November 6, 2017
Rick Rousseau was interviewed regarding the military criminal history of the gunman who killed 26 people at a Texas church. To view the television video, click here.
Rick Rousseau was interviewed regarding the military criminal history of the gunman who killed 26 people at a Texas church. To view the television video, click here.
Thank you for nominating the Criss & Rousseau Law Firm in the category of the Best Law Firm for Galveston.com’s 2017 Best of the Island Awards. Voting will take place thru December 31, 2017. See link below to vote for Best of the Island Awards. Click here to vote!
“The average man on the street might say, “Judge, you’re just not being fair.”–Judge James Morgan of Bosque County who recused Strother Susan Criss and Rick Rousseau, along with attorneys for two other accused, were successful in arguing for the recusal of Judge Strother from the Waco Twin Peaks prosecution against their client. A retired […]
“Would you rather we come to your client’s house and kick the door down so we can execute the search warrant?” “You could have heard a pin drop; you could have heard time crawl. Suddenly, everyone present was looking into the abyss of the police state. Rick Rousseau’s face was a mask of stone. […]
Deciding on the executor is perhaps the most important decision in preparing a will. The executor is in effect the business administrator of your estate and has responsibility as well as legal and financial liability to beneficiaries and creditors of your estate. The named executors are responsible for settling the estate. When an executor settles […]
Until a child reaches the age of 18, a parent can access their children’s medical records and to make decisions regarding medical care and treatment. Likewise, the financial affairs of children under 18 are in reality the financial affairs of the parent. When a child turns 18, they are an adult and legally entitled to […]
An increasing number of individuals face the onset of a degenerative disease, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s that decrease their competency to function. Not surprisingly, many individuals still delay getting a durable power of attorney. A power of attorney allows a designated agent the authority to execute specified transactions on your behalf in case of […]
“In 2015, Manhattan real estate scion and heir to billions, Robert Durst was caught on tape professing, “I killed them all.” Hear from the jurors who found Robert Durst not guilty of murder in 2003—even after he admitted to killing his neighbor Morris Black in self-defense and throwing his dismembered body parts in Galveston Bay. […]
“Veterans of the 1990 Gulf War and beyond call the open air burn pits of our Middle East wars their generation’s version of Agent Orange, and they make no exaggeration. The VA listed 110,989 veterans and service members in its latest burn pits registry. “At this time,” V.A. documents insist, “research does not show evidence […]
“Department of Veterans Affairs benefits officials in Waco have denied a whopping 92 percent of claims related to Gulf War illness, giving Central Texas veterans one of the highest denial rates in the nation, according to data in a recent U.S. GAO report….Nationally, the VA denied 87 percent of Gulf War illness related claims in […]
Rick Rousseau represented a Veteran that had been homeless for several years and denied continuation of individual unemployability benefits by the VA. He successfully argued and the VA found that it had committed clear and unmistakable error in denying continued individual unemployability benefits to the Veteran. Entitlement to individual unemployability was reinstated and the Veteran […]
Below is a brief article that provides a helpful list of ten items to keep your estate plan current: Review your current will. Consider your named executors and trustees and whether they are still current. Review all beneficiaries. Review all powers of attorney, medical directives, and estate planning documents. Review existing insurance coverage. Review investments. […]
Susan Criss was recently interviewed for a new documentary about the Waco Twin Peaks prosecution.
Rick Rousseau recently represented a former Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Agent that was facing administrative discharge for an allegation of commission of a serious offense (Army Regulation 635-200, Chapter 14-12). The command was pushing for a discharge with an Other Than Honorable (OTH) characterization. After a fully litigated and contested board hearing, the Soldier was […]
“In a letter to Judge Strother, Susan Criss expands upon her complaint of ex parte communication between the Court and the DA’s staff, something which she deems “troublesome.”” See “Judges’ Mano A Mano Brewing In Waco Courts“, by Radio Legendary.”
Rick Rousseau presented “Serving Those Who Served” (Military & Veterans Law) as the speaker for the Galveston County Bar Association’s March 2017 luncheon.
“A theft case involving a Santa Fe woman that was a bookkeeper for a Galveston catering company has spun up a vortex of accusations, dragging in local political figures and a well-known bank president, among others. Susan Criss, a former district court judge, is attorney for the woman who’s accused of stealing at her job […]
Rick Rousseau presented a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) webinar today to attorneys in the Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas on “Serving Those Who Served: Legal Issues Facing Veterans.” The presentation included a profile of veterans in Texas, overview of VA benefits, military discharges, VA compensation & pensions, survivor benefits, Texas veterans benefits, the […]
If you need assistance with a military discharge upgrade, contact Attorney Rick Rousseau at 254-699-9999; 409-515-6176; or help@CrissRousseau.com. For more information on recent changes see “Former soldiers with service-connected sexual trauma can apply for discharge upgrades“, Army Times, by Meghann Myers February 3, 2017.
Today, Fort Hood hosted the first Veterans Endeavor for Treatment and Support (VETS) Court graduation ceremony. A client of the Criss & Rousseau Law Firm was the second successful graduate of the program and had all the charges against her dismissed. U.S. Senator John Cornyn served as the commencement speaker and three military veterans were […]
Susan Criss was interviewed by the Galveston County Daily News and quoted in the article below regarding jail overcrowding. Galveston County Jail Crowding: Myriad factors blamed for county jail crowding By MARISSA BARNETT The Daily News | Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2017 10:40 pm (link to article here) Excerpt from the article: Pricey private bonds: […]
The VA today issued its final regulations to allow presumptive service connection for eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The final rule is effective March 14, 2017. Under this rule, the VA will provide presumptive service connection to veterans, former reservists, and former National Guard members who served for no […]
The process of estate planning does not end when the plan is put into place. We constantly remind our clients to regularly review their estate plan to make sure it continues to accurately reflect their desires and estate planning goals. Certain life changing events should be triggers to consider revising your estate plan, such as […]
The VA disability claims process is confusing. Appealing your own VA claim may seem overwhelming. If the VA has denied your claim for disability benefits, we can assist you with contesting the VA’s decision and preparing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). Contact Rick Rousseau, a VA accredited attorney that is authorized to represent you before […]
Colonel (Retired) Rick Rousseau represented an Army Sergeant First Class (SFC/E-7) that had received an adverse Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report (NCOER) for an alleged Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program violation and received a notice of a Department of the Army Consideration for Denial of Continued Active Duty Service under the Qualitative Management Program […]
When your freedom is at risk, you cannot afford to go to court without a strong effective attorney to protect you and your rights. Former Texas District Judge Susan Criss served on a trial court bench for fifteen years. Prior to being a judge Susan Criss worked as a prosecutor in the Galveston County Criminal […]
It is important to understand the difference between a VA claim and a VA appeal. Understanding the difference between a claim and an appeal, and using the correct term can help your VA Accredited Attorney advise you when discussing your case. Here is short blog article, “The appeals process: Appeals and claims are as different […]
The VA has issued a proposed rule allowing for presumptive service connection for eight diseases related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This rule will apply to veterans, former reservists, or National Guard members who served there between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. VA News Release here. See Proposed Rule here.
When Veterans and their family members think of VA benefits – the first thoughts that typically come to mind are VA’s educational benefits, compensation, and health care benefit. Many don’t realize that VA also offers a benefit that can assist qualifying war-time Veterans and their survivors. As our country’s Veteran and surviving spouse population grows […]
When your freedom and rights are at risk, you cannot afford to go to court without a strong effective attorney to protect you. Former Texas District Judge Susan Criss served on a trial court bench for fifteen years. Prior to being a judge, Susan Criss worked as a prosecutor in the Galveston County Criminal District […]
Below is an interesting article that illustrates the impact of a finding of “not in the line of duty” from a death investigation. Many benefits are not given to the family. For this spouse and her children, that meant an estimated $1,200 a month from the Army’s Survivor Benefit Plan; GI Bill benefits; and possibly […]
The Galveston County Daily News is reporting a man is in critical condition after a chemical leak that occurred at one of the main units in the Marathon Petroleum refining complex in Texas City, Director of Emergency Management Derek Duckett said. The man was intubated and being transported by helicopter to a nearby emergency room, likely John […]
Judge withdraws controversial order favoring law enforcement Facebook post barred plea deals in alleged threats By Harvey Rice July 30, 2016 GALVESTON – A Galveston County district judge has rescinded a controversial order viewed as favoring law enforcement, but defense attorneys said Saturday they were still considering a formal complaint and other actions. Judge Kerry […]
Judge rescinds no-probation order Text of Judge Kerry Neves’ order On July 18, 2016, I put in writing an Order dealing with a policy to be used in very specific circumstances. It was prompted by my reaction to the death of a number of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, as well as numerous […]
Defense attorneys preparing to file complaint against Neves Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:00 pm By CHACOUR KOOP The Daily News galvnews.com Defense attorneys are preparing a formal complaint against Judge Kerry Neves, who has drawn criticism for a Facebook post and courtroom order he said is intended to deter violence against police officers. The […]
Posted in the Galveston County Daily News, Monday, July 25, 2016 By SUSAN CRISS I was riding in a police car as a young prosecutor. Lights were flashing. Sirens on. Adrenalin pumping including mine. It was exhilarating, scary, and dangerous. Officers must frequently make charging decisions “running hot” with the adrenalin still pumping. Those decisions […]
The story below is a very unfortunate. If you are seeking assistance with a VA appeal, remember, by law, an individual must be accredited by VA as an agent, attorney, or representative of a VA-recognized veterans service organization to assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of a claim for VA benefits. 38 U.S.C. §§ […]
Susan Criss was interviewed by KTRK (ABC, CH. 13) in Houston for a story regarding Galveston District Court Judge Neves issuing an order stating he does not intend to accept plea bargain agreements in cases where police officers are threatened, disrespected or assaulted. Former District Court Judge Susan Criss is concerned Neves crossed a line. “Showing favoritism […]
Judge: No probation for defendants accused of attacking, fleeing cops. Judge Kerry Neves, of the 10th State District Court in Galveston, posted the following on his Facebook page, late Monday: “I have just signed an Order which goes into effect immediately in this Court. No plea bargain agreements for deferred adjudication or probation involving Assault […]
Today, VA issued a final rule addressing health care for Camp Lejeune veterans, primarily addressing the right to retroactive reimbursement for copayments. A separate rule will be issued for veterans’ family members. Vets who served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987 are not subject to […]
VA Secretary Grants Relief for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries. See attached fact sheet from the VA. If you need assistance with a VA Disability appeal, contact Attorney Rick Rousseau at 254-699-9999.
The VA Secretary has agreed to offer over 24,000 veterans new Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) examinations after determining they did not receive an exam by the appropriate specialist – physiatrist, psychiatrist, neurologist, or neurosurgeon – during the period between 2007 – 2015. This week, those veterans will receive a VA letter regarding their right to […]
Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to veterans or their families by the Department of Veterans Affairs are not taxable. In addition, disabled veterans may be eligible to claim a federal tax refund based on: • an increase in the veteran’s percentage of disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs (which may […]
For many people in their 20s and 30s estate planning is far removed from their daily concerns. However, no one knows exactly how much time we each have on earth before we pass away. Spending some time planning and organizing your affairs can help decrease the overwhelming burden placed on survivors during these emotional times. […]
Prince died without a will and very little if any estate planning. When a person dies without a will, your assets pass under intestate succession laws of the state, which tends to be more complicated and expensive for the estate and beneficiaries. If you die without a well thought out estate plan, your estate could […]
A good rule of thumb is that when there are life changes that occur, your life insurance beneficiaries should be reviewed to ensure they are up to date and still fit your desires. While there are many key events that should trigger a review of life insurance beneficiaries, some common life changes that should prompt […]
Retired District Court Judge Susan Criss, Senior Partner in Criss & Rousseau Law Firm, recently addressed the International Association of Women Judges Conference, “Women Judges and the Rule of Law: Assessing the Past, Anticipating the Future,” in Washington, D.C. Susan spoke on “Courts in Crisis: Maintaining the Rule of Law in Emergency Situations” drawing on […]
People are living longer and the need for long-term health care will to increase. This article provides a detailed guide about long-term care insurance and a thorough explanation of long-term care insurance coverages. It discusses options when choosing a long-term care policy. See Amy Fontinelle, Your Complete Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance, Investopedia, April 1, 2016.
The long-term care insurance provider Genworth, has reported that in 2015 the annual median cost of an assisted living facility cost $43,200 a year on average and a nursing home cost anywhere from $80,300 to $91,250 annually. The need for having long-term insurance has increased as more people are living longer. Policies for long-term care […]
Who is eligible for Medicare? What if I’m 65 or older, but I do not meet the work record requirement? When am I eligible to enroll? What if I’m not automatically enrolled? For answers to these questions, see this informative article, “Who Is Eligible for Medicare?”, by Brian Feroldi, The Motley Fool, published on mytsanantonio. Click here to see the full […]
“A driver is more likely to be involved in a potentially deadly crash in Killeen than some other area cities, according to crash data obtained from the Texas Department of Transportation and compiled by the Killeen Daily Herald. The data show Killeen to have a higher number of fatal vehicle crashes and crashes in general on […]
A new Defense Department policy allows military retirees with special needs children to take advantage of a law changing the way their Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) can be paid after their death. A new law passed as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act allows military retirees to designate their SBP to special needs […]
Is there a way to determine whether a deceased’s life was insured? Is there any type of central registry for life insurance? The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) can possibly help you find a missing life insurance policy or annuity. TDI will give the information from companies that voluntarily participate in the service. The companies […]
Preparing an estate plan to integrate important planning considerations for a family member with special needs requires careful preparation. Thought should be given to creating a special needs trust in order to allow a special needs beneficiary to inherit assets without possibly risking their eligibility for governmental benefits and programs. For more information, see Lauren […]
When there is a mortgage on a home and the owner dies, complications can develop for the heirs. If the beneficiaries of the estate do not continue to pay the mortgage, the lender could foreclose on the home. Below is a brief article that discusses some of the options to consider. See Jim McNiff, What Happens When […]
Do you want to make sure that your pet will be taken care of after you pass away? Your desires can be documented to make sure that your pets are provided for after you are gone. As part of estate planning, pet owners can name a beneficiary that will take care of their pets or […]
What happens to student loan debts upon the death of the borrower depends on who made the loan. Loans that are made by the federal government will normally be discharged on death upon the proof of death by way of a death certificate. Generally, private lenders do not provide for loan forgiveness and quite often […]
Below is a good chart by the “Understood Team” that provides a step-by-step overview of the IEP process to try to get special education services for your child. IEP Roadmap: How to Seek Out Special Education Services for Your Child, By The Understood Team
Recently, Google updated its service to provide the family members of a deceased and estate administrators additional options when dealing with the deceased’s Google account. Under a new Google policy, survivors and estate administrators can upload their loved ones death certificates and obituaries. In addition, current users of Google services have more control over what […]
Both Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504 Plans) can offer formal help for students in grades K–12 with learning and attention issues. While both are similar in some ways they are quite different in others. Below is a link for a chart that compares them side-by-side to help understand the differences. […]
Article in the Killeen Daily Herald in which Rick Rousseau discusses Special Education. The full article can be found here.
If you are the administrator of a someone’s estate, you may have to make an important decision about how the deceased’s final medical bills are handled for federal tax purposes. Most final medical expenses will remain unpaid on the date of death. For federal income tax purposes, deductions for unreimbursed medical expenses are generally allowed […]
On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the Disabled Military Child Protection Act. This law allows a military parent to provide a survivor benefit for a disabled child and have it paid to a special needs trust for that child’s benefit. Until this law was passed, military parents of children with disabilities faced a serious […]
As of 2013 (the last year statistics are available), the average college student (graduate and undergraduate) left school with $28,400 in debt. Repayment of student loans has always been difficult, but with the economy still working its way back, many recent graduates have no jobs and no way to pay back their loans. People with […]
Rick Rousseau is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), which is a nationwide network of attorneys and financial planners who provide special needs planning services to families and organizations that serve people with disabilities. The ASNP maintains a website called Special Needs Answers. The website includes a substantial amount of information […]
After nearly three years of study, the Department of Defense today issued the final Military Lending Act (MLA) rule. The MLA better protects our service men and women from predatory credit practices by expanding financial protections provided to service members, and helping ensure military families receive the consumer protections they deserve. These actions build on […]
Individuals that are not married encounter different issues when considering estate planning. If a single person dies without a will, then their property is distributed according to the laws of the state. Therefore, a single person needs to consider who will inherit their property. Likewise, it is important for a single person to provide a […]
Regardless of your familial structure or marital status, estate planning is something every person needs to consider. However, the rules are complicated, and changing, for LGBT couples. LGBT couples in Texas do not have the legal protections and advantages afforded by marriage, and should consider a few key documents in estate planning. The Criss & Rousseau […]
The death of a spouse is difficult and stressful for the survivor. A person who loses a spouse has to deal with the emotional and financial aftermath of having to resolve the deceased’s estate. Each partner should have a well-drafted will that clarifies issues such as guardianship and how property will be distributed. The […]
By SUSAN CRISS Galveston County Daily News This year bar associations across the country celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. That document is considered the original precedent for the Rule of Law and for due process upon which our justice system is based. The Magna Carta is a charter that King John of […]
If you suffered damage to your home or personal property from the recent storms and floods, you may be able to deduct the losses you incur on your federal income tax return. Here are 10 tips you should know about deducting casualty losses: 1. Casualty loss. You may be able to deduct losses based on […]
Susan Criss has been selected as one of the Top Five Attorneys in Galveston County by the Galveston County Daily News Readers Choice Awards! Please vote to make sure that Susan is #1. Click here to vote!
The rising cost of long-term care, coupled with an increasing array of options, can make it difficult for families to find the best, affordable care. The calculator below from AARP can assist with that process by estimating the cost of long-term care. Options include expenses for care in a nursing home, assisted living facility or adult […]
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written instrument that allows you (the “principal”) to authorize your agent (also known as your “attorney-in-fact”) to conduct certain business on your behalf. It is one of the strongest legal documents that you can give to another person during your lifetime. There are two types of POA: “general” […]
What happens to an individual’s frequent-flier miles upon death? Some frequent-flier program policies indicate that accumulated miles cannot be transferred under any circumstances while other programs specifically allow the transfer of points on death. Some airlines may grant individual exceptions on a case-by-case basis to allow the transfer of frequent-flier miles. As part of estate […]
A new report released yesterday by nine (9) U.S. Senators has found, “the current VA claims backlog breaks the sacred oath the United States made to our brave men and women when they joined the military. It is our duty to take care of them if they incur a service-connected disability. Veterans suffer because […]
In late 2014, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014, which paves the way for millions of disabled Americans to have tax-free accounts to help them save for their disability expenses. The key provisions of ABLE allows individuals with disabilities, and those who provide support […]
Without proper planning, probate problems can torment family members or surviving business partners. Quite often, the problem stems from an inadequate estate plan of a business owner. There are estate planning strategies that help prevent unwanted probate and business entanglements after disability or death. These include using trusts, creative titling of real estate, beneficiary designations […]
There are many reasons you may need a copy of your tax return information, such as applying for a student loan, a home mortgage or a credit card. If you do not have a copy, you can get a free transcript from the IRS online or by mail. Transcripts are available for the most current […]
While assisting clients with both estate planning and probate, the question is regularly asked, “What happens to debts or credit card accounts upon the death of the primary owner of the account?” When an individual dies, the creditors of the deceased are required to be notified, including credit reporting agencies. The person that is generally […]
President Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 to mark our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress designated May 1 as the official date for Law Day. Every president since has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1 to celebrate our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. This year, the […]
Many individuals do not have a living will, which is also known as an advance medical directive. “The ramifications of not having one are so severe that it’s bewildering that more people don’t do it,” says Howard Krooks, former president of the National Academy of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. The living will […]
For married couples, there are state and federal laws that allow the transfer of assets to occur upon death with little action required and tax benefits available between spouses. However, same-sex couples in Texas do not currently receive the benefit from those same laws. For more, click on this link to read the full article: […]
For some individuals that are approaching retirement, a Reverse Home Mortgage might provide positive benefits to improve or maintain their quality of life. However, many drawbacks should be considered as well. Under some circumstances, Reverse Home Mortgages can be advantageous. However, some of the disadvantages of Reverse Home Mortgages include high fees, interest, and some […]
“Some of the lesser-known benefits of a well-crafted estate plan are the provisions providing for both management of assets and instructions for personal care in the event of incapacity. Estate planning documents that anticipate incapacity enable named representatives to manage an individual’s assets, and direct how health care decisions will be made. Without these documents, […]
“Many Americans haven’t picked a person to oversee their digital accounts after they die, and while some would like to have their accounts memorialized, more than half prefer that they be deleted. Instead of waiting for online accounts to start offering digital legacy handlers, people have the option of naming “digital executors” in their will who can do […]
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