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Zachary Louisiana Legal Blog

3 things people mistakenly believe about estate planning

Putting an estate plan together doesn't have to be difficult to do, but it does require some thought and care. Estate planning is about making sure one is properly protected in the event of incapacitation, and ensuring wishes are known and assets are passed on to the appropriate parties upon one's death. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things people in Louisiana and elsewhere believe about estate planning that keep them from getting it done or creating plans that are in line with what they really want.

A recently published article discussed the most common estate planning myths that far too many people believe. The first is: everything must be passed on to one's children. It is okay if beneficiaries are not one's children. They can be friends, other family members or charitable organizations -- among other things. Children may not be happy if they are left out of the will, but at the end of the day, it is not about what they want.

Car crash claims 2 lives, leaves 2 injured

Police officers in Louisiana were recently called to the scene of an automobile collision that occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 10. According to reports, both drivers died in the car crash, and two passengers survived the incident but were left with injuries. Under the right circumstances, the surviving victims and the family members of at least one of the deceased may be entitled to seek compensation for their losses through legal means.

This accident occurred on La. 67, just after midnight. A 16-year-old male was traveling in the northbound lane when he moved to the southbound lane in an attempt to pass the vehicle in front of him. Shortly after entering the southbound lane, he struck a vehicle head-on. As previously stated, both he and the other driver -- a 34-year-old male -- died at the scene of the crash. Two passengers, whose identities were not released, were taken to an area hospital with unspecified injuries.

Don't leave retirement assets on the table when getting a divorce

Dividing property when ending a marriage can be a difficult thing to do. Wanting to walk away with the best divorce settlement terms possible is the goal; yet, many couples in Louisiana and elsewhere are not achieving that goal. Why? They are leaving retirement assets on the table.

According to a recently published article, few people are taking the steps necessary to claim a portion of their former spouse's retirement funds. Any money contributed to retirement accounts during a marriage is fair game, but some mistakenly believe it is considered separate property. Others who know they have the right to it do not want to pay the fees necessary to split the account, or they have their requests rejected.

Establishing paternity: 2 commonly asked questions

When you have a child and aren't married, the first thing that you should note is that you won't automatically be assumed to be the father. It's important for you to establish paternity for several reasons, but the most important is that you will secure your rights as a parent.

Proving paternity guarantees that you have the right to visitation and custody of your child, barring any unique circumstances. It also does a few things for your child, such as allowing them to access your medical history and providing them with the right to child support, death benefits and other forms of benefits you may receive.

Police investigating a fatal car crash in Zachary

Zachary is no stranger to motor vehicle accidents. They happen here far too often, and, unfortunately, some have tragic outcomes. Most recently, a fatal car crash claimed the life of an individual from Baton Rouge.

According to reports, the victim -- a 35-year-old female -- was operating her vehicle on US Highway 61, in the northbound lane, when she was struck by another car. The driver of the car is said to have lost control and crossed the center median, ultimately hitting the victim's vehicle head-on. The woman was rushed to a local hospital for treatment, but she died shortly after arrival. 

Louisiana teen arrested in recent carjacking case

On Aug. 6, police in Louisiana were informed of an event in Baton Rouge that resulted in one person being killed and another individual suffering serious injuries. According to reports, this event was a carjacking. The following day, the individual thought responsible was arrested.

When authorities responded to the incident, which occurred on La Annie Drive, they found a 19-year-old male with multiple guns shot wounds. Sadly, he died before he could be transported for medical care. Another victim was shot and fled the scene but was located a short time later on Harvey Drive. This individual was taken to a local emergency room with serious injuries.

If I file a personal injury case, will it go to trial?

Louisiana residents who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others may be entitled to seek compensation for their losses through legal means. Some people choose not to file personal injury claims, however, because they fear that, by doing so, they will have to fight for relief in court. The good news is, if you were hurt due to another person's actions and you choose to pursue legal action, your case may not have to go to trial. These claims are often settled long before things get that far.

Why is knowing this a big deal? Some people fear they will have to wait forever to see a dime for their losses if they file civil claims. When struggling to pay your bills or seek the help you need, you want compensation right away -- which is understandable. Others fear that, by litigating their cases, they may lose out on compensation due to rejecting an insurance provider's settlement terms, or because their cases fail to prove successful, which are also very understandable concerns.

Louisiana criminal defense: Arrest made in arson case

Law enforcement authorities in Louisiana had been searching for the individual who set fire to a car in the Baton Rouge area, causing roughly $8,000 in damage. In early August, an arrest was made in this case. The individual now believed responsible for this event could face some serious consequences if he is ultimately convicted. However, with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, he can take steps to achieve the best outcome possible.

According to reports, the fire department recently responded to reports of a fire on Ardenwood Drive. When they arrived on the scene, they found a parked vehicle up in flames. This car was situated within close proximity to an apartment building that was occupied at the time. Thankfully, the fire was quickly extinguished, and no one was hurt.

Can a parent's divorce stress affect their infants or toddlers?

Some parents choose to try to stay in a volatile marriage because they fear that getting divorced is going to harm the children. These parents might not realize that staying in a marriage fraught with abuse, even if the abuse is emotional and not physical, can be damaging to the children because they begin to view the horrible actions as part of a normal relationship.

There are many negative ways that living in a home that's filled with stress can harm children. Infants and toddlers might be deeply impacted by the stress that comes with a contentious marriage or divorce, even if they don't really know what's going on.

Do all assets have to pass through the probate process?

Recently lose a loved one? If so, you likely have a million questions about what it is going to take to close out his or her estate. One common question is: Do all assets have to pass through the Louisiana probate process? The simplistic answer to that question is no, but when is anything ever simple?

If your loved one had what are deemed non-probate assets, those assets are generally not subject to the probate process. They will simply pass on to the individuals designated to receive them. What exactly are non-probate assets?

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