Lawyer

Tips for Estate Planning

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Whether we like it or not, there comes a time when each of us must prepare a plan for our estate. Doing so could save your loved ones from extremely stressful situations that arise when arrangements have not been made. Follow a few simple steps and gain some peace of mind knowing your loved ones will be properly cared for and your estate will be dealt with as you wish.

1. Inventory Your Assets

Gather all of the relevant financial and legal information before going to an attorney to plan your estate. One easy way to do this is to make an exhaustive list of all of your assets, outstanding debts, insurance policies and bank accounts.

2. Visit Your Attorney

Be sure to carefully select an estate planning attorney using references. When you see your estate attorney, documents that you can plan to have prepared and signed include:

  • Will
  • Trust
  • Power of Attorney

3. Designate People You Trust

Designating a healthcare power of attorney Raliegh NC is crucial to ensuring you have someone you trust making medical decisions for you should you become mentally or physically incapacitated. A financial power of attorney designates someone you trust to make financial and property-related decisions in the event of your incapacitation. Consider designating a financial power of attorney in addition to a healthcare power of attorney.

4. Choose Your Beneficiaries

Select your beneficiaries to ensure your money and property are inherited by your loved ones or charities of your choice. Be sure to present your attorney with all pertinent information to ensure all of your funds pass to the beneficiaries selected by you.

After you’ve signed the appropriate documentation, your estate planning work is still not done. As your life progresses, you’ll need to revisit your estate plan occasionally to add or remove assets and beneficiaries.

General Article

HIPAA Compliance: Who Should be Concerned?

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Staying compliant with every applicable rule and regulation implemented by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is not easy. Nevertheless, compliance is a legal requirement for all parties officially designated as covered entities, as well as their business associates. Before discussing how the covered entities are affected by HIPAA regulations, let’s first take a quick look at which parties qualify as covered entities.

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Who are the Covered Entities?

There are three broad classifications, under which all covered entities are enlisted automatically. These are as follows:

Health Plan Providers

Covered entities listed under the Health Plans section are health maintenance organizations (HMO), health insurance providers, employer’s health plans, and government-sponsored healthcare plans (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.).

Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers such as the following are common examples of covered entities, but they are not the only ones:

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Chiropractors
  • Diagnostic clinics and healthcare clinics
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Pharmacies

Clearinghouses

The definition of a clearinghouse is not exact, but it would include any third party in charge of processing non-standardized patient data related to patients and insurance claims into standardized, checked and corrected information. They are the third and final type of covered entities on whom the HIPAA standards apply.

Who are the Business Associates?

All applicable business associates must also comply with the established HIPAA standards, but only through association. These would be the companies and individuals who gain access to patient records, as a mandatory part of the services which they provide to covered entities. Medical transcriptionists, cloud storage service providers, medical record keepers, CPA firms, attorneys, consultants, bill collection agencies and medical equipment manufacturers are just some of the common examples of business associates.

What are the Penalties for Noncompliance?

Failure to comply with applicable HIPAA regulations is one of the most common insurance company errors. Depending on the specifics of a particular case, a noncompliant party would face either civil penalties or criminal penalties. General reputation, prior records, circumstances, damages caused, etc., play important roles in deciding how the guilty party will be penalized.

Civil Penalties:

  • $100 per violation (capped at $25,000 max) if the party was aware/should have been aware of the HIPAA laws they have broken
  • Civil penalties can be avoided if the violations were not instances of willful neglect, and were corrected in 30 days or less

Criminal Penalties:

  • Minimum to maximum fines for criminal violations range between $50,000 – $250,000 (inflation rate adjustments might be applicable)
  • Compensating the affected patients and/or victims adequately may also be deemed mandatory, depending on the damages caused
  • Possible prison time, ranging from a few months to 10 years, depending on the violations’ nature and effect

It should be noted that all mentioned parties only become a covered entity after they partake in transmission and/or exchange of health records during interactions and transactions. However, an exception can be cited if the transaction in question is not covered by one of the established HIPAA standards. However, such instances are now quite rare, since HIPAA standards have grown over the years to cover almost everything.

Divorce Attorney

How To Help a Friend Cope With Divorce

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Seeing a friend go through a divorce is difficult, whether you’ve been through the situation yourself or not. No one wants to see someone they care about suffer, but it might be hard to know what to say. If you know someone going through a divorce, here’s how you can help them cope.

Help a Friend Cope With Divorce

Listen to Them

When a friend’s marriage is ending, they need someone to listen to them. Although you might be tempted to dole out advice, it’s not what they need. Even if it’s an amicable or uncontested divorce Arlington VA, it’s still a major life change. Being heard by someone they trust is worth its weight in gold.

Resist Criticizing Their Ex

On the other hand, your friend may be frustrated and angry with their ex. It’s hard to not be critical if you know their ex is to blame but resist the urge. Understand that emotions run the gamut during divorce, but at sometime in the future, your friend might develop a healthy relationship with their ex.

Don’t Pass Judgment

Many times the best way to be a good friend is to hold back your opinion. When your friend talks, listen to them without passing judgment. Instead of making assumptions, ask what you can do to help. Just because they’re handling the situation differently than you would doesn’t make it wrong.

Keep Things to Yourself

Part of being a true friend means you can be trusted with personal information. When a friend confides in you during their divorce, don’t talk about it behind their back. If someone else asks about them, don’t divulge private information and encourage them to connect on their own.

When a friend is going through a divorce, it’s difficult to watch. Be the best friend you can by listening to them, remaining non-judgmental and giving them a safe place to heal.

General Article

FAQs About TABC Permits

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If you’re starting a food and drink business in Texas, you have probably come across TABC licenses and permits. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand more about these. 

What’s a Retailer?

The alcoholic beverage industry is divided into three tiers in Texas. Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are the different tiers. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), a retailer is anyone that sells alcohol to customers, such as a liquor store, restaurant, bar, or grocery store. This category is further broken down to determine what type of TABC permit you need. 

How Do You Know What Type of Permit To Get?

The type of permit you need is based on your business model. You can peruse the options and determine which permit or license would be the best fit for you. You can also get a representative from the TABC to help you select the best option. 

How Do You Get a Permit?

Typically, this process involves the owner filling out an application to get the required approval and certifications. You will start by choosing the appropriate permit, downloading the application, filling it out, and starting the payment process. You may also have to place a 60-day notice that your establishment will be offering alcohol in some areas. Once you have completed the requirements, you can submit your application to your area’s TABC office. 

How Do You Get a Bond?

In some areas, you will need to get a bond before you get a permit. Before you start the permit process, you should find out if you need one and take appropriate action. 

If you want to sell liquor directly to Texas customers, you need a TABC license or permit. The best way to choose the right option is to know more about the options and permit process. 

Law

What Happens if You Lose Your Professional License?

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There are many professions where a professional license is required to practice. In the US, there are actually few professions where a license isn’t needed! Examples of professions where you need a license include accountancy, social work, teaching, law, and medicine.

Professional License

Licensing requirements vary, but in all cases, it can be a convoluted process to acquire one, so the last thing any professional needs is to lose their license. Unfortunately, there are several scenarios where your professional license is at risk. If that happens, you will no longer be able to practice your profession, which will lead to a loss of income, status, and worse. 

The Consequences of Losing Your License

Licensed professionals are usually viewed as fine, upstanding members of the community. Often, they are in positions of trust, such as teaching or accounting. If a professional person is subsequently accused of or found guilty of a crime, it not only reflects badly on them – it also casts a shadow on whatever institution they work for.

Not only will this lead to a loss of earnings, but it could also cause significant embarrassment, for you and your family. 

People also lose their licenses when personal problems affect their professional life, such as alcohol or drug dependency.

Why You May Have Lost Your License

Being associated with criminal activities is likely to lead to you having your professional license suspended or revoked. If you are guilty, there may not be much you can do to avoid losing your license, but you may have been wrongly accused. 

Sometimes, professionals face losing their license because of a mistake or because someone makes a complaint that simply isn’t true.

Either way, if it happens to you, it is sensible to consult a professional licensure attorney, who can look more closely at the specific licensing actions of the case.

All is not lost if you have had your professional license suspended or revoked. There are cases where licenses are reinstated, although it will depend on the exact circumstances of your case. This is where an experienced lawyer can help you.

What Happens Next?

Your lawyer will guide you in the next steps, but if your license is not quickly reinstated, you will need to come to terms with a new normal. Since you won’t be able to practice anymore, it’s a good idea to start looking at retraining for a new job, networking to build new contacts, and making a new life for yourself. 

Depending on the severity of your infractions, you may be able to apply to have your license reinstated after 1-3 years. If this is your plan, bear in mind any reinstatement of a professional license only happens after the petitioner has proven they have taken steps to prevent the same thing from happening again and are now suitable qualified to do their job. 

If you do decide to petition for the reinstatement of your license, make sure you consult a lawyer first to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.