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Litigation

Understanding the Grounds for Probate Litigation

The administering of the decedent’s estate, as per the will, or as per the state laws, utilizes the probate process. This legal process involves settling the outstanding debts of the deceased, and dividing the remaining assets among the legal heirs. It is during this process that disputes, claims and lawsuits may arise.
After the decease of an individual, his/her estate undergoes this legal process. The court oversees the settling of the debts. The division of assets comes later. If there is a will, the administrator divides the assets according to it. In this case, legal dispute may be possible on grounds of the validity of the will.
When a potential heir faces exclusion from a will, he/she can also think of filing a claim in Florida. This is quite common. For example, a dependent minor child from a previous marriage has the right to file a claim for inclusion as an heir. Excluding such a potential heir is not acceptable in most cases.
The administration of the estate can also be a ground for probate litigation. If any or all of the beneficiaries think that the administrator is not following the terms and conditions of the will, they may file a case. Any improper activity on the part of the executor can become an issue in this regard.
Florida laws specify the division of the estate in case an individual dies intestate, i.e. without a will. The court decides on who gets what according to these laws. The spouse and descendents are the primary heirs. In case there is none, the assets can go to the parents, siblings, paternal and maternal kindred and so on as per the directives of the law.
Whatever the ground for dispute, handling Florida probate litigation requires proficiency in this specific legal domain. In-depth knowledge of the trust and probate laws of the state is the first criterion when you are looking for a legal practitioner for proper representation in a lawsuit.
Just knowledge would not suffice – probate related lawsuits could get difficult! You need a lawyer with experience in such matters. Whether you are going to challenge a will or claim your share as a potential heir, an experienced lawyer can help you formulate the right strategies and approach the matter properly.
Get in touch with a good lawyer if you are considering filing a suit related to a deceased person’s estate, to reach a resolution with ease.…

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Lawyer

Trademark Versus Copyright: Which Applies to Your Content?

In my work, I encounter this particular confusion quite regularly – clients (and adverse parties) seem to think that copyright applies to both a website and its domain name. But this belief is incorrect. Here’s a simple, easy way to remember it:
Copyrights are for Content. Trademarks are for goods/services.
So, a client can claim a copyright in the content written on a blog, a website, etc. However, you can’t claim a “copyright” in the domain name that hosts your website: it’s not really content. It could be, however, a name linked to your goods or to a service that you provide. If so, you can claim trademark rights in that name.
[Note that these rights usually apply whether you register with the Federal government or not! But registration certainly helps your arguments later on, if it comes to that…]
For further information, the US Copyright Office website has a document that explains in greater detail what kind of things can get copyright protections, including literary, musical, and dramatic works. And, likewise, the US Patent and Trademark Office (usually abbreviated USPTO, or just PTO) has a document that explains trademarks in greater detail – it describes them as “a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods [or services] of one party from those of others….” Each US state may also offer trademark or copyright registrations, typically at a lower filing cost, although the usefulness of local registrations may not be great as federal registrations.…

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Legal Advice

New Hope For Those Facing Foreclosure

Courts are finally starting to wake up and realize that the bank isn’t always right. First, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court voided two home foreclosures after banks failed to provide proper paperwork. Now, a judge in Florida, has dismissed a foreclosure and banned its refilling.
Judge Maxine Cohen Lando of the Miami Dade Circuit Court tossed a foreclosure because of loan documentation issues. If that wasn’t bad enough, she held the bank’s lawyer in contempt.
Whether the bank’s lawyer is really responsible for the cascade of errors found by the court is not really the issue. The recent decisions tossing foreclosures is a sign that judges are growing frustrated by the embarrassing lack of proper paperwork from banks.
Years ago, you borrowed money from a bank to purchase a home. For the next twenty or thirty years, you would pay back the bank monthly. Today, mortgages are routinely sold, packaged and bundled and often turned into securities that investors can purchase on the open market. The bank that collects your money merely services the loan. Rarely do they “hold the paper” or own the loan.
For years, courts often turned a blind eye on who actually owned the mortgage. As long as it could be proved that the borrower defaulted on the note, the courts would grant foreclosure. Not so any more.
Recent victories for homeowners have come when lenders can’t find the original note and mortgage. Many banks have gone out of business or merged while the mortgages themselves have often been transferred or converted into securities. There should be a paper trail but often there isn’t. When you add in last year’s “robosigner” scandals in which some banks were forced to admit that they never really examined the documents they were declaring to be accurate and you have a mess. A mess and frustrated judges.
Half the states in the U.S. require a judge to sign off on a foreclosure. Borrowers in Wisconsin are lucky; Wisconsin is a judicial foreclosure state. Many states, however, do not. At least with judicial foreclosures, there is a good chance that an alert judge will spot a problem but often, they do not. Banks frequently prepare affidavits indicating all the paperwork is in order and that they hold the right to foreclose. Obviously that’s not always the case.
If you face the loss of your home, find a qualified foreclosure defense attorney. Trained lawyers know what documents to look for and know the right questions to ask. Even if all the paperwork is correct, a good lawyer can often keep you in your home for many months giving you the opportunity to negotiate with the bank or make other arrangements for the sale of your home.…

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Lawyer

The Top Causes of Car Accidents

Although car collisions can be accidental, they can also be avoided through proper vehicle maintenance, cautious driving, and careful maneuvering through the elements. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, there were 1.13 deaths per million vehicles traveled, the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded. The highway death toll of 30,797 also hit the lowest mark since 1950. However, drivers must continue to remain aware of their surroundings and use caution when taking the wheel to minimize the risk of an accident.
Car Maintenance
It is important to keep the vehicle up-to-date on all inspections and routine maintenance. If one side of the brakes fails to work, the other side will be unable to compensate and the vehicle will not stop. Tires need to remain inflated and rotated regularly. Uneven, improperly balanced, or worn-out tires also cause hazardous driving conditions, as do suspensions that are misaligned or broken. It’s also important to have the steering suspension checked by a mechanic. If the driver loses steering while behind the wheel, especially at high speeds, the collision could be disastrous.
Distracted Drivers
Oftentimes, drivers feel too confident when taking the wheel and have not been properly trained in road safety. However, due to recent law regulations, more states are demanding better and safer requirements for new drivers. Extra classroom instruction, road tests, and a higher new-driver age are all being put into effect across the country.
Driving under the influence and intoxication are a serious cause of traffic collisions. Because of this, the law sets strict cut-offs for blood alcohol content. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is one death every 45 minutes as a result from a vehicle crash and an alcohol-impaired driver.
Motorists are also easily distracted. Guaranteed ways to risk a collision include active discussions with passengers, talking on a cellular phone while driving, changing the radio and playing overly loud music. Daring drivers even eat, apply make-up, or change clothes while inside the vehicle. According to the NHTSA, in 2009, 5,474 people died and 448,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Aggressive driving and speeding are two other factors that contribute to car accidents. Tailgating, flashing high beams, rude gestures, and even assault are signs of an aggressive driver. Those who speed observe the speed limit signs, know the risk and the consequences, yet continue to do it anyway. The United States Bureau of Transportation Statics reports that in 2008, the greatest number of motor vehicle accidents occurred at a speed of 55 miles per hour, with 9,794 deaths.
Environmental Hazards
Weather is a severe factor when traveling in a car. Extreme sunlight, wind, rain, snow, and ice all make for a dangerous drive. Although bright sunlight causes blindness while driving, drivers do not consider the sun to be a hazard. Wind can cause a power line to fall, or debris to fly around or into your car. The NHTSA reports that in 2008, 30,167 accidents happened in normal weather conditions. However, the next highest crash report was 2,442 accidents which occurred in rain. Rain causes visual impairment if the vehicle does not have working windshield wipers, and it can cause sleek, slippery roads and flooding.
Even if the driver is traveling slowly and carefully through the snow, there is still a risk of an accident as there is no guarantee that an oncoming car will not slide and hit him. Drivers should always check the inflation of the tires and tread, keep a full tank of gas, and make sure that the windshield wipers work properly.
Drivers must also keep in mind that while roads must be maintained regularly, oftentimes they are not. Potholes and severely weathered roads make for not only a bumpy drive, but they also contribute to accidents. Traffic control devices such as signals and signs, crossings, and turning lanes all must be observed and followed carefully to avoid collisions.…

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Legal

What Are Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?

The term personal injury refers to an injury to a person’s body, emotional state, or mind. This is a legal term and does not refer to damage done to property. In legal matters this type of claim is often made in conjunction with accusing an individual or business with some type of negligence. The most common types of personal injury claims are tripping and falling, traffic accidents, accidents which are work related, and accidents caused by defective products. Personal injury claims can also involve injuries caused as a result of a medical or dental procedure. In these cases the claim might be a medical malpractice claim.
If the injured party can prove that there was negligence involved then they are often entitled to some amount of monetary compensation. This has become more controversial in the United States after exceedingly large amounts of money were paid to people whose injuries did not seem severe enough to warrant such compensation. Critics have called for some form of tort reform to restrict the amount of money an injured person can receive for certain injuries. Many individuals and special interest groups have accused lawyers and injured people of taking advantage of the system in order to receive compensation that is not in line with their injuries.
The law in the United States has set limitations on the amount of time and injured person can wait before filing a claim. In most states the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim lies somewhere between two and five years. Once a person has exceeded the maximum amount of time allowed to file a claim they are no longer eligible to receive compensation for their injuries. Most attorneys would recommend that an injured person consult with a lawyer immediately in order to avoid any possible complications which could result from waiting too long to file their personal injury claim.
Personal injury claims can involve a myriad of different types of injuries and accidents. For car accidents claims are usually handled by insurance companies and they generally do not make it to court. The same is true for injuries sustained by person while at someone else’s home. In this case homeowners insurance would take the place of automobile insurance and protect the homeowner from liability. Workers’ compensation has been set up to help cover the costs associated with injuries related to a person’s employment. Anyone interested in learning more about their local laws should consult with a lawyer in their area.…

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Lawsuit

Alternatives to Filing For Bankruptcy

Before you consider filing for personal bankruptcy, there are alternatives that you could evaluate for yourself. The first would be a debt settlement. In this option you hire negotiators from a company to deal with your creditors and reach an amicable decision on lowering the debt owed. This is a good option for those who are unable to manage even their minimum amounts due each month. It is also an ideal option for those who don’t have equity in the form of a home, land or other assets. It is considered the fastest and cheapest way to becoming debt free that declaring bankruptcy.
In the credit counseling option, you discuss with the creditors and negotiate a lower rate of interest. This reduces the burden substantially. Though safer, it can get considerably expensive. On an average, the debtor is able to become free of his debts within a 5 year span.
Declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 13 will have you on a repayment plan. A court appointed official will take control of your disposable income and this is channeled into your various debts. This can take up to 5 years. This is a good option to relieve you of secured debts like car or housing loans. This is not a good idea for credit card holders as it can turn out to be a much more expensive proposition. Chapter 7 on the other hand is a severe and last ditch option. In this case, you will be relieved of all your unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills etc. But you will have to surrender your fixed assets to be sold and the proceeds distributed between your creditors.
For those who own a lot of property, liquidating your assets would be a good option to declaring personal bankruptcy. This can also be done in the case of filing under Chapter 7. Based on exemptions and possible surplus that you may have, it’s best to sell your assets and clear off your debts rather than declare bankruptcy. In all cases, you will have to have an experienced debt lawyer with you. Make sure you hire the services of a company or individual that comes well recommended.…

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Lawsuit

Responding to Failed Brakes

When a driver’s brakes fail, he or she will usually panic. While this is a normal response, it is not the most favorable, as panic impedes on an individual’s ability to clearly think through the situation he or she is in. In many cases, individuals with failed brakes can avoid serious accidents if they can focus on stopping their cars.
Typically, an individual can tell that his or her brakes have failed when the brake pedal is no longer responsive. In some cases, this may mean that the brake pedal is jammed or obstructed. In others, it may be the sign of a larger problem.
After determining that his or her brakes are not functioning properly, an individual may have a couple of options for stopping his or her car:
A� First, individuals should warn other drivers of their brake failure by honking and turning on their hazard lights
A� Next, individuals should brush a foot under the brake pedal to determine whether something is lodged underneath the pedal, preventing it from depressing
A� If there is no obstruction, individuals should try pumping on the brake pedal to generate force to stop the vehicle
A� If pumping the pedal does not work, individuals should gently pull on the parking brake lever to gradually slow the car down
After stopping the car, individuals should have their automobiles towed to a repair shop to have their brakes fixed. They should never attempt to keep driving after experiencing brake failure. Unfortunately, not all cars can be stopped when the brakes fail. In many cases, the automobile’s manufacturer or a third-party brake repair shop may be to blame for brake failure.…