3 Things You Don’t Need To Include In Your Will

Making a will can seem like a very big deal. It’s always seen as the moment of truth after somebody passes away in a movie or television show. In such dramatizations, relatives may gather to hear the reading of the will, and they may have expectations of the treasures left to them by the dearly departed. However, in real life, the reading of a will is typically a much simpler procedure as most people are not leaving behind a great deal of money, but they do want to make sure that their assets are passed on to the people of their choice. The process can get confusing. As you start to consider and plan for your own will, here are three things that you don’t have to worry about including in the will.

#1: Don’t Include Insurance Policies

When you buy a life insurance policy and fill out all the necessary paperwork that’s associated with it, you designate who should receive the proceeds. It is very clear by the nature of the purchase of a policy, so there should be no mistaking who the beneficiary is. If you change your mind at any time, simply contact the insurance company, and you should be able to change the beneficiary right away. Be sure to notify your loved ones and lawyer about the changes that you do make to your insurance policies.

#2: Don’t Include Property with a Co-Owner

If you are the co-owner of a home or commercial building, you likely do not need to include it in your will. As long as you have a right of survivorship with the property, your part of the property will be automatically passed on the other co-owner in the event of your passing. Even if you name someone else in the will, that would have no impact on the ownership unless there is a special circumstance. If in doubt, ask your lawyer if that should be included in your will.

#3: Don’t Include Your Retirement Plan

When you create your retirement plan, you should also fill out forms that designate who the beneficiary of that retirement plan would be if you pass away. This is often a spouse, but it can be whoever you want. You will be given the chance to fill out that paperwork for a beneficiary upon the creation of the account and should be able to change that at any time.

Finally, keep in mind that your will should be completed with the help of an estate planning attorney. Wills can be complicated, and the laws can vary from state to state. Be sure to discuss all questions and concerns about the will with your lawyer. When in doubt, ask if you should include something to ensure that your final wishes will be carried out in the way that you want them to be. That will ensure that your closest loved ones are protected someday, which can be perceived as a final act of love for them.

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When You’re Already In Trouble With The Law: Stop Talking

The scandal-plagued Olympic swimming team’s legal troubles in Brazil may be far from over, especially if Ryan Lochte and James Feigen end up being charged with giving false testimony to the police—but the events over there should serve as a stiff reminder of something that many U.S. criminal attorneys wish they could tell their clients all the time: when you’re already in trouble, stop talking and don’t dig yourself in any deeper. Lying to try to get out of trouble is one of the worst things you can do, and so is lying to simply create legal drama. This is what you should know.

Making a false statement to police is a crime.

Most false statements aren’t spontaneously given—they usually happen after the police have already started an investigation and begin asking questions. Usually, people lie because they panic—they don’t know their rights, may not even be sure if they’ve done anything legally wrong, and just want to get out of trouble. Lying to the police in the course of an investigation, however, is a crime—even if no other has been committed.

For example, take the case of Jennifer Wilbanks, the “runaway bride” who faked her own abduction after she realized that a massive manhunt had been organized to find her when she had simply ditched her wedding and hopped a bus. Had she just admitted that she’d left on her own free will, people might have been angry, but she’d have been within her legal rights to go where she wanted. Instead, she briefly tried to claim that she was abducted and sexually assaulted. She was lucky enough to get probation, but she could have faced 6 years in prison for making a false statement to the police.

Filing a false police report is a crime.

Reporting a crime that you think you saw happen isn’t a crime—even if it turns out that you just misunderstood what you were seeing. However, knowingly filing a false police report is a crime—it’s an intentional waste of government resources and takes the police away from their other duties. You could be endangering the lives of other people when the police aren’t available to help because they’re following up some fake lead that you gave them. 

For example, a recent fad involving false police reports as a form of harassment, known as “swatting,” has caused trouble for police departments nationwide. Swatting occurs when someone intentionally calls the police and claims that a violent crime is happening at someone else’s home, just to harass the victim. Incidents like these are often being prosecuted—one Brooklyn man was recently sentenced to two years in jail for his actions. Many of the people caught for crimes like these compound their problems by initially denying that they had anything to do with the attack—which tacks on the charge of lying to the police on top of the charge for filing a false report. 

Some people end up filing a false police report though because they’ve gotten themselves into a jam. For example, some people hit a financial crisis and make a poor decision to dump their high-priced vehicle over a hill somewhere or in a lake, in order to get out of the payments. When they report the vehicle missing to the insurance company, the insurance company insists that they file a police report on the theft—feeling trapped, they do so, which adds one crime onto another.

Your future criminal defense attorney would like you to stay silent.

If you’re ever confronted with a situation where, like the members of the Olympic swim team, you realize that you probably messed up and think you may be in serious trouble—don’t compound it. The best thing that you can do is to remember that you aren’t required to talk to the police beyond giving your identifying information. Politely decline to discuss what happened until you’ve had a chance to confer with your legal counsel.

You can safely tell your attorney everything that happened because he or she is legally and ethically bound to protect your secrets. He or she can also tell you what is safe to say to the police, if anything, based on your situation. It’s a lot smarter than saying something that could end up making your situation a bigger legal problem than it was at the start.

For more information and advice on what to do if you’ve been accused of or involved in a crime, talk with a criminal law attorney, such as those at Novak Lee Atty At Law.

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Three Reasons You Need An Attorney When Bitten By A Dog On Private Property

If you are on private property, such as a residential home, and you are bitten by a dog, you need to consult with an attorney. There are many reasons why this is true. The following are among the most important ones.

The laws can vary greatly from one location to another

Laws regarding dogs and an owner’s responsibility for bites vary by state, and also at the county and municipal levels. There may not be specific leash laws for private property in the town you were bitten, but the dog owner may be held to a certain standard of accountability for their dog. Even if you were familiar with the laws in the place you live, you cannot assume the laws are the same where the bite took place. Always consult with a personal injury lawyer with experience in dog bites for the town or county you were bitten.

You may get a call from an insurance attorney

If you were bitten on someone’s property and they have homeowner’s insurance, there is a chance that the policy will cover a dog bite. If this is true and you are filing a claim, a claims adjuster for the insurance company will want to talk to you. The main thing to remember is not to sign anything until you have your attorney look at the paperwork. Claims adjusters are not working in your interest, but in the interest of the insurance company, so they are motivated to settle for less. You do not have to accept their offer. If you do receive an offer, neither accept nor turn it down, but simply state that you want your attorney to look at it before making a decision.

There are a variety of expenses you may incur from a dog bite

What you are entitled to after begin bitten by a dog will be dependent upon a number of things, especially the severity of the bite. If you miss work, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of income. There may be things you require that your medical insurance will not cover such as physical rehabilitation. In some jurisdictions, you may be entitled to money for pain and suffering.

If you have been attacked by a dog, you need to seek medical attention immediately. If possible, get the names of any witnesses. Do not assume you know what the laws are, nor assume that others do either. Remember not to sign any documents or endorse any checks offered to you until you a first speak to a personal injury attorney. Check it out.

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Understanding The Core Concepts Of Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death sounds simple enough on the face of it, but it can be a complicated concept. The central question is what constitutes a wrongful death? A secondary concern is if you suspect that someone you care about died wrongfully, how do you prove it? A basic understanding of how you make a wrongful death case can help you make sure that your loved one did not die needlessly. 


Central to a wrongful death case is the concept of negligence. If you are going to build any sort of case at all, you need to understand how the law looks at negligence. The first key is that someone has to have a duty to do something. Secondly, they have to fail to perform their duty. Thus, before you decide to make a case against someone, you need to look carefully at what duty they were supposed to perform and if they in anyway failed to perform their duty.


Even if you highly suspect that someone acted wrongfully, if you don’t have evidence, you don’t have a case. What should be considered evidence will vary from case to case. If it was a car accident, you need to learn as much as you can about the scene of the accident. If it was a surgery, you need to have an expert in the same field review the facts of your case. If it was an accident at an amusement park, you need to learn as much as you can about protocol and look for any breaches. In other words, you either need to be able to become an expert on the particular field you are looking at or find an expert to review your case. 


If you think have a case, you need to know when you are in over your head. If you do not build your case properly, you may find that all of your best intentions and effort are all for nothing. A lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases will have the assets, the experience, and the resources to assist you in making your case. 

Losing someone you care about is only made worse by knowing that they died when they didn’t have to. Although a wrongful death case will not bring your loved one back, it can help you to find closure and move forward with your life. Just remember that if a case is worth pursuing, it is worth enlisting help so that you have the best hope of success. Contact a business, such as Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C., for more information. 

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How To Know What To Expect From The Insurance Company

The light at the end of the tunnel, for those who have been injured in a car accident, is the prospect of fair compensation. You know the accident was not your fault, but what can you expect from the other side’s insurance company? Read on for a guide to how insurance companies determine how much you are entitled to receive as a result of your injuries.


Everything that happened to you as a result of the automobile accident can be summed up with the term “damages.” Damages can include several different areas of compensation, all related to the cost of your injuries. Commonly, you can expect to be compensated for:

1. Medical Expenses: Anything from treatment at the scene to continuing physical therapy is included—doctors, hospitals, mental health treatments, medication and home care, and anything else required in an attempt to bring your state of health back to the pre-accident level.

2. Vehicle and Personal Property: Not only are you entitled to a vehicle repair or replacement, you should also claim any personal property, like child car seats and cell phones that were lost or damaged as a result of the accident.

3. Lost Wages: All time off from your job to spend recuperating or attending to any medical treatments can be claimed. Additionally, you may have a claim for any loss of business, bonus or raise if you can show that the accident interfered with a client appointment or other work-related issue that could have improved your chances for additional career advancement.

4. Permanent Disability: If your injuries prove to be so severe that you suffer a lifetime of being disabled, you could be entitled to a lump sum payment to compensate you for your loss of earning ability.

5. Pain and Suffering: A traumatic event like a car accident can have a devastating effect on your emotional well-being and you may find yourself suffering from depression, anxiety, moodiness, eating and sleeping difficulties, and more. Don’t neglect the effect the accident has had on your family as well as on you.

5. Miscellaneous: Cancellation of planned vacations, missed educational opportunities, missed family events, etc.

How Damages are Calculated

The most important figure in the calculation for damages is the dollar amount of your medical expenses, so be as accurate as possible with that number. The medical expense figure is multiplied by a number that corresponds with the severity of your injuries. For example, if your severity number is a 5 (the highest number), you can expect to be offered 5 times the dollar amount of your medical expenses. Your vehicle loss and lost income is then added to that figure for a final settlement offer amount.

It’s very important to understand that this calculation produces only a general, ballpark guideline and you and your personal injury attorney should use that calculation to arrive at your own figure for negotiation purposes.

Contact a personal injury firm such as Wolfley & Wolfley, P.S. to help ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve as a result of car accident. 

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Undetected Brain Trauma: Can You Bring A Case Against The Emergency Room Doctors?

If emergency room doctors didn’t detect your brain trauma after your car accident, contact a personal injury attorney for help. Although auto accidents can cause internal and external injuries, it’s not always easy to see internal injuries right away, such bleeding from your brain. This is why it’s critical that emergency room doctors use CT scans and other diagnostic tools to examine the inside of your body. The problems they find at the time of your accident gives the doctors you see after your initial exams a chance to treat you properly. Here’s what you need to know about undetected brain trauma and what you can do to obtain compensation for it.

How Dangerous Is Brain Trauma?

Although brain trauma can cause internal swelling and bleeding, you may not experience any signs of the injury right away. A number of accident victims go days or even years without the proper diagnoses and treatments for their brain injuries until they develop symptoms or worse. 

When you do develop symptoms of brain trauma, you may decide to pursue a case against the emergency room doctors who misdiagnosed you. But if doctors’ insurance company may deny you benefits by placing the blame on your current physicians. The insurer may say that your doctors should’ve performed diagnostic tests on you during your follow-up exams and treatments. 

To avoid problems like those above, it’s essential that you see a personal injury attorney as soon as you experience the symptoms of brain trauma. A attorney may help you secure the medical evidence you need to prove that the emergency room doctors didn’t follow the correct procedures for auto accident victims.

How Do You Obtain New Medical Evidence of Your Brain Injury?

During your case against the emergency room doctors, a personal injury attorney may order new CT scans of your head, even if your current doctors already completed them. To avoid complications during your case, an attorney may use the services of third-party doctors to secure additional evidence of your injury. Third-party doctors don’t work for the emergency room doctors, you or the attorney, which makes their opinions and exams unbiased in your case. 

After an attorney has the evidence they need for your case, they can pursue compensation from the emergency room doctors’ insurance company. If the insurance company doesn’t accept the new medical evidence, an attorney can take the company to personal injury court and file a medical malpractice suit against them.

If you need more information about your particular case, contact a personal injury lawyer for answers. 

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How Implied Consent Laws Affect You

Implied consent laws affect you from the moment you apply for your first driver’s license. If you don’t know how implied consent works, you could face severe penalties. By knowing how implied consent works and how it affects you, you may be able to avoid harsh restrictions placed on your license, and more.

What Implied Consent Is

Implied consent is if an officer asks you to take a breath, blood or urine test to determine your sobriety, you are expected to comply. If you decline, you are subject to all the same penalties as if you had failed that test. In some states, the penalty for refusing tests are actually harsher than if you are convicted of a DUI. In order to comply with implied consent laws, you must:

  • Provide a license and proof of insurance
  • Consent to blood, urine and breath tests to determine the level of alcohol in your blood
  • Consent to field sobriety tests

Under implied consent, when you apply for your driver’s license, you are agreeing to take these tests. You are expected to comply with these tests because driving is seen as a privilege and not a right. Due to driving being a privilege and not a right, refusing to comply with implied consent is not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Penalties You Can Face

If you refuse to take a urine, breath or blood test when asked to, you may be facing an implied consent violation. The consequences of not complying with implied consent laws vary by state. If you violate implied consent, you could:

  • Go to jail immediately
  • Face steep penalties and fines
  • Lose your license or have it restricted
  • Face higher insurance costs

Sadly, these penalties are just the tip of the iceberg. If you violate implied consent and are then convicted of a DUI, the penalties are far steeper. The penalties for both a DUI and implied consent will also be steeper if you’ve been convicted of them more than one time.

Why You Need A Lawyer

If you denied being tested for your alcohol levels or denied taking a field sobriety test, you need a lawyer. A lawyer may be able to reduce the amount of penalties you face and may even be able to remove the DUI from your record. Contacting a lawyer is the best way to navigate the tricky legal waters surrounding your situation. It’s also a surefire way to minimize the impact of a violation on your day-to-day life. 

For professional legal services, contact a lawyer such as Elgart Ronald H.

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Claiming Disability For Anxiety

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental disorder and affects around 40 million Americans over the age of 18. When you suffer from anxiety disorder, it can cause you to lose your ability to do normal daily activities including working. The loss of income from not working can dramatically affect your life and cause you even more anxiety. One way to combat this is by applying for social security disability so you are still able to survive even when you cannot work. Applying for social security disability can be very different when suffering from a mental illness rather than a physical disability. Not all cases of anxiety are eligible for social security disability. It is important to understand what qualifies for the benefit and what doesn’t.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are five types of anxiety disorders that include social anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. All of these types have a different level of severity. In order to understand what constitutes as being eligible for social security disability, you must be confirmed by a medical doctor with the anxiety. A proper diagnosis is a crucial component of being able to get the benefit. 

Severity of the Anxiety

When you are plagued with anxiety, it must have an impact on your daily life. If you are still able to do remedial tasks like take a shower, then it is very unlikely that you will be given social security disability. If the anxiety comes and goes, you are also not likely to be able to get the benefit. The social security office will want to see that this is a long-term issue before they start dispersing benefits to you. This means the anxiety should last 12 months or more to be considered long-term. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

In order to qualify for the social security disability benefits, you must be experiencing some symptoms. The symptoms you will experience will correlate with the type of anxiety you have. Again, it is important to get medical help and a complete diagnosis from your doctor in order to prove the disorder. This will be extremely helpful when filling out your paperwork to apply for the benefits. Some symptoms you could experience with anxiety includes uncontrollable shaking, vomiting, muscle tension, and many more. If you are able to be treated and go back to work, your social security disability benefits will end at that point. 

If you think you want to apply for social security disability, talking with professionals attorneys, like those at LeCroy Law Firm, PLLC, can help you to understand what you need to do or how to build the best case to get approved for the benefits.

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Embarrassed? Keep Your DUI A Secret With These Five Tips

Getting charged with a DUI can be incredibly embarrassing, and it can potentially hurt your career or social standing. Because of these threats, many people prefer to hide their drunk driving charges. Ideally, the best way to avoid drinking and driving charges is to never drink and drive, but if it’s too late for that advice, here are a few tips and ideas on hiding your charges:

1. Bail yourself out of jail

If you ever get arrested for a DUI charge, wait until you sober up and then bail yourself out of jail. If you cannot convince the jailer to let you out on your own recognizance, you can pay the bail in cash.

If you don’t have enough cash, you can release your wallet (it was likely confiscated during the arrest) to a bail bondsmen. They, in turn, can charge their fee to your credit card and post the rest of the bail on your behalf.

2. Invent a reason why you aren’t driving your car

In most cases, you will not be allowed to drive as you work through the process of dealing with your DUI. Not bringing your car to work may raise suspicion among your co-workers. If you aren’t comfortable telling them the truth about your DUI, approach the issue from another angle.

Maybe, you really want to get in shape so are bicycling to work. Maybe, you’ve read something interesting about the environment and want to take public transit. Maybe, you have issues with your eyes and are going to use a professional driver until you know what’s going on.

3. Choose therapy over alcohol classes

After a DUI charge, you may be sent to alcohol classes. These classes are designed to educate you so you do not make the same mistake again. However, they also involve other people, and if you live in a small community and need to safeguard your image, that is not ideal.

Ask the court if you can substitute individual therapy for group classes. That is more private.

4. Hire an attorney

Fighting a DUI charge (especially if it’s not your first offense) can be extremely hard. However, if you don’t try as hard as possible to fight the charge, you may end up with jail time – in that case, everyone will find out that you had a charge.

In addition to helping you avoid jail time, lawyers may be able to get your charge reduced. A DUI felony on your record can bring up a range of issues including making it hard to get a job, but if your lawyer gets that reduced to a misdemeanor or no charge, you don’t have to worry about your DUI following you for years to come. Contact a local lawyer, like Patricia K Wood Atty, to represent your ase.

5. Consider telling someone

Many people try to keep DUIs a secret, and there are compelling reasons for doing so. However, the stress of keeping a secret can make the experience even harder. Consider talking to someone. Even if you don’t’ tell everyone, it can help to have a confidant as you go through this hard experience.



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Four Things That You Can Do To Help Your Divorce Lawyer During A Custody Battle

If you are in the middle of a child custody battle, all of your actions will be under a microscope. There is only so much that your divorce lawyer can do to ensure your custody requests are agreed upon. If you are distracted and upset, it can be easy to slip up and make mistakes during a custody battle. Here are four things that you can do to help you lawyer fight your child custody case.

1. Don’t Engage With Your Ex

Your lawyer is working hard to build your case as a responsible, fit parent. Don’t unravel all of their hard work by going behind their back and goading your ex-spouse. Getting into spats off the record or talking poorly about them on social media can come back to you and will make you look petty and childish.

2. Take the Matter Seriously

Fighting for custody rights of your children should feel like a full time job. Keep appointments with your lawyer or any meetings surrounding your case. Be sure that you dress the part if you are going to be meeting with lawyers, mediators or a judge. If you need a new professional wardrobe, your divorce lawyer can give you some advice on what would be best for court.

3. Be the Responsible Parent

Show the judge that, even during the pressures of divorce, you are still the best parent for your children. Be on time for visitation and don’t get into arguments with your ex-spouse when trading off the kids. If you continually showcase you are the more responsible parent, you will be more likely to be granted sole or primary custody.

4. Remember to Take Your Lawyer’s Advice

You might be hoping for sole custody because you truly believe you are the most fit parent. The thing is, sometimes it can be easy to get so wrapped up in your divorce that you can’t see the big picture. If your lawyer breaks it to you that joint custody will most likely be the outcome, listen to what they have to say. Going along with a modified agreement without forcing your ex-spouse to go to court might save you time and money and will ultimately have the same outcome.

You might feel stretched to the limit if you are going through a custody dispute, but you need to keep a clear head and remember why you are going through this – for your kids. Make sure to meet your divorce lawyer halfway and do what you can during the entire custody process to ensure a better outcome on your behalf.

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If you're involved in a lawsuit, sooner or later you'll have to decide whether you want to settle or go all the way to trial. The majority of lawsuits end in settlements -- if you can get a reasonable settlement that covers your losses, it's often best to take it rather than going to trial to press for more. But it's an individual decision that you should make with the advice of your lawyer. This blog is all about educating you about what to expect during a lawsuit and how to make informed decisions during the trial process. I hope that my experiences with lawsuits and trials will help you learn what to expect and help you better communicate with your legal advisers.

February 2017
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