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Ask Our Lawyer - September 2007

OHIO'S GARY SELLERS RIDES TALL IN THE SADDLE

Gary Sellers was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Sturgis, South Dakota. Everybody was there - A.B.A.T.E. of Ohio's movers and shakers, A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana's Executive Director, Jay Jackson, as well as Executive Committee Member Gary Williams and representatives from just about all of the SMRO's, manufacturers, and the others of motorcycling. Gary was poignant and modest about his achievements as usual. The only thing I have to say is that Gary's induction into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame was 20 years overdue. Point one up for the midwesterners. He now stands with the Tom Jeffersons and George Washingtons of the Motorcycle Rights Movement.

CAN I CUT THE BITCH/BASTARD OUT OF MY WILL? (LET ME TRY THAT AGAIN) CAN I DISINHERIT MY SPOUSE?

Q: I have been married for 22 years, but we are no longer getting along. She is my sole beneficiary under my Last Will and Testament - CAN I CUT HER OUT OF MY WILL?

A: Most states let you do what you want with your stuff [personal property and real estate]. However, most states will not let you cut out your spouse unless they agree. In many states, including Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, a surviving spouse can renounce your Will and elect to receive a percentage of your assets, regardless of what you provide for in your Will. And you thought you got rid of him/her!

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY TRAINING

Q: I want to purchase a new Harley-Davidson. Where can I find a school that will help me qualify for a motorcycle license?

A: Great question, easy answer. Contact your state A.B.A.T.E. office for contact information for the basic rider safety training course in your area. These courses may be run by your state A.B.A.T.E. organization, or by a state agency, or by the state university system. In any case, your state A.B.A.T.E. office can put you in touch with the provider for this vital training.

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

Loyal readers of this column know that we've long been concerned about the failures of prosecutors to consider charges against drivers who injure/kill motorcyclists in traffic accidents. Some A.B.A.T.E. leaders have been working on a letter that members can use to contact a local prosecutor when one of these incidents occur. Here's one version. We are going to ask our state organizations to post the letter on their websites so that it will be available when you need it. You can also find it on www.ABATELegal.com. Thanks to Deb King and the E Board of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois for their work on this.

Jane Smith
3300 N 7th Street
Anywhere, USA 00000

Honorable John Jones
Anywhere County State's Attorney
Anywhere County Courthouse
Anywhere, USA 00000

RE: Accident Date: July 4, 2007
John Doe / Jane Smith

Dear Honorable Jones:
On __________ (date of accident), an accident occurred between John Doe and Jane Smith. It is my understanding from reports issued by the responding law enforcement and/or news reports that Jane Smith allegedly (made a direct left turn, crossed the centerline, ran a stop sign, etc.) in front of John Doe who was riding a motorcycle, causing an injury/death.
As a concerned motorcycle enthusiast, I am requesting that this case be investigated fully to determine if there was any violation of state statutes, and if so, that they be prosecuted to the maximum allowed by law, including fines and/or time to be served. As a motorcyclist, I feel we have the same legal rights to share the roadways safely as those who operate other forms of transportation. It is time for motorists to take responsibility for their actions when causing bodily injury and death to motorcyclists.
Again, I ask that when presenting this case to the judge; ask for the maximum penalty allowed. Motorcyclists have rights too.

Sincerely,
Jane Smith
Concerned Citizen

RIDING WITH THE GOV

A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana goes riding with the Man - and I was there!

A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana hosted its 3rd annual ride with Governor Mitch Daniels on Friday, August 17th. Hoosier motorcyclists gathered at the Indiana State Capitol building and rode through the rolling hills of southern Indiana, ending up in Paoli.

Jay Jackson, executive director of A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana, stated, "The primary purpose of the ride is to increase motorists' awareness of motorcycles in the traffic mix and urge all Hoosiers to share the road. Additionally, the ride provides an opportunity for riders to engage in the true brotherhood that is motorcycling while enjoying a wonderful ride with fellow biker, Governor Mitch Daniels."

Jackson stressed that the ride, which is not an endorsement of a candidate or involvement with a political campaign, is a display of support and respect for office-holders and a tool to promote awareness. Demonstrating the power of motorcyclists is becoming more important as state legislators continue to attempt to enact discriminatory restrictions and regulations. Our visibility and commitment to being heard directly affects our ability to influence legislation. Our power is our passion, and our elected officials need to know that we are passionate and powerful. Thanks to everyone that supported this ride, and we'll keep you posted on future events.

WHERE THERE'S A WAY, THERE SHOULD BE A WILL

Q: I want to do my will, but I'm not sure what I should put in it or what I need to consider when I'm doing my will.

A: Anybody who's ever heard me speak at one of the state meetings knows that I think everybody should have a will. They don't have to be complex, and they don't have to be expensive. We do wills for A.B.A.T.E. members for free!

When you are ready to make a will, there are several things you will need to think about and come to a decision on:

  • - Who should receive my property?
  • - Who should take care of my minor children?
  • - Do I need to create a trust for my spouse or minor children?
  • - Do I want to make any charitable gifts?
  • - Should my life insurance go to a trustee or directly to the beneficiaries?
  • - Who do I want to administer my will?
  • - What about taxes?

If you already have a will, you should review it to make sure it is up to date and reflects changes in your marital status or changes in the beneficiaries you named.

And by the way, there are several requirements that have to be met to ensure that the will is valid. In general, the will has to be made by some over 18 and of sound mind and memory. Also, it must be in writing, signed by the maker, and witnessed (with signatures) of two disinterested persons (not anyone who would benefit from or is named in the will). Upon the death of the person who made the will, it is presented to the court, who will make sure it is valid and provide appropriate orders to make sure the instructions are carried out.

If you don't have will, or want to make changes to your will, call A.B.A.T.E. LEGAL SERVICES. We will do your will for you, free of charge!

Rod Taylor, Charter Member of MRF, Member of A.B.A.T.E. OF OHIO, INDIANA AND ILLINOIS

A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

Remember, injured A.B.A.T.E. members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ?%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. And, A.B.A.T.E. members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

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. © 2005, A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

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