Lake Charles Law Blog

Criminal defense: Assistant principal arrested for DUI

In what likely came as a troubling twist to parents and employees at a Louisiana school, an administrator was arrested for drunk driving during the school's alcohol awareness week. Accused of being nearly three-times the legal .08 percent for driving, the assistant principal was actually arrested after arriving at the school where she works. It is unclear if she has any criminal defense plans as of yet, but many defendants in these types of situations choose to take an early approach to the matter.

The morning of her arrest, police received reports of a woman driving dangerously on Highway 70. An officer was waiting for the woman's arrival at the school, where she was detained and then arrested before being transported to an area police station. Authorities ultimately determined that the driver's BAC -- blood-alcohol content -- was at .224 percent.

Drive sober this Thanksgiving

When your family gathers for Thanksgiving, you probably have some traditions to which you look forward. Maybe you enjoy certain foods, spend time with old friends or participate in a family activity, and those are the things that make the holiday special for you.

If you are like many others in Louisiana, you may have some wine or other alcoholic beverages with dinner or while watching the game on TV. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is one of the most notoriously dangerous holidays to be on the road because so many people choose to drive after consuming alcohol. If you take this chance, you risk injuring yourself and others in an accident as well as the severe penalties of a DWI conviction.

Why you should be thinking about heirlooms in estate planning?

When deciding what assets to leave heirs, some property can be relatively straightforward. Things like insurance benefits, cash, bonds and stocks all have a concrete value that can be measured and distributed accordingly to a person's preference. But what about property that is not so easy to address? When dealing with things like art, jewelry or heirloom items, people in Lake Charles may want to take extra care during estate planning.

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make when dealing with these types of assets is to ignore them completely. Some may hope that heirs will work out who gets what among themselves, with one person taking his or her favorite piece of art and another taking a coveted heirloom dining table. Unfortunately, this hope is usually not a reality.

Can casino marker debts lead to criminal charges?

Visiting a casino is supposed to be a fun experience that may or may not pay off by the end of the night. However, few people expect to face criminal charges for what was supposed to be a simple night of fun. If you owe casino marker debt or are potentially facing criminal charges for fraud or issuing a worthless check, you need the right help on your side.

To make sure that patrons can place their bets, many Lake Charles casinos issue markers to visitors. These markers are essentially used like checks and are issued for designated amounts. When a person is no longer able to continue gambling, casinos still expect that individual to pay back the amount on the marker. Unfortunately, this is not always made clear to people, so they may leave the establishment without ever realizing they were skipping out on a debt.

Own cryptocurrency? You need to include it in estate planning

Tech-savvy people in Lake Charles may have already included most of their digital assets in their estate plan. Things like social media log-in information, access to cloud storage, digital financial information and more should all be listed in a person's will, but many people still overlook a huge digital asset -- cryptocurrency. While this type digital asset is usually prized for its privacy and anonymity, going so far as to leave it out of estate planning can be a mistake.  

Most bank accounts are eventually accessible after a person's death. Cryptocurrency, however, is different. Stored digitally, executors of an estate must have the private key, passwords and additional security details to access the account. Security details are especially important if an account uses two-factor authentication. 

Did applying for a loan lead to accusations of mortgage fraud?

Buying a new home is an event that most people want to experience at some point in their lives. You may feel that you have reached the point where this desire could become a reality because you have reached a financially stable point in your life and have found a Louisiana home that you can picture yourself living in for years to come.

Of course, real estate transactions are complicated ordeals. If you do not provide the correct information when attempting to obtain a mortgage loan or strike deals with the seller without informing the lender, you could end up in serious trouble and facing charges for mortgage fraud.

Continuing charitable giving through estate planning

Many people in Lake Charles choose to support various charities throughout their lifetime. That drive to help often translates into a desire to leave a lasting legacy. By building charitable giving directly into the estate planning process, individuals can continue providing valuable support to the charity of their choice. 

Deciding on the charity is the first step, which may be more difficult than some might imagine. For instance, if a person donated to multiple charities but only has the means to include one in their estate plan, which should they choose? This is a person choice that people should take the time to consider before making a selection. 

Criminal defense: Driver accused of causing deadly accident

Louisiana police claim that a drunk driver caused a serious car accident that injured two teenagers and killed one other. The driver is facing multiple charges, including driving while impaired, vehicular homicide and no seat belt, among others. These types of charges are quite serious, but a carefully constructed criminal defense may help minimize any potential consequences for Lake Charles defendants. 

The crash happened at approximately 9:30 p.m., when a 24-year-old driver allegedly crossed the center line of traffic. His truck moved directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle driven by a teenage girl, and there were also two other teens in the vehicle. The two vehicles collided head-on, sending all three teens to the hospital where one of them later died. Police say that all three were wearing seat belts. 

Can estate planning prevent fights after my death?

An estate plan is supposed to make things easier for family members dealing with a loved one's death. Well-crafted wills and carefully planned trusts can do just that, but some people fail to take the careful approach that will yield these kinds of results. Lake Charles residents can minimize the chance of in-family fighting by approaching estate planning with an objective and cautious eye to detail. 

Items of sentimental value may not be worth much money, but they can easily become points of contention between heirs. Rather than expect that future heirs will divvy out certain items among themselves without arguing, individuals should consider including a list of their personal property -- even the low-value, sentimental objects -- and designating who gets what. Leaving a note explaining why a certain heir received a certain asset is a good idea, but discussing the matter in-person before death is even better. 

Should your family consider small succession?

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, but the grieving process can be even more complicated when they fail to leave behind a will. A lack of estate planning documents can leave you and other potential heirs confused about how to handle your family member's estate, but you may have options for an easier approach. Estates valued at $125,000 or less can be handled through small succession, a process that is usually quicker and less expensive than typical succession. 

Estates or property not contained within a will, trust or other estate planning document at the time of person's death must go through the succession process in Lake Charles. This is often time-consuming and can eat up significant portions of an estate's value, leaving significantly less leftover for heirs. Instead of pushing smaller estates through this process and potentially leaving heirs with little if anything, small succession creates an opportunity for families to quickly handle the transfer of property and assets.  

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