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Workers' compensation after death: What your family should know

Workers' compensation is an important protection for workers. It guarantees that they are able to get the medical care they need and the compensation they deserve after getting hurt on the job.

Sometimes, people don't survive their workplace injuries, and that's where workers' compensation becomes even more important for their surviving family members. Death benefits pay for funeral expenses, weekly compensation and more.

Do you need an attorney to split retirement payments?

During a divorce case, you may have to divide many of your marital assets. Some of those assets may include your 401(k) or retirement accounts, among other investments. If that's the case, then you will likely need a qualified domestic relations order, better known as a QDRO.

A QDRO establishes that your estranged spouse, and soon to be ex-spouse, has a legal right to a portion of certain assets included in the document. For example, if you have a 401(k) and your ex-spouse will be entitled to 25 percent of the marital portion as a result of your divorce settlement, then that can be transferred to your ex-spouse without penalties or taxes through a QDRO.

The advantages of getting your alimony in a lump sum

If you're divorcing a spouse who has considerable assets, they may propose paying you spousal support in one lump-sum payment as opposed to making monthly payments over a period of years. People often prefer (if they have the means) to do that just to put the divorce -- and their spouse -- behind them and move on. They're often able to negotiate a lower amount of spousal support overall by offering a lump-sum payment to their estranged spouse.

If you're the one who will be receiving spousal support and you are given the option of a lump-sum payment, it may be financially beneficial to you, even if it's less than you'd receive in a monthly payment plan. Let's look at some of the key advantages.

Mesothelioma can be a terminal diagnosis

Asbestos is not used as much as it once was in the United States, which is good news since it can lead to serious health conditions such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Each of these conditions, as well as other lung problems that can be caused by asbestos, can become life-threatening.

Many people worry that their exposure will lead to one of these asbestos-related health conditions. The reality is that it's a possibility, but there is a low chance of developing such a rare condition without regular exposure. However, exposure can happen in a number of ways, such as working with asbestos-containing insulation or smoking cigarettes containing asbestos. Today, insulation doesn't contain asbestos, and cigarettes don't either, but that doesn't help those who were exposed decades ago.

Hurt on the job? Get the care you need immediately

You love your job, but you don't love that you were hurt while working. You'd planned to go on vacation shortly after your injury, but now you're trapped between hospital appointments and physical therapy dates.

You are not alone in this situation. Many people find themselves victims of workplace accidents. Even those working in offices or "less dangerous" occupations can find that they've fallen victim to workplace hazards.

What should be included in a QDRO?

If you are getting a divorce, one of the things you may need to deal with is a qualified domestic relations order. This is also known as a QDRO. A QDRO is a court-ordered judgment that tells a retirement plan to pay for a former spouse's child support, marital property rights or alimony. Essentially, it is the order that shows how to divide retirement benefits. This order is delivered to the companies that hold the retirement funds for distribution.

The QDRO must have a few important statements in it for it to be valid. A QDRO will include information such as:

  • The last known mailing address of alternative payees, if known
  • The total amount of benefits paid to -- or the percentage of benefits that should be paid to -- the alternate payee upon request
  • The number of payments that have to be made under the QDRO or the time period for which it is valid
  • The names of the plans that the QDRO applies to
  • Alternative payee information, including addresses, if there are any other than the ex-spouse

Good legal help can relieve your stress during divorce

Something that many people deal with during divorce is anxiety. It may be the anxiety of losing a spouse, losing a second income or being separated from children. It could be anxiety about finding money to pay for legal expenses or anxiety about living alone.

All people going through divorce have their own challenges, but if anxiety is yours, there are some things you can do to help yourself. One of them is to work with your attorney from the start with a budget you have in hand.

Driver's DUI leads to 3-vehicle crash

Car crashes can result in some unusual circumstances that make it hard to reach patients. For instance, a car that rolls down a hill could be damaged, which might lead to difficulties opening the doors. Other vehicles might end up suspended above the ground, which can make it extremely dangerous to move any part of the vehicle.

Victims need care as soon as possible, but it's clear to see why it can take longer than expected in some cases. For example, this case out of New London describes a situation where one vehicle was left partially suspended in the air after it got stuck on the wires of a telephone pole.

What is a QDRO and why do you need one?

For most people going through divorce in their 20s, 30s or 40s, retirement is far from the first thing on their minds. Instead, a fair financial settlement is likely to be the larger priority. But if you do not give serious thought to retirement now, you could wind up in serious financial trouble in your 60s and 70s.

There is an alternative. A court order known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO allows a divorced spouse to share a portion of the proceeds from an employer-sponsored retirement plan. In other words, if only one ex-spouse invested in a company retirement plan, both exes can share in the funds once it's time to retire.

What is the 'Ticket to Work' program, and how can it help you?

If you're receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, then you may be interested in learning more about the "Ticket to Work" program. This program helps support you as you attempt to go back to a job you enjoy.

In some cases, people find that they can go back to work and support themselves. In other cases, it's too much and they have to go back on disability. The benefit of this program is that it allows you to gradually increase your earning potential and remain on disability at the same time. Eventually, if you can, you'll be able to stop receiving disability. If you can't, it's still there to kick back in and support you as it did in the past.

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Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law
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