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When is there a Need for Will Construction, Interpretation, and Reformation?

Divorce and legal separation do not take away the obligation of spouses to continue providing for the financial needs of their children, as well as for the spouse in need of support or alimony, that is, if the court sees the need for it. This, obligation requires the non-custodial parent, especially, to make timely child support payments to make sure that his or her children’s financial needs are always provided.

According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, PLLC, state laws usually require child support until the child turns 18; however, if there are special or extra needs that the child requires, like if the child were sick of wants to pursue a college education, then the court may order the continued payment of child support.

Parent’s obligation to their children, though, still goes beyond child support payments, so that even if they will have a new family (for divorced couples only since those who simply choose to continue living separately, without divorcing their spouse, cannot remarry and have a new family), they may still include their children, from a former marriage, in their will if they have assets and properties to leave behind (this is what, at least, a just and prudent parent would do). As a general rule, though, children do not have absolute right to claim inheritance if the deceased parent made a valid will. If there was no will made, then children, whether minor or adult, legitimate or illegitimate, or from former or present living spouse, may be entitled to claim a share on the property of the deceased parent (on what is left from the assets and properties after the deceased parent’s debts have all been paid and the surviving spouse has received his or her share).

One legal issue concerning wills or trust is will construction or trust reformation. A will construction is a formal process wherein the real intent of a testator (the person who made the will) is ascertained or determined, while a trust reformation is the process or rewriting a trust document. Both, however, may only happen if they appear vague, that is if their meaning remain genuinely unclear even after the general rules of interpretation have been applied.

Some examples of vagueness in the real intent of a testator in a will or trust include:

  • A testator intends to leave behind for his or her sibling a particular property but fails to specify who exactly among his or her siblings will receive it
  • All the beneficiaries mentioned in the will or trust have died ahead of the testator
  • The trustee or executor chosen by the testator has died and no successor was named
  • No trustee was named by the testator

Wills and trusts are important due to the legal safeguards that these provide in case the testator becomes incapacitated or dies. Besides naming heirs and the properties and assets that will be left behind, a testator can also make instructions on his or her preferred medical care, as well as on how he or she wishes to have his or her property holdings and other belongings distributed. According to the website of Peck Ritchey, wills and trusts need to make use of exact, unambiguous language in order to avoid disputes among beneficiaries.

The High Risk of Sudden, Fatal Heart Attacks in GranuFlo Patients

Two very important functions of our kidneys are balance water, salt and electrolytes in our blood and eliminate waste products from our body by converting these to urine. Thus, when our kidneys fail to function, a medical procedure called kidney dialysis or hemodialysis should be performed in order to maintain the balance of fluids in our body, as well as to help our body continue excreting wastes (such as creatinine and urea) to keep our blood clean.

One very necessary component in dialysis is dialysate, the fluid that is placed in the dialysis machine and which helps in the removal of waste products from the blood and in correcting any imbalances that result from kidney failure.

In 2003, Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), which controls the dialysis market in the US, introduced GranuFlo, a powder acid (dialysate) concentrate which FMC advertised as the safest dialysate ever due to its unique formula of uniformly distributed minerals that would help ensure balance in a patient’s blood.

GranuFlo, it should be understood, contains acetate and bicarbonate, two ingredients that work together in neutralizing extra acids that gather in the blood which the failed kidneys’ could no longer filter out. When these ingredients go into the body during dialysis, the acetate is converted by the liver into bicarbonate, doubling the amount of bicarbonate in the process.

When these two ingredients enter the body during dialysis, the liver converts the acetate into bicarbonate. Now, a surplus of bicarbonate inside the body can cause complications, like myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiopulmonary arrest, low blood pressure, metabolic alkalosis, and, the most serious of which, heart attack.

GranuFlo had been used in thousands of dialysis treatments since it was released by FMC, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in 2003. In 2010, a study was conducted by Fresenius in its own clinics (in Fresenius dialysis clinics where doctors used GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, FMC’s liquid counterpart of Granuflo, in patients that underwent dialysis) and had as many as 941 patients suffering from cardiac arrest as a result. This result, however, was only communicated by Fresenius through a memo a year later (in 2011) and only to doctors in its own dialysis centers, leaving out the FDA and all other doctors outside its centers in the communication loop. The memo specifically informed doctors in Fresenius dialysis clinics that GranuFlo increased in patients the risk of sudden death from heart attack, stroke and other complications.

The memo, however, according to the website of the GranuFlo lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher, found its way into FDA hands. After conducting its own investigation, the FDA issued a Class I recall (the most serious FDA recall) for both GranuFlo and NaturaLyte in May of 2012. Barely two months after this FDA recall, lawsuits begun to be filed either by injured patients or by the families of those who have already died due to the drug.

Obvioulsy, as early as 2010 (or maybe even earlier), FMC had already known about the possible fatal risks that the drugs can cause in patients, however, it chose to continue to market and sell them without issuing proper warnings to consumers and doctors.

FMC faces legal and moral responsibilities towards patients (and the families of patients), who have been harmed by its drugs.

Drive Sober or Risk Arrest

Driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) and operating under the influence (OUI) – all refer to drunken driving charges (the difference in terminology depends only on the state where one is arrested and charged). Drunken driving is the cause of more than a third of all traffic fatalities, which number to about 35,000 every year, the very reason why it is considered as a major driving offense. In 2010, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics registered 13,365 fatal car accidents, while the number of those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or both, was 1.4 million.

In all states, driving with a 0.08% (or higher) blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is a crime, and though the severity of punishment imposed on offenders vary from one state to another, there is one certain uniformity in all jurisdictions – the punishments are severe. A first offense DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor; it could be raised to a felony charge, however, if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, of if his or her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit (in some states, a third or fourth DUI offense can automatically lead to a felony charge). Federal and state authorities are hell-bent on catching violators of the anti-drunk driving law, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunken driving, like swerving, braking erratically, driving too slowly, stopping for no apparent reason and zig-zagging across the road. For this same end, they set up sobriety checkpoints to measure drivers’ level of alcohol impairment. According to the website of Truslow & Trsulow, Attorneys at Law, a DUI felony entails costly fines and at least one year jail time (maximum of one year imprisonment is allowed in a misdemeanor charge). In some states, a felony leads to other heavy sentences, such as:

  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock – a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects in the driver a BAC level that is higher than what is considered a safe level (about 0.02%)
  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS) – a law that authorizes law enforcers to confiscate a driver’s license if the driver fails a chemical test. This can last for 90 days – 180 days, during which driving privileges may be limited to/from work
  • Open Container Law – this law, which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requires states to prohibit the possession of open alcohol beverage containers, as well as the consumption of an alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on all public roads.

If there is one very important thing that a person charged with a DUI felony should do, it’s get legal help. Felonies are serious charges, thus, no one should take them lightly or be led to the thought the he or she can easily defend him/herself and get an acquittal – this move can be suicidal. Knowing and understanding DUI or DWI more may just make a person think twice before sitting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.