Be Careful Lending Your Car – The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine Can Make You Liable Even if You’re Not There

By | Legal info

Your car is probably the most dangerous item you own. We think of our vehicles as useful tools, but they are also a source of tremendous potential liability. While we all know we can be held liable for any accidents that result from our driving mistakes, many people in Florida do not realize that they can also be held liable if someone else is driving their car and causes an accident. That’s a frightening thought. You need to be aware of the risks and what you can do to minimize them. The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine Under the law, anything that is inherently dangerous or that can cause harm if used carelessly is considered a “dangerous instrumentality.” Explosives would be a classic example. The owner of a dangerous instrumentality is held strictly liable for harm caused by that dangerous article, even if they weren’t negligent in using it or weren’t even…

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Is Your Child 18? Here Are Legal Documents Young Adult Children Should Have in Place

By | Estate Planning, Legal info

We have a client whose child was in his first year of college.   One day, the client received a call from the residence hall supervisor that their child was transported to the emergency room after a night of heavy drinking.  Our client immediately called the hospital for an update.  Unfortunately, the hospital legally could not provide any information about the child’s condition because the child was over the age of majority (18 years of age in Florida).  Of course, this was frustrating for the client as they pay the child’s tuition, claimed the child as a dependent for tax purposes, and included the child on their medical plan. Our client quickly learned that as the natural parent, once the child turns 18 years old, the parent can’t make healthcare decisions or get personal information without certain legal documents in place. Legal planning documents are not the first thing most people…

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Seniors Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic Have More Time to Apply for Medicare or Change Plans

By | Elder Care, Legal info, Medicare

The closure of Social Security offices has caused problems and worries for recently unemployed seniors who need to apply for Medicare after losing their employer coverage. In response, the federal government has announced that seniors affected by the crisis have additional time to enroll in Medicare or change plans. With millions of people out of work and losing their employer health insurance due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for Medicare coverage is critical. While it is possible for some seniors to apply for Medicare online, others need to provide more information, including individuals who did not sign up for Medicare Part B initially because they had health insurance through an employer. Seniors who are applying for Medicare Part B after losing their job need to provide proof of their employer policy along with their Medicare application to ensure they aren’t subject to substantial penalties. With Social Security offices closed,…

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Should Seniors Who Lose Their Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic Claim Social Security Benefits Early?

By | Elder Care, Estate Planning, Legal info

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, unemployment is skyrocketing. Seniors who lose their jobs may be tempted to claim Social Security benefits early, but should they, given the resulting reduction in future benefits? The answer depends on your situation, but you may be able to claim and not sacrifice much in terms of future benefits. While you can claim Social Security benefits as early as age 62, the better financial decision is usually to wait to take benefits as long as you are able. If you take Social Security between age 62 and your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced to account for the longer period you will be paid. Individuals who file at age 62 this year will receive 72 percent of their full benefit. On the other hand, if you delay taking retirement beyond your full retirement age, depending on when you were born,…

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