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Westminster Law Blog

Dram shop liability in California

Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of resources dedicated to informing the general public as to the dangers of drunk driving. Yet even with these efforts to increase awareness, intoxicated drivers continue to be a danger on the road. Indeed, according to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10,497 people were killed by drunk drivers in the U.S. in 2017 alone. When one is involved in an accident with a drunk driver, their frustrations might be aimed not only at the drivers that hit them, but also at those establishments in Westminster that served the alcohol that led to their intoxication. 

The question then becomes whether those establishments can be held civilly liable. Dram shop laws are statutes that assign third-party liability to establishments that serve alcohol to drivers who then go on to cause car accidents. The same principal applies to people who serve alcohol at parties or get-togethers where guests at such events drink and then cause accidents after leaving (this is often referred to as “social host liability”). The state of California, however, does not view making alcohol available to people as being the proximate cause of a car accident; instead, it recognizes only the consumption of alcohol as such. Thus, the dram shop and social host liability is extremely limited in the state. 

What should I know before buying a franchise?

Some entrepreneurs look at purchasing a franchise as a safe bet. After all, you have a ready-made brand and clientele at your disposal, so it stands to reason that you might think success is assured. This is not the case, however. Franchisees face just as much risk as any other business owner, according to Forbes. The following are a few key factors to keep in mind before you make a substantial investment in a franchise. 

Cost is extremely important, in this case. Franchise expenses often exceed the cost of buying the business and any necessary equipment to run it. There are also less-obvious costs you should consider when determining your budget. For example, you may need to spend money on marketing expenses, which can become quite exorbitant. Be prepared to barely break even or lose money during the first year. Make sure you have enough money to cover costs until your business is able to gain a lucrative foothold. If you don't think you'll be able to make it, it's best to invest elsewhere. 

Is my spouse having an online affair?

Social media is supposed to bring people closer together, but this is not beneficial in each and every case. Some married people use the internet to carry on affairs, which can have a devastating effect on a person's marriage. Identifying online infidelity can be a bit difficult, which is why Very Well Mind recommends looking out for the following signs if you're experiencing issues in your relationship.

Consider your spouse's relationship with the family computer and other devices. Are these devices suddenly password-protected and is your spouse unwilling to provide you the login info? If so, it's likely that he or she is hiding something from you. Your spouse may also relocate the computer to a more private location or take an interest in computer accessories. For example, the purchase of a webcam to be used for communicating with an online paramour is suspicious when there is no real need for such a device. 

Will it harm my child if I divorce my child’s other parent?

Divorce can be a difficult change for everyone in a family, especially the children. Many parents share concern over the effects divorce can have on their children. However, it is a change that most children will recover from in time.

When parents who can’t get along decide to end their marriage, children may be initially distressed about the change. As their family changes, they may begin having problems in school or exhibiting regressive behaviors. However, most children recover from the change in a year or two. Although most children will bounce back from the experience on their own, there are actions parents can take to help their kids cope better with divorce.

Protecting your elderly parents’ assets

Caring for elderly parents in California is challenging in the best circumstances. If they need help with their finances, you may have concerns about whether they spend money wisely, or if they succumb to undue influence by caregivers. The attorneys at The Law Firm of Lan Quoc Nguyen & Associates often assist clients with estate planning for their aging parents.

You may believe that if your parents have a will, it covers everything they need. However, a will defines where assets go after your mother and father pass away. Trusts protect them while still living. According to Caring People, setting up a trust can ensure elderly parents receive the care they need for years to come. There are several options available, and you can customize many of them to meet the needs of your parents’ specific situation.

  • A living trust, also called a revocable trust, contains the assets you and your parents want to protect. It names beneficiaries who will inherit from the trust. The grantor, your parents, may change it at any time.
  • An irrevocable trust allows your parents to keep their assets while still qualifying for Medicaid. It also ensures the family home remains in their possession when one of them dies. Beneficiaries must approve any changes.
  • A testamentary trust protects one spouse when the other passes away. A trustee makes all financial decisions, removing control of finances from your remaining parent.

Essential tips for small business owners

If you've ever dreamed of starting your own business, you probably know that you have quite a journey ahead of you. Running a business is a full-time job, especially when you're just getting it off the ground. Every decision you make will have a lasting impact, from tax implications to personal liability in the event something goes wrong. Business owners should enter into the process fully informed and aware of essential tips and hints to help startup owners as they begin their journey. 

Keep ideas simple

How can I keep my teen from texting and driving?

Texting while driving is dangerous no matter the age of the driver. Teens and young adults are most likely to partake in this behavior, which can be deadly when coupled with their relative inexperience. That's why parents must emphasize the dangers of texting while driving for teens to ensure they fully understand the risk. In this case, U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice. 

Set a good example 

How can I uncover hidden assets during a divorce?

When a marriage breaks down, dishonesty is usually a factor. This dishonesty can even extend to the divorce process itself, as many spouses attempt to hide assets to prevent them from being divided. According to Forbes, there are steps you can take to uncover these assets and have them included during the dividing process. 

As the divorce is underway, get started on an inventory of your shared assets as soon as possible. Start your search in the comfort of your own home, as many assets are hidden in plain sight by spouses. If you have a home safe where important documents are kept, begin by looking there. Catalog all the assets and properties you find and make sure you have copies of any important papers. Of course, many spouses are a bit more creative when it comes to hiding assets. In this case, you'll also need to be more creative when it comes to your search. 

What is a beneficiary designation?

Things like life insurance policies, retirement funds, and savings accounts are all included in the assets you have in your name. Accordingly, you must make decisions on how the proceeds of these accounts are to be distributed among your heirs upon your death. Beneficiary designations are key in this regard, as explained by The Balance.

The logic behind beneficiary designations is pretty simple. When opening an account or buying a life insurance policy, you also designate beneficiaries. You can choose primary and secondary beneficiaries, who are next in line in the event the primary heir dies before you do. You can also choose multiple beneficiaries and decide what percentage each receives from your assets. Beneficiaries can be your loved ones, such as spouses and kids, they can be friends, or even they can be trusts. 

Driving home safely from the beach

As the days get hotter, many California residents are spending more time at one of the hundreds of beaches the Golden State has to offer. It’s the best time of the year for families and friends to take a trip to the closest beach so they can sunbathe, catch some waves and build sand castles.

While beaches are some of the best places to go to during the summer, they are also some of the most dangerous areas to drive in. Plenty of motorists around these parts make easily avoidable mistakes that could land someone in the hospital. Before you pack your towels and put on your swim trunks, it’s important to know why so many drivers crash after stepping off the sand.

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