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Trenton Legal Issues Blog

Social Security disability: For when you can't get workers' comp

Workers' compensation insurance is a boon for any worker who suffers a debilitating injury on the job. However, what if you get hurt when you're not at work?

Imagine you suffer a waterskiing accident, or you trip and fall while going for a morning run. Imagine you develop cancer or heart disease and you can't perform your job duties anymore. Imagine you develop early onset dementia and you're cognitive abilities are declining. These debilitating health problems didn't develop at work -- nor as a result of your employment -- so you can't qualify for workers' compensation benefits because of them. This means you'll be struggling to get by financially while you can't earn an income.

Change your beneficiary designations after a divorce

You're getting divorced, and so you're updating your will. You want to make sure that none of your assets go to your ex, but that they instead go to your children.

This is a good first step, but remember that your will is not all that dictates what is done with your money. Many documents have beneficiary designations, and these also need to be updated. Connected accounts and assets could include:

  • A 401(k) retirement account.
  • Brokerage accounts known as transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts.
  • Life insurance that is provided by your employer.
  • Additional life insurance policies that you purchased yourself.
  • Pay-on-death (POD) bank accounts.

Did diabetes rob you of your ability to work?

Michigan readers know that diabetes is a serious medical condition, and people who have this condition could have difficulties with everyday activities, including their jobs. If you have diabetes and the progression of this illness has left you where you are no longer able to continue to hold gainful employment, you could have a rightful claim to disability benefits.

For some, diabetes is manageable with medication and regular health monitoring. However, this may not be the case for you. It is very possible that your case of diabetes could be more than an inconvenience; it could threaten your very way of life. If you believe that you may qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you do not have to walk through the claims process alone.

You're never too young for estate planning

It's easy to think that you don't need a will if you're young.

Maybe you're just 35, for instance. You expect to live at least into your 70s, so you don't think you're even halfway there. If you make it to 75, you have 40 years. That's longer than your entire life, so it feels like an eternity.

How do I get out of my real estate contract?

If you are trying to sell your home in Trenton, you want a real estate agent who will aggressively market your property to potential homeowners who are interested in and able to afford it. Sometimes their efforts fall short, or you are simply dissatisfied for other reasons.

Under those circumstances, how can you graciously bow out of a contractual agreement? Very carefully, but it will be easier if you lay the proper groundwork before you ever sign any contracts.

3 key things that help make relocation feasible

One thing parents are sometimes surprised to learn is that divorce can impact their freedom to move. If kids are involved and custody rights have been awarded, parents who thought they'd have more freedom after ending their marriage may find out that the opposite is true.

The problem is that one parent moving with the child can infringe on the other parent's rights, so the court may not sign off on the move.

5 things you should know about applying for disability benefits

Social Security Disability benefits sound simple enough. If you can't work, they help cover the costs. In an ideal world, you can eventually get back in the workforce, but they're there for you when you'll be out for a significant amount of time.

The reality, though, is that getting benefits is usually very difficult and complex. You must do your homework. Below are five things you should know as you start the process.

  1. All work has to be impeded. You can't work at all due to severe injuries. It's not enough for you just to be uncomfortable at work. It has to be bad enough that you're out of the workforce.
  2. You'll probably get denied at first. Two out of every three applicants do. That doesn't mean there's no hope -- a lot of people are rejected for paperwork errors that can be corrected -- but it's important to know how this tends to play out.
  3. You must be facing at least 12 months of impairment. Again, these are serious injuries. In the worst-case situation, you expect the disability to eventually lead to your own death.
  4. It has to be so bad that you can't just get a different job or find a different role within the company. The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to know that you can't work at all. Period.
  5. You must have worked for a specific amount of time. The "duration of work" test varies by age. For instance, if you're 46 years old, you need six years of work. If you're 58 years old, you need nine years.

3 things you can and cannot put it your prenup

Thinking of creating a prenuptial agreement? Experts note that these are almost always enforced if you wind up in divorce court. That said, you do need to know what you're allowed to add in, as a prenup with illegal provisions will not be enforced.

Below are three things that you can have in your prenup, helping to avoid any surprises and to streamline the entire divorce process:

  1. Future business income. Your company may just be starting out now, but what if it's worth $10 million when you divorce?
  2. Money from an inheritance. Your parents intended that money to stay within your family.
  3. Family heirlooms. You may have numerous assets with a lot of value that goes beyond their strict financial value.

Does complex regional pain syndrome qualify you for disability?

Many Michigan residents struggle with medical conditions and injuries that prevent them from working, however, not all of them are obvious. You could be struggling with a significant medical condition, known as complex regional pain syndrome, and eventually, it could be what stands between you and your ability to work.

When you are unable to hold gainful employment and support yourself and your family because of this condition, you may have a valid claim to Social Security disability benefits. Claiming these benefits is not always an easy process, and you may find that you have to fight for your rightful support.

What is a title and how can I ensure that it's clean?

When real estate professionals or attorneys ask about who holds a "title" to a property, they generally are looking to ascertain who is recorded as the legal owner of a piece of land or a building. Clear titles afford the individual holding them the right to use or sell that piece of property largely at their own discretion, provided that it's in accordance with local regulations and laws.

A buyer shouldn't assume that a title is clear just because someone is offering a property for sale. Further, you should not assume that just because you've made timely payments on your mortgage that you have a clear title. It is possible for the title on your property to move between being clear when you finally pay off your mortgage to defective.