Beware the pitfalls of naming a minor as your beneficiary

A minor generally doesn’t have the right to manage his or her assets, including any inheritance.

But sometimes a minor child becomes the beneficiary of a sizable family inheritance. That can occur because a parent dies without a will or trust, leading to an unavoidable direct inheritance by the child.
If a minor is chosen as a beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy, many challenging issues can arise. Attorney Christopher B. Slusser of the Slusser Law Firm in Hazleton said it's best to consult a lawyer when planning your will so you can avoid many of these challenges.

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Estate planning options for blended families

The dynamics of a blended family, defined as one where at least one spouse has at least one child from a prior marriage or relationship, can complicate financial and estate planning because no off-the-shelf plans apply.

It’s important to contact your estate-planning lawyer to ensure complete review of all personal and economic aspects of your family and a resulting plan that works for everyone involved.

From designating account beneficiaries to updating wills and trusts, it takes attention to detail to ensure specific wishes are carried out properly. Effective, collaborative planning can address the family’s needs and goals while building trust and helping everyone move forward together.

A good place to start is with reviewing and updating beneficiary designations for life-insurance policies and retirement accounts. That’s a simple way to ensure that the proper beneficiaries are noted on all accounts and the proceeds from those accounts end up going to the correct individuals. Attorney Christopher B. Slusser and his staff at the Slusser Law Firm in Hazleton can help you do this.

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Slusser Law Firm sponsors Prom Promise for third consecutive year

PromPromiseThe Slusser Law Firm sponsored the Hazleton Area School District's Prom Promise program for the third consecutive year. Attorney Christopher Slusser helped members of the Class of 2017 pledge to stay safe during prom season with an assembly at the school.

Seniors from Hazleton Area High School and Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences attended the assembly and signed pledge cards promising not to drink and drive or drive distracted on prom night.

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Real estate owners need a will to document their property wishes

Anyone who owns real estate needs to have a will that indicates what should happen to the property if he or she suddenly passes away. You might assume you know who would inherit your house, but without a written will the inheritance would be decided by state-law rules that might not be exactly what you’d expect.

Attorney Christopher B. Slusser and his staff at the Slusser Law Firm in Hazleton will help you prepare your will to ensure that your wishes for your property are made legal.

Addressing your real estate assets in a will is important for more than just determining who will get the property. Even if the house ultimately goes to the person you want, the lack of a will might mean that ownership remains in legal limbo for an extended period of time. This can create unnecessary complications when it comes to paying property taxes and arranging for continued utilities and insurance coverage. If you have a mortgage, it can create even bigger headaches.

Having a will also prevents family disputes. For instance, if you live in your house with one of your children, the child might assume that he or she will get the house. But other siblings might legally inherit a share, and demand that it be sold.

If you live in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon, Columbia or Schuylkill County, contact the lawyers at Slusser Law Firm for assistance in documenting your will.

Proving you have a good personal injury compensation case may be easier than you think

Many people who are injured in a slip-and-fall don’t know their rights. Often they’ll simply think it was their own fault and therefore they have no case. In a lot of instances this may be true. But if you’ve been hurt in a fall, it’s still a good idea to consult with a lawyer. Attorney Christopher B. Slusser said he and his staff at the Slusser Law Firm in Hazleton will consult with clients to learn the individual attributes of their case and help you receive a just amount of compensation for your pain and suffering.

That’s because it may be easier to get compensated than you realize — even if you’ve encountered an “open and obvious” danger.

Take for example a recent case in New York City. A theatergoer named John Sada slipped and fell on a wet staircase during intermission, then sued the theater for his injuries.
The theater owners argued that they couldn’t be held accountable because they’d been maintaining the theater responsibly and had no realistic opportunity to discover the hazard and address it in time to prevent the injury. To back up their argument, the owners even presented evidence of their maintenance schedule.

However, a New York judge concluded that the case could proceed to trial. According to the judge, evidence of the maintenance schedule wasn’t enough to show the owners weren’t negligent (unreasonably careless). For that, they would have had to show they stuck to the schedule on the day of the accident. Sada also presented evidence that he told an usher about the water on the stairs before he left for intermission, 15 minutes before his fall occurred.

While you might think this would hurt his case — after all, he knew of the hazard well before he decided to navigate it, making it an “open and obvious danger” — the court felt he showed enough to be able to bring a claim against the owners. It remains to be seen what will ultimately happen at trial.

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1620 N. Church Street, Suite 1
Hazleton, PA 18202
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