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Westminster Law Blog

Why the holidays are a great time to check estate plans

The end of the year can be either one of the most relaxing or stressful times for workers with families. On one hand, you get well-deserved time off from your job. On the other hand, you might have your holidays booked up with your kids, relatives or spouse to celebrate your usual Christmas or New Year’s traditions.

Whether you have time off or you’re spending time with the family, these last few weeks bring an opportunity you do not see often throughout the year. It might be one of the best times to go over your will or trust and make any modifications based on recent events. If you plan to set aside some time near the end of December to review your estate plan, you should keep the following in mind:

Accidents caused by running red lights

Drivers may behave recklessly because they are under the influence or experiencing a fit of rage. Sadly, this behavior can significantly increase the likelihood of a collision and many lives have been lost as a result of irresponsibility behind the wheel. Driving too fast, failing to switch lanes correctly and even driving in the wrong lane are some examples of this behavior. Moreover, people may run a red light, which could lead to a deadly crash.

Drivers run red lights for many reasons. Some are late for work or some other appointment and they try to get through an intersection quickly when they were supposed to come to a stop. Others may be distracted by something in their vehicle or lose their mental focus due to something on the road, causing them to drive through an intersection without even paying attention to the traffic light.

Is eating while driving dangerous?

Drinking and then driving can certainly lead to high-impact car accidents. So too can testing while driving. There is, however, another major form of distracted driving that is equally as dangerous yet is rarely as talked about. This is no doubt due to it high prevalence amongst the general population (indeed, one might argue that auto manufacturers even encourage it with some of the features they include in their vehicles). This distraction is eating while driving, and it's a risk that few appreciate. 

Just how dangerous can eating while driving be? In a joint data collecting venture between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance, it was revealed that those who eat behind the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not. And yet this is activity that most engage in while driving. 

What is a holographic will?

You probably realize by now that having a legal will is important to ensure that when you die, those you leave behind honor your wishes. There are a couple of options for creating a will that will stand up legally in California. One of those options is a holographic will.

According to California Legislative Information, a holographic will is any will that meets certain requirements but falls short of meeting the specified requirements for a traditional will. Basically, this type of document is handwritten and signed by you. You must write it with the intent of using the document as your legal will. It should include your intentions, and you need to write it only when you have the mental capacity to enter into a legal agreement.

What is a conservatorship?

The process of estate planning is meant to provide people with control over both the disposition of their assets once they are gone as well as (if necessary) the management of their end-of-life affairs. Yet people cannot plan for the unexpected, and few anticipate never being able to make decisions for themselves. Yet if you have a loved one that has reached that point it may in their best interest for you to step in and seek that they be placed under the care of a conservator. 

A conservator is one empowered with the authority to make important decisions for another individual. Some may wonder how this particular type of authority differs from power of attorney. The main difference is that in the case of power of attorney, a person delegates decision-making authority themselves, whereas a conservatorship is created at the request of another. 

How can I manage family conflicts over the holidays?

For divorced parents in California, the holidays can be a trying time. For many people visits with relatives often involve quite a bit of conflict, which can get in the way of your rest and relaxation. In this case, VeryWellFamily.com offers the following advice to ensure your holiday remains as stress-free as possible.

Find solace in your friends

Common distractions for holiday drivers

Thanksgiving is one of the most travel heavy holidays in America. Families use their extended weekend to get together to celebrate by driving to a relative’s house or going somewhere new for the holiday. The larger cities in California such as San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim tend to be some of the most popular cities for families to travel to around this time of year.

Unfortunately, California’s popular cities also lead the state to being one of the deadliest states for Thanksgiving travel. Recent studies show that in the last couple of years, 9 percent of the nation's fatalities during this holiday were in the Golden State. While drunk driving continues to be the leading cause of traffic fatalities, distracted driving has also been increasing the death count in the last decade. If you plan on driving through the state during your holiday weekend, you should be aware of the potential distractions that can impair the driving ability of you and the thousands that will be on the road with you.

Large truck crashes in rural areas

Large truck wrecks happen in countless ways and occur in all parts of the country, from hectic urban streets to quiet roads in the countryside. Regardless of where a large truck collision takes place, the consequences can be devastating and in this post we will take a closer look at large truck accidents in rural locations. From state highways that run through small towns to side roads that connect businesses to the rest of the country, there are many different places in which a large truck crash may occur in a rural area.

Sometimes, people let their guards down while driving in rural locations and this is true for both large truck drivers and those driving small vehicles as well. If you drive a delivery truck or have to haul cargo through small towns via semi truck, it is important to be aware of some of the hazards that you may encounter in a rural area. For example, you could have to deal with sharp turns, confusing roadways or even accidents caused by wildlife. For example, someone driving another vehicle may swerve into your truck’s path after a deer jumps out on the road.

Shielding your small business during a divorce

For all of the struggles you have encountered as a small business owner in Westminster, protecting your business from your spouse likely was not one that you anticipated. Yet that is exactly the position that many of those that come to see us here at The Law Firm of Lan Quoc Nguyen & Associates are placed in when they choose to divorce. If and when you and your spouse dissolve your marriage, each of you is entitled to an equitable share of your marital assets. Your business may be included among them. 

Yet if you started your company prior to marrying your spouse, you might wonder how, then, could it be viewed as a marital asset? Technically speaking, any asset or property from which both you and your spouse benefit from is considered to be part of the marital estate. So, in the aforementioned case, your business itself may not be viewed as a marital asset, yet the profits that you make from it during your marriage (plus any increases in value it experiences during that same time) are subject to property division. 

How do I tell others I am divorcing?

Within the Vietnamese culture, divorce can be a difficult topic. However, if you are getting a divorce in California, you will have to tell others what is happening at some point. Being proactive about it and telling them before they find out some other way can help make the news easier to accept and reduce any misunderstandings.

According to Psychology Today, you should confront the situation directly and tell your family in specific terms that you are divorcing and why. Be clear and concise. You do not have to explain yourself. If you approach this as if you are explaining why, then that is how others will approach it. Instead, just state the facts. Keep it to the point and do not make excuses. This will make it less likely for them to question your decision or bring up objections.

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