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Jacksonville Legal Blog

Estate planning does not have to be an expensive process

Dying without a will in Florida and other states is called being intestate. A person who dies with a will is said to have been testate. However, it may be said that a person already has a will, but it is one that was drawn up by the state in which the person resided at death. That is because, if one dies intestate, the state has already engaged in a bit of experimental estate planning on the decedent's behalf; each state has a set of intestate laws that dictate to whom and in what percentages the decedent's assets are to be distributed when there is no will.

The state's estate planning framework is often at odds with a person's idea of how his or her estate should be processed. Making a will while alive is the easy prescription for how to solve that problem. Excellent estate attorneys do not charge whopping fees for extracting a simple will, which goes against a popular myth that one has to be rich to have an estate plan.

Common online crimes

There is a wide variety of internet crimes. Cybercrime is a much vaster topic than illegally downloading movies or the international incidents that make headlines. There is a lot going down online that lands users behind bars.

Online crimes have real-world consequences, which can result in the suspects facing criminal charges. Take a look at some common cybercrimes.

Estate planning and legacy planning join for greater fulfillment

Estate planning is a vital service for Florida residents, but it is often viewed as a dreary subject dealing solely with what happens after death. Many people tend to put off estate planning for the very reason that they do not wish to dwell on that inescapable end-of-life event. Truth be told, the process actually involves far more in lifetime benefits to the person than that narrow perspective would indicate.

The modern view sees estate planning as a living dynamic closely associated with activities of increasing one's happiness during the here and now. The trend puts less emphasis on pure monetary gain and more thought to the process of preparing and living one's legacy as one creates it. The whole concept of planning for death is being replaced with the idea of planning for more of what one desires to experience, appreciate and share during a full lifetime.

Family law landscape foresees changes due to new tax laws

Residents of Florida and throughout the country will face changes in the tax laws in 2018 and thereafter under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The most notable change will be the elimination of the deduction for paying alimony to a former spouse under a divorce settlement. There are also other changes that a person will have to discuss with a financial advisor where desired and with one's family law attorney prior to beginning negotiations.

Some traditional principles of divorce negotiations will be modified due to the changes, but the long-term impact of such changes remains uncertain. With respect to the loss of the alimony deduction, it is believed that women and children will be negatively impacted because there will be less alimony offered, and it will be harder to obtain it in the negotiations. For those who want to keep the tax benefit associated with the alimony deduction, they will have to expedite their negotiations and divorce settlements to meet the Dec. 31, 2018 deadline.

Personal injury, death result from intersectional collision

Collisions at intersections in Florida can sometimes be as deadly as head-on highway crashes. When a driver is careless or reckless in ignoring traffic signals and crashes into another vehicle going through an intersection, the ensuing destruction may be substantial. This is what happened in a horrific accident resulting in death and personal injury in the Tampa Bay part of the state on July 17.

At about 7 p.m., a 17-year-old female was operating a 2002 SUV westbound on Trilby Road in Dade City near the intersection with U.S. 301. A 21-year-old female was operating a pickup truck and towing a utility trailer going north on 301.  According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the SUV driver went through flashing red signals at the intersection and into the path of the pickup. The SUV then crashed into a fence and two parked cars.

Staff shortages cause nursing home neglect and personal injury

Nursing home neglect is a serious problem in Florida. With such a high percentage of the state's population being retired and older persons, it is an issue that deserves serious attention. When negligence of a nursing home or its staff results in injury or death to a resident, the victim or the surviving family may have a personal injury or wrongful death claim for monetary damages.

The issue reached crisis level recently after a top national newspaper published a front-page report indicating that there were chronic and critical shortages of staff in the nation's nursing homes. Shortages of sufficient service personnel would lead directly to injuries and death of residents caused by neglect in their care and maintenance. Although many claims against nursing homes are based on the more obvious cases where one or more staff members are negligent or even abusive in taking care of residents, lack of staffing and the failure to provide necessary services can be a major cause of harm to elderly patients.

Important things to know about elder financial abuse

You care about your parents, and it is difficult to watch them age. Like many Floridians with elderly parents, you worry about their ability to make sound decisions with their finances. This is not merely to protect your eventual inheritance; you care about their comfort and well-being during their golden years, and the last thing you would want is for someone to take advantage of them and ruin their quality of life.

Unfortunately, there are people who focus on scamming seniors and others who are mentally and emotionally vulnerable to having their finances manipulated. The National Adult Protective Services Association points out that an average of one out of 20 seniors is a victim of financial abuse and scams. Your parents might be the targets of one or more of the following tactics scammers commonly use against the elderly:

  • False IRS and utility company calls saying they face fines or arrest if they do not pay immediately
  • Computer hacking scams, in which a virus downloads to their computer and they must pay a fee to “fix” it
  • Fraudulent emails posing as a family member who is in trouble and needs money
  • The infamous “Nigerian prince” scam

Personal injury, death result when vehicle crashes into bus stop

Pedestrians and people standing on sidewalk areas seem to be less safe in Florida and other states in recent years. Either the incidence of drivers losing control and crashing into pedestrian areas has increased considerably or the reporting of such incidents has become much more thorough. These incidents can be among the deadliest, leaving a path of death and personal injury in their wake.

Probably the most recent incident of that kind in Florida occurred on Sunday evening, July 1, in Sunny Isles Beach at about 8 p.m. At that time, a driver lost control of a van and crashed it into a bus stop waiting area and bench. The van had been heading north on Collins Avenue when it took a wild twist and jumped onto the sidewalk, striking two children and two adults standing near the bus stop.  

Criminal defense: 2 robbery suspects killed, third arrested

One of four men involved in an internet cafe robbery has been arrested and charged with murder in the death of   two of his accomplices. The suspects were shot and killed by the security guard at the Florida cafe. The third suspect will need to mount an aggressive criminal defense to the charge of murder since his alleged cohorts were killed during a felony crime in which he was apparently involved as the getaway driver, police say. A fourth suspect, who also entered the shop and was grazed by a bullet, has yet to be charged.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the 23-year-old accused is facing two counts of murder as well as armed robbery. The injured suspect fled the scene with the alleged getaway driver. The suspects who died were both male, aged 23 and 28.

Many questions follow Florida car accident

Drivers must be safe and remain vigilant at all times. Unfortunately, even the safest of Florida driers are sometimes unable to anticipate the actions of others. In fact, police in Florida are currently investigating a recent car accident that sent three people to the hospital.

The incident reportedly happened one afternoon on a day in mid-June. According to reports, a van was headed north when it attempted a left turn into a plaza shopping center. Unfortunately, the van was reportedly struck by a southbound vehicle.

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