• How Life Insurance Fits into Your Estate Plan

    You can purchase life insurance at any time, without consulting a lawyer. However, if you want to maximize the inheritances of your heirs , your best option is to seek professional estate planning advice in Tracy or Manteca. An attorney who handles these cases can give you the most effective guidance to make estate laws work for your family’s benefit.

    Watch this video to find out how. It features a financial planner, who presents the hypothetical example of a husband and wife who each gift $14,000 to each of their three children. This totals $84,000. The financial gifts would help their children today, but if the couple were to invest that amount into life insurance, their children could receive around five million in death benefits in the future.

  • Estate Planning Terminology Every Adult Should Be Familiar


    Estate law involves complex nuances of language, and the terminology can be baffling to non-lawyers. You can always count on a will lawyer near Tracy or Manteca to fully explain anything that isn’t clear to you. However, it’s still advisable for all adults to have a basic understanding of the most common estate planning terms.

    Glasses over a document, showing estate planning terminology in Tracy, CA

    Last Will and Testament

    Your will dictates how, after satisfying debts, your remaining assets in your estate will be distributed to your heirs. Heirs are also called beneficiaries. You can use your will to distribute specific pieces of property if you wish, or to provide for your pets in the event that they outlive you. If you have any minor children, you should use your will to designate a guardian for them.


    A guardian is someone whom you trust to raise your minor children in the event that you die before they reach the age of majority.


    The executor of your will is the person who will be responsible for seeing that its terms are carried out. Even when the executor works with a lawyer, he or she will have many complex responsibilities. Before designating an executor, you should ask that person if he or she is willing to take on these responsibilities.


    A trust is a document that is legally binding. You can transfer assets into the trust during your lifetime. The trust manages the assets, and after your death, the trust distributes the assets to your beneficiaries.


    A trustee is a person whom you’ve designated to manage the trust. A trustee might also be a corporate entity instead of a single person. Trustees are responsible for administering and distributing the trust in accordance with the instructions in the trust document.


    Probate is a legal process. It begins when the executor of a will files the will with the probate court in order to validate it. Validating a will means to prove that it’s legally valid. Probate involves paying the decedent’s debts and distributing the remaining assets.


  • Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?

    The pain and gastrointestinal effects of food poisoning can range from unpleasant to excruciating. Sometimes, food poisoning can even be life-threatening. It’s possible to accrue significant medical expenses if you need to be hospitalized for a foodborne illness, and you shouldn’t have to pay for medical bills when someone else is to blame. It’s tricky to prove that a restaurant is liable for a particular case of food poisoning, but it’s still worth your time to visit a personal injury lawyer serving Tracy or Livermore. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses.

    A person suffering from stomach ache related to food poisoning lawsuits in Tracy, CA

    Preserving the Evidence

    Food poisoning liability can be difficult to prove, and your attorney will need all of the evidence he or she can get. If you brought your leftovers home from the restaurant, do not throw them out if you suspect the food made you ill. Your injury lawyer may request to send them to a lab for testing to confirm that the restaurant served you contaminated food. Upon falling ill, you should go to an urgent care clinic or ER, even if you feel like you could recover at home. Your illness may be more serious than you think, and your medical records will be instrumental in proving your claim.

    Testing Your Illness

    A general diagnosis of food poisoning, not supported by lab tests, probably won’t be enough to obtain a favorable outcome for your case. Ask the doctor to conduct lab tests to determine exactly which pathogen has caused your illness. Some of the most common are salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus. It’s possible to use DNA testing to confirm that your pathogen originated from the restaurant.

    Determining Liability

    Restaurants owe a duty of care to their patrons to handle food under sanitary conditions, and to cook it to the proper internal temperature. Your attorney can investigate the restaurant to determine if the staff may have breached the basic standards of food hygiene. However, it’s also possible that the restaurant itself isn’t to blame. The problem may be further up the supply chain, such as the farm or processing plant. Pinpointing the exact cause of your illness will determine the party named as the defendant in the lawsuit.

  • Should I Agree to Be an Executor? | Bakerink, McCusker & Belden

    Executors of wills are generally selected because of their ability to work with numbers, handle complex paperwork, and pay attention to little details. It can be flattering to be asked to be an executor, but don’t give your answer right away. Consider talking to an estate planning attorney near Tracy or Manteca about your responsibilities as an executor before you make a decision. If you do agree, you could ask the testator to select an alternate executor in the event that you no longer feel capable of carrying out your duties when the time comes.

    Document above a will, questioning if one should agree to be an executor in Tracy, CA

    Evaluate your abilities and limitations.

    Critically examine whether your abilities would make you well-suited to carrying out the responsibilities of being an executor of the will. It isn’t necessary for competent executors to have a background in finance or law. You always have the option of hiring an accountant, and it’s a smart move to hire an estate planning attorney to guide you through the probate process. However, you should at least be comfortable working with numbers. Know that probate can be quick and easy or lengthy and arduous, depending on the deceased’s estate and the beneficiaries. Consider whether you would have time to take on these tasks, and whether you’re willing to commit to using your time this way.

    Consider your relationship with the individual.

    Contrary to popular belief, spouses do not always make the best executors. After the death of their loved one, a bereaved spouse must cope with grief and all of the challenges that go with it—such as cloudy thinking and poor concentration. Think about suggesting an alternative executor or recommend that your spouse chooses a paid, professional executor.

    Assess the size of the estate.

    Of course, there’s no way to predict what the individual’s estate will be like once that person dies. But you can ask some general questions to get a sense of how complicated and large it might be. Complicated estates may be better left to a professional executor.