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Westminster Law Blog

What Is Distracted Driving?

Even the safest drivers can fall victim to others’ negligence. This is especially true when it comes to distracted driving behaviors, which imperils the safety of motorists all over California. While most people would agree that drunk driving is extremely dangerous, many still believe that driving while distracted is not so serious (even though it’s been established that both behaviors are equally harmful). Esurance.com explains the dangers of distracted driving and what you can do to avoid it.

There are actually three different types of distracted driving, which can occur independently or in conjunction. Visual distractions entail taking your eyes off the road, cognitive distractions occur when your mind wanders, and manual distractions involve removing your hands from the wheel. Using a mobile device can combine all three behaviors, which is why it’s considered especially hazardous.

What is intellectual property?

As a small business owner in Westminster, you need to take full advantage of every resource at your disposal in order to stay competitive. That includes the unique ideas, processes, symbols or brands that are used in your business. So what happens when one of your competitors copies one or more of those unique elements and starts incorporating them into its operations? Can it do so without your permission or having to compensate you for their use? 

The answer to that question comes down to determining what exactly qualifies as intellectual property. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, IP consists of any creations of the mind that are used in commerce. Common examples of IP include: 

  • Copyrights
  • Patents 
  • Trademarks 
  • Industrial designs
  • Geographical indications

Understanding intestate succession

As you begin to experience personal and professional prosperity in Westminster, your thoughts should turn to estate planning. The most common reason cited by those who come to see us here at The Law Firm of Lan Quoc Nguyen & Associates as to why they wait so long to begin such planning is that they do not want to consider the prospect of their own deaths. While that concern may be understandable, there is danger in waiting too long. If you keep putting this important process off, you could end up dying without a will. 

What happens then? If you die without a will, you are said to be "intestate." The California Probate Code has established guidelines on how an intestate estate is to be dispersed. If you die intestate, your surviving spouse is automatically identified as your primary heir. He or she will receive half of your estate if you have any issue (direct descendants) or any living immediate family members (parents and siblings). That share reduces to one-third if you leave behind more than one child or more than one grandchild. If you have no surviving issue or relatives, your spouse would receive your entire estate. 

Moving away with the kids

The goal of all of those in Westminster who have recently divorced is to move on with their lives. For some, that only becomes easier after having left the local area and the many reminders they see of their marriages. Relocation following a divorce may be necessitated by the desire to move, the need to be near family or the circumstances of one's career. In any event, it becomes much more complicated if one has children with his or her ex-spouse. 

Most states recognize the benefit children enjoy when they have constant contact with both of their parents. This makes the issue of parental relocation a very sensitive one. Both sides may commit to not moving during divorce proceedings, yet that commitment may be tested or even erode over time. Indeed, according to information shared by Psychology Today, 16 percent of Americans relocate every year, with almost half of those leaving their current metropolitan areas. 

What is negligent entrustment?

Not all car accidents are created equal. Should you be involved in a minor fender-bender in Westminster, then your repair costs (and medical costs, if there are any) are likely to be fairly low and will often be covered completely by auto insurance. High-impact collisions, on the other hand, can easily produce extensive damage to your vehicle and leave you and/or your family members facing enormous medical expenses. When this happens, you may be forced to seek compensation from the driver responsible. Yet if he or she is a teen, then he or she is unlikely to be able to help you. Can you then try to hold his or her parents responsible? 

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows you to assign liability to one who allowed another to driver to operate his or her vehicle. Per California's Civil Jury Instructions, the following elements must be proven in order to apply negligent entrustment to your case: 

  • A driver was negligent in operating a vehicle
  • The driver had the vehicle at the permission of its owner
  • The owner should have known the driver to be inexperienced, incompetent or reckless
  • The owner knowingly entrusted the vehicle to the driver
  • The driver's inexperience, incompetence or recklessness was a substantial factor in your accident

Tax tips for small business owners

Small business owners must always be prepared in ways that include hiring the right employees, having enough money for payroll, focusing on marketing strategies, ensuring a steady and consistent flow of inventory and … tax season.

If you’ve been alert and on the ball as a small business owner, you’ve been preparing year-round for tax season. And if that’s the case, things should go smoothly in time to meet the April 17 deadline. But, for some, that’s only wishful thinking.

What are the advantages of forming an S corporation?

For Vietnamese business owners in California’s Little Saigon/Westminster area and beyond, setting up or restructuring your company as an S corporation has some advantages to consider. This business form limits the number of shareholders and offers some appealing tax benefits as well. Here is a brief look at some of the pros and cons of forming an S corporation.

According to the state Franchise Tax Board, an S corporation does not have to pay any federal income tax. It does have to pay a 1.5-percent tax on its net income, however, to the state of California. Like a partnership, this structure allows income, credits and deductions to flow from the corporation to its shareholders. The shareholders, in turn, claim the income or losses on their personal income tax, where it is then taxed at the shareholder level instead of the corporate level.

What should you look for before partnering with an investor?

Whether you are looking to grow your start-up or are looking for fresh talent to add to your booming California business, utilizing investors is an excellent way to gain access to industry knowledge, strategy and financial support. While it is critical that you find investors, who share your passion for your product or service, it is equally as important to look at other details that will greatly support your mission and success. 

According to Inc., choosing to work with an investor can be one of the most crucial business decisions you make regarding the growth of your company, but it can also be difficult to sever if things do not turn out as you had envisioned. To give yourself the best chance at finding partners who fully support your mission and can help you develop competitive market strategies, these are some of the things you should look for in your search for a good investor:

  • Missing pieces: Assess where there is a lack of depth to your company and seek for an investor who has the ability to provide the missing pieces. This support can come in the form of core competencies and experience.
  • Compatibility: While the idea of having access to money is exciting, remember that the most important reason you need investors is to have reliable partners to facilitate your company's success. Look for investors who are compatible with your company's culture and vision. 
  • Time: Before committing to a partnership with any investor, be sure that they are able to provide you with the time your company will need to reach its goals. Likewise, ask questions about the timeframe for the investing partnership so all parties are in agreement with important terms and conditions. 

Wills ensure Vietnamese families continuity

While modern custom in Vietnam is typically not to make a will, the case for Vietnamese families living in California is not the same. A clear-cut will is necessary to ensure the wishes of each person is followed in distributing his or her assets following death.

According to Vietnam Law magazine, ancient Vietnamese laws governed inheritances among all family members, with one of the most notable points being that spouses could not inherit from each other when one dies. The idea behind that cultural norm was that the assets (usually land), remained in the families from which each came. Modern Vietnamese laws have changed to allow a ranking system that places family members in a line of inheritance, with spouses sharing the highest rank and right of inheritance with a spouse’s parents, grandparents and children. This reinforces the traditional role of inheritances among family members.

The changing stigma of divorce in vietnamese communities

Divorce can be difficult for anyone involved, but perhaps more so within communities that have long discouraged it. This is the case for many Vietnamese communities across the United States, and even though views toward divorce may be changing, there are a large number of California residents who face challenges when taking the brave step of starting a new life.

Last October, The Los Angeles Times covered this topic exactly, stating that even Vietnamese immigrants and those born in America struggled against the taboos of divorce in Vietnamese culture. Younger generations often face pressure from more traditionally-minded family and friends, and while those views are certainly valid, they are not always suitable for every couple. According to The Times, Vietnam continues to rank among the lowest for divorce rates worldwide -- a stark comparison against the U.S., which has the highest rates for divorce. For various reasons, including financial situations, fear of judgment or simply traditional pressure, many Vietnamese couples have taken the harder road by choosing to remain in an unhappy marriage. However, statistics show an increase in divorces among Vietnamese Americans, with roughly 16 divorces per 1,000 marriages. 

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