Betty, Neuman & McMahon, P.L.C.

Quad Cities Legal Blog

Crucial tips when it comes to estate planning

The estate planning process can seem like a mystery to many Quad Cities residents who are just getting started, but there are some crucial tips to keep in mind that can make the process less challenging. A recent news article discussed some of the tips and our readers could benefit from considering them when they begin to think about organizing their comprehensive estate plans.

For starters, think about the goals of estate planning. For most people, the primary goal is to make sure that a plan is in place that allows financial assets to pass to family members so that those loved ones have the appropriate amount of resources to support themselves. In some cases, a simple will can accomplish this goal. In others, trusts may be a better option.

The basics of a trial in civil litigation

Many of our Quad Cities readers probably have a basic idea of how trials work in our nation's judicial system. After all, there is no shortage of courtroom dramas on TV or in the movies. But, reality is quite different than what we see on our TVs. Understanding the basics of a trial in civil litigation can help Iowa residents prepare for how their case will be handled.

Perhaps, the most important aspect of a civil trial to understand is that the "burden of proof" is lower in a civil case than it is in a criminal case. We have all heard the phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt," but that is the burden of proof in criminal cases, not civil cases. In civil cases, the burden of proof is "by a preponderance of the evidence." Basically, that means that the case that is being proved is more likely than not what actually occurred.

What are the workers' compensation basics in the Quad Cities?

Individuals who suffer injuries on-the-job in Iowa typically have quite a few questions about their options. They may be exploring their short-term disability insurance policy for the first time, or maybe they need to dip into their savings. They may need to find someone to cover their work tasks if they need to take time off of work to heal and recuperate. But, one area that all injured workers need to be familiar with is workers' compensation. Do workers in our area know the basics about workers' compensation?

If not, knowing the basics about this program is essential when it comes to on-the-job injuries. Most employers are required to have workers' compensation coverage. Many types of injuries are covered, but the injury in question must have occurred during the course of an employee's regular work duties in order for an applicant to be qualified to receive workers' comp benefits. If the injury did not occur "on the clock," the employee likely will not be eligible for benefits.

Recognizing specific issues to plan for in an estate plan

When Iowa residents start to think about getting an estate plan together, they oftentimes do not know where to start. Many people feel overwhelmed with the vast array of options that could constitute a comprehensive estate plan. However, when people approach estate planning in terms of solving problems before they arise, this can make the whole process much easier. It is important to recognize specific issues to plan for when it comes to estate planning.

A recent article pointed out a few specific instances that may occur in a person's life and which an estate plan can address. For starters, there is the issue of dying "too soon" or, rather, dying when there are still people who depend on you financially, such as a spouse or minor children. An estate plan can direct the funds in certain accounts, such as retirement accounts, investment accounts and especially life insurance policy payouts, in such a way that those who would be financially vulnerable would be provided for.

Protecting yourself when facing harassment allegations

The recent #MeToo movement brought attention to the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. Those who experienced this unacceptable and illegal behavior obtained a voice, and employers learned a swift lesson about how to prevent and address such incidents in their workplaces. You or your manager may have implemented or improved the protocol in your own Iowa business and perhaps provided training to help your employees understand the problem.

Nevertheless, you may not know when an employee or coworker may perceive something you say or do as harassment. If you are facing accusations of sexually harassing someone on the job, you would be wise to act quickly to protect yourself and your career.

Making sure a will is valid

Having a valid will is key to ensuring the estate planner has an effective estate plan they can count on to ensure their wishes are fulfilled. As a result, it is important for estate planners to know what is required for a will to be valid which can vary by state so it is also essential for estate planners to know the rules in their state.

A valid will can serve a number of important purposes for the estate planner including specifying how their property should be distributed, who should serve as guardian to any minor children and who should have the responsibility for administering the estate. Because of the importance of a valid will, estate planners should be familiar with the requirements for a will to be considered properly executed. To begin with, a valid will requires that the estate planner be of legal age to execute a will which is usually over the age of 18.

Employment law help for employers

Because employment law governs so many important relationships, it is important to understand and to be familiar with. Employment law provides protections for employers that they should be familiar with in case a dispute or other concern with an employee arises. Employment-related disputes and concerns can be addressed in a variety of ways based on the nature of dispute or concern and the needs of the employer.

Any size business, a small, mid-size or large business, may find itself facing challenges that employment law resources can help with. Concerns may vary and can result in litigation or other forms of complaints being made. It is important for employers to know how to handle these concerns and complaints and to be familiar with the important legal resources that can help protect their interests.

The process of challenging a workers' compensation claim

Workers' compensation protections are for injured workers but are not for workers who claim to be injured when they are not. Because of this, it is important for employers to be familiar with how to dispute a workers' compensation claim when necessary.

It is also important for employers to know their workers' compensation responsibilities and rights under the laws of their state. Employers are typically allowed to dispute a workers' compensation claim for benefits but the procedures for doing so can vary by state so employers wishing to dispute a workers' compensation claim need to be familiar with the workers' compensation defense process and procedures in their state. Understanding the process and procedures will help walk them through the process of challenging a claim for workers' compensation benefits they do not believe is a valid.

Important considerations when selecting a business form

When starting a business, one of the most important decisions the entrepreneur will make is what business form to select. Entity formation can have a significant impact on the business at the beginning and throughout the life of the business so it is important to select wisely and carefully and for entrepreneurs and business owners to be familiar with their options.

There are a variety of different business form options with different benefits, and potential drawbacks, to be familiar with. Taking different considerations into account when evaluating the best business form for the business can help determine which option is best. Variables such as the costs of starting up the business and the future plans the business owner has for the business should all be considered during the business formation process.

Building a defense against a personal injury lawsuit

Following a motor vehicle accident, adrenaline may be high, people may be in pain and tempers may flare. After all, both you and the other driver may be looking at expensive car repairs, months of inconvenience and significant medical bills. It is understandable if someone gets emotional.

Even if you believe the accident is your fault, you are wise to remain quiet and say nothing beyond exchanging basic information with Iowa police and the other driver. However, in such circumstances, especially if the other driver threatens to sue you, contacting a legal advocate as soon as possible may provide the defense strategy you need if the case goes to court.

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Betty, Neuman & McMahon, P.L.C.
1900 East 54th Street
Davenport, IA 52807

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