North Carolina Family Faces Troubles in Estate Planning

Nobody ever wants to think about it, let alone plan for it. But it’s unfortunately inevitable. There will be a time after everyone is gone. In the end though, estate planning is about the children and grandchildren. Those who you have loved in life and want to continuously provide for even after you are gone. However, it doesn’t always go so smoothly. Due to the intricacies of paperwork and countless documents that need to be filed, a planned estate can go awry. This family from Buncombe County, North Carolina is the unfortunate example of this.

From a story reported by the Western North Carolina News, Connie, the mother of two daughters Michele Dubay and Angela Swift was diagnosed with Stage Four lung cancer when she decided to carefully plan out her estate. As an architect, Connie knew the time and effort that goes into a well-laid plan so she and her husband, Chuck Root decided to fill out the estate plan themselves. They owned a farm together, and Connie had wanted the property to go to her daughters. However, upon further planning and consideration, Connie thought it would be best to instead sell the farm upon her passing and divvy up the money amongst her two daughters. Things didn’t go as planned and once the farm was sold the money didn’t find it’s way to Connie’s daughters. Instead it wound up under Chuck’s name. Apparently when Connie had changed her plan from giving the property to her daughters to bequeathing the earnings from selling it, the will was properly updated so the money defaulted to her husband. Now, Chuck did the best thing he could as the stepfather to these two daughters he has never formally met. He has been going to the courthouse for days trying to get through probate court so that he can get the estate properly settled and into his step daughters possession. According to the estate planning lawyers from the Arenson Law Group, the process of probate court is extremely taxing without experienced help. They have said that they aren’t going to let money divide their bonds as a family.

This is a heartwarming story that comes out of such a tragic situation. If it hadn’t been for the mixup in the estate plan, Michele and Angela would have never known how much their stepfather Chuck really cares about them. This entire experience has brought them closer together as a family. Normally speaking with an estate planner lowers the probability for disputes after someone’s gone. Thankfully this family’s situation ended up well for everyone, but that isn’t always the case.

Having to plan for one’s estate is difficult. What makes it even worse is all of the paperwork that comes with it increasing the chance for something to go wrong. Sometimes though, like in Connie’s case, the family can come together stronger. Chuck called the situation an “emotional rollercoaster, ” but thankfully most of the motions involved were those of love.

Chill, man.

As our world continues to grow and become increasingly interconnected it is to be expected that cultural values begin to shift as well. This can be examined in the growing acceptance of recreational drugs such as marijuana. More and more states have begun to decide for themselves that recreational marijuana can benefit their population in many ways. Taxes collected from marijuana can be used to better public facilities and provide funds for schools to improve education. These great things are entirely overlooked in other states where marijuana remains illegal, therefore burdening the criminal justice system and overcrowding prisons for private profit.

States, where marijuana and other recreational drugs are illegal, utilize outdated approaches to drug related incidents that affect their communities. The twentieth century, unfortunately, left the United States with many policies that allow prosecutors to take advantage of the justice system, filling prisons and correctional facilities with petty offenders. This gross distortion of freedom gives private prison complexes an unlimited source of income by way of new inmates. Milwaukee Drug Crimes Defense lawyers are a suspect’s greatest hope for escaping the punishments of the criminal justice system. Outdated laws, proposed by government officials with obvious ties to the very prisons they are outsourcing to, continue to plague small time drug dealers and users. With the rise of the new Millennial generation, weed smoking is becoming increasingly popular in modern U.S. culture. Statistics show that “marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States, with over 25 million Americans using it every year”. Marijuana smokers are scattered everywhere across the country, varying in age, race, and almost every other factor imaginable. The new wave of acceptance is mostly due to pop culture praising herbal medication for stress relief, physical benefits like pain relief, and mind expansive deep thought. Surely, a drug that leaves the user in a state of open humor, physical euphoria, and endless creativity can not be truly bad. It is only the people who stand to gain profits from the drug’s supposed dangers that advocate for its status as an illegal narcotic in order to place more inmates behind bars.

In summary, the over criminalization in drug related offenses must come to an end through the legislative action for the open legalization of marijuana and other recreational drugs for the entire country. We can not continue to fill our prisons with individuals carrying drug offenses purely for private profit. With a growing bank of data supporting claims that marijuana is indeed not dangerous like previously suggested, we as a society must work to free our fellow citizens that have been wrongfully convicted in the name of profit for private institutions. When studies continue to prove that, “the use of marijuana is less damaging to the body than the use of alcohol or tobacco” we can no longer stand aside while our neighbors are being prosecuted on an outdated policy. Let us join together to mold a new generation that sees drugs such as marijuana for what they are and not what they are not.

DUI: Not Just a Risk to Yourself

Driving under the influence of alcohol, also shortened as DUI, is an offense wherever you go in the United States. If you are on the wheel with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more, you are already considered driving while intoxicated. In fact, even if you have blood alcohol content that is lower, you can still become questionable if you show signs of intoxication, like poor body coordination and bloodshot eyes.

DUI is illegal because the authorities clearly know how dangerous it can be.

Risk on yourself

The first victim of DUI is you. The moment you decide to drive while drunk, you are already putting yourself at risk of being involved in a car accident. This is because of the physical and psychological effects of alcohol on your body, as they can limit your driving skills.

Aside from poor body coordination, you will have poor traffic comprehension, slow reaction time, and an increased tendency to do other reckless driving stunts, like speeding.

Because of these effects, car accidents caused by DUI are often violent and life-threatening. The property damage and the heavy traffic you create should also not be ignored.

Risk on others

If you are caught driving under the influence with a child passenger, the charges against you may become worse. But still, you should consider yourself lucky if that is the only bad thing that has happened.

It could be worse. You can get into an accident and bring other people with you, including passengers, other drivers on the road, and even unsuspecting pedestrians. According to the website of Brunkenhoefer P.C., those who are responsible for DUI accidents may be held accountable for compensation to their victims.

In other words, a DUI accident can truly be a financially devastating experience, in the form of fines, hospital bills, lost wages for missing time at work due to injury, attorney and court fees, and compensatory fees for the victims you have involved in your reckless endeavor.

It can also be said that money is not the worst damage you can sustain, because nothing is worse than injury and death, especially if they are sustained by an innocent party.

The Complexity of T-Bone Collisions

The Complexity of T-Bone Collisions

There are various kinds of car accidents, such as head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, and rollovers. But one of the most overlooked yet equally dangerous kinds is T-bone collisions. In fact, it is so overlooked that many people don’t even know what it is. A T-bone collision occurs when the front end of a vehicle hits the side of another, forming a letter “T,” hence the name.

What makes T-bone collisions dangerous is the fact that, often, the accidents are chain reactions. The vehicle that gets T-boned may receive enough force for it to crash to nearby obstacles, such as other vehicles, utility poles, street lights, and fire hydrants. It may even turnover and eject its occupants. The vehicle that causes the T-bone accident may also inflict enough force on itself that it goes over the initial collision area and wreak further havoc.

T-bone collisions are even more tragic when a negligent or reckless party has caused it. This is because an innocent person is likely hurt and properties are likely damaged just because of somebody else’s actions. According to the website of this Philadelphia accident lawyer, those who have been victims of such instances may have legal options, which is good news.

T-bone accidents typically occur because of right-of-way problems. For example, a vehicle has been diligently crossing the intersection with a green light when a vehicle from the adjacent road suddenly enters the intersection with a red light, resulting into a T-bone collision.

The diligent driver, the one who gets his vehicle T-boned, is clearly at a disadvantage. First, he didn’t do anything wrong and was just following traffic rules. Second, being T-boned puts him at risk of crashing on nearby obstacles, such as those that have been mentioned earlier.

It is not always about running through red lights and blowing stop signs, because even seemingly innocent behaviors such as turning left may put that vehicle’s occupants at risk of getting T-boned by vehicles from oncoming traffic. In these instances, the person who gets T-boned is the one who has been negligent.

Whoever is at fault, it doesn’t change the fact that there will be medical bills, repair costs, and possibly lost wages for losing time at work because of injury.

Product liability is Based on the Assumption of Negligence

“When your physician prescribes you a medication, their intention is to help you find relief from the symptoms of an illness or condition. You may, however, be unknowingly filling a dangerous pharmaceutical when you visit the pharmacy. This is not necessarily the fault of the physician, but rather the fault of the drug manufacturer. For instance, the manufacturer may be marketing false claims for this pharmaceutical, or the FDA may have decided to recall your drug after you filled your prescription. Whatever the case may be, such pharmaceuticals have the potential to cause serious harm to unknowing consumers.” (http://www.shw-law.com/)

Pharmaceutical products need to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first before these can be made available in the market. Before gaining approval by the FDA, however, the drug’s manufacturer will have to show proofs that the drug has been tested and proven safe and effective for patient use.

Pharmaceutical companies have the legal obligation to make sure that all their products are safe and effective and that the risk/s associated with using their medicine (if here are any) are clearly indicated in their product’s label. Companies which negligently fail in their duty to inform consumers about the risks associated with using their medical product can be sought after by those harmed due to use of these products. Legal action that will enable those harmed to seek compensation from negligent pharmaceuticals is a right that victims have under the law. This legal action against manufacturers is called product liability, a legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors and sellers in compensating consumers harmed or injured by defective or harmful products.

Product liability is based on the assumption of negligence, an act many manufacturers are guilty of. Negligence can result to failure in performing an important step in the production process, adding a step that is not part of the production steps, or failure to produce goods that comply with industry standards. Regardless of the consequence of this negligence, liable parties should be legally obliged to compensate those who they harm or injure.

Individuals who have sustained an injury, especially a serious one, due to use of a defective pharmaceutical product, would require further medical treatment and a recovery period, which will necessitate absence from work. Though the law allows those harmed by defective pharmaceutical products to receive compensation from the liable party, the amount of compensation which will depend on the extent and effects of the injury should be determined in a lawsuit (in out-of-court settlements, liable parties usually offer victims the least amount of compensation). Due to this, it may be advantageous for injured victims to seek representation from a seasoned personal injury lawyer.

The Longshore Act

Longshoremen and those who assist in loading and unloading vessels, ship-breakers, ship repairmen, and shipbuilders are the main categories of employees eligible for benefits under the Longshore Act. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal workers’ compensation act; it governs workers’ compensation for maritime employers and employees, and civilian employees on military bases (maritime employees covered under the Longshore Act include longshoremen, harbor workers, and certain people who work on docks shipyards or shipping terminals.

A study on the health profile of shipyard workers, specifically of shipbuilders,was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to evaluate the risks these types of workers were exposed to. The NCBI is part of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

Though a very important industry, ship building, nonetheless, requires workers to observe constant caution due to the uncomfortable and dangerous working conditions workers face. In closed or cramped spaces, shipbuilders carry out various activities including: dry docking and launching; handling large materials; outfitting; surface preparation and scaling; fabricating and repairing large structural components; loading and unloading, welding, electroplating, electrical maintenance and repair; and painting. These activities, according to a San Diego maritime lawsuit attorney, often result to electrical shock due to working in wet environments, respiratory problems from inhaling toxic fumes, broken bones, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, severe lacerations or loss of limbs, and severe injuries, chronic illness or fatalities due to lead intoxication, electrocution, inhalation of paint fumes, respiratory problems due to exposure to asbestos, fires and explosions from welding, and noise-induced hearing loss.

Besides the unhealthy working conditions, shipbuilders are also exposed to: huge machineries, which require immense skill and strength to operate; high pressure in their enclosed, tiny work space; and exposure to dangerous minerals and substances, like asbestos.

Despite all these life-altering and life-threatening conditions, many employers either fail to provide workers with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) or never show concern when workers violate safety work rules by not using PPE while at work. With help from a highly-skilled maritime lawyer, workers, who get injured, may have better chances at receiving the benefits provided under the Longshore Act, or at seeking compensation through a lawsuit against their negligent employer.

Where to Check in Case of a Roof Leak

A leaking roof is definitely among the most common problems experienced by homeowners. Problems like discolored ceilings and walls point to water damage caused by leaks, and these issues can affect the integrity of the structure of the roof. Before reaching for the phone to call a Best Roofing expert, you might want to try your hand at identifying the cause of the leak and fixing it yourself.

Unsure of how to check for roof leaks by yourself? One of the first places you’ll need to check is the flashing around chimneys, pipes, vents, and any other place where there’s another object or structure that connects with the roof. Flashing that is rusted or is loose in some areas will need to be reinforced with sealant or, depending on the extent of the damage, completely overhauled and replaced.

Another area where leaks commonly start is the gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool in one place, damaging that part of the roof. In colder climates, the water that’s collected by a clogged gutter can freeze and cause serious foundational issues.

Missing and broken shingles can also point to a problem area in your roof. Damaged shingles can cause water to seep into the inner foundation of the roof that can then leak inside the house through the ceiling. Shingles that have come loose, curled up, or cracked will need to be replaced to prevent further damage to the roof.

If your roof has two planes that intersect with each other, you might also want to check this area for damages. Whether it’s covered with rolled roofing or flashing, water commonly pools in the lower areas where planes of a roof intersect. Any damage to the material covering these areas are sure to cause water to leak inside your house.

How To Find Leaks In Your Swimming Pool?

Did you know that the average residential pool contains about 20,000 gallons of water? With this volume of liquid, finding leaks in your pool can be difficult. In most instances, you would have to hire the services of a leak detection company. They use sophisticated methods in finding the source of leaks in your swimming pool. According to the website of American Leak Detection of Fort Worth, leaks in your pool can lead to huge electric bills. When searching for leaks in your swimming pool, there are some questions that you need to address.

Is The Leak Causing Water Loss?

Just because there was a decrease in the water level of your pool does not mean it already has a leak. It could be due to the changing air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed. Use the bucket test to measure the amount of water lost after 24 hours from the test. If the level of water in the pool has decreased more than the water in the bucket, chances are there is a leak.

Is The Leakage Greater When The Pump Is Circulating?

If your answer is Yes, then there is indeed a leak in your pool. Types of leaks may range from minor seepage to high pressure sprays. There could also be internal leaks that could develop from defective filter valves. Scenarios like these can result to loss of clean and potable water in the process.

Is The Leak Greater When The Pump Is Switched Off or Not?

When switched off, leaks may occur in the fittings or valves of your pool. If there are air locks in the pump, then this means that you have a leak that needs to be repaired all the way.
Resolving the issue about leaks in your swimming pool can be necessary if you want to take a dip and refresh yourself. Have the leaking faucets before your expenses pile up.

Boat Safety Tips To Reduce Accidents

There are many activities that can make a boating trip a truly fun experience. But sometimes too much enjoyment needs to have some limitations especially when it can cause boating accidents which can injure or even kill people. Boating is designed to be a relaxing endeavor but it can become stressful it it results to harm or the death of people. A report published by the Coast Guard revealed that there were 4,064 boating accidents which includes 610 deaths and 2,678 injuries.

According to the website of The Benton Law Firm, there are many factors that can lead to boating accidents. This may include alcohol, poor lighting, boat malfunction, driver inexperience, weather conditions, speeding, and others. These types of accidents can have devastating effects which can either be injury or death.

To keep boating accidents from happening to you, it is always a good practice to have an idea of boating safety rules. By keeping in mind these guidelines, you can always assure yourself of a fun and enjoyable boating experience:

1. Don’t drink while boating

Boating while drinking alcohol can be one cause of accident. So stay away from drinking when operating a boat. Studies have revealed that the effects of alcohol can be exacerbated by exposure to sun and wind. The likelihood of boating accidents increases when you drink alcohol.

2. Be Aware of the Weather Conditions

Before heading out to sea, check out the local weather report. If you see dark clouds, rough winds, or sudden drop in temperature, it is best to stay out of the water.

3. Always have safety equipment

Most victims of drowning stem from the individual not wearing their life jackets. It should be worn all the time while on the water. Another piece of equipment you need to have on your boat is a fire extinguisher. Likewise, make sure that you have operable search lights. Test the equipment before heading out to the sea and have spare batteries.

4. Better safe than sorry

To make sure that you will not become another boating statistics, practice safety all the time. Maintain a safe speed especially in crowded areas. Stay alert and away from large vessels and watercraft. Respect buoys and other navigational aids. They are designed to keep you safe when boating.

5. Learn How To Swim

As you will be staying in the water for most of the time, it will be to your benefit if you will learn how to swim. There are local organizations like the American Red Cross that provides swimming lessons for all ages and skills.

6. Enroll In A Boating Course

Enrolling yourself in a boating course is one of the ways you can learn about boating safety rules. The course requirements may vary depending on the state of your residence so make sure that you know them and comply.

Practicing boating safety can go a long way in ensuring that you will be involved in boat-related accidents. Follow these tips and you are on your way to having a fun and enjoyable experience out there in the sea.

The Right of Injured Workers to Sue Employers in the event of Work-related Accidents

One of the greatest challenges that construction firms need to face today is keeping up with the demands of progress, specifically, how to accomplish more within less time. The designs of buildings are becoming bigger, taller and more intricate, requiring workers to render longer work periods often ends in untoward incidences that continuously post threats to worker health and safety.

Houston personal injury lawyer would probably mention that a regular sight in construction areas is heavy machinery, like cranes, concrete mixers, forklifts, bulldozers, loaders, caterpillars, excavators, crawlers and road rollers. This machinery, undoubtedly, makes construction tasks easier and faster to accomplish; however, due to their huge size, wrong operation or requiring an untrained or careless worker to operate any of them can result to a disabling or even fatal injury.

Due to risks of accidents and injuries that construction workers (as well as all other types of employees) are exposed to every day, the US Congress passed into law (in 1970) the Occupational Safety and Health Act (or OSH Act). The Act aims to: ensure all working men and women of safe and healthful working conditions; assist and encourage the States in their efforts in ensuring safe and healthful working conditions; provide for information, education, research and training in the area of occupational safety and health; and, authorize enforcement of the standards developed under the Act. Enforcement of these standards has been delegated by OSH Act to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was created in 1971.

Despite OSHA’s untiring efforts in enforcing health and safety standards in the workplace, however, the US Department of Labor continues to receive reports of injuries and, sometimes, deaths due to accidents. Based on results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, in 2013, fatal work-related accidents totaled to 4,585; in 2014 the number of deaths went up 2%, registering 4,679.

Fatal accidents in construction sites include workers being struck and killed by a forklift or other heavy machineries, being struck by falling objects, electrocution, and falls, which frequently occur while workers are on ladders or scaffoldings.

Two standards enforced by Federal OSHA requires employers to provide their workers with personal equipment (such as helmet or hard-hat, eye protection, special goggles for welders, gauntlets for iron workers, hearing protection, and hard-toed shoes) designed to provide them with the needed protection against certain hazards and to make sure that workers, especially those tasked to operate and use heavy equipment or machineries, have been effectively trained. In the event of an accident resulting to injury or death, a January 1, 2015, OSHA Standard mandates (OSHA covered) employers to report the incident to OSHA within eight hours of learning of the event.

Work-related accidents resulting to injuries or death entitle workers or their families (in case of worker’s death) to file a claim with their state’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance office. Financial benefits, however, are often too small or delayed, that is if the application for claim is not rejected. Besides these, the Worker’s Comp also restricts injured workers from further pursuing legal action against their employer.

Under certain circumstances, however, this Worker’s Comp’s provision may be ruled against by a court, especially in cases where the injury is too severe or is fatal. Knowing more about injured workers’ rights may be in the best interest of the worker at this point.