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Westminster Law Blog

Distracted driving continues to be a factor in many car accidents

When a California driver is looking at a phone or using it while driving, his or her attention is not on the road as it should be. Distracted driving continues to be a major safety concern, and most people are aware that it is risky even to glance at the phone for a moment when driving. Despite the risk of car accidents, many drivers continue to engage in this dangerous behavior. Distraction appears to be a problem that is not diminishing in the near future. 

In most states, it is now illegal for a person to text and drive. Some states even have laws that prohibit holding a phone while driving. However, statistics estimate that around 3,000 people die each year in car accidents caused by distracted driving. This number does not include the people who have suffered injuries in crashes or had a close call due to a distracted driver.

A trust could be a beneficial estate planning move

Planning for the future is not easy, especially when it comes to making legal and financial choices that will impact a person or his or her loved ones down the road. Estate planning is a smart way to maintain control over what happens to a person's property after his or her passing and ensure that things go where they are intended. While drafting a will is the first and most basic step in this process, it may also be beneficial to consider the benefits of establishing a trust as well. 

A trust is a way for a California adult to set aside and protect certain assets after his or her death. This can allow someone to pass assets during his or her lifetime or after death, as well as allow beneficiaries to avoid the probate process. A trust can pass property to a specific person, but it can also be used for things such as charitable giving or the long-term care of a loved one with disabilities. 

Remaining respectful may help during your divorce case

Having to end a marriage can be a complicated endeavor. You and your spouse may both agree that it is the best for the situation, but you may also worry about the legal process involved. After all, you combined your lives, and now, you will have to take the time to assess and separate them as best as possible.

Divorce can certainly be difficult, but it does not have to be unnecessarily so. You may want your case to move forward as quickly and easily as possible, and if you take the right approach, you may help yourself achieve that goal.

After divorce, do parents have to talk in order to co-parent?

Working together with a former spouse after ending a marriage is not easy, but for some California couples, it can be impossible. Child custody is often one of the most complicated issues to resolve in a divorce, but co-parenting is an option that allows the children to maintain strong relationships with both parents long-term. For two people who may not get along, this can seem like a challenge, but the key to making this work well is a commitment to communication.

Even when it's difficult to work together, parents will benefit from keeping dialogue open between them. Whether it's discussing potential changes in schedule or needs of the children, parents need to be able to talk about these things. Another thing that can make a difficult co-parenting relationship easier is to avoid talking badly about each other in front of the kids, and this can affect the kids perception of his or her parents.

Bad drivers increase the chance of car accidents during holidays

When California families hit the road this holiday season, they will likely be sharing the road with many other people at the same time. More people are driving during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, which means that bad drivers may endanger even more people during this time of year. When a person is not driving safely, it increases the chance of car accidents.

Most people are reluctant to admit they are a bad driver. No one wants to admit that they have habits and tendencies that could place themselves and others on the road at risk. With growing numbers of fatal accidents across the country, it is clear that people are engaging in more bad behaviors behind the wheel than ever before. Distracted driving in all forms is one of the most significant factors in the number of motor vehicle collisions.

What should a person do with estate planning documents?

When a Californian makes the effort to plan for the future, he or she may think that once it's all drafted, that's all someone needs to do. It can be tempting to forget about estate planning documents until they're needed, but that's not always wise. In reality, these documents and important paperwork should be carefully reviewed occasionally, especially after a major life change.

One thing a person will need to do is review ownership of assets. A person will need to make sure that beneficiaries and heirs will have easy access to important assets and accounts. This will make it significantly easier in case of incapacity or unexpected death. When there is a question over ownership of an asset or disputes over something that is jointly owned, it can make things complicated in the future

Divorce, retirement and a strong financial future

The end of a marriage will alter a person's financial trajectory, and it's in the interests of each person considering this process to think about how their choices will impact their future. This is especially important for individuals in California who are nearing retirement age. Divorce will affect how a person approaches his or her retirement plan, and while changes will be necessary, it is still possible to secure terms that allow for a strong future.

When a young couple divorces, they have years, perhaps even decades, to recover financially. They have time to rebuild savings, including reinvesting their share of retirement savings accumulated from the marriage. When a person is near the end of his or her career, divorce can make a dent in the savings that were planned for use during the so-called golden years. 

The effects of a TBI can show up long after the injury occurred

You know that your brain is one of your most vital organs. The majority of your bodily functions and abilities hinge on your brain function. As a result, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury, the negative effects of that injury can be far-reaching and immensely impactful on your life and your future.

In some cases, the effects of a TBI do not present themselves until years after an accident has occurred. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to predict exactly how this type of injury will affect a specific person. In fact, it can be difficult to even diagnose a TBI because damage often does not show up on MRI and CT scans.

Estate planning is especially important for parents

When a California couple has kids, they may start making financial adjustments for the future needs of their children. For example, they may start a college savings fund or buy life insurance. Most parents understand the importance of thinking ahead, but many of them overlook the importance of estate planning for the benefit of their family. This includes deciding what to do with assets and preparing for medical emergencies that may arise in the future.

Planning well is good for the family. A good, thorough estate plan will ensure that loved ones do not have to decide the type of medical care a person may have wanted if he or she cannot express personal wishes. It can also prevent fights and confusion among loved ones who are unsure of how to handle assets after a parent's or loved one's death. By taking the appropriate estate planning steps, parents are really protecting the interests of their kids.

Estate planning misconceptions can be damaging

It is not easy to think about the future and make plans that could determine what will happen to a person's belongings after his or her passing. These are not simple decisions to make, and for many in California, they believe that estate planning is not necessary. They assume that because they are not famous, wealthy or elderly that they do not this type of legal protection. These and other misconceptions can be quite damaging.

There are many estate planning misconceptions that can keep a person from making the right decisions for his or her future. One thing that people may assume is that estate planning is only making plans for after death, but that is simply not true. There are documents that a person can draft that can allow him or her to outline wishes for health care and medical needs in case of incapacitation in the future.

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