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Westminster Law Blog

What should I know as a new business owner?

If you’re a first-time business owner in California, chances are you need all the help you can get. While the details are bound to vary from business to business, there are certain steps you can take to increase your chance of success, no matter what good or service you’re offering to the public. Forbes offers the following tips so that new business owners can make the biggest impact and encounter the fewest snags.

Build a network of professionals

California: The Land of Street Racing

While illegal street racing was around before the 2000s, the release of the film The Fast and the Furious made the activity explode with popularity. Within several areas around the United States, young individuals began forming groups to bet on which car was faster. Unfortunately, money was not the only thing they were gambling.

Between 2001 and 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated there were around 153 killed in crashes from street races. If they broaden what counts as a street racing fatality, there were over 1,000 deaths between 2001 and 2008. These illegal activities have been showing no signs of slowing down, and southern California is one of the top spots for racers to burn rubber.

What happens if you die without a will?

All adults in the California Vietnamese community should take the responsible step of making out a will. You may understandably be reluctant to think about what will happen after you die, but a will is the best way to assure that your intended heirs receive your estate according to your wishes. 

The possibility exists that you may pass on without having made out a valid will, assuming that you have not made one out already. According to FindLaw, if you die intestate, that is, not having made out a will, the state will make out a will for you according to the laws of the state you lived in. In other words, your property transfers according to how the average person would have distributed his or her assets in a process called intestate succession

When an aggressive driver causes a crash

Usually, motor vehicle accidents are just that—accidents. However, some crashes may be caused by the intentional action of a reckless driver who intended to cause a collision, such as someone who has extreme road rage. For example, a driver who has become intensely angry with another driver may ram into their car on purpose, which can be incredibly dangerous on the roadway. These collisions may cause anyone riding in either vehicle to become hurt or lose their lives and it is imperative for those who drive recklessly because of their road rage to be held accountable.

Some people simply drive aggressively no matter what, even when they are in a good mood. For example, they may follow other cars too closely, drive over the speed limit and fail to switch lanes properly or follow other traffic safety guidelines. Other drivers may become aggressive following an incident on the road. For example, someone may become infuriated with another driver after they believe they were cut off, or they may become intensely angry with another person because of the way they are driving (such as believing that someone is driving too slowly).

What should I do in a hit and run accident?

Responsible drivers in California would never leave the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what unscrupulous people do, leaving you with costs for medical treatment and vehicle repair. If you’re involved in a hit and run it’s important that you take the right steps, both for your safety and to improve the chance that the other driver is apprehended. State Farm offers the following advice in this case.

Don’t leave the scene

Proving undue influence occurred

Being disinherited by a loved one can be a hard pill for anyone in Westminster to have to swallow. In the wake of such action, one's immediate thoughts are likely to turn to discovering why this may have happened. One of the more common reasons may be that a testator has been unduly influenced by a caretaker or other personal confidant. The question then becomes how is one to prove this? 

Fortunately, the law recognizes that the circumstances of certain situations might automatically imply undue influence. Per Section 21380 of the California Probate Code, fraud or undue influence is presumed to have occurred when donative transfers from an estate are made to any of the following parties: 

  • The person who drafted the instrument detailing the transfer
  • The person who transcribed the instrument and who shared a fiduciary relationship with the transferor at the time of the transcription
  • The care custodian of the transferor (in the case that the transferor was a dependent adult) at or around the time the instrument detailing the transfer is executed. 
  • A person who is related by either blood or affinity (to the third degree) to any person described in the aforementioned scenarios 
  • A cohabitant or employee of any person described in the aforementioned scenarios
  • A partner, shareholder or employee of a law firm in which any person described in the aforementioned scenarios has an ownership stake

Is parallel parenting right for me?

Co-parenting can be a beneficial arrangement for many divorced couples in California. However, when tempers flare it may be hard for parents to come together on topics related to child-rearing, which can negatively impact all involved. In this case, parallel parenting is often a good solution, as described by BetterHelp.com.

Where co-parenting can fail

Avoiding common estate planning errors

Planning for the future can often feel like an intimidating or overwhelming task. As tempting as it may be to avoid the reality of estate planning, it’s important for every person to complete an estate plan to ensure proper execution of their final wishes once they’re gone.

Maintaining a comprehensive estate plan involves keeping information relevant with your lifestyle, family dynamics and changes to the law. For those who just lost a loved one, the idea of a complex probate process is just unnecessary pain and difficult in an already emotionally taxing time.

Why valuation dates are important

Dividing up marital property can be one of the most difficult (and potentially most contentious) aspects of a divorce case in Westminster. This is particularly true if business assets are included in such proceedings. Typically, when one spouse owns and operates a business, whatever increase in value that the business experienced during his or her marriage is considered to be a marital asset. Thus, the valuation of a business is crucial in determining each spouse's interest in this asset (as is the date on which the valuation occurs). 

Per Forbes Magazine, business assets are typically labeled "active assets" during property division proceedings due to the fact that their value can be greatly influenced by their owners. Active assets are often valued at the time a couple choose to separate, while almost all other assets to be divided between a divorcing couple are valued as close to the trial date of their proceedings as possible. The reason why business assets are typically valued this way is to deter a business owner going through a divorce from intentionally neglecting his or her company in order to diminish his or her soon-to-be ex-spouse's interest in it. 

Fiery high-speed collision kills 3 outside University City

Westminster residents are encouraged to practice defensive driving techniques in order to lower the risk of being involved in car accidents. Such methods may be beneficial, as they have been proven to help mitigate the risks that one faces while on the road. However, one factor that can never be adequately planned or prepared for may be the reckless actions of others. While most may recognize the responsibility they have to protecting the motorists around them while on the road, some may choose to engage in behaviors that directly endanger both themselves as well as others. 

Such certainly appears to have been the case in a fiery crash on the freeway outside of University City that claimed three lives. Witnesses state that they saw a black McLaren driving the wrong-way on the freeway traveling in excess of 100 mph. Many vehicles were able to swerve and avoid the oncoming sports car, yet sadly a woman driving an SUV was not. The McLaren struck her vehicle head-on, causing a reaction that ultimately resulted in several cars colliding and catching fire. The driver of the McLaren was killed in the collision, as was the driver of the SUV along with her daughter. Eight other people were also injured in the crash. Authorities are still looking into why the young man driving the McLaren chose to do what he did. 

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