The Law: My First True Love

4 Responsibilities of an Estate Administrator

Losing a loved one is never easy, but if your friend or family member has entrusted you to be the administrator of his or her estate you will be responsible for managing several things to ensure that the probate process goes smoothly. Most people are not familiar with the probate process and the responsibilities involved with being an administrator of an estate, so it is highly recommended that your hire an estate administration attorney to assist you and ensure that everything is done properly. As an appointed estate administrator, you will be responsible for the following:

Go through Probate

Probate is a legal process in which a will is examined by the court system to ensure that it is legal and valid. As the administrator of an estate, you will be responsible for initiating the probate process and providing any documentation that may be required. During the probate process it is also a good idea to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in writing to inform the organization that you are the administrator of said estate. This will allow you to settle any taxes that may be owed by your deceased loved one.

Pay Off Debts

It is not uncommon for a person to die with debts, and the administrator of the estate must use assets from the estate to pay off those debts. Before making any payments, it is important to ensure that the debts are valid and actually owed. 

Manage the Estate

In the weeks and months after the death of your loved one, you may have to manage real estate holdings, run or liquidate a business owned by the deceased, or take care of financial portfolios. Taking charge of these functions can be difficult if you do not have experience, so it is a good idea to consult an attorney, accountant, or financial planner to ensure that the decisions you make are in the best interest of the estate.

Distribution of Assets

If you are the administrator of an estate, you will be responsible for distributing the assets according to the terms of your loved one’s will. This can be a complex legal matter, especially if the estate is large. Distribution of assets typically does not occur until probate is completed and all debts of the estate are paid. If you are the administrator of a large estate, an estate administration attorney working on your behalf is essential to ensure that all assets are distributed properly.

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Possible Complications Stemming From Auto Accidents While Pregnant

Nobody would wish to develop pregnancy complications after an auto accident. However, you should know that different complications do occur for expectant victims of auto crashes. Knowing about these possible complications will help you not only to protect you and your baby’s health, but also to bolster a personal injury claim. Remember, you may need the money for enhanced medical care for your condition. Here are some of the complications that may befall you:

Placental Abruption

This complication occurs when the placenta separates, either partially or fully, from the uterus. You are likely to experience it if something hits your abdomen directly. This is a serious injury that needs prompt medical care because it places both your life and the baby’s life in danger.

This complication can manifest itself immediately after the impact or develop after some time. According to Mayo Clinic, you should suspect placental abruption if you are experiencing symptoms such as: 

  • Sudden onset of pain in the abdomen and back
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Rapid uterine contractions

Premature birth

Causes of premature birth include stress (physical and emotional) and injuries, both of which you are likely to experience after a car accident. This is one of the reasons you must seek medical care after a car accident if you are pregnant. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeling any pain or not, some internal injuries may not have obvious signs, but the doctors will know what to do.

Miscarriage

Though a miscarriage is rare, because your baby is well protected by the amniotic fluid, it is still a possibility. The risk of a miscarriage increases with the severity of the crash. The more direct force or injuries you experience in your abdomen area, the higher the risk of the amniotic sac (that holds the fluid) getting ruptured. Again, the value of seeking prompt medical care cannot be underestimated.

Birth Defect

Lastly, there is also the risk that you may give birth to a baby with a birth defect. The severity of the defect depends on the severity and type of injury. Although accident-caused birth defects are not very common, they are still risky because there might not be any associated symptoms. This means you will need constant health monitoring, which needs money too.

In short, the main things to remember about auto accident while pregnant are that you should:

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you are injured in an auto accident.
  • Inform your doctor about your pregnancy
  • Inform your lawyer about the pregnancy if filing a personal injury claim

To find out more, contact a professional like Solomon, Sherman & Gabay.

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What Should You Know About Purchasing On A Land Contract?

If you’re interested in purchasing a home, but your credit isn’t quite up to par for a traditional mortgage, you may be considering a land contract or rent-to-own arrangement as a viable alternative. These arrangements can provide many benefits to both buyer and seller — however, because they can be more complex than traditional mortgages, you may want to seek legal advice from professionals like Heil & Saylor before embarking on this transaction. Read on to learn more about land contracts and what you should know before signing one.

What is a land contract? 

A land contract differs substantially from a traditional mortgage, but still allows you to obtain full ownership of your home after spending a specified period of time making regular monthly payments. 

Unlike a traditional mortgage, in which you purchase the home from a seller using funds from a third party bank, a land contract involves only two parties — the buyer and seller. When you sign the contract, the seller will agree to finance the property on your behalf — and instead of paying a bank, each month you’ll pay the seller the agreed-upon price. After you’ve made all payments required under the contract, the seller will give you the deed to the home.

When can you seek a land contract?

In general, land contracts are used for home purchases when either the borrower or the home itself does not qualify for a traditional mortgage. For example, in some areas it can be difficult to take out a mortgage for a mobile home, or for raw land that is not zoned for residential or commercial use. In these situations, the seller may be willing to carry financing on the home in exchange for regular monthly payments.

Many buyers also seek a land contract if they’re currently renting a home and the owner indicates his or her wish to sell. By agreeing to a land contract, the owner can continue to receive regular monthly payments without going through the hassle of transferring ownership of the property.

What should you keep in mind during a land contract transaction? 

Land contracts can be riskier for the buyer than a traditional mortgage. If the property is subject to an underlying mortgage in the seller’s name, you have few legal protections if the seller fails to pay the mortgage payment (even if you’re making timely contract payments yourself). 

These contracts can also present problems if you’re having trouble making payments yourself. Rather than having the seller go through the foreclosure process and its related consumer protections, you’ll instead be subject to an eviction — with a much shorter timeline and fewer opportunities to repay any deficiency and reinstate your mortgage.

Before signing a land contract, be sure to have an attorney look over the agreement to ensure that you’re adequately protected in case things go awry.

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How Do You Handle A Vehicle Accident Due To The Road Conditions?

If you have been in a vehicle accident that resulted in damage to your vehicle, it is usually other drivers involved that are involved in your personal injury claim. However, when it is due to bad road conditions, there is more to think about. In order to file a claim, you need to know who is liable, whether filing against vehicle damage or because you suffered bodily injury. Here is more information about accidents due to road conditions and how to decide who is liable for them.

Deciding Who is Liable

In many cases, the local government is actually responsible, since they should be maintaining the roads. If the accident was due to road conditions that could have been prevented with regular maintenance, such as oil and chip problems, shoulder drop-off that wasn’t properly labeled, or potholes in the road, you may have a chance. However, the county, state, or city government must deem that the roads were not reasonably safe.

This is where this type of claim can get tricky. The government is not responsible for every accident caused by road conditions. The government is allowed a decent amount of time to improve road conditions when they become aware of them. If they are within their own reasonable amount of time for repairing the roads, and you get into an accident during this time, they might not be liable.

On the other hand, if the government was fully aware of the dangerous road conditions and failed to make the proper repairs, then you might have a case.

Filing a Claim for Poor Road Conditions

When it comes to filing your claim, you need to know everything you can about the road conditions and how it caused your accident. This will include the name of the road, what direction you were driving, where the poor road condition is located, how and why it caused your accident, and any physical characteristics you remember. Make note of the road conditions, whether you got into an accident due to a deep pothole or because the asphalt was in poor condition and with the rain, it make it impossible to drive on without getting into an accident.

To file a claim, you also need to narrow down who is liable. This means deciding what government will be responsible for maintaining that road. If you check in with your local county commissioners’ office, they should be able to tell you if the road was the city or county’s responsibility. Make sure you fill out the right paperwork and file your claim on time, otherwise it might be denied with no appeal.

Providing Documentation for Proof

The most difficult part of this type of personal injury case is that it can be hard to prove. You need to be able to prove that the government was aware of the road conditions and that it was dangerous, and that they refused to repair it within the designated time. This involves the government actually admitting that they were aware of it. If you are having problems with it, you can check recent survey records, which show surveys conducted on road conditions. If someone noticed the poor road conditions during an inspection, you can use that in your case.

Get a personal injury attorney to help you gather documentation and proof, and complete filing your claim. To learn more, contact the experts at Stapleton Law Offices

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What Will Happen To Your Child Support When Your Ex Becomes Disabled?

You may have some mixed emotions if you are a custodial parent receiving child support from the other parent, and you hear that your ex has become so disabled they are no longer able to work at a regular job. Even though you may be sad about the news, you may also be concerned about your children’s welfare. If you are relying on child support to help care of the children’s basic needs, it is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are in this situation.

Modifications to Child Support Payments

A person who has become disabled does not get a free pass to quit paying child support. They are still required to make the payments as ordered by the court, and they must go back to court to get the amount lowered if needed. Depending on the state you live in, the judge will look at the disabled person’s current income, and may also consider yours at the same time. If there is a significant decrease in your ex’s income, the child support may be modified to reflect this.

Sources of Income for Disabled

A newly disabled person may start receiving income and assistance in the following ways:

  • From long term disability (LTD) insurance payments through their employer.
  • From social security disability income (SSDI) payments.
  • From an insurance settlement due to a personal injury or worker’s compensation claim.
  • Through Federal and state welfare programs.

A judge will count LTD and SSDI payments as income when considering a modification petition since these types of income have been made possible due to an employed (or self-employed) person’s benefits or earning record.

However, if your ex has been approved to receive SSDI payments, then any of their minor dependents would also be eligible for auxiliary benefits through the Social Security Administration. In this case, you would receive payments directly from the government to use in behalf of the children, but your ex’s child support requirement can be modified to reflect this.

If your ex receives a settlement due to a personal injury or worker’s comp claim, this will also be considered income, but assistance from federal, state welfare programs and SSI (supplemental security income) are not considered income and would not be used when determining child support or modification.

Ways to Collect

If your ex applies for SSDI payments, they should also include their dependents as part of their claim. If approved, you will start receiving the auxiliary payments directly from the SSA to use for their benefit and you may receive a percentage of your ex’s SSDI monthly payments also, especially if they owe a significant amount in child support. If you have been receiving any sort of state assistance for the children such as SNAP benefits or Medicaid, the state will likely be involved in helping you get your child support payments and back payments.

If you haven’t been receiving any public assistance, you may need to consult with an attorney from a place like Garrett & Silvey Law Firm for help to get a judgment against your former spouse for back support and to enforce the court ordered payments. The judge could order a percentage of any worker’s comp or personal injury claims be paid to you.

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What Are Your Out-Of-Court Divorce Options?

If you and your spouse have made the mutual decision to end your marriage, you may be wondering whether it’s necessary to have your decision (and any resulting split of assets and debts) ratified by a court. If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce, it may seem unnecessarily stressful or costly to have to file official documents and go before a judge. Fortunately, there are ways for you to avoid seeing the inside of a courtroom while still ensuring that your divorce follows the proper legal channels. Read on to learn more about out-of-court divorces.

Are court divorces necessary?

Some legislators in Minnesota are attempting to streamline the divorce process by allowing individuals to legally separate on their own, without ever requiring their divorce agreement or property settlement to be reviewed and approved by a judge. However, this legislation is unusual — and some even say unconstitutional.

Currently, to obtain a legal divorce in any U.S. state, you’ll need to have the terms of your divorce officially sanctioned by a court. The U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions give courts the sole authority over family law issues, such as divorce and child custody. Unless these courts eschew their own duties, it is unlikely that the legislature will be able to create an alternative divorce process.

What are your present options if you’d like to divorce outside the court process?

This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to go through a lengthy, messy trial. In many cases, you and your spouse may be able to hammer out your agreement with the assistance of an attorney. If there are no disagreements about how the divorce or asset division should be handled, you and your spouse may even be able to use the same attorney. This attorney will draw up your proposed agreement and submit it to the judge for approval.

Unless the agreement is fundamentally unfair, it will likely be approved by the judge — without ever requiring you to step foot into a courtroom. Your attorney should be able to anticipate any questions the judge may have about your agreement, and will incorporate the answers to these questions within the body of the agreement.

This streamlined process is especially useful in cases involving minor children. If you and your spouse agree on a fair division of custody and child support, you’ll not only save thousands in legal fees, you’ll avoid a long process of hearings, fact-gathering sessions, and unnecessary stress. For more information, contact a family law expert like Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC.

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A Quick Guide To Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Between 200,000 and 400,000 people die each year from medical malpractice in the United States. Medical malpractice is defined as either an action or an omission by medical professionals that lead to permanent damage or even death. Medical malpractice often leads to the victim suing someone in the healthcare field. There are some defined reasons to sue for malpractice. If you think you (or a family member) have a medical malpractice case on your hands, it is a good idea to know what these reasons are.

Negligent Prescription of Medication or Medical Devices

If a healthcare provider prescribes medication or medical devices that cause injury to the patient due to a doctor’s mistake, there is a strong possibility the patient can file a lawsuit. Manufacturers of medications and medical devices spell out the proper usage of products. If the manufacturer warns against the use of the product in situations similar to the patient’s situation and the doctor prescribes the product while blatantly ignoring protocol, this can lead to serious damage to the patient. In this example, the victim can file a malpractice suit against their healthcare provider.

Informed Consent

Before an operation, doctors are required by law to explain all risks of the procedure to the patient. This is so that the patient can give informed consent saying that they understand what is happening and what may occur if things go wrong. If the surgery goes badly and the patient ends up debilitated in some way, they cannot sue the doctor. However, if the surgeon failed to disclose all the things that could go wrong, the victim may certainly be able to sue for malpractice.

“Res Ipsa Loquitur” or The Thing Speaks for Itself

In these types of cases, res ipsa loquitur, is pretty simple. The idea is that what happens speaks for itself. It is so obvious, there is no defense for what happened. In most cases, this type of malpractice is proven by items left behind during surgery. The old wives’ tales about a doctor sewing a patient back up and forgetting to remove a clamp, a glove, or even a watch. This mistake is easily proven by an x-ray showing the item that is still in the person’s body.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be difficult to prove. However, with a good lawyer and strong evidence of damages caused, victims can win their cases. In all cases, harm must have been caused by a negligent doctor. Without that harm, there is simply no lawsuit. 

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