Lake Charles Law Blog

Don't rush into choosing an executor or trustee

Have you decided to put together an estate plan? Congratulations! The peace of mind you will get from knowing that your family will be taken care of in your absence can't be matched. After spending your life providing for them, you may sleep better at night knowing that care will continue after you pass away.

Of course, even the best plans may fall apart without the right person or persons at the helm. Choosing the executor and/or trustee you want to carry out your wishes is just as important, if not more important, than the structure of your estate plan. Your executor and trustee do not have to be the same person or people, and the general guidelines below apply to either position and may help you make your choices.

Elder law situation following death in another state

Many adult children in Louisiana help their aging parents or other elderly loved ones with various aspects of their long-term care. Elder law attorneys are often asked to step in when legal problems arise regarding estate planning matters or suspected problems involving nursing home abuse. A woman in another state recently filed a lawsuit concerning the latter.  She alleges that substandard care led to her loved one's death.

The woman's 98-year-old grandmother was reportedly taken to an area hospital with a 103-degree body temperature. She had been living in a local nursing home at the time. The woman says her grandmother could not speak due to dementia and was wheel-chair bound as well.  

Don't underestimate negative consequences of drunk driving arrest

You may think that getting pulled over and charged with DUI in Louisiana may not be so big a deal if you only had a couple drinks and are certain you weren't stumbling all over the place or slurring your speech. The problem is that situations like this may appear to be cut and dried and, for the most part, easily resolvable. However, if the arresting officer says you performed poorly on a field sobriety test or chemical test results don't turn out in your favor, not only might you face a serious legal challenge, your freedom may be at risk if the court hands down a conviction.  

Certain issues may definitely increase your risk of conviction. Drunk driving laws vary by state, though the trend is toward stronger enforcement. Louisiana's laws carry severe penalties for DUI conviction, even if it's your first offense.  

Louisiana woman likely weighing criminal defense options

Many medical professionals and scientists say synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes referred to as "fake marijuana," are more dangerous than natural marijuana. This drug is derived from manufactured chemicals and is often smoked when sprayed on shredded plant materials or used in the form of oils that are placed in electronic smoking devices. A Louisiana woman is now in need of a strong criminal defense after police claim they found synthetic marijuana and other narcotics in her home.  

Law enforcement agents supposedly showed up the woman's residence with a warrant to conduct a search. They entered her home, then said they found various narcotic drugs worth approximately $5,000 on the street. Authorities also say the investigating officers took a revolver into custody from the woman's home.  

Things to know regarding cryptocurrency and estate planning

Advanced technology has brought convenience to many Louisiana residents and others through online banking and other forms of currency transfer. Such convenience has prompted an estate planning concern, however, especially in situations involving cryptocurrencies. Those who have assets in cryptocurrency accounts will want to protect their loved ones' interests by including encrypted information in their estate plans.  

The whole point of a cryptocurrency account is to set assets aside in a secure, private manner. The problem is that if a cryptocurrency account owner suddenly dies without having included encryption information in his or her estate plan, any assets contained therein may be lost to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. A loved one may, in fact, be aware of a particular account's existence but that would not necessarily be enough to help him or her gain access to the account in the wake of the account owner's death.  

When elder law and assisted living issues intersect

Protecting the rights and safety of aging loved ones can be a daunting challenge. Seeking clarification of elder law issues in Louisiana before choosing an assisted living facility may help avoid major problems. Sadly, legal complications often arise after a senior has already moved into an assisted living center, including many situations involving neglect or abuse.  

One of the first logical steps to take when exploring assisted living options is to determine whether a particular facility provides the types of services and care needed in a specific situation. Less significant issues may still be of paramount importance as well. For instance, one elder may thrive on social interaction while another prefers a more nonsocial environment. If the latter is true, there's no need to make sure an assisted living facility offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities and social events.  

Did you answer questions without knowing your Miranda rights?

When police stopped your vehicle, came to your home or took other action due to the belief that you committed a crime. You may have begun to panic. Your mind may have started reeling, wondering what could have caused you to become a suspect, what the accusations even mean and what you should do about your arrest.

Officers may have presented you with questions before, during or after the arrest, and you may have thought that telling them everything you knew would work in your best interests. However, that tactic does not always work out for the best. In fact, remaining silent is often a more useful strategy. Of course, you may not have thought about staying quiet, and an officer may have failed to inform you of your right to do so.

Strong criminal defense may help avoid similar outcomes

A woman in Louisiana who worked in an accounting department for an oil company was recently sentenced in federal court. A U.S. District Court judge accepted the woman's guilty plea on two counts of electronic wire fraud. The judge informed the woman she'd be spending the next several years in jail. While conviction is not the outcome any defendant hopes for, it also does not necessarily mean the end to one's criminal defense; in fact, if legal problems arise with regard to satisfying a criminal sentence, it is best to act alongside experienced guidance to try to resolve them.

In this woman's case, she worked for an oil field company for nearly 20 years. During that time, she worked as an accountant. At some point she became a chief financial officer.  In those capacities, the woman reportedly had access to the company's bank account.  

Set up a strong support network to fight drunk driving charges

Although one always hopes to be able to mitigate such circumstances, there's no way of knowing how an alcohol-related arrest following a Louisiana traffic stop will turn out. In fact, such situations often get a lot worse before they get better. For most people, simply having to call home to inform loved ones of a drunk driving arrest is emotionally devastating.  

It's often possible to avoid conviction when drunk driving charges have been filed. Success often depends on the type of defense strategy the accused implements in court. There are even situations where charges are dismissed before ever going to trial; often, this is because a defendant is able to prove that his or her rights were violated during the arrest or search and seizure process.  

Man recently released from jail needs criminal defense again

The federal government says a man has been locked up in a Louisiana jail cell because he committed tax fraud. It's a complicated situation that involves the man's parents and his girlfriends as well. A tax revenue official told reporters the agency is unsure if the man has secured criminal defense representation to help him try to avoid conviction. 

The man was reportedly incarcerated in 2011 and has been behind bars ever since. His day of freedom finally arrived and he was released, only to be arrested that same day on tax refund theft charges. Authorities claim the man conducted a fraud scheme while in jail that brought him more than $170,000 in tax refunds, which he supposedly stashed in various locations.  

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