Most Americans do not have a Will. They haven’t prepared a financial Power of Attorney, and they aren’t even sure what an Advance Directive is. If you are among them, then preparing an estate plan should be at the top of your to-do list.
But even if you have an estate plan in place, it may be missing a crucial element-provisions for your digital assets. These include the electronic data stored on your computer or smart phone, your Internet accounts like LinkedIn and Gmail, and your online pictures and documents.
The right to marry now extends to more Marylanders than ever before. Under the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which took effect January 1, 2013, same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses knowing that their unions will be recognized by the state. Federal recognition came some six months later with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. These are exciting developments for the LGBT community, and couples who choose to marry will now enjoy many important benefits. Among these are the right to file joint tax returns, to receive Social Security and other government benefits, and to obtain health insurance from a spouse’s employer.
Benjamin Franklin’s observation that nothing is certain but death and taxes is a little less true in Maryland, where the estate tax itself is virtually dead. Under a measure passed in this year’s legislative session, Marylanders will be able to leave behind more than $5 million in assets with no tax liability. This is good news for the rich and middle class alike.
This Article provides an overview of current State and legislative developments after Riegel. It begins with a history of medical device regulation and highlights the recent case of Stengel v. Medtronic, in which the Ninth Circuit adhered closely to Riegel to hold State law claims preempted by the MDA. Stengel also highlights the uncertainty lower court’s face in the wake of Riegel when determining which claims are encompassed in the Supreme Court’s 2008 holding.
How does one become a judge? District 4 of The National Association of Women Judges held a forum at Semmes, Bowen & Semmes’ Baltimore Office where a distinguished panel of sitting judges and other lawyers, involved in the judicial nominations process, sought to demystify the ascension to a judgeship for the audience. The panelists informed aspiring judges on the nuts and bolts of judicial selection.
There are numerous methods available to avoid the time and expense of a trial before a judge or jury if the parties to a dispute wish to do so but are unable to resolve their differences by direct negotiation. Mediation and arbitration are two examples of such devices which can be very useful in this effort. Early neutral evaluation is another tool which has been employed with success in certain areas and can be adapted to assist the parties in focusing their efforts on real issues in a dispute and in achieving settlement if they wish to do so.