Month: March 2017

What Is a Will and Why Do I Need One Now?

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be carried out. Further, your heirs may end up spending additional time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you’re gone.

Though no single document will likely resolve every issue that arises after your death, a will—officially known as a last will and testament—can come pretty close.

Here’s what you need to know about these vital documents.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
A will is a legal document that spells out your wishes regarding the care of your children, as well as the distribution of your assets after your death.
Failure to prepare

Will vs. Trust: What Is the Difference?

Will vs. Trust: An Overview

Wills and trusts are both estate-planning tools that can help ensure your assets are protected and bequeathed to your heirs (besides your spouse, which is almost always assured by law as a given). This is because the unlimited marital deduction provisions in the United States estate and gift tax laws allow the passing of wealth to a surviving spouse without incurring gift or estate tax liabilities.

However, the transfer process becomes much more involved when wealth is passed to a subsequent generation. It is possible to have both a will and a trust.

A will is a written document expressing a deceased person’s wishes, from naming guardians of minor children to bequeathing objects and cash assets to friends, relatives, or charities. A will becomes active only after one’s

Tips to Help Siblings Avoid or Resolve an Estate Battle

Sibling disputes often erupt after a parent dies, and it’s time to divide up the assets of an estate, and these fights can result in lengthy and expensive legal actions.

However, a little forethought from parents can avoid such disputes, or they can be addressed by siblings who employ savvy strategies after a parent or both parents die. Consider the following to prevent or resolve conflict.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Sibling disputes over assets in a parent’s estate can be avoided by taking certain steps both before and after the parent dies.
Strategies parents can implement include expressing their wishes in a will, setting up a trust, using a non-sibling as executor or trustee, and giving gifts during their lifetime.
After a parent dies, siblings can use

Merck must face renewed Fosamax warning claims: U.S. appeals court

A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived claims by several hundred plaintiffs who accused Merck & Co of failing to adequately warn about the risks of thigh bone fractures associated with its osteoporosis drug Fosamax.

In a 3-0 decision, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the plaintiffs may proceed to trial on their failure-to-warn claims, and a lower court judge erred in finding the claims pre-empted by federal law.

Merck said it is reviewing its options, and that a judge, not a jury, should decide the pre-emption question. It also said it remains “confident” in Fosamax’s safety and effectiveness.

David Frederick, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fosamax, whose chemical name is alendronate sodium, has been prescribed to treat or prevent bone loss in post-menopausal women since 1995.

But the plaintiffs claimed to suffer atypical femur fractures from long-term use, and said Merck knew about the risk for more than a decade before adding it to the Fosamax warning label in January 2011.

The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company changed the label four months after an outside task force hired by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a report associating Fosamax with the fractures.

In March 2014, U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano in Trenton, New Jersey, dismissed all claims by plaintiffs injured before Sept. 14, 2010, the date of the task force report, leaving only about 20 active cases.

Jury Awards $6 Million to Texas Carpoolers Struck by Tractor-Trailer Truck

A Dallas County jury has awarded a $6 million verdict to two North Texas men who suffered severe injuries when a tractor-trailer slammed into several vehicles that had slowed on the interstate in order to navigate around a minor car accident.

The plaintiffs were carpooling to work just before sunrise on June 13, 2014, when they came upon an accident on Interstate 35 north of Waxahachie, Texas. As traffic began to slow and come to a stop, an 18-wheeler barreled into seven cars, violently slamming the plaintiffs’ pickup into a commercial delivery truck. The plaintiffs endured multiple surgeries and lengthy hospital stays as a result of the accident.

“This was a horrific accident and my clients were lucky to survive, but it was an accident

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