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Review Your Estate Plan

When Should You Review Your Estate Plan?

Your estate plans, including your will and all powers of attorney documents, are living documents. This means that, as long as you are alive, they should be regularly updated to reflect where you are in your life. Depending on your needs and changes to your life, you can update your estate plan annually or every 3-5 years. What circumstances make an update prudent?

Major Life Events

Significant life events are the perfect time to review your estate plan and add or remove beneficiaries. What could be considered major life events?

  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • A child or grandchild turning 18
  • A death or change in financial or life circumstances for a named guardian of your children
  • Changes in dependents, like a new child or an adult you care for
  • A change in your financial goals or the financial priorities of your spouse or children
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Health challenges, illness or disability of a spouse or child
  • Change in life or long-term care insurance
  • Purchasing a large asset, like a home
  • Rise or decline in the value of assets, like stocks or investments
  • Career changes, like starting or selling a business, starting a new job or receiving a significant promotion

By making a habit of regularly revisiting your plans, you can ensure that you never forget to review your estate plan and end up with plans that don’t reflect your wishes.

What If You Don’t Have a Major Life Event?

If you haven’t had any significant changes to your life, your assets or your beneficiaries, you should review your estate plan every 3-5 years. In this review, you can sit down with your lawyer at Mobley and Brown, LLP to review all of your goals and objectives and ensure that your plans reflect them. We can assist you in reviewing the titles on your assets, the beneficiaries for your assets and your power of attorney plans. This also allows us to make changes to your executor, guardians, order of trustees, beneficiaries and more. By staying on top of your estate plans, you can rest assured your intentions will be carried out when you are unable to do so.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Review Your Estate Plan

If you are preparing to sign a contract or looking to file suit when you are bound by an arbitration clause, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Arbitration Clause

How Does an Arbitration Clause in Maryland Work?

Whether or not you realize it, there is a high probability you are currently required to abide by an arbitration clause as an employee, a customer or a business. These clauses are a critical element of many contracts that can benefit companies, employers and businesses by lowering the potential court costs of settling a dispute. How does an arbitration clause work in Maryland?

What Is an Arbitration Clause?

These clauses are an agreement between parties to resolve disputes outside of a courtroom. Most clauses will call for a panel of arbitrators to help decide what is fair and appropriate. However, not every arbitration clause that you sign is legally enforceable. Maryland has a law, the Maryland Uniform Arbitration Act (MUAA) that governs the use of arbitration clauses in the state.

When Is an Arbitration Clause Enforceable?

The MUAA says that written arbitration agreements cannot be revoked if they are valid and enforceable. On what grounds can you challenge an arbitration agreement?

  • Waiver: One party acted in a way that shows they didn’t want to utilize arbitration, like one party filing suit in court instead of starting the arbitration process
  • Fraud: One party misrepresented or omitted a material fact in order to convince the other party to sign the arbitration agreement
  • Duress: One party was coerced or threatened to sign the contract
  • Unconscionability: One party did not have equal or substantial bargaining power before signing the provision

If you believe that the clause you signed may not be legally enforceable and wish to seek a legal remedy in court, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP to learn if you have a case.

Staying or Compelling Arbitration in Maryland

When a contract contains an arbitration agreement, some parties might not be able to agree on whether or not arbitration applies to a unique situation. Whenever a disagreement occurs, you can submit an application to stay or compel arbitration once the other party files suit. After this, the court will decide if the arbitration clause is relevant. Maryland courts will examine the validity of the clause, see how it applies, and come to a conclusion about whether it is enforceable. Mobley and Brown, LLP can help you during a contract dispute claim or before you sign a contract with an arbitration agreement included.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Business Law Needs

If you are preparing to sign a contract or looking to file suit when you are bound by an arbitration clause, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

6 Common Auto Accident Injuries in Personal Injury Cases

In the aftermath of a car accident, it can be difficult to know if you’re injured. Some injuries are immediately apparent, but many are lost in the shock and adrenaline following a collision. Thankfully, personal injury lawyers like Mobley and Brown, LLP, can help car accident victims receive compensation for their auto accident injuries. What are some of the most common auto accident injuries

6 Common Auto Accident Injuries After a Collision

  1. Whiplash: The most common auto accident injuries include whiplash, which is the colloquial name used to refer to tendon, muscle and ligament injuries that happen after a car accident. In a violent collision, your body will often move so quickly that you cannot brace yourself or adjust your position. That trauma can lead to muscle strain that leaves you sore and uncomfortable even if no bones are broken. Whiplash can take weeks to heal properly.
  2. Head Injuries: Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are other common auto accident injuries that lead to consequences today and in the future. Brain injuries can lead to lasting issues with brain function, headaches, insomnia and other side effects. Because head injuries are so serious, you should seek immediate medical treatment and work with a skilled lawyer who can help you to receive compensation for your injury and the years of medical treatment you may need to receive.
  3. Broken Ribs: Ribs are surprisingly fragile, and fractures and breaks are common in car accidents where you are pushed forwards or backward during the impact. Broken ribs can limit your activity and take a while to heal.
  4. Cuts and Scrapes: While these auto accident injuries might seem minor, they can be quite severe and increase the risk of infection or complications after an accident. Scrapes and cuts can happen during the accident as a result of your vehicle or the other vehicle striking you or projectiles in the car flying around.
  5. Internal Bleeding: One of the most serious auto accident injuries is internal bleeding. If it is not treated quickly, it can lead to serious, life-threatening issues. If there is a chance you are experiencing internal bleeding, you must seek medical care as quickly as you can.
  6. PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder is also common after auto accidents, as all injuries are not physical. PTSD can make your daily routine significantly more complicated and cause you serious distress that requires mental health treatment.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP

If you are seeking post-accident medical care and concerned about receiving the compensation that you deserve, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Is an Unconstitutional Search or Seizure in Maryland?

As a citizen of the United States and a Maryland resident, you are afforded protections against law enforcement officers conducting unconstitutional searches or seizures. Maryland law details circumstances that are considered an unconstitutional search or seizure, including some that might surprise you. What is an unconstitutional search or seizure in Maryland?

What Is the Difference Between Lawful and Unlawful?

The main decider when determining what is an unconstitutional search or seizure or a consensual encounter and therefore constitutional is control. Are you in control of when you leave? Are you allowed to decide when the interaction ends? In that circumstance, you are taking part in a consensual encounter. However, if you do not feel free to leave and the police are determining whether or not you can leave the situation, you are part of a seizure.

Police can initiate a search or seizure for a broad range of reasons if they have reasonable suspicion about the person being about to commit a crime or having committed a crime. If they do not have probable cause, they cannot detain an individual and check on warrants, ask for additional information or force you to remain with them. If you are unsure of whether or not the search or seizure you experienced was lawful, it’s always best to consult with an experienced attorney and law firm like Mobley and Brown, LLP.

What Are Examples of Search and Seizure?

Searches and seizures can take many different forms and happen over the course of many different types of cases. For example, searches could include:

  • Looking through a phone or computer
  • Searching a vehicle
  • Looking through a home
  • Searching your pockets or person
  • Examining the contents of a container, suitcase or briefcase

Some examples of seizures include:

  • Arrests
  • Confiscating property
  • DNA warrants
  • Traffic stops

Remember that police do not need a warrant in every case for a search or seizure to occur, but cases where there was no warrant are typically easier to have evidence excluded from the record. There are specific circumstances in which a search without a warrant is legal, like when an individual was arrested and the search occurred after the arrest.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Search and Seizure Case

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your arrest, search or seizure and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Do You Have a Birth Injury Case in Maryland?

One of the most tragic things that can happen in personal injury law or life itself is a birth injury. No parent wants to see their child potentially harmed forever as a result of a birth injury, and the impact of those injuries does not only harm and devastate the child. When a birth injury occurs, it’s understandable that you want to understand why it happened and if you have potential legal recourse. Do you have a birth injury case in Maryland?

Understanding Birth Defects vs. Birth Injuries

It’s a sensitive topic, but one of the most important things to consider when determining if you have a birth injury case is whether or not the result was a birth defect or a birth injury. Birth defects include things that were inherited, like a genetic abnormality, or things that occurred as a result of exposure to a toxin during pregnancy. Birth defects can include Down syndrome, spina bifida or cleft palates.

Birth injuries are things that were caused due to circumstances during delivery, like a doctor using excessive force during the delivery, a nurse failing to identify signs of fetal distress or the failure to deliver a baby with fetal distress in an efficient fashion. The negligence on behalf of the medical team causes hypoxia in many of these situations, and that lack of oxygen can lead to permanent cognitive or physical injury.

What Damages Are Awarded?

In general, the damages awarded can cover past medical expenses, lost income and out of pocket expenses for caring for the child. Things can become more complicated when projecting future expenses and damages, which is why partnering with an experienced lawyer is so critical. It’s impossible for you to put a monetary value on the pain and suffering you, your child and your family have faced, which is why a lawyer can be essential to presenting your case in a compelling fashion.

What Birth Injuries Can Indicate Medical Malpractice?

Every case differs, but some examples of birth injuries that indicate medical malpractice can include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Brain damage or skull bruising
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Bone fractures
  • Caput succedaneum
  • Facial paralysis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Birth asphyxia

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Birth Injury Case

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your accident or injury and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Estate Planning for Couples Without Children

Did you know that over 55% of Americans do not have a will? Many of those adults have children, but many others do not have children to pass things onto. Most states dictate that, in couples with children, belongings will pass on to a spouse or the children without a will. However, things can be more complex for married couples without children. What unique considerations should be made when estate planning for couples without children?

Complications in Estate Planning for Couples Without Children

In most cases, the surviving spouse will inherit all of the assets that the couple had. What happens if both spouses pass away at the same time? Those assets might be distributed back to the families of each spouse. This often leads to unintended beneficiaries, or someone who you did not intend to receive a benefit getting one due to a lack of planning.

While this is common in estate planning for couples without children, it can also be common for singles. One recent example of this is what happened when Prince, the late musician, passed away without a will. His estate has remained in probate court for years, and it is routinely being contested. Instead of people who he would have given items to receiving them, things devolved into a “he said-she said” battle all governed by a judge.

What Do You Need to Do?

Every estate plan should include a will and powers of attorney for both health care and financial decisions. Power of attorney can become critical if you are incapacitated and unable to state your wishes and your spouse is also in a similar state. If you are incapacitated and do not have a named power of attorney and your spouse is unavailable or you are unmarried, in many cases the default will be a sibling or parent. If you are not on good terms with that person, or you are not physically or emotionally close to them, it can seriously complicate matters.

Then, you should choose your beneficiaries. When estate planning for couples without children, many times nephews or nieces are named. Many couples also name charities or other organizations in their will to leave assets and gifts to. We can assist you in determining what you would like to do with your assets and formalizing your intentions in a will.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Estate Planning for Couples Without Children

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland as part of your estate planning and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Reviewing Your Will

Preparing for a New Year By Reviewing Your Will and Power of Attorney

As one year comes to a close and another is about to begin, it’s time to review all of your estate planning documents and ensure that they are adequate and up to date. Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to create these documents once and forget about them. However, it’s critical to routinely review and update these documents to reflect your life situation.

The Importance of Reviewing Your Will and Power of Attorney

Your will and power of attorney are living documents, which means that they can and should be updated as your life continues to reflect your current lifestyle, needs and preferences. Many people view creating a will as a one-time task, but it should be updated annually in accordance with the acquisition of new high-value possessions, the addition of a new family member or after a divorce or passing. Failing to update your will or power of attorney could leave you in a situation where your current wishes are not executed and you are unable to properly articulate your preferences. Relationships change, assets change, your location changes and tax laws change. Are your will and power of attorney changing as well?

Reviewing Your Power of Attorney

The power of attorney designation gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf in a variety of circumstances, whether it is medically when you are incapacitated or financially. You should always review who your power of attorney is annually and in the event of terminal illness. If you are married, divorced or merely changed your mind about who you trust to act on your behalf, now is the perfect time to revise your power of attorney document.

Reviewing Your Will

Reviewing your will annually is another important task. How can you quickly review your will? Grab a copy and, before you sit down with your attorney at Mobley and Brown, LLP, answer the following questions:

  • Is anyone missing who should be listed on the document?
  • Are there people listed in the document that should not be?
  • Have the circumstances of any individuals listed changed since it was drafted? Are they no longer of sound mind to receive a certain gift or serve as executor?
  • How are you feeling about the division of your assets?

We can help you to adjust your assets and will as needed.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Emotional Distress Cases in Maryland

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland as part of your personal injury case or emotional distress case and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Non-Compete Agreements in Maryland

Understanding Non-Compete Agreements in Maryland

While non-compete agreements in Maryland are very common, they are often misunderstood by employers and employees alike. Non-compete agreements in Maryland are signed by employees, often as a condition of work, and involve an agreement to not work in the employer’s industry, within a certain geographical area or do either within a certain period of time.

 

What Are Non-Compete Agreements in Maryland?

 

Non-compete agreements are used to help employers survive in the face of employees leaving. It would be unfair to a company of any size for an employee who understands all of the behind-the-scenes workings, client list and tricks of the trade to quit and start their own business to directly compete (or go to a competitor armed with the information). Non-compete agreements in Maryland avoid situations like that, but are sometimes unenforceable depending on what the agreement is composed of.

 

Is Your Non-Compete Enforceable?

 

When bringing a non-compete agreement to court to enforce, the court will consider a broad range of factors, including:

  • If the non-compete agreement is against the public interest
  • If the restrictions are unreasonable and prevent the employee from finding any work
  • How unique the skillset of the employee is
  • The nature and extent of the employee’s exploitation of their relationship with existing clients or customers
  • If the non-compete only restricts what is reasonable to protect the employer
  • If the non-compete is necessary

 

While these seem like common sense, they can be difficult to defend in court if you do not think each non-compete agreement you have signed through.

 

What Does Maryland Consider in Court?

 

For non-compete agreements in Maryland, one of the primary things that the court considers is fairness. The court doesn’t want employees to take advantage of former employers and put them in an unfair position. In the same fashion, the court also does not want a former employer to prevent an employee from working again. The court will also consider the limitations placed in the non-compete, like geographical area and time limitations. If you are a former employee or an employer concerned about the validity of a non-compete agreement in Maryland, you need a skilled attorney.

 

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Non-Compete Agreements in Maryland

 

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland as part of your non-compete case and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Medicare Liens

What You Need to Know About Medicare Liens in Maryland

Medicare liens can rapidly complicate a personal injury case or settlement, and it’s vital that anyone going through one and relying on Medicare understands what they are and how they work. What are Medicare liens in Maryland, and how do they play a role in many personal injury cases?

Medicare Liens in Maryland

If you have Medicare, receiving your personal injury settlement in the aftermath of a car accident or other accident can be very complicated. Whenever you are injured during a car accident, the no-fault coverage on the vehicle is your primary coverage, or the first way that you pay your medical bills. Because the minimum for no-fault coverage is often low ($2,500 in Maryland), many people need to use their health insurance to cover costs.

Whenever you have a settlement to cover the costs of accident-related medical expenses and injuries, there is often an obligation to reimburse the health insurance provider or Medicare for the bills that they paid prior to the settlement. This obligation is known as a Medicare lien. If you do not pay off this lien during the settlement process, you could be sued or the Medicare payments could be retracted and leave you liable for the balance. Unlike private insurance companies, Medicare has more jurisdiction and can sue you or your car insurance company years after an accident to recover the money that they paid.

Why a Lawyer Matters

When Medicare is involved, many insurance adjusters will refuse to make a settlement for your claim until you have completed the Medicare Secondary Payer process. Even skilled attorneys can have difficulty navigating this complicated process, which means that experience matters. Mobley and Brown, LLP has a wealth of experience working with Medicare’s Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) to remove barriers to receiving your settlement and avoid any delays in receiving your payment. Thankfully, Medicare reduces its lien amount to help cover the cost of hiring an attorney, and they are required to do so by federal statute. Once your personal injury insurance claim is settled, we can assist you with covering the final lien amount and ensuring your obligation to Medicare is paid. 

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with a Medicare Lien in Maryland

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland as part of your personal injury settlement and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

 

 

Suspend Your License

Does a DUI Suspend Your License in Maryland?

If you were charged with Driving Under the Influence, or a DUI, in the state of Maryland, you are probably overwhelmed at the ramifications and consequences you could experience as a result. Like many states, Maryland’s penalties for a DUI change depending on how many DUIs you have received in the past. Does a DUI suspend your license in the state of Maryland?

What is a DUI?

An individual can be convicted of a DUI for driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance a substantial amount or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08%. Every person responds differently to substances like alcohol, so the amount of alcohol that makes someone else substantially intoxicated could be lower for you. A DUI has a higher obligation on the prosecution to show that the driver was severely impaired. A DWI conviction has a lower evidentiary burden.

The Penalties for a DUI in Maryland

While the exact penalties received might vary, the penalties are generally:

  • First Offense: Up to 1 year of jail time, up to $1,000 in fines and a license suspension up to 6 months
  • Second Offense: Up to 2 years of jail time, up to $2,000 in fines and a license suspension up to 9 months
  • Third Offense: Up to 3 years of jail time, up to $3,000 in fines and a license suspension up to 12 months

If you have a passenger in the car under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, you can have up to $1,000 in fines and a year of jail service added on to the existing penalties. When considering the number of offenses, the court typically only considers offenses within the last five year period.

Does a DUI Suspend Your License in Maryland?

In most cases, any DUI conviction will suspend your license for a certain period of time. Depending on breath or blood test results, you could receive an automatic suspension regardless of your court outcome. A driver with a BAC of .08% will face a 180-day suspension automatically. A driver with a BAC of .15% or higher will face a 180-day suspension for the first offense and a 270-day suspension for a second or later violation. Any driver who refuses to take a test will be levied a 270-day suspension, or two years if they have a past violation.

What Can You Do?

If you have received a suspension due to implied consent or have been charged with a DUI, you need representation as soon as possible. You can contest your implied consent suspension if you file a request within 30 days of your notice of suspension, but if it’s done within ten days your license will be extended until the time if your administrative hearing.  

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help After a DUI

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland after a DUI charge or conviction and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.