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Westminster Law Blog

Sleep deprivation and motor vehicle crashes

From alcohol intoxication to distractions, there are various car accident causes that have been explored on this blog. However, many more risk factors can increase the chances of a crash and it is important for drivers to be aware of any behaviors or potential problems that could make a collision more likely. Many people feel overworked or tired and sleep deprivation is a serious problem with respect to auto collisions. Unfortunately, driver fatigue is a major problem that has caused many motor vehicle crashes which led to the loss of life and debilitating injuries.

If you feel too tired to drive safe, you should stay off of the road. Sadly, many people ignore this advice, whether they have to get to work or take care of other responsibilities such as pick their child up from school. Driver fatigue may occur because someone slept poorly for one night or struggles with a long-term sleep disorder. Fatigue is also especially problematic in certain fields, such as those who drive semi trucks, as well as those who regularly work overtime or graveyard shifts.

Reasons you might challenge a will

You might have gone through the difficulty of a family or loved one dying, the funeral, wake and mourning. However, to find out that a will has left you without any saving grace while other family members did can also be heartbreaking. You might want to challenge the will but have no idea where to start.

Firstly, it is extremely difficult to challenge a will after the author of the will has passed away. Usually, all the court can do is fulfill their written wishes. Sometimes spouses are the most successful in fighting the will, and one of the routes is through arguing their spouse was unduly influenced or lacked the mental capacity to execute their wishes.

Reviewing the role of a probate referee

Most in Westminster have probably heard it said that people should avoid probate whenever possible. That is because the cost of going through probate is taken from the estate's assets, thus limiting that amount that is left over to be dispersed to one's beneficiaries. Yet that does not necessarily mean that probate is a bad thing. Truth be told, the probate court can offer a personal representative a great deal of assistance in administering an estate. One such resource is a probate referee. 

Among the responsibilities of a personal representative is to attain an appraisal of all of the estate's assets. This can be quite a challenge, especially if one is not familiar with current market conditions or appraisal methods. Fortunately, the probate court will typically appoint a probate referee to an estate case to handle this. Probate referees are often attorneys or Certified Public Accountants who specialize specifically in appraisals. Not just anyone can earn this designation; according to the California State Controllers Office, prospective probate referees must first pass a state-administered test, and then complete 15 hours of continuing education annually. Every county in the state will have at least one probate referee designated to handle that area's probate cases. 

What should you do after a car accident?

Being involved in a car accident on a California roadway can really shake you up. It is especially difficult if it is a serious accident. You may not be thinking correctly or you may be incredibly upset over the ordeal. In any case, before you ever hit the road, you should have a good plan in place for what to do if you are in an accident. Preparing before anything ever happens can really help you to keep a clear mind when the worst does occur.

The Nemours Foundation offers some tips on the things you should do after a car accident to help ensure everyone is okay and that the accident is properly handled. It starts with assessing the situation. You want to make sure everyone in your car is safe and then check on those in the other vehicles if you can. Moving off the roadway is the best bet if it is possible.

What is unfair competition?

You have established a successful small business in Westminster and built up a strong customer base. Yet recently you notice that you have been losing business to a new rival company that just opened up a few months ago. You start hearing that it offers services very similar to yours, and then you drive past one day and are shocked to see that its logo and name are nearly identical to yours! Can it do this? 

Per Section 17200 of California's Business and Professions Code, unfair, fraudulent or unlawful professionals acts or practices are classified as unfair competition. So too is deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising. The use of a logo or brand similar to yours to draw customers away from your business certainly falls into the latter category. Doing so may imply to customers that your rival is actually associated with you in some way, which allow it to benefit off of your reputation at your expense. 

Why have a prenuptial agreement?

Like many in your community in Westminster, you likely dedicate a good deal of time and effort into cultivating two things: your family and your career. Oftentimes the latter is realized first, with you completing your schooling or starting your own business. You now may have found that special someone you want to marry, and everything seems to be coming up roses. Now may be a difficult time to do this, but have you contemplated that which you and your soon to be spouse are bringing into your marriage? Consider any remaining student loan debt you may have, or the funds you have tied up into your business? Do you want to those financial issues spilling over into your marriage? 

If your answer is no, then you may want to seriously consider asking your fiancee to create a prenuptial agreement with you. At first glance, that may seem like you doubting the idea that your marriage will last (and thus protecting yourself financially if does not). Yet as the aforementioned financial concerns demonstrate, protecting pre-marital assets is not the only reason to consider a prenuptial agreement. In your case, your doing so ensures that your fiancee will not be held responsible for any of your pre-marital personal or professional liabilities. 

What good record-keeping can do for your business

Small business owners often are under pressure for so many different things. The list is nearly endless. They’re raising money from investors, building a customer base, seeking dependable employees, ensuring steady and dependable supply chains, and determining effective marketing techniques.

This group of entrepreneurs has so many responsibilities to consider, that some things occasionally get overlooked. This may include the business books. Not only is solid record-keeping essential for your small business, it’s also a legal requirement.

Avoiding estate taxes

The excitement Westminster residents feel every payday may often be slightly tempered by the knowledge that Uncle Sam is going to take his share. Taxes are an unavoidable aspect of life, yet does the same hold true in death, as well? It is true that there is indeed a federal estate tax. The prospect of having a portion of their hard-earned estate assets going to the government may be downright disheartening to some. Yet not to worry; there is a way for people to avoid having to pay the estate tax

First and foremost, many will not end up owing it anyway. Per the Internal Revenue Service, the basic federal estate tax exemption amount currently sits at $10 million. This means that an estate valued at less than that amount will not be subject to the estate tax. Ultimately, very few estates will approach this threshold, allowing most to pass their assets on to beneficiaries without the fear of any being lost to taxes. 

Santa Maria robbery suspects close road, which causes accident

It might be next to impossible to determine how one's actions in Westminster can impact others. One might be able to see how he or she affects those that are around him or her, yet the truth is that what he or she does might prompt residual effects that can have entirely unintended and unanticipated consequences. When a degree of reckless is associated with those actions (or worse yet, criminal activity), then those who are impacted by those residual effects might see themselves as being entitled to legal resource. The question then becomes whether that is possible in such a scenario. 

One might think that same question could come up following a multi-car crash near Highway 101 outside of Santa Barbara. Several vehicles (including that of a California Highway Patrol Officer) collided due to slowed traffic conditions. In all, four vehicles and a tractor-trailer were involved in the collision. The accident victims (which included two infants) were all taken to local hospitals to be treated for their injuries. 

What is intellectual property?

Most people in California’s Little Saigon area know what it feels like when somebody takes credit for their idea or work. Whether it is a childhood incident done to gain favor or an adult incident done to gain money, it hurts. And it makes you angry. Whether you are an artist, techie or entrepreneur, your work, or intellectual property, is your own. Unless, of course, you work for someone else. If that is the case, the company is the one who owns the IP. But the hurt and anger are still the same, and it is still wrong to use another’s ideas or work.

Intellectual property can be categorized by the protections offered for it. This protection can be divided into three major areas, according to FindLaw, which are patents, trademarks and copyrights.

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