Law Frog April Episode
Tune in to KILO 94.3 on the third Wednesday of every month from 8am-9am to hear David McDivitt of the McDivitt Law Firm address legal concerns of residents in Southern Colorado. David has plenty of interesting legal stories and advice to share. If you have any questions or need help deciphering “legalese” be sure to call in at 719-633-KILO or visit here to submit a question.
Episode 4: April 15th, 2020
Legal Issues Covered This Week
Caller: Greg is on disability and wants to get married but wants to make sure that he won’t lose his benefits if he gains his wife’s income. Greg also wants to make sure that the financials are set up in case something were to happen to him.
David: David says you can take a couple steps to protect your family if something happens to you. The most important, if you are a parent, is deciding who will have guardianship over your kids. Outline the plan for guardianship and be sure to confirm with the person that you have designated that they are willing to take the responsibility. Creating a will is also something you can do to ensure your family is protected and it’s relatively easy in Colorado. If you have a completely handwritten will, you do not need any witnesses.
Takeaway: Be sure to clearly outline all your wishes including guardianship of children and allocation of assets in the unfortunate event that something happens to you. Having everything clearly documented is extremely important along with making sure you properly communicate with the designated person who will be administering your estate. Although you could handwrite a valid will in the state of Colorado, David strongly suggests that you consult with an estate planning attorney to be sure you cover your bases.
Caller: Pike’s wife is diabetic and is considered high risk if she contracts COVID-19, so her doctor doesn’t want her returning to work until the pandemic is over. If her boss terminated her because she wouldn’t return to work when country opens back up, will she have legal recourse?
David: David says there is legislation put in place that could potentially protect certain groups of people. There could be an argument that certain conditions could qualify for disability due to the circumstances, but we will have to see how that transpires. There are a lot of unknowns for how we will proceed to open the state and country back up, so it will be interesting to see if certain groups could apply for disability who previously wouldn’t have qualified.
Takeaway: For the time being, Pike’s wife should communicate with her employer and let them know that she would like to return to work as soon as it is safe for her to do so. At this time, having communication and a plan with her employer might be the best option while we wait to see what other benefits she may end up qualifying for.
Caller: Caller is a CPA and thinks she got Coronavirus at work, last month. Can she force employer to tell her who was sick, and who may have potentially infected her?
David: The employer has no obligation to divulge certain information about a possible infection in the workplace due to HIPPA laws. Information that might help pin down the exact person who was sick could compromise that employee’s privacy. The employer should tell you if you have been in contact with an employee who was infected but should not get into specifics.
Takeaway: Although your employer should let you know that you could have been exposed to the virus from another employee, they cannot give any specific information that could lead to the suspicion of any one individual. There are CDC guidelines that an employer should be taking if one of their team members has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Caller: The caller was married last year and filled out taxes with now ex-wife (separated not yet divorced). He is worried that his stimulus check has hit the ex’s bank account. Is there anything he can do to recover that money?
David: There is small possibility of squeaking in a 2019 return, if you haven’t submitted one already. Seeing as that most stimulus checks have hit bank accounts already, this may not be a viable solution. Trying to get a court order might be tough right now, so that best course of action would be to call the ex-wife and ask for the money.
Takeaway: Although it may be a dreaded conversation, reaching out to the ex-wife is probably the best course of action right now. Although you may not be able to get a court order to recover those funds now, when things are back to normal you should be able to get one. Let the ex-wife know that you intend to recover that money, whether it is now or with a court order later.
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