Tag: Wrongful Death Lawyer

Red, White, and Bigotry–The Truth Behind the Fourth of July

Wrongful Death Lawyer

The American Declaration of Independence signaled the beginning of a new era. Revered as one of the most important documents in the history of the United States, the Declaration of Independence freed American colonists from British rule and paved the way for an official expression of self-governance. With isolated incidents of rebellion, the American Revolutionary War began and continued into the early 1780’s, even after the signing of the Declaration itself. Surprisingly, even after the initial battles of the Revolutionary War, few colonists truly desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered extremely radical by public opinion. In the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and, contrary to popular belief, was signed into effect on August 2, 1776. Likely the most quoted portion of the document, the Preamble is as follows: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.”

As a result of these monumental days in national history, Americans across the country now celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, barbecue, and reunions. However, in a country now, and historically, plagued with civil unrest and discord, one question remains unaddressed: what exactly are Americans celebrating? 

Arguably, the Declaration of Independence represents the true interests of America to a tee. With exclusive and calculated language, the document intentionally only protects citizens who resemble the Founders’ ideal image–white, cis-gendered, and male. This blatant exclusion of a vast majority of the American population is debilitating, especially considering that the country has sustained, if not expanded upon, such bigotry throughout the last three centuries. Likely the most notable exclusion, the Declaration of Independence failed to condemn slavery at a time of colossal abuse and injustice against America’s Black communities. Only six years after the initial declaration that “all men are created equal,” Jefferson outlined his personal reasons for continuing slavery in the “free” world:

“The first difference which strikes us is that of colour…They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands, which gives them a strong and disagreeable odour…in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous…”

Although not incredibly shocking coming from a man who enslaved over 600 people throughout the course of his life, Jefferson’s words represent popular opinions in the 18th century, despite their obvious lack of scientific or moral support. The sheer commonality of such statements indicate that Black men and women were not viewed as “men” under the Declaration of Independence and, therefore, were never intended to be protected under the verbiage of its patriotic, yet unrealistic, promises. In a renowned 1982 speech, Frederick Douglass addressed the obvious lack of parallels among nationwide Fourth of July celebrations. The speech explored the constitutional and moral arguments against the continued existence of slavery within the newly formed Republic. Most notably, Douglass contended that any positive statements about American liberty, citizenship, or freedom were an insult to the enslaved population of the region considering their intentional deprivation of such values by the American populous. An abolitionist, Douglass continued to stress the view that slaves and free Americans were inherently equal and deserved the same liberties that the Founding Fathers demanded from Great Britain. 

In addition to the exclusion of enslaved Americans, the Declaration of Independence failed to acknowledge women as well. Less than four months before ratification, Abigail Adams urged her husband, future President John Adams, to “Remember the Ladies” when discussing the legal premises behind the new Republic. John Adams’s response was tone-deaf and unsympathetic as he continued to dismiss his wife’s objections and began his infamous response with “we have only the name of masters, and rather give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat…”

The Founding Fathers also failed to acknowledge or account for the great injustices pushed upon Native Americans, especially during the initial colonization of the region. Constitutional experts hypothesize that in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson intentionally replaced “property,” the true underlying meaning of the text, with “happiness” as a way to ensure that specific marginalized groups could not assert their rights in any court of law. Commonly referred to as “Indian Savages” by the admired Founding Fathers, Native Americans were, and continue to be, debased and stripped of their natural rights. 

Although the Fourth of July does celebrate American ideals, which ones the day truly idolizes is commonly misrepresented due to the dominance of the white patriarchy. Instead of freedom, liberty, and happiness, the Fourth of July undoubtedly embodies the oppression, exclusion, and degradation of minority groups throughout the United States. Moving forward, it is imperative that America consider what limitations it wants to place on the influence of the questionable founders of this nation. In a year of climactic shifts and cultural paradigms, the United States must move forward to disregard and learn from America’s oppressive past as a means to create a vibrant and inclusive future. Nonetheless, before such change can occur, acknowledgement must come first; the country as a whole must acknowledge and make amends for its biased and abusive culture. By only protecting white men, the Declaration of Independence fails, even today, to celebrate the contributions of Black men and women, women in general, LGBTQ+ members, immigrants, minorities, the impoverished, and so many other vital classes of American citizens. Ultimately, while it is undisputed that the country would look different if this revolutionary document had been written by America’s minorities, the Declaration of Independence does not have to continue to shape the path of the United States of America–it can change. 

Let freedom finally ring when all people are truly created equal. 

If you have questions about business law, contact a business law attorney like the ones at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC

Conservatorship and Estate Planning

Wrongful Death Lawyer

When you are planning your estate, you may have questions regarding how to leave certain assets to people who may be unable to care for them. For example, if you have minor children and you want to leave property to them, you cannot expect the minor child to be able to take care of this property yet. When this is the case, you would announce who your conservator is in your estate plan so that someone can manage the property for them until they are old enough (or for a longer term). On the other hand, if a grandparent or someone else chooses to leave property to their grandchild who is still a minor but does not name a conservator, it is likely that a judge may nominate a parent as a conservator. If you have any further questions about appointing a conservator or estate planning, please contact a law firm now. 

What can a conservator do?

Lawyers get this question from clients often because leaving property to minor children or to people who may not be able to fully care for the property happens all the time. There are a few things you can expect a conservator to do.

  • Paying For a Minor’s Needs. If a minor’s parents pass away, one of the roles of a conservator can be to help pay for the child’s needs. For example, if the parents leave money for the child, this money could go directly to funding the child’s education or taking care of any medical or hospital bills the child may have. Other uses for the money can go to things like clothes, food, and other general needs. If there is no cash for these purposes, the conservator can make the choice to liquidate certain assets and use the cash for these needs.
  • Investing and Paying Taxes. When a minor is left with a large amount of money, the conservator will be responsible for ensuring the financial aspects are taken care of. They may be required to invest the money, pay taxes, or even hire a financial adviser to ensure the money is saved and used wisely. 
  • Working With Guardians. While it is entirely possible that a child’s guardian could also be their conservator, many times a conservator will simply be working very closely with a child’s guardian. This is a good relationship to have because the child will be living with the guardian and the conservator will be handling the financial aspect of a child’s life. 

While not exhaustive, the list above includes some of the important duties you can expect a conservator to take hold of when they are listed in a person’s estate planning document. For more information on a conservator’s duties and how an estate planning lawyer in Arlington, TX can help you with your estate planning, give a law firm a call. 

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and conservatorship.

What Should I Look For In a Wrongful Death Attorney?

Wrongful Death Lawyer

Finding an attorney to handle a specific type of case can be overwhelming. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, it might be even more difficult. If you believe that your loved one died wrongfully, you want a wrongful death attorney who can help you through the process of filing a lawsuit and negotiating a settlement. It might seem cold and calculated, but after the loss of a family member due to the negligence of someone else, you should be compensated. No amount of money can ever bring that person back, but you can be secure for the future.

Choosing an Attorney

Start by asking friends or family members for recommendations in the community. You can also call the American Bar Association for referrals to a wrongful death lawyer in your area. Look for someone local who knows the judges and other lawyers. If you’re part of a civic group or service organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce or Rotary, ask other members about lawyers they’ve worked with.

What to Ask a Wrongful Death Attorney

You may need to talk to a couple of lawyers before you actually sign a contract. You’ll want to find someone that you are comfortable with. You might need to share very intimate details with your attorney. Beyond that, you can ask these questions to get more information:

  • How much experience does the attorney have in the specific aspects of your case? If you have a medical malpractice case, then you don’t want someone who specializes in workers’ compensation or auto accidents.
  • How much time can your attorney devote to your case?
  • Who will be working on the case? Will associates handle the claim or will the lawyer be managing the details? How will you be billed for the time?
  • What do the online reviews say? Take the reviews with a grain of salt, especially if the lawyer has been around a while. No lawyer wins every single case he or she takes, so look for an overall satisfaction rate. 
  • Check the state bar association for any disciplinary actions against the lawyer.

Don’t Try to Handle a Wrongful Death Claim on Your Own

A wrongful death claim has many complex components. There are many factors that need to be proved to get a settlement. This isn’t something that you should try to go through on your own. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can help you through the process and find the best possible outcome.