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Welcome to The Law Office of Guy W. Murray. We are a full service civil law firm. We invite you to browse our website. Feel free to ask questions or leave any comments you wish.   I also post regular and timely legal updates on my Facebook page.  Come visit and become a fan.

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671 W. Tefft Street, Suite 3
P.O. Box 180
Nipomo, CA 93444
(805) 929-7150
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guy@guymurraylaw.net

 

A recent study in the Insurance Journal reflects that there is not really a correlation between Tort Reform–so called–and the way doctors actually practice medicine:

Physicians’ fears of being sued for malpractice are out of proportion to their actual risk of being sued, according to a recent study.

The study by a University of Iowa researcher and colleagues also suggests that tort reform legislation aimed at controlling malpractice costs has not lessened physician concerns about malpractice lawsuits, and may not be effective in altering defensive medicine practices — like ordering unnecessary lab tests — that can drive up the cost of health care.

“We found that both generalist and specialist physicians fear being sued for malpractice even in states where their risk of being sued is relatively low,” said senior study author David Katz, M.D., associate professor of medicine with University of Iowa Health Care. “One likely explanation is that physicians’ concerns about malpractice are driven more by their perception that the malpractice tort process is unfair and arbitrary and less by their actual risk of getting sued.”

One of the biggest reasons given by the insurance industry and the medical community for tort reform is that such reform would allow doctors to practice without the need for additional but needless tests.  Doesn’t look like a very good reason after all.

 

 

If American’s can believe anything anymore about Congress and the Estate Tax it is that they proven incapable of the most simple acts of governance.  For nine years everyone knew the tax would expire in 2010 yet despite that knowledge Congress was unable to agree on a compromise so it expired.  Now with just a few weeks left in 2010 we are no further ahead than where we were last year at this time.  The Wall Street Journal notes that the tax is about to return with a vengeance:

Overlooked in the brawl over expiring Bush-era tax rates is what will happen to the death tax. Without action in the lame duck Congress, the estate tax will rise from the dead on January 1 with a vengeance, the rate climbing back to 55% from zero this year. The exemption amount will revert to a miserly $1 million, unindexed for inflation, so more middle class taxpayers will get hit year after year.

Of course there are compromises that are possible, but given recent Congressional inaction, on the same subject one cannot assume one will actually pass:

Liberals are content to let the rate revert to 55%, with some moderate Democrats arguing for a 45% rate. Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona and Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas are pushing a compromise that would lower the top rate to 35% with a $5 million deduction. That rate is still 35 percentage points too high for our liking, but we’ll take it as an alternative to the greedy political confiscation of more than half of the wealth built by someone who has saved over a lifetime. An estate of $5 million isn’t all that much for a successful and thrifty business person with some real estate to accumulate over 50 or 60 years.

Most Americans appear to favor some compromise–unfortunately most Americans are not serving in Congress:

President Obama and Congressional Democrats don’t think this is a high priority, but voters do. A November Gallup Poll found that Americans think that keeping the estate tax “from increasingly significantly” is “very important” by 56% to 17% “not too important.” That’s more than think it is a priority to extend current tax rates (50%), extend jobless benefits (48%), ratify the Start treaty (40%) or let openly gay men and women serve in the military (32%).

Congress really only has until about mid month when it adjourns for its current session, and the remainder of the year.  Further inaction will only hurt middle class families more, particularly since they are the least able to cope with the new estate tax rates than are the heirs of the very wealthy.  Stay tuned . . .

An interesting special report from the Tax Foundation entitled:  The Federal Estate Tax: Will it Rise From the Grave un 2011 or Sooner?  You can read the entire report here:  The Federal Estate Tax.  See also here.

Effective 01/01/09, Assembly Bill  AB 3000, passed by the California Legislature, amended Probate Code sections 4780, 4782, 4783, 4784, and 4785 relating to health care decisions and life sustaining treatment. Nationwide, similar legislation is known as Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), in states that have adopted similar measures. Continue Reading »

Estate Planning

Below are several links that discuss various aspects of estate planning. Please review them for further in depth information on the subject areas they highlight.

Do I need estate planning

Do I need a will

California Statutory Will

Do I need a living trust

Schiavo case and importance of a living will

Continue Reading »

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting Trust and Estate Administration Clients. What exactly is trust and estate administration? When a person dies, the process by which the estate is disbursed is called an administration. Every estate, whether large or small, whether the decedent left a will or a trust must have an administration. Whether it is a probate estate administration, or a trust administration depends on whether the decedent left a will, died intestate, or whether he or she had revocable trust in place at the time of death. Continue Reading »

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