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Understanding wills and trusts

Many people in New Mexico put off making any type of estate plan for a variety of reasons. These might include the belief that only older people need a will or a trust. Others might be hesitant to face their own mortality. Still others might simply not understand the various tools available to them. It is important to get educated about these as the fact is that everyone can benefit from some form of estate planning.

As explained by CNN Money, one choice to be made is whether to use a trust or a will. In general, a trust is a virtual place in which assets can be retitled and put into with directions about what should happen to them upon the person's death. Any item in a trust will not be subject to probate but will be able to flow to the intended recipient when the time comes.

Can your spouse sell the family business before the divorce?

Divorce is never an easy situation, but it can definitely become even more complicated when there is a family business involved. Family businesses are the result of lifelong work, and the thought of losing that time and investment can weigh heavily on your mind. Even if the company was started and run by one spouse, it does not mean that the other spouse is not entitled to some portion of its value. Because a family business can be such a valuable asset in a marriage, oftentimes one spouse may try to circumvent compensating the other spouse by selling the business before the divorce is settled. Even if this does occur, it is likely that proceeds from the sale will be awarded to the other spouse.

 

Can you seek compensation after a New Mexico dog bite attack?

Every state has its own rules about the obligations and responsibilities of pet owners. New Mexico does not have a specific statute about dog bites and owner liability on the books.

It is possible for people to build a case for liability after a vicious dog bite attack, but doing so will require planning and strategy, as there is no direct law that governs cases where dogs bite and injure humans in New Mexico. The City of Albuquerque does have certain rules in place regarding dangerous dogs, potentially dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners of dogs.

Heat exposure addressed in proposed legislation

There are many people in New Mexico who work in jobs that require them to be outside. For example, you might work on a construction site, an oil field, on an airport tarmac or some other location in which you are not protected by an indoor, air-conditioned environment. Especially during the summer, this means you are likely exposed to extreme heat for extended periods of time, putting your health at risk.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 350 workplace fatalities have been recorded in the last decade due to heat exposure. Despite having clear laws on so many safety issues, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has none regarding this topic. OSHA merely has some general guidelines and recommendations for employers on how employees might remain hydrated. In addition, it has no mechanism or authority for enforcing those guidelines.

How can I get a handle on credit card debt?

Credit card debt can get out of hand before you even know it. That's why it's helpful to have a plan of attack in place when attempting to pay down debt and get your life back on track financially. The road ahead is often tough, especially when you're working with a limited income. However, the following tips will help you decrease debt and improve your financial outlook. 

The first thing to do is look at the interest rates for any credit cards you have in your possession. Choose the one with the highest interest and focus your energy on paying that credit card off first. The faster you pay it, the less money you'll be spending on interest. Once it's completely paid off, you can direct money towards other cards and types of debt. Keep in mind that interest can add up quickly, so be careful when shopping around for new cards with high interest rates. 

What if a person’s will is unclear?

When you are a party to the estate of a family member or friend in Roswell, you (and other beneficiaries) may likely be willing to do all that you can in order to avoid any disputes (as some may see objections to an estate’s terms as being petty). Yet there may be cases where questions regarding the terms of a will are inevitable. Your loved one may have used language that is overly-ambiguous or unclear. If they were not transparent in their estate planning by actively involving you and other designated beneficiaries (or their chosen personal representative) how are you to know what there intentions were? 

One way may be to provide documented evidence of it. Say that you and your loved one had corresponded near the end of their life and they communicated to you that they wanted for you to serve a certain role in the administration of their estate (or that they planned to pass a certain asset on to you). Maintaining that documentation (whether it be through digital or written correspondence) and presenting it to the court may serve as proof of intent. 

Is my loved one abusing opiates?

Opiate addiction is a serious problem all over the United States. Along with the impact that it has on the user, it can also greatly impact families as they watch their loved one succumb to the effects of addiction. Even when families suspect a problem, it can be hard to pin down opiate addiction, especially during the earliest stages. In this case, the Mayo Clinic offers the following signs to look out for. That way you can rest assured that your family member gets the help he needs as soon as possible. 

First of all, you should be aware of the risk factors that can increase the odds of opiate addiction. People with a history of substance abuse in their families face a higher chance of addiction, as do those who suffer from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. People with criminal backgrounds are more likely to abuse drugs, especially those who've been convicted of driving under the influence. People under a great deal of stress, those living beneath the poverty line, and those living in environments with heavy drug use are all more likely to face opiate addiction issues. 

Detailing the dangers of eating behind the wheel

Many in Roswell may worry about encountering a drunk driver on the road, yet a distracted driver can be just as dangerous. Driving distractions are not limited to cell phones; something as simple as eating while driving can make a motorist dangerous to others. Indeed, information compiled through a collaboration between The Auto Alliance and The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows that those who eat and drink behind the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not. 

Eating seems like such a natural action to most, yet it requires more attention and effort than one might think. Hands are needed to grasp food (meaning that they are not on the steering wheel) and one's vision and attention are required to avoid spills. While the distractions that come with eating might be momentary, they take more than enough time to draw one's attention from the road ahead and potentially place others at risk. 

Keeping the full value of a 401k

As people in Roswell head into their divorce proceedings, they may conflicted as to how to handle the division of their 401k accounts. The contributions made to such accounts during a marriage are considered to be marital property, and thus subject to property division. Yet some may want to retain the full value of those accounts in order to stay on track to meet their individual financial goals once they reach the age of retirement. Is that possible? 

The law removes many of the barriers that exist to profiting from a 401k during a divorce. For example, 401k account holders typically face a stiff tax penalty if they choose to withdraw funds prior to reaching the age of retirement. Yet according to information shared by CNBC.com, when a court issues a Qualified Domestic Relations Order during a divorce case, an alternative payee to a 401k account can withdraw their portion without taking a penalty. Thus, a non-contributing spouse may be incentivized to keep their portion of a 401k. 

Detailing your duty of care as a property owner

Many of the clients that we here at the Sanders Law Firm have worked with in the past have been forced into dealing with every property owner's nightmare scenario: someone sustaining injuries on their land. If you are currently dealing with the same issue, then you may have already resigned yourself to the notion that you will be held liable (after all, any accidents that occur on your property are your responsibility, right?). Yet your actual liability may depend on why the injured person was on your property in the first place. 

When you invite someone into your home or onto your land, you want to do everything necessary to ensure that they remain safe while there. Your legal responsibility also extends to protecting them from potential hazards that you may not yet know about, yet can be reasonably foreseen. For example, if someone comes while it is snowing, then you will want to ensure that your steps and walkways are shoveled, as one might reasonably expect ice to accumulate on them (thus causing a safety hazard) if you do not. 

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701 West Country Club Road
Roswell, NM 88201

Toll Free: 866-755-7229
Phone: 575-578-4392
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4801 Lang NE
Suite 110
Albuquerque, NM 87109

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Phone: 505-798-2588
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732 E. Michigan
Suite 500
Hobbs, NM 88240

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Phone: 575-318-2887
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1990 E Lohman Ave
Las Cruces, NM 88001

Phone: 575-222-1111
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1100 Sudderth Dr
Ruidoso, NM 88345

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