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Understanding intestate succession

You have probably been told by many in Roswell that it is never too early to start your estate planning. Considering the potential of your death is never a fun exercise, yet as we here at the Sanders Law Firm tell clients, estate planning is more for your beneficiaries then it is for you. The fear is that they will dispute the ownership of your estate, and that your death might prove to divisive amongst your family members. This inevitably prompts the question of what happens if you die without a will. 

The state has created its own guidelines to deal with the estates of those who die "intestate" (without a will). These can be found in Section 45-2-102 of New Mexico's Uniform Probate Code. Per the states intestate succession rules, your surviving spouse will receive the entire amount of your estate if you have no surviving issue ("issue" being your direct descendants). If you do have children (or grandchildren), your spouse's share of the estate is reduced to one-fourth and remaining portion is distributed amongst your surviving issue equally (your surviving spouse is also entitled to your portion of any community property you shared together). 

Authorities say weather could have contributed to Eldorado crash

When the sun is shining and the roads in Roswell are clear, everyone may a good driver. Yet introduce poor conditions into the equation, and suddenly things may get a little more dicey for those on the road. To some, the need to adjust one's driving patterns to account for changing road conditions might seem quite clear, yet it is not that way for others. They may trust enough in their driving skills that they believe whatever sort of obstacle the road or weather throws at them, they will be able to handle. Sadly, such drivers are often proven wrong. 

Unfortunately, being proven wrong often requires involving others, as well. Car accidents (particularly those that occur in unfavorable conditions) will sometimes extend their reach to claim multiple vehicles. Any time more cars are added to a collision, the chances of all of the people involved walking away diminishes. This fact was on full display in the multi-car crash that recently occurred near Eldorado. The people eventually required medical treatment following a pile-up that eventually ended up encompassing 9 vehicles. The conditions of those accident victims have yet to be reported. 

Resources to help make co-parenting easier

Getting through a divorce is tough enough without having to continually live on the edge emotionally in the aftermath. If children are involved, it is even worse for them and of course, you want to minimize their pain. If you are going through a divorce, the legal team at Sanders Law Firm knows it can be an emotional roller-coaster. We have helped many clients in this situation and we have some ideas that can help you co-parent through the tough times.

Psychology Today notes that there are several online resources, some started by divorcees themselves to help ex-spouses deal with the aftermath. Websites and apps are available to help you and your spouse co-parent in a less conflict-ridden manner, including those below.

What is undue influence?

We make a will to ensure that our assets and sentimental items go to the people who we want to have them. But what happens when we are no longer able to make clear decisions? What happens if someone else enters the picture and convinces us to change our will and leave everything, or most everything, to him or her? 

Unfortunately this type of manipulation does happen, and more often than we would like to think. The person who takes unfair advantage of a vulnerable adult has a mission: To maximize how much money or assets he or she can extract from the victim. 

Heat-related fatigue and pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents can happen at any time of year, but there are certain times when an accident may be even more probable. For example, many pedestrians take to the road during the summer months for various reasons, from children who have free time due to school being out to people who walk around more often because of the warmer evenings. However, increased pedestrian traffic can also increase the likelihood of an accident occurring and there are certain seasonal factors, such as extreme heat, which can make things worse.

When a pedestrian becomes exhausted while walking in extreme heat, they may be less likely to avoid an oncoming car that has veered off of the roadway. In some cases, they may also cross the road without paying as much attention or accidentally wander onto the road. Extreme heat can also leave drivers feeling fatigued and interfere with their ability to pay attention to pedestrians or avoid an accident when a pedestrian is in their path. For drivers and pedestrians alike, it is important to remain vigilant during the summer months, even when temperatures climb.

Slip and falls: the data and the dangers

For the average New Mexico resident, a trip to the grocery store is no extraordinary occurrence. When an accident happens while shopping, however, the events that follow can seem anything but normal. Slip and fall accidents occur more than one might expect, but there are a few facts to know that can make the process more manageable.

First, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection can help clarify some facts about slip and fall accidents across the nation. Hospitals see 800,000 patients a year for reasons related to slip and fall incidents; most involved head injuries and hip fractures. Those aged 65 years and older are the most vulnerable when it comes to these types of accidents. Yet the CDC points out that anyone can experience a sudden trip or fall. These accidents are actually the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Such mishaps are no light matter, either: slip and falls cost the country over $50 billion in 2015 alone.

Dealing with financial problems after divorce

Going through a divorce is hardly an easy task, especially when it leaves one in a financial predicament. Although New Mexico operates like most other states when it comes to divorce and alimony, studies show that some struggle financially more than others after this life event. Despite the challenges, there are ways to find financial freedom and ultimately peace of mind.

According to one report from U.S. News, women face bigger obstacles post-divorce than their male counterparts. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. News goes on to share that the median salaries of married women were higher than women who had, for instance, never married or had divorced. After divorcing, however, this data revealed an unsettling image of income after separation: women's income plummeted by roughly 41 percent. Why the severe drop? U.S. News points toward pay gaps between women and men; in addition, traditional views toward gender contributed to this imbalance. A large majority of men in the study had full control of the household finances while married, leaving women in tough situations after divorce. 

How common are slip and falls?

Like most accidents, a slip and fall often happens when one least expects it. Most New Mexico shoppers do not think twice when entering a grocery store or shopping mall, but some facilities fail to present proper warnings for wet floors and other hazards. When this is the case, an injured consumer may decide to take legal action.

As The National Floor Safety Institute reports, falls account for over 8 million emergency room trips in the U.S. -- making up the leading cause for visits. Furthermore, slip and falls are the leading cause of missed days from work. Of the 8 million who made emergency room visits after falls, 2 million were as a result of unsafe floors or flooring materials. Generally, older individuals suffer from the most severe falls, with such accidents being the leading cause of injury-related deaths for those aged between 65 and 84 years. Floors and other objects may never be completely accident-proof, but statistics such as these show a clear problem with slip and falls across the nation.

Explaining divorce to younger ears

Going through a divorce can affect different family members in equally different ways. Many New Mexico parents who are jumping over the hurdles of the divorce process understand this sentiment all too well. For those with young children, the step of informing them of the divorce can seem an entirely separate challenge. Below are some strategies to keep in mind when explaining divorce to younger family members.

In an article on approaching divorce conversations, BabyCenter notes that it is important to consider what a child needs -- and does not need -- to know about the separation. Although children under 10 years of age may understand that divorce means the termination of marriage, their knowledge may not extend much further than this observation. BabyCenter encourages parents to touch on the topics that concern children the most, such as new living arrangements and schedules. By looking to the future, kids can better understand the situation at hand and can even begin looking ahead to this new life change. By the same token, time can be of the essence; BabyCenter also stresses that parents should carefully consider when they may drop the news. 

What To Do if your Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Denied

You have worked at your job for years- given it your blood, sweat and tears. Until one day, while doing the thing you love, you are injured. Now, the job that you have loved and sacrificed for, you can no longer do. And it is breaking your heart, each day you have to sit on the sidelines. You can also no longer provide for your family.

As a worker, you have rights. You should tell your employer within 15 days of your injury or accident. You may have up to 60 days if you are perhaps in the hospital and your injury prevents you from doing it. You should receive workers’ compensation from your employer. This is a type of insurance that protects you and your employer. It pays for your medical care, any loss of income you may have and there are benefits for survivors of people who are killed on the job. The law also says that you cannot sue your employer for negligence. Some jobs are just more dangerous than others, as we noted in our March 28 blog.

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