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Jacksonville Legal Blog

A different perspective on prenuptial agreements in family law

No Florida couple wants to contemplate a divorce in the months leading up to their wedding. That may be part of why so few prospective spouses move forward with the protections of a prenuptial agreement. Far too many men and women think of these family law contracts as nothing more than the outline for a divorce, when in fact they serve many other important purposes. 

The process of drafting a prenuptial agreement requires both parties to make a full and open disclosure of the entire scope of their financial lives. That includes income, assets, debts and ongoing financial obligations. Few couples will delve that deeply into their finances prior to a wedding. 

4 things to do after a hit-and-run accident

Few things can derail an otherwise good day faster than an automobile accident. After all, injuries and property damage are both common with car wrecks. If you cannot immediately identify the other driver, however, your collision can quickly become a bigger nightmare. In Florida, hit-and-runs make up a quarter of traffic accidents, rreports ABC Action News.

While no Florida driver wants to be on the receiving end of a hit-and-run accident, you can protect your legal rights by taking certain steps immediately after the collision. Here are four things to do if you are in a hit-and-run. 

Slip-and-fall personal injury claims involve complex litigation

Although it hardly ever snows in Florida, rainy days are not uncommon in December. Even when it only drizzles, pedestrians can be caught off guard by slippery, wet patches on sidewalks and other surfaces they encounter. Property owners who do not take reasonable care to eliminate slip-and-fall hazards might end up facing personal injury claims. Falls can cause a variety of injuries, from sprained ankles to traumatic brain injuries, depending on the direction  and severity of the fall.

The physics of slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents are different. Slippery surfaces typically cause people to fall backward while tripping usually leads to a forward fall. This is what influences the extent as well as the nature of the injuries fall victims suffer. A backward fall, for instance, can cause a whiplash motion of the head, which might cause rapid movement of the brain, causing it to collide with the walls of the skull -- a typical cause of TBIs from concussions to more permanent impairment and even death.

2 accused of theft likely focused on criminal defense options

The manner in which the aftermath of an arrest in Florida is handled can significantly affect the outcome. Regardless of what the charges are, exploring the criminal defense options is crucial -- even before answering questions or signing a statement. Two Jacksonville men may be considering their following their recent arrests.

Reportedly, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department investigated multiple reports of burglaries and thefts of a variety of items, including household objects, guns, tractors, power tools, electronics, mowers, trimmers, chainsaws and various other things. After arresting a 30-year-old man on an outstanding burglary warrant on Oct. 22, investigators linked the suspect to nine other felonies. Along with burglary, charges against him include child endangering or abandoning, and controlled substance possession.

Who will cover personal injury claim after hit-and-run accident?

Victims of hit-and-run accidents in Jacksonville and surrounding areas might find that recovering damages could be quite a challenge. Although law enforcement in Florida catches up with fleeing drivers in many cases, in true hit-and-run accidents, the drivers are never found. Medical expenses and other personal injury-related losses can be substantial, even more so if the victim was a pedestrian or a cyclist who suffered serious injuries.

The problems start at the time of the accident because information cannot be exchanged with an at-large driver, and whom does the victim report to his or her insurance company? Although a driver who flees the scene of an accident is typically deemed at fault, if he or she is never found, who can be sued? So what are the options for such a victim to recover damages?

Estate planning for hard assets may require detailed planning

The baby boomer generation will be engaging in one of the largest transfers of wealth in the country's history in the coming years. This has created a great need for estate planning to direct the passing of wealth in the precise ways that a person desires. Each person and each family in Florida have a unique story and a unique history that a person will want to preserve and honor.

Estate planning experts point out that while dividing monetary funds and assets has a certain mathematical certainty to it, the gifting of works of art and heirlooms is another prospect altogether. Such items are not amenable to being pinned down to a dollar value as precise as with money, stocks or financial funds. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder to some extent, but that analogy has limited value in discussing the passing on to one's heirs of an original Picasso.

What to expect when an Uber driver hits you while walking

Uber has experimented with self-driving cars even after one led to a fatality in Arizona. However, that has not deterred Florida from continuing to allow the company to continue testing the autonomous vehicles in the state. 

Although no other self-driving Uber accidents have come up, there are still hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers in the state. It is incredibly easy for a ridesharing app driver to become distracted, mainly because they have to constantly look at maps on their phones while behind the wheel. As a result, it is possible for an Uber driver to strike a pedestrian, and in this instance, the pedestrian needs to act quickly. 

Family law separation should accomplish a clean break

In Florida and elsewhere, it is not unusual for a couple that intends to divorce to remain living together in the marital home, sometimes on an indefinite basis.  Although at least one of the spouses has stated that he or she does not want to be married anymore, that person takes no action and the situation devolves into one of indecision and lack of momentum. With any hint of this kind of a scenario, a spouse should schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.

Usually in the foregoing situation, the parties live separate and apart within the home, and they do not have sexual relations. If one of the parties was the main source of financial support for the remainder of the family, he or she will have to keep the support payments up and maintain the family in the living conditions to which they are accustomed. If that is not done, the other spouse must go into the family division and apply for spousal support and/or child support even though the other spouse is still living in the home.

Estate suffers probate battles 12 years after singer's death

In Florida and elsewhere, pain and turmoil for one's family and intended beneficiaries can be the result of not properly preparing an estate plan or in failing to update estate documents when necessary. One dramatic example of what can happen is shown by the probate chaos that has surrounded the estate of James Brown, the iconic rock and roll artist, who died in 2006. Brown's estate has faced a raging battle with his purported widow; family members have fought for the rights to Brown's music, and some of the heirs have challenged Brown's son as not being his biological child.

With respect to the widow, records showed that she was married to someone else when she is supposed to have married Brown. Numerous twists and turns have arisen to confuse whether she has a valid claim to the estate. She stayed furiously in the legal battle long enough to make a challenge against Brown's will. The will was made before the singer married the purported spouse, Tomi Rae Hynie.

Estate planning includes certain valuable legal protections

Estate planning in Florida is an important task that can put some powerful tools into one's personal arsenal for the retirement years and beyond. The traditional last will and testament serves to designate how one's assets will be distributed and specifies other vital directives to take place after one dies. One kind of tool in estate planning that is arguably as important in its own right is the durable power of attorney.

The power of attorney will essentially only kick in when its maker becomes incapacitated and unable to care for him or herself. A person is appointed in the legal instrument to serve as one's authorized agent with the power to sign one's name and take necessary action regarding a wide host of financial matters both short-term and long-term. Obviously, this means that the person chosen to be the agent will have to be trusted and competent to handle such matters.

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