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Showing posts from August, 2017

Important Safety Warning from the CPSC

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision (CPSC) had issued an important alert urging consumers to immediately stop using the LayZ Board self-balancing scooters (known as hoverboards). The CPSC has evidence that the LayZ Board was the hoverboard involved in the tragic fire on March 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, PA, which took the lives of two young girls. Numerous other fires have occurred in recent years as a result of the lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards, although this is the first fire that is believed to have directly led to fatalities. The LayZ Board hoverboards were manufactured in Shenzhen, China, and more than 3,000 units were imported into the United States. Due to the fire hazard posed to consumers of all ages by these hoverboards, the CPSC is urging the public to stop charging and stop using their LayZ Board. Consumers who choose to dispose of their hoverboards should take them to a local recycling center for safe handling of the lithium-ion battery. The CPSC is also

This Sign of Alzheimer's May Precede All Others

Familiar symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and dementia include memory loss; inability to follow or continue with a conversation; a decline in exercising good judgment; confusion as to what day, month, season, or year it is; and social withdrawal. But a recent study points to a warning sign that precedes all these symptoms, to the surprise of many. According to research published in the journal of Alzheimer's disease, navigational issues may crop up before memory loss, and well before a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's is made. Participants in the study were asked to navigate a virtual maze on a computer, using various patterns and landmarks to find their way around. The study consisted of a control group of healthy subjects and a group who had preclinical alzheimer's - they had a few markers but weren't clinically diagnosed. The preclinical Alzheimer's test subject had far greater difficulty assessing, mapping, and navigating their virtual environment th

Overbooked Flights and Knowing Your Rights

Overbooking is standard practice across the airline industry. Airlines want planes as full as allowable upon takeoff. They also know there will likely be no-shows, therefore they overbook. Unsurprisingly, overbooking sometimes leads to would-be passengers getting bumped from flights. It may also happen if a plane is too heavy, or to make room for an air marshal or relocate staff (reminiscent of the infamous United Airlines incident). The Department of Transportation requires that airlines first ask for volunteers to switch flights. Airlines will generally offer incentives such as a travel voucher or a future flight or a gift card. If you feel the offer is worth the inconvenience, go for it. Once an offer is accepted, however, you can't come back later and ask for more. If there are no volunteers, the airline will choose who gets the heave-ho according to their own "bumping" policies - but federal rules kick in at that point. Exceptions are frequently those with disabi

When Relocation Gets Complex

A job opportunity, education, military duty, marriage, and a change of scenery are among the reasons why people relocate. However, when children from a previous relationship are involved, it's not a simple matter. A move can have a significant impact on the child as well as the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent. A custodial parent needs to be familiar with possible travel restrictions in their divorce or child-custody agreement, and with state law, before contemplating a relocation. Although laws differ form state to state, frequently, the custodial parent must notify the noncustodial parent of their intention to move. It is incumbent upon the noncustodial parent to file an objection with the court if they are not on board with the relocation. They may also seek a change in the custody agreement. It's a very serious matter when a custodial parent does not abide by the agreements stipulated in the divorce/child-custody decree or state law concerning a move. They r

Full Custody, Joint Custody, and Sole Custody - What You Need to Know

We figured it might be helpful to produce a short article that summarizes the key differences among different types of custody. Full custody: this means that one parent is granted the majority of custody time and legal rights for the child. Joint custody: in this situation, the parents can split the physical custody of the child, and then have just one of the parents handle the legal custody (and, as a result, make any major decisions on behalf of the child). More common is to have parents share legal custody and then have one parent awarded physical custody. True joint custody arrangements, in which parents share both physical and legal custody equally, tend to be rare because of the logistical and personal issues involved (scheduling, added stress, disruption of the child's routine, costs, etc.) Sole custody: this means that one parent is awarded full legal and physical custody. These arrangements are rare, and are typically only set up if one parent is deemed unfit or wh

I Filed for Bankruptcy... Why Am I Still Receiving Letters from Creditors?

People are often surprised to learn that even after they file for bankruptcy, they still may receive letters from creditors and bill collectors for a month or two afterwards. In a perfect world, the letters would stop as soon as you file for bankruptcy. After all, when you file, you are immediately under the protection of the court and an automatic stay prevents any and all collection activities by creditors and bill collectors, including sending letters. However, because many creditors and bill collecting companies are large, bureaucratic organizations, it can take a good amount of time - maybe even a couple of months - for a notification from the court to get to the right department  of a big creditor and get entered into the system properly so that letters are no longer generated. So, if it's just a month or two after filing and you still receive some letters, it's most likely nothing to be worried about. There are times, though, when aggressive bill collectors will si

Is Your Credit Report Accurate?

In today's world, a lot rides on your credit report, and keeping that report up-to-date and accurate is extremely important. But do you know what errors or possible corrections to look for or how to go about cleaning up your credit report? First of all, go through the entire report and find any information that is out-of-date. This commonly occurs with unfavorable information that's over seven years old - such as lawsuits, judgments, criminal records, paid tax liens, late payments, or overdue child support. You should also look out for any bankruptcies listed that occurred over ten years prior and any credit inquiries over two years old. There's no sense in keeping that information on your credit report if you no longer have to. Your next objective is to clean out any inaccurate information. This can include incorrect names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers, or inaccurate employment information. Other inaccuracies may included bankruptcie

Wills and Trusts: Both Important but Very Different

We often hear a lot of confusion regarding the terms "will" and "trust", with some folks even thinking that they are one and the same, which is definitely not the case. Though both are key elements of estate planning, they serve distinct roles. A will only goes into effect after the will's creator  - also known as the testator - has passed away. The person then responsible for carrying out the desires of the testator and distributing assets to the beneficiaries is referred to as an executor. Executors are in charge of wills, not trusts. So, whats a trust? A trust is a legal arrangement under which one person or institution, called a trustee, holds legal title to property that will eventually be distributed to beneficiaries. Unlike a will, a trust can be "active" the moment it is created. It may be used to distribute property to beneficiaries prior to the death of the trust's creator (settlor), upon the death of the settlor, or delayed well afte

Reliability of DUI/DWI Tests

If you are arrested for suspicion of DUI/DWI, you are obligated to undergo a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine at a police station or local hospital. If you refuse, you will incur stiff penalties, including suspension of your driver's license and a longer sentence if convicted. Chemical tests are generally reliable but not infallible. For example, police station breathalyzers may be thrown off by alcohol-containing substances in the mouth, such as breath fresheners and mouthwashes. Low-carb diets produce acetone on the breath, which may be identified as alcohol. Even a burp before blowing into the machine may cause a false-high reading. Urine test are the least reliable of the three chemical tests. It takes longer for alcohol to be metabolized by the body and appear in a person's urine, generally 60-90 minutes. Because of this, a person may be required to give two urine samples - first sample given; bladder voided; wait 20 minutes; give a second sample. This pur

SSDI - The Listing of Impairments

Suffering from a severe disability or condition is bad enough, but when that disability or condition keeps you from working, a difficult situation can quickly become far worse. That's why Social Security disability benefits are so important; they can help provide financial relief when holding a job is just not possible. In order to make the process of obtaining benefits smoother, the Social Security Admininistration (SSA) developed what's known as the Blue Book, which contains a listing of the most common impairments that are severe enough to keep people from working. The listing of impairments covers a wide range of major body systems such as respiratory, neurological, cardiovascular, digestive, skin, and several others. Additionally, there is information under each body system about what types of disabliling conditions can occur within each and detailed requirements about the severity, symptoms, clinical findings, lab tests, etc., that are required for an applicant to qua