A Credit Counselor Versus a Bankruptcy Attorney

Reverse Mortgage: Is It a Good Option?

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After you have lived in a home for many years, you have the opportunity to utilize your home’s equity to fund other purchases. You may want to pay for school tuition, renovations, or even a new vehicle. If you are a qualified homeowner, you may have the opportunity to get a reverse home mortgage to use your equity. The following is some helpful information about reverse mortgages: Reverse Mortgage Defined A reverse mortgage is a specialized loan that allows you to turn your home’s equity into a liquid asset. This arrangement is different than a standard home equity loan. The primary difference is that you will not be required to repay the money you borrow against the home equity until you are no longer living in your home. Home equity loans will need to be repaid as soon as you initiate the transaction. However, you will still have to pay for your insurance and taxes.  The Home as an Inheritance One major concern many have about reverse home mortgages is whether or not the home can be included as a part of an inheritance in your estate. If you sell the home or are no longer using it as your primary residence, the loan will mature and the money borrowed will need to be repaid. This will include any finance charges and interest. If you sell the house, any money left over after the sale will be belong to the estate and can be passed to the beneficiaries. No debt will be placed into the estate. Cancelling a Reverse Home Mortgage There may be a chance that once you get into the loan, you may decide that you do not want to go through with it for whatever reason. According to federal law, you will have a certain amount of days to change your mind and cancel the process. This is called a right of rescission. This information will be included in your loan paperwork. Many lenders will approach the cancellation process differently, so you will need to have all of their contact information along with a copy of their policy when you sign your loan agreement. If you have an issue with cancelling the loan within the given time frame, you can contact a real estate attorney to help you. Getting a reverse mortgage is a major financial step. It is very important that you understand the process, your rights, and the legalities of the...

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Two Mistakes People Make When Filing an ERISA Disability Claim

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Filing an ERISA claim for long-term disability benefits is notoriously challenging. You have to be at the top of your game; otherwise, your claim may be denied, forcing you to waste several months starting all over. Here are two common mistakes people make when filing a claim for compensation and what you can do to avoid them. Depending on Your Employer or Human Resources Officer Possibly the biggest and most common mistake people make when filing a claim is depending on their bosses or human resources officers to help them. For instance, the person’s boss may decide he or she is too ill or injured to continue working and the employee may attempt to use that rationale when asking for benefits. The truth is, when filing a claim, you will be working with an insurance company, not your boss or human resource officer. They can certainly be good sources of information and support. However, insurance companies have a certain standard claims must meet before they are approved. For example, you will typically be required to submit reports from your doctor(s) detailing your condition and treatments. If you don’t meet their standard, you claim will be denied. It’s important to talk to a representative at the insurance company about the claims process and the information you need to submit to it. Even better, you should hire an attorney with experience handling ERISA claims to help you navigate the process and increase your chances of getting approved. Thinking the Insurance Company Isn’t Watching You It may sound very Big Brother-ish, but as soon as you submit a claim, you must assume the company is keeping tabs on you. Insurance fraud accounts for $80 billion in losses every year in every industry. These losses cut directly into the company’s profits, so you can be certain it will take every precaution to ensure the claim is legit, including hiring a private investigator to monitor your activities. Oftentimes, the insurance company will send claimants activity reports for them to complete. If you receive one, that’s your cue the company has some suspicions about your claim and may be watching you. It’s critical that if the doctor advises you to avoid participating in certain activities, you follow his or her direction, even if you are feeling better than normal on a particular day. The last thing you need is to be accused of insurance fraud because that could tank your chances of ever being approved for benefits. For more information about these and other mistakes people make when filing ERISA claims or assistance with your case, contact an attorney like those at Iler and...

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A Quick Look At Common Crane-Related Accidents In Construction Zones

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Whether you are a construction worker yourself or just happen to be in the area where construction work is being performed, being in the same vicinity of heavy equipment requires absolute caution for sure. However, there is one piece of heavy construction equipment that is far more likely to cause an injury simply because of the nature of how it operates: the crane. Cranes are a common staple in construction zones because they offer a telescoping lift boom that gives the operator the ability to maneuver heavy objects in an overhead fashion. To keep yourself protected from injury if you are going to be in a construction zone, you should know the common crane-related injury that can occur.  Injuries sustained from falling objects dropped by a crane during movement.  It is not at all uncommon for a crane operator to assume that whatever they have picked up is secure only to have an object or pieces of an object fall to the ground when they start to move the crane arm. The combination of the heft of some of these items and the major elevation can mean that dropped objects have the potential to not only cause a major injury, but also be sent hurling in varying directions after striking the ground because of the force.  Injuries resulting from loose crane equipment.  While crane operators have the responsibility of ensuring the attachments and equipment they use with the crane is completely secure, accidents can and do happen. If an attachment is not properly secured to the lift boom of the crane, these massive parts can be dropped to the ground when the crane arm is in motion. Because the attachments can weigh hundreds of pounds, the potential of traumatic injury if this happens is high.  Injuries caused by a misguided crane hook or other attachment.  It is vital that construction companies only allow operators on a crane that are licensed and have ample experience because the crane’s attachments can be extremely difficult to maneuver and maintain control. This is especially true with attachments suspended by a cable like a crane hook. When the arm moves, if the motion occurs to quickly, it can send the suspended attachment veering out toward bystanders, which can be extremely dangerous.  In the end, being in the same area as a crane in operation is a position you should avoid if at all possible. However, if you have injured by a crane, it is a good idea to discuss your injuries with an attorney for legal advice.  For more information about help with heavy equipment injuries, contact businesses such as Maritime Law...

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2 Reasons To Contact An Attorney When You Receive A Reckless Driving Charge

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If you have received a reckless driving charge, this can be very serious. This kind of a charge can cause you to lose your license, pay fines, or even go to prison. Since these are very serious charges, you should do all that you can to present yourself well when receiving this charge. One of the best ways to effectively represent yourself is going to be to hire an attorney who specializes in reckless driving. This article will discuss 2 reasons to contact an attorney when you receive a reckless driving charge.  You Can Often Get A Free Consultation If you think that you would like to hire an attorney to help you with your reckless driving charge but aren’t sure exactly what they are going to be able to do for you and/or if you are going to be able to afford them, then you will be happy to know that most attorneys allow you to come in for a free consultation. During this consultation, you are going to be able to discuss your case with the attorney in detail, and they will be able to determine what it is that they can do to defend you and how much it is going to cost. This will allow you to see if you are going to be able to hire the attorney without ever having to pay anything before you commit.  They Will Do All They Can To Decrease Your Charges  An attorney that specializes in reckless driving charges is going to know the ins and the outs of the law much better than you do. Because of this, they are going to know what information is going to be needed and what angle you should take when they are defending you in court. Doing this is going to be the most effective way to lessen your charges. For example, if you were originally going to have your license revoked, they may be able to have you instead take driving courses in order to keep your license and work off the points. Also, they may be able to get you out of going to prison, for doing more community service. And in some cases, they may even be able to remove all of your charges. In all of these cases, you would have been much worse off if you hadn’t had an attorney there to help you with your...

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Revocable Trusts: What To Know About This Trusty Estate Planning Tool

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The last will and testament document has always held a prime spot in any estate planning package, and is usually the only tool most people even consider when making financial plans for after their death. The will, however, has its limitations, and if you are not considering the use of revocable trust as a vital part of your estate plan, you may be missing out. Read on to learn the basic facts and benefits of using this valuable estate planning aid. What should go into a trust? Anything you would address in a will can also be addressed using a revocable trust. Bank account funds, homes, cars, boats, jewelry, art and more can reside in a trust instrument. Just like a will, part of the trust will designate specific beneficiaries to inherit specific pieces of property contained in the trust. Unlike a will, however, the property addressed in a trust is never subject to probate, so the beneficiaries can receive their inheritances in a far more timely fashion than would be possible with a will that must be probated. It’s interesting to note that if the same asset is addressed in both a will and a trust, but the asset has differing beneficiaries, the beneficiary named in the trust gets precedence over the one named in the will. Who oversees the trust? Again, just as in a will, a trusted person is put in charge of distributing and overseeing the trust once the trust’s owner passes away. The duties of this person, referred to as a trustee, serves to fill a similar role as that of a personal representative (or executor). As long as the trust’s owner is alive, the trust can be modified as often as needed (which explains the “revocable” part of the term). Furthermore, the trustee is given other financial duties to accomplish, such as paying the bills of the estate. The privacy issue. Another benefit of a revocable trust is that it is entirely private. Once a traditional will is filed with the probate court, it becomes a public document for all to see, including the beneficiaries. With a trust, no one but the owner and the trustee necessarily know the full contents of it. This means that individual beneficiaries have no way of knowing what the other beneficiaries are inheriting unless they choose to divulge that information. This feature could help reduce the potential for animosity and jealousy that often occurs with a will. Be sure to speak to an estate planning attorney for more information about revocable trusts. Contact a firm like Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC to learn...

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Three Reasons Why Trust Estates Are A Good Idea For Your Offspring

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When you have a lot of money, assets, property, and wealth to distribute among your children, you want to make sure they use it wisely. The best way to do that is to establish trust estates for each of your children. It does not matter at the moment if they are still too little to know what money is. The trusts are meant for their future anyway. Here are a few more reasons why setting up trusts is a good idea for your offspring. Keeping the Wealth in the Family and for the Kids Establishing the trusts now prevents your wealth from being distributed in ways you do not want it to be. It also prevents anyone from accessing the trusts via securing guardianship over your children should you pass away suddenly. Your wills and estate lawyers can make sure that your will and the trusts are airtight, so that no one can access the money in the trusts except for the children themselves. You can also make sure that the children cannot access the money until they reach a certain age. Noticing Negative Patterns of Behavior and Protecting the Money The frontal cortex in humans is not fully developed until your mid-20s. As such, your ability to reason, maintain self-control, and refrain from blowing millions of dollars in days is not entirely there before you reach that age. If you also notice negative patterns of behavior in one or more of your children, you will want to refrain from giving them lots of money when they are teenagers or very young adults. It could lead to a downward spiral. Protect the kids from themselves and protect the wealth you want to bestow on them by creating trusts that forbid their access until age “x”, and then you can feel more at ease with leaving them something. Learning Good Work Ethics and Charity First Finally, another good reason for establishing trust estates and setting the age restrictions on these trusts is so that your children learn good work ethics first. Learning and understanding that hard work makes a difference, and knowing how hard people struggle to make their money is essential to the proper management of wealth, once you have it. It also encourages your children to become acquainted with helping those in need, and helping those who have less than they do. Then, when they receive their trust funds, they can better appreciate what you have left...

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4 Things Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know About Workers Compensation

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If you have been injured while on the job, you should definitely file a workers compensation claim. The reason for this is that you will receive compensation for your injuries and the time you have had to miss from work because of recovery and time spent in the hospital. However, you will not receive fair compensation if you fall for the small tricks and tactics played by insurance companies. Here are four things the insurance companies don’t want you to know: Insurance Companies Often Overlook Tips and Overtime: When the insurance company offers you a settlement amount, they typically only include your normal paycheck. However, if you would have otherwise worked overtime, they will overlook this. And if you work in a business where you regularly receive tips, they will attempt to leave this out, as well. Unfortunately, many victims fall for this tactic because they don’t realize that their compensation settlement should be factoring these things in.  Insurance Companies Want You to See Their Doctor: When you are injured on the job, the insurance company working for your place of business will attempt to get you to see their doctor, which often works for those workers who do not currently have a regular doctor that they visit. The problem with this is that it is a conflict of interest. The doctor will often be biased because they work closely with your place of business and may overlook some of the severities of your injuries.  Insurance Companies Watch You for Mistakes: The insurance company is going to be paying close attention to your actions. For example, if you miss doctor appointments, they are going to take note of this and use it against you in the future to downplay the severity of your injuries. They will even look at your social media platforms to disprove the severity of your injuries, as well. Be careful not to post any pictures of you appearing to be participating in any vigorous activities.  Insurance Companies Withhold Benefit Information From You: The workers compensation insurance that your employer purchases for their business will sometimes include benefits that you may not be aware of, which is just what the insurance company wants because they are trying to save money. For example, one of the most common benefits that employees are not aware of is the benefit of compensation to a friend or family member taking time out of their day to care for you after you have suffered an injury that has limited your ability to perform daily tasks.  When you know these four things that insurance companies attempt to hide from you, you can be sure that you are less likely to fall for their tactics to save money. You will be in even better hands if you hire a workers compensation attorney who can help you avoid these issues, as...

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Why You May Fail A Mistake Of Fact Defense When Charged With Selling Alcohol To A Minor

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A mistake of fact defense is one based on the premise that the defendant relied on an incorrect assumption of fact when performing the illegal act. For example, if you are charged with selling alcohol to a minor, you may be able to defend yourself by proving that the minor presented themselves as an adult above the legal drinking age. However, this defense isn’t foolproof. For example, you will not succeed with this mistake of fact defense if: Your State Classifies the Offense as Strict Liability A strict liability offense is one in which the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you intended to do something illegal; they just have to prove that you did it. This means you can still be found guilty of a strict liability offense even if it was a mistake on your part. In some places, giving alcohol to a minor is a strict liability offense. This means the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you did not know the person you gave alcohol to was a minor. You will still be charged with the offense even if the person had a fake ID that looked like the real thing. You Did Not Ask To See an ID In most jurisdictions, you are required to ask an ID from every person who comes to buy alcohol and looks underage. You aren’t supposed to assume that the person just looks young; you are supposed to verify it. For example, Indiana requires alcohol sellers to check identification for anybody under the age of 40 who wants to buy alcohol to drink outside the premises. It’s not easy to mistake a 16-year-old for a 41-year-old; therefore, you won’t have a valid defense if you sell alcohol to a 16-year-old by claiming that they appeared old enough. The ID Was Obviously Fake In some cases, it’s not just enough to ask for an ID; you are also required not to sell alcohol to anybody with an obviously fake ID. An obviously fake ID is one that any reasonable person would immediate pick out as fake. For example, if a teenager comes with a driver’s license that has a picture of a person of the opposite gender, then the ID cannot be theirs. In such a case, you cannot sell alcohol to the minor and later claim that you did so because the person showed you an ID. You Did Not Verify the ID Lastly, you may not be able to defend yourself if you did not verify the ID that the minor showed to you. This is because, in some states, you don’t just accept an ID (with regard to alcohol sales) because it looks genuine. You are supposed to verify it by using a scanner before making the sale. Therefore, don’t just assume that you can use the mistake of fact defense when accused of selling alcohol to a minor. Consult a criminal defense attorney like Robert A Murray to confirm that the circumstances of your alleged act allow you to use that defense. The attorney may also furnish you with other forms of defenses depending on your...

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Laundromat Laureate: 5 Ways To Be Positively Productive While Waiting For Your Clothes To Dry

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Laundromats are unquestionably a life-saver for millions of Americans; in fact, people spend almost five billion dollars every year getting their clothes clean. Beyond getting your favorite outfits ready for prime time, though, a laundromat can be an excellent place to accomplish other things simultaneously, leaving you with soft, fluffy clothes and the feeling that you’ve really made great use of your time. 1. Read The Labels That formerly favorite shirt of yours may actually need to be washed by hand or taken to a dry cleaner, but if you never read the label on it, how would you know? While it’s best to learn the special care instructions before you buy an article of clothing (mainly because you’d likely never buy it if you knew all the work involved in caring for it), doing so at the laundromat will help to avoid shrinkage and spoilage of your otherwise favorite clothes. 2. Reach For Your Dreams People find many excuses for not following their dreams, but if you think about it, life is really too short for any of them. Rather than being hypnotized by the spin cycle, start researching a way to bring your dreams to fruition. For example, if you want to start a business or patent an invention, learn exactly how it’s done. Then next time the towels are on tumble dry, create a five-step plan, consisting of the moves you can make to get your idea off the ground. Within a few months, you should have all the knowledge you need (and be completely out of excuses) to take your dreams to the next level – reality! 3. Write A Letter (By Hand) Hand-written letters are a lost art, but not entirely obsolete. If you put pen to paper, you could make someone’s day, give them a lasting memento or be more direct and honest than you could ever be in a brief text. Especially if there’s someone special in your life who’s older and remembers the days before computers, a written letter is striking and soulful by comparison. 4. Plan Your Budget Ugh! The budget…Most people don’t have one and even fewer actually follow set spending limits, but it could save you a considerable amount of money in the long-run, perhaps even helping you find your way out of debt. Formulate a smart spending formula and every week while you’re doing laundry, tackle the obstacles standing between you and financial freedom. You could write out a money-saving grocery list and check out sales at all the local stores on your cell or laptop, rather than simply daydreaming as you await for tumble-dry to finish! 5. Purge Your Cell Phone An overload of unused apps on your phone hogs resources and if you’re like a lot of people, you also have a ton of old pics that will never see print and other files that are otherwise unproductive and wasteful. Spend a few minutes clearing out the cobwebs and your phone should perform better, as well as have more room for more beneficial programs, such as those that help you manage time, money, the space in your freezer and more. Or how about an app that will help you plan that business you’ve been dreaming of? Either way, you and your phone will be more...

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3 Tips For Handling Your Child’s Arrest

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When your child is arrested, you have to act quickly to protect his or her rights. One way you can protect your child’s rights is to make sure he or she does not inadvertently say or do something that could be used against him or her in court. If your child has been arrested, here are some considerations that both of you need to make.  Understand Your Child’s Rights Unfortunately, not every parent who is facing a legal situation involving their children understands that their child has rights. Some people mistakenly believe that, because they are children, they do not have the same rights as adults. In actuality, children have many of the same rights as adults.   One of the most important rights your child retains is the right to legal representation. If you do not have a criminal attorney for your child, retain one as soon as possible.   Advise Your Child Not to Talk to Police or Prosecutors Ideally, police should not attempt to interrogate your child until he or she has legal representation. However, this does not always happen. Your child can face the same consequences that an adult does if he or she answers an incriminating question that is posed by the police. The prosecutor could use what is said against your child in court and that could lead to a conviction.  As soon as you are notified that your child is in custody, tell your child not to answer any questions. Your child’s attorney will discuss the case with your child and determine what questions, if any, he or she should answer.   Request a Notice of Charges You and your child must be informed of why he or she is being detained by police. If the police have not provided this information, this is a violation of your child’s rights. You can ask the police to provide you with a notice of charges.   The notice should detail exactly what charges your child is facing. Once you have this information, your attorney can start to work on your child’s case. Depending on the severity of the case, the attorney might be able to secure your child’s release on bail.   Receiving notification that your child has been arrested can be scary. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced criminal law attorney, you can protect your child’s rights and work to defend him or her against the charges he or she is...

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