We Must Get Used to the Image of Nursing Homes: They’re our future

By on 9-28-2017 in Estate Planning

When you hear the word “nursing home,” what image immediately comes to mind? For me, I imagine the nursing home in Cloud Atlas from which the character Timothy Cavendish must escape. In the book, Timothy Cavendish is tricked into signing himself into a nursing home called Aurora House from which he cannot leave. The title of the chapter, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, says it all.    

While most nursing homes are not so horrible, the story does serve as a reminder that you do not want to end up in a situation, not of your own making. The elderly often are sent to a nursing home after they are unable to take care of themselves, and many spend their final days in a nursing home because they were unable to afford long-term home care. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you will end up as you get older. Peck Ritchey, LLC, suggests discussing nursing home concerns while estate planning so those family members are not struggling to pay for nursing home expenses.

One way to pay for a nursing home is through Medicaid, a federal-funded and state-run joint program to assist both low-income families and individuals with long-term medical and custodial care costs. Before you can qualify for Medicaid, you may have to “spend down” your assets, according to lawyer Bonnie Kraham. Kraham explains that you cannot make gifts to children or other people in the five years before applying for Medicaid without a “penalty period.” This penalty period means you would have to pay for your long-term care out-of-pocket for a specific amount of time-based on the size of the gift.

Kraham lists a number of ways to legally spend down your assets so that you can apply for Medicaid, including paying off a mortgage or home equity loan, a car loan, credit card bills, medical bills and any taxes you owe and making repairs and renovations to your house. It takes some time and planning to spend down your assets without paying the penalty fee.

While the law does protect the spouse of the person who needs a nursing home, the spouse who first needs the nursing home or an unmarried person needs to plan ahead. Kraham suggests having long-term care insurance to cover long-term care costs. If you do not have or cannot afford long-term care insurance, Kraham advises creating a Medicaid asset protection trust (MAPT), which protects assets from nursing-home costs.

According to the Ettinger Law Firm, MAPT is known as an “income only” trust, meaning that the MAPT “names someone other than you or your spouse as trustee and limits you to the income.” MAPT has a five-year look-back period, meaning all the assets in the trust are protected if you need nursing home care after five years. If you need care before five years, you will only pay the remaining time. For example, if you need nursing home care after three years, then you would only have to pay for two years that are left.

Indecent Exposure Defense

By on 6-19-2017 in Sex Crime Defense

Sex crimes are often the most controversial ones, but not all of them are in the level of rape and sexual assault. There are other sex crimes that are not as heinous and therefore often overlooked, such as indecent exposure.

According to the website of Horst Law, indecent exposure is the intentional exposure of a person’s genitalia or butt to another person or exposing unwilling bystanders to any manner of sexual contact occurring between two or more participants. There are possible factors that may influence defense to indecent exposure charges, such as the following.

Intention

One of the main ideas behind indecent exposure is that it is intentional. If the exposure is accidental, and there is no evidence that may prove intent, it can be argued that the act is already beyond the official definition of indecent exposure.

For example, if you are engaging in sexual behavior in a parked car and you have been accidentally seen by a bystander, you can say that the exposure is not intentional even if you are in a public space, because you are clearly inside a vehicle where the view can be blocked.

Place

Another core idea behind indecent exposure is that is has been done in a public place – in other words, a place where an unwilling bystander may witness the exposure. A possible defense against indecent exposure is questioning the place, whether it is truly a public space or a private space.

If it is actually a private place, like when you are at home and you have accidentally exposed your genitalia through a window, you may have a viable defense.

Identification

If the indecent exposure is merely an accusation by a witness, it may be much easier to defend yourself using proper identification as a factor. Are you truly the person the witness has seen to indecently expose himself? Is this person in a proper physical and mental condition to be a viable witness?

Mental Condition

Your mental condition can also be a factor that can influence the viability of an indecent exposure charge against you. If you are mentally impaired during the act, either permanently or temporarily, and therefore have no means to know what you are doing or judge whether what you are doing is right or wrong, you may have a viable defense.

Dog Biting Incidents

By on 4-25-2017 in Dog Bite

Dog Biting Incidents

Animal attacks should not be common, because we do not live in the wild where we can be vulnerable to them. But animal attacks become more common because of pets, and this is particularly true for dogs.

According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, those who have been injured because of a dog biting incident have legal options. Dog biting incidents can be personal injury or premises liability claims. Personal injury because you might have been hurt because of the negligence of the dog owner. Premises liability because you might have been hurt because of the negligence of a property owner with an attacking dog.

But why do dogs attack? There are three general reasons:

  • A medical condition makes the dog not in the mood to interact
  • Someone is trying to acquire its possessions, such as its food and puppies
  • Something makes it feel threatened, like someone accidentally stepping on its tail

These three reasons have one thing in common – they are responses to stimuli. Therefore, it can be argued that the absence of these stimuli may prevent dog biting incidents. Of course, dog and property owners, as well as visitors, should all make the effort of ensuring that dog biting incidents will not occur. This can be done in various ways.

For dog and property owners, the core idea they need to enforce is to make the dog inaccessible. They can tether it in a strategic place so it doesn’t attack visitors and passersby. They can tether it in an immovable object that is away from walkways.

For visitors and passersby, the core idea is to not engage in stimulus that can make dogs respond in a violent way. Do not try to get its possessions or act like you are a threat. As much as possible, stay away from the dog, especially if this dog has the following signs:

  • Growling
  • Looking away
  • Raising its fur
  • Showing the white of its eyes
  • Stiffening of its body

Preventing dog biting incidents also means that you are avoiding legal and medical issues, which can cost a lot of time and money.

Possible Additional Punishments Awaiting Those Who would be Charged with Felony DUI

By on 2-03-2017 in DUI/DWI

Drunk-driving or alcohol-impaired driving is the cause of at least 10,000 fatal car crashes in the U.S. (total yearly fatal crashes number to more than 32,000). Records from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics show 1.4 million individuals arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or both.

In all U.S. states, driving with a 0.08% (or higher) blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is a crime. A first offense DUI is usually treated as only a misdemeanor; it is considered a more serious offense if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, or if his/her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit.

Many federal and state authorities are determined and overzealous in catching violators of the anti-drunk driving law, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunk-driving, such as braking erratically, driving too slowly, swerving, stopping for no apparent reason or zig-zagging across the road. For the same end, they set up sobriety checkpoints to check on alcohol-impaired drivers, as well as measure their BAC level.

A DUI felony is punished with costly fines and at least one year jail time. In some states, a felony leads to other heavy sentences, such as:

  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition interlock, which is a device that will prevent a vehicle from starting if it detects in the driver a BAC level that is higher than what is considered a safe level (about 0.02%);
  • Administrative license suspension (ALS), a law that gives law enforcers the authority to confiscate a driver’s license if the driver fails a chemical test. This can last for 90 days – 180 days, during which driving privileges may be limited to/from work;
  • Open container law. This law, which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requires states to prohibit the possession of open alcohol beverage containers, as well as the consumption of an alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on public highways.

Understanding how serious a DUI charge is should make a person think twice before sitting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. However, there are just instances when impairment gets the better of a driver. It will require a seasoned Columbia DUI defense attorney if you get charged with a DUI offense, more so if the charge is a felony.

Child Custody: Basic Information on Joint Custody Agreements

By on 10-22-2016 in Child Custody

Child custody is among the most contested issues that are tackled during divorce proceedings. This is why, in most cases, child custody agreements are often left in the hands of the court. Parents in the middle of a highly emotional and contested divorce might not always be in the best position to make decisions regarding their children. As such, the court steps in and enables a judge to decide on behalf of the parents.

The law is clear in prioritizing the best interest of all children involved in a child custody case. Ideally, the court will decide on a child custody agreement that allows both parent to have equal opportunity in caring for and influencing their children. If the couple’s separate living arrangements will allow it, the court will typically decide on a joint custody agreement that allows the children to live with and spend equal time with both their parents. Should this not be possible, the court might look into a joint legal custody agreement. In this scenario, one parent will be named the children’s primary caregiver or custodial parent, while the other parent will be allowed full legal capacity to take part in their children’s lives.

Of course, any of these two arrangements are awarded by the court following certain factors and considerations. Based on specific considerations, the law can award a joint custody arrangement for divorcing parents. According to Marshall & Taylor, P.C., these considerations typical included the employment and income opportunities of both parents, the stability of both parents’ homes and their proximity to each other, the children’s educational prospects, and if both parents show enthusiasm and willingness over sharing custody.

Overall, even if it could end up in either of these ideal custody arrangements, determining an agreement that both you and your former partner can settle with can be a difficult process. If you need help navigating a child custody dispute, do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney for appropriate counseling.

Driving without Insurance is More Costly

By on 7-23-2016 in Insurance

If an accident occurs, seeking compensation should not be a worry to injured innocent victims because the at-fault driver has auto liability insurance coverage – this is what is expected and this is what should be. By carrying auto liability insurance, an at-fault driver will also be saved from worrying about the source of money with which he or she will be paying compensatory damages. This is because payment will be made by his or her insurance provider.

Carrying auto liability insurance is actually one way of proving financial responsibility in the event of an accident; another way is by complying with any of the means that a state has approved. Financial responsibility is actually the law that requires drivers in the U.S. to demonstrate their financial capability to pay for damages resulting from an accident wherein they are at fault. While this law mandates showing proof of one’s capability to pay compensatory damages, it does not specifically say that this capability be shown by carrying of auto insurance. Thus, in New Hampshire, the only state that does not mandate the carrying of auto liability insurance, drivers can either carry an SR-22 filing or depositing securities or money with the state treasurer.

Carrying auto liability insurance is a mandate in the United States. Despite being a mandate, though, 1 in every 8 drivers or more than 29 million drivers continue to drive freely on US roads and highways without insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, the top five states for uninsured drivers are California, with 4.1 million uninsured drivers; Florida, with 3.2 million; Texas, with 1.6 million; Ohio, with 1.3 million; and, Tennessee, with 1.2 million.

Insurance coverage is expensive – this is the number one reason why so many drivers are uninsured. It can still be more expensive for those who are below 25 years old, have had traffic violations in the past, have only a few years of driving experience, are driving a high-powered sports car, have high annual mileage and have been required by the court to file an SR-22. Expensive of not, however, one will still need to be insured if he or she wants to drive legally in U.S.

Being insured, according to independent car insurance firms, need not be expensive. By offering free insurance quotes online, these firms, according to Abel Law Firm, are able to help drivers and car owners find the best, yet cheapest, insurance deal fast, easy and without any hassle.

What Can You Do About Wrongful Death?

By on 3-12-2016 in Hazards, Wrongful Death

In the entirety of human history on this planet, there is not a single person who has survived life. Everyone dies in the end due to one cause or another. Sometimes, it’s because of a sickness or medical condition that could not be helped. Sometimes, it’s because the person has aged significantly and it was simply time for them to take their last breath and rest, after a long and fulfilled life. Other times, it’s because of the rage or recklessness of other people. And it’s because of that last reason that has the surviving kin in the most distress.

See, the thing about death and people dying is that it’s more than a one-person ordeal. The dead leave the grieving behind and with the grieving comes the process of trying to live without the now-recently deceased. This is actually more literal than the emotional duress as, for example, what if the deceased was a family’s prime income earner and they are now in a state of panic and disarray as well as grief because of the loss of financial security?

It can be difficult to work with and, sometimes, there are even people or parties that capitalize upon the emotional state of the grieving for their own avarice.

According to the website of the lawyers with Williams Kherkher, a lot of people who have just lost a loved one tend to have a lot of stress on their shoulders—from the emotions of having to prepare funerals, last will and testaments, and then dealing with the repercussions that a death can give to survivors – that then makes them easily susceptible to deals that would not be beneficial for them in the long run.

Some insurance companies can take advantage of this time of your being in a state of distress to offer an initial deal that you might be tempted to take, especially if you don’t have legal representation to offer you advice and guide you through the costs of what you’re most likely owed. More often than not, you are owed better than the initial offer and though it can be tempting to take something that looks good at first, it would be ideal to have someone with a more objective stance to advise you on what to do next.

Asking for help is not something shameful and sometimes, it’s the only chance people have left.

Choosing Between Direct Investment or Regional Center

By on 10-09-2015 in Immigration

 

If you are an EB5 visa applicant, you might have already asked your Russian-speaking EB5 lawyer whether if you will choose to directly invest your money in a business or find a regional center to accommodate your investment. Each of them has their own set of benefits and advantages, and choosing one over the other really depends on your personal and business circumstances.

Direct investment

Foreign investors wanting to hold a green card and at the same time manage their investment in a more direct way can choose to either create a new business or take over an existing business. Under the United States Immigrant Investor Program, investors need to invest $1 million in capital to create a new enterprise or salvage a troubled business, or a business that is running for at least two years and has experienced a 20% loss of net worth.

The program requires the investor to generate at least 10 direct, full-time jobs if they choose to create their own business. On the other hand, investors who opt in to take over a troubled business are required to maintain the existing number of employment for at least two years. When investors fail in meeting these requirements, chances are the EB5 visa will be revoked.

Regional Center investment

Regional centers are economic organizations designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which aim to create direct and indirect jobs, and increase domestic capital and productivity with the help of foreign investors. Unlike direct investment, investing in regional center does not require you to assume active role in managing your investment. This makes it a perfect choice for those who are less concerned about directly managing their investment and are much more concerned about getting a green card.

Apart from less business involvement, some immigrant program involving regional centers only require investors to invest $500,000, as opposed to the standard $1 million for investing in a troubled business or creating a new one.

What Your Skin Deserves

By on 5-20-2015 in Health

It can be easy to forget that people are vulnerable creatures. A lot of the time, this is a fact that people don’t exactly want to recognize as true as it makes them confront the truth of their own mortality. Unfortunately, however, this is a truth that people need to take into account in order to protect themselves – giving themselves their best chance at living the long and happy life that they were born to live.

One aspect of the human fragility that is often taken for granted is the delicate nature of the skin – the largest organ. There are nerves upon every part of the body’s skin, capable of feeling for the purpose of sensation. We are taught to take care of our insides – the heart, the lungs, the liver, et cetera – and yet the skin is often overlooked. Is it not time to treat yourself and your skin better?

According to the website of the professionals with Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery, the skin suffers a lot of abuse from toxins present in the environment that may not always be obvious as well as exposure to the elements. Soap and water can only go so far as the dirt and grime might go deeper than just the shallowest surface layer of the skin. Why, yes – there are several layers to the skin and the ones hidden beneath are filled with grime that could cause many skin problems. There are several procedures, however, that are readily available so that the skin, too, can be pampered and treated with as much love as the rest of the body.

Laser skin resurfacing is one such procedure as the treatment delivers beams of heat that penetrate deep into the dermis of the skin, allowing for maximum results as the heated tissue will start and aid the body’s natural healing process of forming newer, healthier skin tissue upon contact. This can help a lot of problems with the skin and even make the skin look luminous and glowing, as well as make it healthier from the inside.

You deserve to treat every part of you in the best way possible – skin included! As the skin is the most exposed part of you that there is, don’t you think it deserves some good old tender, love, and care as much as the rest of you too?

Workers Compensation: More than Just Something Physical

By on 5-17-2015 in Personal Injury, The Workplace

The idea of workers’ compensation is brought forth with a situation that neither the employer nor the employee particularly enjoys. After all, workers’ compensation claims are filed due to the worker in question sustaining a debilitating injury as a result of an accident at the workplace. The incident of some employees unjustly filing for workers’ compensation has happened but the opposite effect, of the employers then unjustly withholding rightful compensation from the employee, has also been an unfortunate incident that only many people are familiar with.

The website of attorneys Wilson & McQueen, PLLC states that employees are eligible to claim compensation if they suffer an accident at the workplace due to the negligence of the employers. Employers are then encouraged to fastidiously screen their employees before they begin working for the business, according to the available information on the website of preemployment testing experts at WorkSTEPS, in order to prevent accidents.

For example, if the job requires for the employee to be in consistently hot or cold conditions or requires a lot of heavy lifting, the prospective employee must be in sufficient physical condition in order to properly cope with the stress that the job demands. There must be transparency on both ends for there to be fairness on either side.

However, there are some employers that will plead against playing due recompense, claiming this reason and that as to not granting the rightful claims that the employee does have. Perhaps it was a construction accident on grounds that were not safe, to which the employer had not informed the worker thereby resulting in a disability or even wrongful death, in some cases. The physical damage is there, yes, but the incident could incite trauma that is felt psychologically by both the victim and the victim’s family, not to mention the financial expense that then burdens the victim.

If you or someone you know’s right to workers’ compensation is being withheld without justifiable reason, it is advisable that experienced legal assistance is sought immediately.