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Bellmore, NY Estate Planning & Complex Litigation Blog

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mediation: Is It Right For You?

Mediation is one form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that allows parties to seek a remedy for their conflict without a court trial. Parties work with a mediator, who is a neutral third party. Usually, mediators have received some training in negotiation or their professional background provides that practical experience.

Unlike a judge, a mediator does not decide who wins; rather, a mediator facilitates communication between the parties and helps identify issues and solutions. The goal is for parties to reach an acceptable agreement.


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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cardiac Stents Medical Malpractice Claims

For people who have suffered a heard attack, cardiac stents can be life saving. The tube-shaped stent is used to restore blood flow to hear attack sufferers and opens up the arteries so they can continue to treat coronary heart disease. While cardiac stents have brought so many benefits to those with heart problems, recently there has been an increase in medical malpractice claims associated with the stents. Cardiologists have been accused more and more of using stents in elective surgery on patients who had stable heart conditions. While cardiac stents are often beneficial, there are also risks associated with them. When patients who are not in actual need of stents have them put in, they are needlessly opened up to the risks of cardiac stents.

Cardiac stents carry some serious risks that a patient needing them in a life saving procedure may willingly accept, but might not be worth assuming for a patient in stable condition. These risks include:

· Blood clots resulting in heart attack and stroke
· Damage to the coronary arteries
· Abnormal heart rhythms
· Kidney problems
· Allergic reactions
· Infections

Unfortunately, an increasing number of doctors, cardiologists in particular, have been accused of putting money over the well-being of patients. The cardiac stent business is booming in the U.S. In the past 10 years, 7 million people have had stents implanted. The cost associated with all of these procedures exceeds $110 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that cardiac stents were associated with 773 deaths in 2012. This is a 71% increase since 2008.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Business Succession Planning Tips

Business succession plans contemplate and instruct regarding any changes in future ownership and management of a business. Most business owners know they should think about succession planning, but few actually end up doing so. It is hard to think about not being in charge of the business you have built up, but a proper succession plan can ensure that your business continues long after you are there to run it, providing an enduring legacy.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you begin to think about putting a succession plan into place for your business.


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Monday, December 18, 2017

Distracted Driving Laws in the U.S.

The rapid growth of technology has connected us now more than ever. We are able to communicate with each other via phone call, text message, or social media at any point in the day. Unfortunately, many people continue to use technology even while they are operating a motor vehicle. It can be hard to put down the phone, but distracted driving is proving to be an increasing danger on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives and injured 391,000 people in 2015 alone.

States are recognizing the threat distracted driving poses to the lives of drivers on the road and enacting laws accordingly. While no state has a total ban on cell phone use for all drivers, 38 states and the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. Additionally, 21 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use for bus drivers.

Other states, 15 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to be exact, have placed a ban on hand-held cell phone use. This means that drivers can still use their phones but must use something like Bluetooth technology and bring the use of hands to a minimum while driving. All of these states and territories have this ban as a primary enforcement law which means a law enforcement officer may pull over a driver and ticket them for cell phone use. There is no need for another traffic offense to have occurred.


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Monday, December 4, 2017

The Difference Between Equal and Equitable Inheritances

When it comes to estate planning, many individuals believe that dividing assets equally among adult children is the best choice. However, there are situations in which leaving each child the same amount might not be practical. For this reason, it is important to know the difference between an equal inheritance and an equitable inheritance, in which each child receives a fair share based on his or her circumstances.

What is an equal inheritance?

In this situation, each child gets the same amount of the remaining estate after both parents have died.

This option works well when the needs of each child are the same, or the parents provided similar support to each child in the past. Moreover, each child must be mentally or emotionally capable and financially responsible.

It is important to note that cases in which an estate includes real property and other tangible assets, it may be necessary to determine the differences in value of these assets in order to leave each child an appropriate amount. Lastly, leaving an equal inheritance may be the best way to avoid the emotional and financial costs of disputes.

What is an equitable inheritance?


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How Extreme Workouts Can Cause Injuries

Everyone is looking for that fitness trend that will get them into shape in record time and in an enjoyable way. The latest trend is extreme fitness programs. These programs usually involve circuit training, resistance training, running intervals, and aggressive, timed weight lifting. The problem is that people are participating in these extreme programs at a level not suitable for their current workout capabilities. The journal Sports Health reports that new athletes in these programs were 2.5 times more likely to sustain injury than more experienced participants. People are doing too much too fast and are suffering sometimes severe and lasting injuries as a result.

One of the more popular types of extreme workouts right now is CrossFit. CrossFit training involves a circuit of timed lifting in a group setting. People like the group atmosphere and the competitive atmosphere. The problem is, timed lifting leads to participants performing lifts that require implementation of a specific form and skill based in a rushed manner. The compromised form will easily open up a person to injury. Additionally, while the group atmosphere can be motivating, it can also amplify these types of workouts in a non-positive way. Yes, it is good to push yourself in your workouts, but not too much. With a high intensity, timed, and competitive workout like CrossFit, it is no wonder that the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research states that 73.5% of CrossFit participants experience injuries.


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Friday, November 17, 2017

A Primer on Advance Medical Directives

While the main objective of estate planning is to help individuals protect their assets and provide for  loved ones, there are other important considerations, such as planning for incapacity. In short, it is crucial  to plan for the type of medical care people wish to receive if a serious accident or illness makes them unable to make or communicate these decisions. By putting in place advance medical directives, such as a durable power of attorney for healthcare and a living will, it is possible to plan for these unexpected events.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

A durable power of attorney for healthcare is commonly referred to as a healthcare proxy. This estate planning tool enables individuals to designate a trusted family member or friend to make medical care decisions in the event of incapacity. This person essentially acts as an agent, and is responsible for working with doctors and other medical professionals to ensure they provide the type of medical care the incapacitated individual prefers. If a healthcare proxy is not in place, it will be necessary for loved ones to ask the court to appoint someone make these decisions. In the end, this advance medical directive protects individuals in the event of an emergency and relieves others of the burden of going to court.


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Friday, November 3, 2017

U.S. Traffic Fatalities Are On The Rise

With things like lower gas prices making car travel more affordable than ever and things like cell phone making people more distracted than ever, it might not be surprising to hear that the number of U.S. traffic fatalities continues to rise each year. The actually numbers, however, are shocking. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimate that 38,300 people died and 4.4 million injured on U.S. roads in 2015. This means that the number of U.S. traffic fatalities increased by 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, the single largest one-year increase to occur in 50 years. Furthermore, NSC reports that 2.3 million people sustained “serious injuries,” or injuries requiring medical care, in just a period of 6 months in 2015.

NSC considers increase usage of smart phones to be one of the largest contributing factors to the rise in U.S. traffic fatalities. Drivers are texting, accessing e-mail and social media apps, while they are driving and it is putting other drivers at serious risk of injury. In fact, NSC estimates that texting while driving can increase the chances of an automobile crash by eight times. This may be surprising as some people say that texting only takes your attention away from the road for a few seconds. However, even if checking a text causes you to glance away from the road for 5 seconds, if you are driving at 55 mph, this would be like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Most states have recognized the threat smartphone usage by drivers poses and enacted legislation to try and curb the danger. In fact:

· 38 states have placed a total ban on cell phone use by novice drivers
· 21 states have placed a total ban on cell phone use by bus drivers
· 15 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have placed a ban on hand-held cell phone use
· 47 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have placed a total ban on texting while driving (2 of the 3 states without this ban have put a ban on texting by novice drivers)

While these kinds of laws are a step in the right direction to keeping everyone safe on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages all drivers to make personal commitments to implementing safety measures every time they are behind the wheel. These safety measures include:

· No drinking and driving
· No texting or smartphone use while driving
· Always wearing a seatbelt and making sure all passengers are wearing theirs as well
· Avoid eating while driving
· Minimize other distractions while driving

Also, always be aware of your surroundings while on the road. You may be implementing these safety measure, but others might not be. Practice defensive driving and be prepared. NHTSA reports that there are more people on the roads than ever. With affordable gas prices, people are taking to the road for road trips and vacations more than ever. Let’s all work to make sure we arrive safely at our destinations.


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Friday, October 27, 2017

How to Leave Gifts to Step-Children

Today, blended families have become increasingly common, and many individuals have step-children, that is, children of a spouse or partner. In situations where step-children have not been legally adopted, however, they do not have a legal right to an inheritance from a step-parent. For those who wish to leave step-children part of their estate , it is necessary to include them in an estate plan.

The easiest way to leave gifts to step-children is to name them in a will. As with any other gift, they can be given a percentage of the estate, or specific gifts. If there are other children involved, it is important to avoid confusion by naming each child and step-child by using their individual names, rather than terms such as "descendants," "heirs," or "children."

There are also a number of estate planning tools that can be utilized to include step-children in an inheritance. If the objective is to avoid probate, for example, a revocable living trust can be established in which a step-child is named as a beneficiary. Moreover, it may be necessary to provide for a disabled step-child who is eligible for public benefits by establishing a special needs trust. Lastly, a step-child can also be named as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or a pay-on-death financial account.

While there is no legal obligation to leave step-children an inheritance, it may be the best choice for those who have a close relationship, or played a significant role, in raising them. However, this will reduce the amount of assets available to other children and beneficiaries. Because blended family relationships are complex and subject to emotional challenges, it is important to explain these decisions with all family members.


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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Using Social Media Can Hurt Your Peronal Injury Case

We live our lives online. This is a new revelation that has come with the explosion of social media use. In fact, as of January 2014, 74% of adults using the internet are using social media sites according to a Pew Research Center report. We celebrate our triumphs and vent our tribulations on very public platforms. Social media is a great way to build communities of support and to keep in touch with friends and family near and far. With our continued use of social media, however, there needs to be consideration for the possible downsides of putting our lives online for the world to see. One such downside, is that using social media can and, most likely will, hurt your personal injury case. Insurance companies are looking for any possible way to undermine or eliminate your claim and they have found a treasure trove of supporting evidence available in social media accounts of claimants.

In the past, people have complained of investigators for insurance companies following them throughout every day outings. Some even take pictures. This may still be a common practice, but insurance companies are finding that they do not need in person investigations to find out what injury claimants are up to in their every day lives. They need only look as far as the person’s account on:

Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
Twitter


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Monday, October 2, 2017

How a Prenuptial Agreement Can Protect Your Estate

There are many circumstances that can impact an estate plan, not the least of which is divorce. While ending a marriage is complicated, it is not only crucial to arrive at a fair and equitable distribution of the marital assets, but to preserve your estate as well.

While the laws vary from state to state, it is important to understand the difference between separate and marital property. Generally, separate property includes any property owned by either spouse before the marriage, as well as gifts or inheritances received by either party prior to or after the marriage.

Marital property, on the other hand, is any property that is acquired during the marriage such as houses, cars, retirement plans, 401(k)s, IRAs, life insurance, investments and closely held business, regardless of who owns or holds title to the property.


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Lawrence M. Gordon, Attorney at Law, P.C. has offices in Bellmore, NY and assists clients throughout Long Island, including: the north shore of Long Island, The Town Of Oyster Bay, The Town Of North Hempstead, The Town Of Hempstead, The Town Of Huntington, Nassau & Suffolk Counties & throughout the Five Boroughs of The City Of New York.



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