options. In a tort state, a person involved in an accident with an uninsured driver may be able to use their health insurance to cover their medical bills.

  1. You may call a lawyer for counsel if you have questions about liability or insurance coverage after an accident.

Though you may be insured and believe you have sufficient insurance to cover all contingencies, the costs related to a motor vehicle accident can quickly surpass the average insurance policy’s limits. An experienced car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts may be able to seek additional compensation by pursuing the at-fault driver’s relevant personal assets.

A skilled attorney may be able to negotiate the highest possible settlement from the insurance company. He or she may also be able to expedite the payment process. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision through no fault of your own, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.


ASThanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into uninsured motorist coverage.

What Are the Different Types of Business Entities?

If you are considering starting a business, one of the most important decisions that you will have to make is the legal structure of your business, as a business lawyer Peoria IL trusts might explain. The type of business entity that you create will affect everything from the amount of taxes that you will pay to the amount of personal liability that you could face in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. Although the process of establishing a business entity is controlled by state law, the following provides an overview of the most common business structures.

Sole Proprietorship:

A sole proprietorship is typically easy to establish and can apply to any type of organization ranging from a small home-based business to a large company with multiple employees.

  • The individual owner remains completely in charge of the business.
  • As a general rule, a sole proprietor is personally liable for the debts and financial obligations of the business.
  • The owner is also responsible for paying income taxes on any profits as well as self-employment taxes.

Partnership:

A partnership creates a legal relationship between two or more individuals who wish to establish a business.

  • Each partner contributes to the business financially or through their time, labor, or property in exchange for sharing in the company’s profits and losses.
  • The partnership itself is not taxed.
  • Each partner is responsible for paying income and self-employment taxes on their share of the partnership earnings.

Corporation:

A corporation is established under state law and is considered a separate legal entity that can be taxed and held legally responsible for its actions.

  • Corporations must meet more regulatory and reporting requirements than sole proprietorships and partnerships.
  • As a general rule, corporations are taxed on both the federal and state level.
  • Shareholders must pay personal taxes on any of the corporation’s dividends that they receive.

Subchapter S Corporation:

Like a standard corporation, a Subchapter S corporation is created under state law and is considered a separate legal entity from its officers and shareholders. The primary difference between S corporations and standard corporations is how they are taxed:

  • An S corporation is normally not taxed at the corporate level.
  • The individual shareholders pay taxes on their portion of the corporate earnings.

An S corporation essentially combines the personal liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits of a partnership.

Limited Liability Company:

A limited liability company typically provides limited personal liability for the debts and financial obligations of the business while offering pass-through taxation and management flexibility similar to a partnership.

  • The majority of states allow individuals, corporations, and even foreign entities to be owners of a limited liability company
  • Insurance companies and banks are typically prohibited from establishing a limited liability company.

Which Type of Business Is Best?

No one type of business entity is better than another. Each business structure offers benefits and drawbacks. Before deciding on a particular business structure, it is important to consult legal and tax experts to determine which type of business is most appropriate and advantageous based on your specific circumstances.

Smith and Weer P.C.Thanks to our friends or contributors from Smith & Weer, P.C. for their insight into business entities.

Drunk Driving: When a Bar or Restaurant Becomes Liable

All states have initiated some sort of liability laws that may be applied when customers of establishments that serve alcohol are involved in accidents resulting in injuries or cause injury directly to another individual. Known as “dram shop” laws, they extend liability for the injuries to the restaurant or bar in certain instances when case facts allow the establishment to be included as a co-defendant. Very often, illegal activity is a component of the claim, whether it is over-intoxication of the customer causing the injury, or the bar serving alcohol to a patron who is already intoxicated or under the legal age limit to consume alcohol. This can be a very important part of a personal injury lawsuit, because restaurants and bars often have considerably more liability insurance coverage than the typical patron. Your personal injury attorney can use this third-party relationship to greatly enhance the value of your injury claim. However, there are very specific legal rules that apply when a restaurant or bar is also being pursued for damages.

Conditions Establishing Restaurant or Bar Liability

Liability in a lawsuit always revolves around potential negligence by any respondent party. However, for restaurants and bars to be liable for injuries caused by their customers, some level of recklessness is required as evidence that proves such behavior. It is the responsibility of the personal injury legal counselor for the injured party to prove that the establishment acted recklessly, resulting in the indirect causation of the injury. One condition is when the establishment continues to serve alcohol to a patron who is obviously already drunk. The business must also show a significant disregard for the potential actions of the customer, such as knowledge that they will drive away from the business intoxicated. Mere assumption that a patron may drive drunk is not enough recklessness, which narrows the application of most dram shop liability laws. In addition, when the bar serves a customer who is known to be underage, they may also be held liable for first party injuries, as this is actually illegal behavior. In some states, only a minor may file suit against an establishment when they serve them alcohol and are subsequently injured.

Potential Damages

Compensatory damages are normally the initial damages that are pursued in dram shop cases, which include medical bills associated with the injury, lost wages as a result of the injury, and non-economic pain and suffering stemming from the accident. When an auto accident is involved and caused by an intoxicated patron who drove away drunk, both parties may be sued to the extent of the law. This includes taking the case to a full jury trial in hopes of winning a punitive damage award against all negligent respondent parties. Punitive damages are limited in some states, and judges have the authority to reduce damage awards from juries, but many times, whatever the jury finds is exactly what results from the trial. This can enhance the value of personal injury claim exponentially, as many restaurants and bars are owned by multi-million dollar corporations.

It is important to understand that dram shop lawsuits are commonly defended vigorously, especially by large establishments that can afford a strong defense team. It may be vital to have an experienced car accident attorney Des Moines IA trusts who understands how to successfully build a case for potential damages. These cases can be won, but they can also be very difficult and frustrating. The attorney you choose can matter greatly.


JMThanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury practice.

The hazy target of lost earning capacity

A personal injury lawyer Little Rock, AR trusts will tell you that determining lost earning capacity as part of damages in a personal injury case is a difficult yet necessary task.  Steve Harrelson of the Harrelson law firm states that it’s necessary to determine the anticipated loss of future income through the assistance of a physician and vocational expert.

“One of the most important things to do when developing your case for economic damages,” says Harrelson,” is to make sure that you properly calculate for the loss of future income and show the jury hard numbers of how the injury has affected your life.”  Doing so will require some knowledge of salary actions, employer paid benefits for lost earnings, inflation, consideration of future raises, potential diminished earnings, and loss of household services.

Diminished Earnings

The most important number to obtain from your experts is the percentage of anticipated diminished earnings.  Whether that figure is 10%, 20%, or 50%, it gives you a baseline from which to begin determining lost income.  From that point, subtract your age from your expected retirement age of 65 to determine the number of years of work anticipated.  Normally, you would then simply multiply the number of years by the amount of lost revenue each year (an example might by 19 years x 20% of $50,000).

However, this value does not account for inflation and the requirement for the final, future value to be a present value.  It will require some forensic economics to adjust that calculation, along with an explanation for the jury.  At that point, it is essential in a claim for lost earning capacity to add all other factors to your claim: (1) anticipated raises over the course of your career, (2) the amount of any lost benefits, (3) shortened life and shortened work life, (4) diminished earning capacity due to the injury, and (5) non-work related activities such as loss of household services.

Conducting a full investigation like this is the only way to maximize your compensation.  As a personal injury lawyer might attest, compiling a full report regarding lost earning capacity to submit to the insurance adjuster (or potentially a jury) is important in order to be fully compensated for the injuries you sustained.  Simply taking your medical bills and lost wages and asking for the jury for “pain and suffering” will not be sufficient to compensate you for your losses.  Pain and suffering is a financial consideration, but it is subjective in nature and can be difficult to justify and defend.  That’s why it’s important to perform a complete review of your actual losses and anticipated losses in order to be fully compensated.

For these reasons, it is always best to contact a lawyer to help you through a situation like this to (1) help you through the process while you’re recovering and (2) to maximize your benefits to ensure all of your injuries are appropriately compensated.


Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into the calculation of lost earning capacity in personal injury cases.

Delayed medical treatment: does it hurt my case?

Steve Harrelson, a car accident lawyer Little Rock AR trusts, has lots of experience with victims of negligence coming in and relaying the following scenario: “I was involved in a car accident, and I did not immediately seek medical treatment.  Now, three days later, I cannot move and haven’t been able to get out of bed for two days.”  The next question inevitably asks whether failure to seek medical treatment will hurt their claim for bodily injury.

Here’s the unfortunate answer: Yes, it will.  We live in an age where most claims representatives and many jurors already perceive Plaintiffs with an eye of caution, wondering how hurt they really are, if they are even hurt at all.  The insurance companies have won the 10-second soundbite battle, and many times, Plaintiffs are associated with wanting something for nothing (or wanting to hit the lottery).  So naturally, yes, if a claims representative finds out that you were involved in a car accident and didn’t seek medical treatment until days or weeks later, they very well may naturally assume that someone – a friend, family member, lawyer, etc. – told you to go frivolously run up a bunch of medical bills to try and make some money.  Many times, clients have finally gone to the hospital after a week only to learn that they do indeed have a broken bone.

Seeking Medical Treatment

The lawyers at the Harrelson Law Firm understand that many times, people don’t go to the emergency room for a variety of rational reasons: (1) people get shots of adrenaline during car accidents and don’t realize the pain they are in until they get home, (2) people do not like to seek medical treatment because of coverage or financial problems, (3) people are inherently too busy and try to maintain burdensome schedules even if they are in a car accident, and (4) sometimes, the pain from a whiplash or similar injury simply does not set in immediately.  All of these are valid reasons to avoid medical treatment, and all are backed up with decades of medical support.

As a car accident lawyer Little Rock AR respects might attest, seeking medical treatment after avoiding doing so will require some explanation for the reasons.  Generally, regardless of the explanation, it may give an insurance adjuster the reason to deny a claim to an unrepresented client (the same applies to extended gaps in treatment).  This will require taking the case to the next step and filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver, but an experienced lawyer will still be necessary in order to explain the reasons for delayed treatment to a jury and to navigate the legal dispositive motions that are sure to be filed by the defense.  

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in investigating car crashes for years.  


Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into claims negotiations in motor vehicle accidents.

8 Common Causes of Car Accidents

A car accident can leave everyone involved with both physical and emotional scars that may take a long time to heal. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of getting in an accident, understanding some of the more common causes of accidents may help you stay safe.
Speeding/Aggressive Driving
Those who drive faster than the posted speed limit are generally at a higher risk for getting into an accident. This is because stopping time is increased while reaction time is decreased. Driving too fast may also increase a driver’s risk for a rollover accident.
Driving While Distracted
Drivers who are distracted by their phones, other occupants, or who simply take their mind off the task at hand are at an increased risk of an accident. Drivers are urged to constantly scan the road ahead of them and look in their rear mirrors every few seconds to stay alert to others around them.
Reduced/Low Visibility
Rainy or snowy conditions can make it harder to see because you can’t use your high beams. Driving at night may be more dangerous because visibility is reduced even when using headlights. Lack of visibility can also hinder your depth perception, which may make it harder to judge when or if you need to slow down or stop.
Slick/Compromised Roadways
Wet roads increase your accident risk because a car’s tires cannot make good contact with the road. When moisture freezes, it is almost impossible for a tire to grip the road, which may cause the vehicle to spin out.
Tire Blowout/Flat Tire
A popped or blown out tire could cause a vehicle to skid suddenly into other lanes of traffic. It could also cause the car to come to a sudden stop, which may increase the odds of a rear end collision.
DUI/DWI
Drunk driving generally impairs a driver’s reflexes and ability to perceive hazards, which may make it harder to avoid other cars or pedestrians in his or her path. An impaired driver may also swerve into other lanes or drive faster than advised for current road conditions.
Unexpected Obstacles or Hazards
Common unexpected hazards include animals, pedestrians, or debris crossing or blocking the roadway. Even if a driver is able to avoid the hazard itself, the act of swerving or immediate breaking my cause an accident.
Hazardous Roadways
Back roads or even main thoroughfares can curve or bend unexpectedly. If a driver can’t anticipate this curve or bend, he or she may not be able to slow down in time, which may result in a rollover crash or a collision with another object or vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a Coeur d’Alene car accident lawyer today to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at Bendell Law Firm for their insight into common car accident causes.