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Ask Our Lawyer - August 2003

Q: One of my co-workers has been bugging me about getting a will and doing some estate planning. I had a bout of breast cancer in the past and she worries that it might come back. I've remarried, and own the house my family lives in. I also have all the banking accounts in my name, but my husband and I pay all the bills together. Is there anything I need to do?

A: You should find your friend and buy her lunch for watching out for you and your family! The staff at ABATE Legal Services hears tragic stories like this all the time, and sometimes, it's too late to do anything. You need to realize that if you should die before making proper arraignments, you will make an already difficult time for your family even worse. All of the assets of a deceased are frozen until a probate court can decide how to distribute them. That means that the checking account will be frozen, and your family may not be able to access any of those funds for some time. The court may order that assets, including the house, be sold to pay any bills of the deceased, including medical bills. Those bills can bankrupt an estate if there is little or no insurance coverage.

There are many ways to deal with planning issues, and the staff at ABATE Legal Services can help you with them. The ABATE Legal Services team can help with Powers of Attorney, which can allow a spouse to manage the assets if need be. Other strategies would include properly managing assets so that the family will have access. Finally, having a good will is critical to advance planning. Your legal services team at ABATE Legal Services are happy to discuss these issues with you. Just don't wait until the last minute - it's not just about you, it's about your family, as well.

Where there's a will, there's a way...

to remember your favorite motorcycle rights' organization. Don't forget, when you make out your will, to include some support for your favorite motorcycle rights' organization. Whether it's your state ABATE organization, the MRF, or some other MRO, your support in your will ensures that your love motorcycling is carried on. Whether you leave $100.00 or $1,000.00 or just your favorite bike, you help ensure the future of motorcycling. Your ABATE Legal Services team can help you. Remember, one of the services for ABATE members is a free will from ABATE Legal Services. Call or email today to get started.

Sheer magnetism

Last month, our article dealt with the problems motorcyclists have with the vehicle detection systems that control the stoplight at some intersections. Readers have written to provide some hints and tips for our fellow motorcyclists. An emailer in Illinois says that the city of Decatur uses the magnetic induction loop throughout the city. One near his home would not trigger from his bike. He requested that the city check the intersection. The city adjusted the sensitivity and he has never had a problem since. Check with your city or county highway officials to see if they can adjust sensors that affect you.
Another reader relates that there is a particular sensor loop in northern Kentucky that used to keep him waiting. His solution was ingenious. When stopping at one of these sensor controlled traffic lights, he positioned his bike so that when he put down the jiffy stand/kick stand it lands across one of the sensor wire tracks in the road. He then lowers the jiffy stand/kick stand and moves it back and forth as close to the wire track as possible. Our reader reports that he was given this tip two years ago, and that he used it all last year and it tripped the sensor EVERY time.

Some other suggestions:

o Pass your motorcycle directly over the lines marking the perimeter of the sensor. You may even roll back a couple of feet to help the sensor "see" the bike. Depending on where other traffic is stopped or moving nearby, this may or may not be possible.
o You might position your bike right on top of the "line" cut into the pavement, then hit the kill switch and restart your engine. On a marginally maladjusted sensor, this may create enough of a magnetic field to trip the light.
o If you know you must cross a dangerous intersection where this problem often exists and you have not been able to get it fixed by your local officials, consider changing your route or going around an extra block to avoid the intersection.
o Finally, some places sell permanent magnets to attach to the bottom of your bike which is supposed to help trigger the sensors. Let us know if you've tried any of these, and what your experiences were. We'll pass the information along in the column.

A note from Mike "Balls" Farabaugh

Balls sent a note to let us all know that Tom Patty has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Tom's long-time commitment to the Miracle Ride has been inspirational to us all. Everyone involved in the Miracle Ride constantly ribbed Tommy as "the go find it guy," but we always knew he would come through. His commitment and dedication to the Miracle Ride is unsurpassed. Please help by showing your support and love to his family during this most difficult time.

Real excitement

A man is stranded on a desert island, all alone for ten years. One day, out of the surf comes this gorgeous blonde woman, wearing a wet suit and scuba gear. She comes up to the guy and she says, "How long has it been since you've had a cigarette?" "Ten years!" he says. She reaches over, unzips a waterproof pocket on her left sleeve and pulls out a pack of cigarettes and hands it to him. Then she asks, "How long has it been since you've had a shot of whiskey?" He replies, "Ten years!" She reaches over, unzips her waterproof pocket on the right, pulls out a flask and pours him a shot. Then she starts unzipping this long zipper that runs down the front of her wet suit and she says to him, "And how long has it been since you've had some REAL fun?" "Damn!" he exclaims, "don't tell me you've got a motorcycle in there!"

Ride safe and free,
Rod Taylor
Abate Legal Services

If you have any questions you would like to ask the lawyer, please submit them to: ASK OUR LAWYER, P.O. Box 2850, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206_2850, or email rodtaylor@abatelegal.com.