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Making important estate planning decisions as a parent

Being a parent may have always been a dream of yours. You may never have anticipated being the perfect mother or father, but you did want to have at least one child to call your own and to love and raise. Parenthood can certainly be a rewarding experience, and though you hope that you will always be around to care for and help your child whenever necessary, you know that life can throw unexpected events anyone's way.

To help offset some of the more difficult issues that could arise in the event that you suffer incapacitating or fatal injuries or illness, you have decided to make important decisions ahead of time by creating an estate plan. You are wise to make this decision, and having your wishes in legally binding documents could make a considerable difference in how quickly matters move forward if an unexpected event arises.

Your DWI could cost you thousands: Get a good defense

You were stopped for a DWI, and you're now facing charges. Your concern is that you'll end up having to pay hundreds, or thousands, of dollars in fines and fees.

You may be right. For driving while intoxicated in New York, you can be fined a mandatory $500 fee up to a mandatory $1,000 fee, depending on the situation, for a first-time offense. For a second-offense DWI, you can expect fines up to $5,000.

You may still be able to sign legal documents with dementia

You were diagnosed with dementia a few months ago. For the most part, you still know what's happening around you. You know that you may lose some of this awareness as time goes on as a result of this disease.

In the early stages of dementia, there is no reason why you cannot live alone or live your life normally, in most cases. However, when it comes to legal documents, you will need to be cautious. If someone is dissatisfied with your will in the future, for example, they could claim that your disease did not allow you to make good decisions. In a worst-case scenario, all the planning you did could be overruled.

If a tire comes loose, whose fault is it?

You were traveling on a highway when you felt some unusual vibrations. Then, only a few moments later, you realized that you were struggling to control your vehicle. As you started losing control, you saw your tire flying away from your vehicle toward oncoming traffic.

When all was said and done, another vehicle had collided with you and the stray tire. In total, three vehicles were damaged and multiple people were injured. You're not sure what to do, because you just had maintenance performed on your vehicle and your tires had been rotated.

Start estate planning now to make it easier later

Estate planning is something you hadn't been thinking about. After all, you're only in your mid-20s, and you have a lot of life left to live.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know when you could fall ill or pass away unexpectedly. Many people are caught off-guard by sudden car crashes or illnesses that impair them and make it impossible for them to discuss their wishes with their families.

Hacking laws are serious: Don't forget a defense

You love to be on the computer. You've always been interested in coding and pushing the limits of technology.

Recently, you got in with a new crowd. One of them sent you a link and asked if you could get into the site to make a few changes. You did without considering the implications of your actions.

You have the right to remain silent, and you probably should

Like other people here in New York and across the country, when you feel stressed or feel you are "in trouble," your natural instinct is to explain yourself. This may not cause you much harm if you are explaining to your boss why you didn't meet a deadline, but it could cause substantial issues if you try to do it with a police officer.

When an officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she already has a bias against you. Every communication from this point is to bolster that position into probable cause for an arrest. Most likely, your best course of action is to remain silent, even if you are not yet under arrest. You don't have to wait until then to exercise this Constitutional right.

Don't underestimate the unexpected alcohol in your food

You love eating out at nice restaurants. You usually have a glass of wine (or two) and catch a cab home. Tonight was different, though, because you went out with a friend.

They brought their vehicle, but they ended up getting a little more intoxicated than expected. In order to help them out, you decided to put them in the passenger seat and drive them home. You only had two glasses of wine over the last few hours, so you expected that you'd be fine.

Can you do estate planning when you're chronically ill?

You're unwell, and you've known for a while that your time was coming. You didn't have an estate plan in the past, and you know that it's a good idea to put one together soon.

You're worried that your current health will make it hard to create a will and estate plan because someone could argue that you're not healthy or aware enough to do so. How can you minimize the risk of that happening?

Accused of driving dangerously while drunk? Learn your options

You didn't think that you had done anything wrong, but an officer pulled you over and claimed you had been weaving in and out of traffic. They started accusing you of racing another vehicle that had been driving the same route in the next lane. You had no idea what the officer was talking about.

Since you were driving so recklessly, according to the officer, they decided to take a breath test. That showed that you had a blood alcohol concentration of .05%, which you didn't think was high enough to result in a DUI. Unfortunately, you were still arrested based on the claim that you were not driving safely.

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