Attorney David L. Zerbe
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Lawrenceburg Legal Issues Blog

Understanding bribery and extortion

There has been a lot of talk about quid pro quos, bribery and extortion in the news lately. The latter two terms are the ones that people (government and public officials as well as others) are more likely to find themselves hearing in court. Let's take a look at those.

What is bribery?

Are you using your kids as messengers without realizing it?

You've been reading books, magazine articles and blogs about healthy co-parenting during and after divorce. You know that parents should never use kids as messengers to relay information or requests to and from one another.

However, this is a habit that many parents slip into without realizing it. They may think that their "messages" are harmless. However, using the kids to relay any information to your co-parent can create stress for the kids. Let's look at some examples of seemingly innocent ways you and/or your co-parent may be using your kids as messengers.

Why your college student needs some 'estate planning' documents

Your daughter has started college. She spends her first winter break at her roommate's family's home in Vermont and suffers a concussion on the ski slopes. As you try to talk to the doctor treating her, you learn that since she's 18, you have no right to any medical information about her without her consent, which she can't give since she's heavily sedated.

It doesn't matter that she's on your insurance policy or that you paid for that ski vacation. As one attorney says, "Once a child turns 18, the child is legally a stranger to you."

Accusations of tax fraud could land you in hot water

When a person fails to report all of his or her income or intentionally fails to pay taxes, it could land him or her in hot water. The Internal Revenue Service takes instances of tax evasion and fraud seriously, and if convicted, you could be facing penalties that may impact the rest of your life. You would be wise to take an investigation for, or formal charges of, tax fraud seriously.

Tax law is complicated, and it's not always simple for the average person to know what he or she should include or not include on a tax return. However, there is a distinct difference between knowingly underpaying or underreporting, and committing an accidental error. If you are in trouble because of issues related to your taxes, you may want to learn more about what tax fraud means and how you can build a strong defense

Choose your durable financial power of attorney agent carefully

When you create a durable financial power of attorney, you create a document that grants someone, called an agent or an attorney-in-fact, the power to manage your financial affairs. Unless you limit the legal power you grant this person, he or she will be able to access your bank accounts, pay your bills, manage your property, sell your property, invest your money, hire someone to care for you, as well as other actions.

Due to the nature of these tasks, choosing your agent is the most important step in creating a power of attorney. However, people often choose their agents for the wrong reasons.

Reverse mortgages can leave heirs with unanticipated problems

Senior citizens seem to be inundated these days with ads for reverse mortgages. Many TV ads feature actors trusted by older people. While reverse mortgages can provide seniors with needed income, they also have disadvantages. Even if you avoid the reverse mortgage scams and sign on with a legitimate lender, you or your heirs could end up with debt you never intended.

One Florida woman says that she and her sisters went through a nightmare, including a court battle to get back their father's home back. She says that when she saw the fees her father was paying on his reverse mortgage, she tried to get him to pay it off. However, he passed away before he could.

Understanding kidnapping and confinement charges

When most people think of kidnapping, they picture the situations they've seen on TV or in the movies where the child or spouse of a wealthy person is abducted and held until a hefty ransom is paid. Most people who are charged with kidnapping, however, aren't involved in doing anything that elaborate. Kidnapping charges are, however, very serious.

Indiana law includes various levels of kidnapping charges. They all involve intentionally or knowingly removing someone and taking them someone else by force (or threat of it), enticement or fraud. The lowest level kidnapping charge (Level 6) carries the possibility of 2.5 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.

Successfully maneuvering parent-teacher conferences

Now that the new school year has begun, it won't be long before parent-teacher conferences roll around. If this is the first school year since your separation or divorce, you may be dreading the idea of sitting in a classroom with your ex or soon-to-be-ex discussing your child with their teacher.

Divorced parents sometimes choose to meet separately with their children's teachers -- particularly if your relationship is still conflict-ridden. However, it's typically best for the child when both parents can be in the same meeting, hearing the same thing and discussing issues, goals and expectations involving their child together.

Tips for having 'the conversation' with your spouse about divorce

If you're looking at family law attorneys' websites because you're considering divorce, that's a wise first step. It's good to do some planning and preparation before you file for divorce.

Perhaps you haven't even told your spouse that you've made the decision to end the marriage. It's not always a mutual decision. Often one spouse makes the move to file for divorce.

Alcohol and CDLs don't mix

Truck drivers provide a valuable service to the country. They transport goods from all over the country to different parts of the country, including Lawrenceburg. Driving trucks can provide a lucrative career for good drivers, but it could all end with just one mistake -- drunk driving.

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration holds truck drivers to a more stringent standard when it comes to all traffic violations, including driving under the influence. It's not surprising, since they operate the heaviest and largest vehicles on the road, that an accident involving one of these mammoth vehicles could cause severe devastation.

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Attorney David L. Zerbe

The Zerbe Firm
15 West Center Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

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