• What Exactly Is a Trust?

    During the estate planning process, the idea of establishing a trust may arise. Trusts are a common part of estate planning as they allow for assets to be protected. Your attorney in Tracy and Livermore can help you decide if a trust is right for your estate.

    This video explains what a trust is and how they work. When you establish a trust, you create a set of rules about managing an asset the trustee must follow. The trustee must then distribute the asset to the beneficiary of the trust according to your guidelines. Trusts are often used in this way to preserve large inheritances until the beneficiaries reach a responsible age or otherwise achieve an established benchmark.

  • Should My Estate Plan Include Instructions for Debt Resolution?

    When your estate planning attorney in Tracy and Manteca helps you make decisions about how to allocate your assets, he or she may also ask questions about resolving any debt you may leave behind. Whether you leave instructions in your will about debt resolution and how you instruct your heirs to handle leftover debt depends on a number of different factors. Here is what you need to know.

    Two Types of Debt

    If you address your debt in your will, you need to address both secured and unsecured debt. Secured debt is debt that is guaranteed by an asset. Car loans and mortgages are examples of secured debt. If you plan to pass on an asset that acts as collateral for a secured debt on to a beneficiary in your will, then you should specify if the debt will pass to the new owner with the property. You may also wish to make provisions for satisfying the debt if you want the person to have the property but not be burdened with the associated debt.

    Unsecured debt is debt that is not guaranteed by an asset. Credit card bills, medical bills, and utility bills fall into this category. Typically, state law requires that these bills be paid from your estate. You can decide if you wish to allow your executor to simply make these payments from your estate as a whole or you can direct him or her to make these payments from specific portions of your estate.

    Deciding Whether to Leave Instructions

    You do not necessarily have to leave instructions for dealing with debt in your will. Generally, if your debts represent a very small portion of your estate or your estate is going to a spouse, then you do not need to address debts in your will. You can also forgo leaving instructions if you are fine with allowing your debts to be paid from your estate in accordance with state law. Your attorney can explain to you how the law will apply to the debts that you have. If you do not leave any instructions, the executor of your estate will use assets you have left behind to satisfy your debts in accordance with the law.

  • New Traffic Laws California Drivers Need to Know

    If you are involved in an auto accident, your knowledge of the current laws could have an impact on your case. New traffic laws hit the books in California, so do you know the new rules of the road? Here is a look at some of the most recently passed traffic laws in California. Be sure to consult with your attorney in Tracy if you have any questions.

    Mobile Device Mounting

    Texting while driving is already against the law in California, but a loophole in the law let people claim that they were using their phones for GPS if they received a ticket for using their devices behind the wheel. This new law closes that loophole by requiring any mobile device that is in use to be mounted either in the lower right or left corner of the windshield. Further, drivers can only use one finger on the device or risk being ticketed. Drivers are not allowed to have their devices mounted in another location on the windshield that could obstruct the field of vision. If you’re involved in an accident in which the other driver appears to be violating this rule, try to obtain a photo of that driver’s phone placement. Your personal injury attorney could use your picture as evidence should you file a lawsuit.

    Motorcycle Lane Splitting

    Lane splitting occurs when motorcycles use the spaces between stopped traffic to continue traveling down the road. California is one of the few states in which motorcycle lane splitting is now legal, but only under certain conditions. Motorcycles may not travel more than 10 mph faster than the traffic around it, and they must be traveling in the same direction as the traffic. The California Highway Patrol also recommends that motorcyclists avoid lane splitting when traffic is moving faster than 30 mph.

    Rear-Facing Car Seats

    Under new laws, children must ride in rear-facing car seats until they are age two, regardless of their weight. The law assumes that children will reach 40 inches in height and 40 pounds in weight by that time, when they can transition to forward-facing seats.

  • Dealing with Dog Attacks

    Being the victim of a dog attack can be terrifying and can leave you with serious injuries. Once you have gotten treatment for your injuries after an attack, contact a personal injury lawyer in Tracy to determine if you should seek compensation to cover your medical costs and associated damages.

    Watch this video to find out what to do if a dog attacks. If you see a dog behaving aggressively, try to stay calm and avoid sudden movements. Avoid eye contact with the dog, which it may find threatening. Command the dog to stop forcefully. If you can’t stop the attack, yell for help. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the attack, so your lawyer has the necessary documentation to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.