• Jury Awards & Estate Taxable Settlements

    Minimizing Settlements in Tracy, CA

    Are Jury Awards and Settlements Taxable?

    If you have been awarded a settlement after a personal injury cases, you may wonder if you are now facing a large tax bill. Generally, you do not have to pay taxes on these kinds of settlements, but there are exceptions. Be sure to allow your personal injury attorney in Tracy help you understand your legal obligation to pay taxes on your winnings. This information will also help you understand the tax burden of legal settlements.

    Estate Taxable Settlements Attorney in Tracy, CA

    Compensation for Injuries and Medical Expenses

    In most cases, if you are awarded compensation for physical or emotional injuries and medical expenses, you will not have to pay taxes on that money. This money is supposed to compensate you for your out-of-pocket expenses associated with the injury, so it is not considered to be income. This includes pain and suffering compensation, as long as it is included in a rule of compensatory or general damages. If you are awarded any compensation for pain and suffering as punitive damages, that money is usually taxed. Your attorney can help you understand the kind of damages you have received, or he or she may recommend that you consult with a tax expert.

    Compensation for Lost Property

    When you receive compensation for property that was lost or damaged in the course of the incident that led to your injury, this money is not usually taxable. For instance, if you receive money to compensate you for car repairs after an auto accident, you typically will not have to pay taxes on that money.

    Compensation for Lost Income

    Compensation for lost income can be a little more complex. Usually, this kind of compensation is taxed, because your income would have been taxed if you had earned it as normal. Often, lost income compensation is bundled in with other compensatory damages that are not taxed, so you will need to know exactly how much of your settlement or award is designed as lost income compensation so that you pay taxes appropriately on that amount.

    Minimizing Estate Taxes

    Minimizing taxes is an important part of estate planning . If you’re making plans for your estate in Tracy, be sure to work with an attorney in your area who is familiar with both the state and federal laws that will impact your estate administration.

    Watch this video to learn more about reducing estate taxes. Although federal estate tax only kicks in for a small portion of estates, states frequently have their own taxes that apply to smaller inheritances. Income taxes are also a factor in estate planning if you plan to pass tax-deferred accounts to your heirs. You can minimize these taxes by trying to spend as much as you can out of tax-deferred accounts while you are alive.

  • Charitable Giving Through Living Trust

    Before and After Death in Tracy, CA

    What are Irrevocable Living Trusts?

    Estate planning near Tracy and Livermore can involve much more than just a last will and testament. Your lawyer can also create a living trust for you, which helps you protect property and minimize the tax burden . A living trust is one that goes into effect during your lifetime, rather than only after your death. An irrevocable living trust is one that cannot be terminated. The majority of living trusts are revocable, which means that they can be terminated.

    You can hear more about irrevocable living trusts by watching this video. This expert discusses some of the common types of irrevocable living trusts, such as charitable trusts. Charitable trusts facilitate gifts to charity while reducing income and estate taxes. There are many other different types of trusts; you can consult a lawyer who specializes in estate planning to learn more.


    Common Questions About Charitable Giving After Death

    Charitable giving after death is a gracious way to make a difference with your legacy. There are multiple ways to structure your postmortem giving, and some of them can be advantageous to your other beneficiaries, if applicable. A lawyer located in Tracy or Manteca can counsel you as to the most beneficial way to structure your estate plan to maximize charitable donations.

    Charitable Giving After Death

    Can’t I just leave assets to a charity in my will?

    Absolutely, you can, but it may be more advantageous to structure your giving differently. For instance, if you have appreciated assets, you could transfer them to a charitable remainder trust. If you would like to give to multiple charities, it may be best to create a private foundation. The manager of the foundation will make individual grants to various charities, individuals, or scholarships. One of the benefits of using an alternative means of distributing your assets, other than your will, is that your surviving family members can contest your will. If you’ve decided to disinherit your family, there may be an increased risk of a contested will.

    Can charitable giving reduce my estate taxes?

    Yes, if it’s done properly. Your estate planning attorney may recommend leaving your retirement assets to charities. These assets tend to be taxed the most after death. Structuring your giving so that your retirement assets are directly transferred to the charity will give your estate a federal estate tax charitable deduction. This lessens estate taxes for your beneficiaries. Plus, the charity won’t be required to pay taxes on your gift.

    Can I donate my life insurance benefits to a charity?

    Yes, you can. This is one of the simplest methods of charitable giving after death, and surviving family members cannot contest the transfer of assets. The money is paid directly to the charity, bypassing probate. However, there may be a better way to give your life insurance policy to your favorite cause. Look for a life insurance carrier with optional charitable giving riders. You can attach the rider to your policy, and after you die, the rider increases the face value of the benefits. Usually, attaching a rider doesn’t increase fees or premiums, although there may be maximum thresholds on the total gift amount.

  • How does whiplash affect your neck?

    Whiplash Injuries in Tracy, CA

    See What Happens To Your Neck In A Whiplash Injury

    Personal injury lawyers near Tracy and Manteca often work with car accident survivors who have sustained whiplash injuries. In these cases, a personal injury lawyer may consider the possibility of chronic pain. Long-term injuries may increase the total compensation that an accident attorney may seek on the victim’s behalf. When you watch this featured animation, you’ll see exactly what happens to the structures of the neck during a car accident.

    As the head moves rapidly forward and backward, the ligaments, tendons, and muscles can overstretch and tear. The sensitive nerves in the area may become pinched, causing pain, numbness, and muscle weakness to extend from the neck through the shoulder and into the arm. Since whiplash injuries can cause a range of symptoms—from chronic headaches to dizziness—it’s a good idea to keep a written journal of your accident-related problems and losses. Your personal injury lawyer can use this record for your injury claim.

    Getting a Better Understanding of Whiplash Injuries

    If you consult an attorney in Tracy after an auto accident, one injury he or she will want to know if you are suffering from is whiplash. New research into whiplash has indicated that more people than expected suffer from chronic complications after whiplash, which could influence the amount of compensation your personal injury lawyer pursues on your behalf.

    Watch this video to learn more about whiplash injuries and what new research is saying about chronic pain and other complications. Personal injury lawyers consider the chronic effects of injuries when determining how much compensation is appropriate after an accident. Your injury lawyer may ask you to consult with your doctor about your likelihood of having chronic problems to make the best plan for your case.

  • Rights to Compensation After Crash

    Replacement And Rights in Tracy, CA

    What Are Your Rights to Compensation After a Catastrophic Injury?

    Catastrophic injuries are often associated with motor vehicle crashes. Often, personal injury lawyers who handle catastrophic injury cases work with clients who have been involved in big rig crashes and motorcycle accidents, although other incidents such as dog attacks can also inflict catastrophic injuries. Due to the complexity of these cases, it’s essential to get in touch with a lawyer in Tracy or Manteca right away to discuss your right to seek compensation.

    Auto Accident Injury Attorney in Tracy, CA

    Defining Catastrophic Injuries

    The legal definition of catastrophic injuries is broad. It encompasses every type of severe injury that is expected to result in life-altering and long-term problems. This includes permanent, debilitating, and disfiguring injuries that cause deficits in any major area of an individual’s functioning. For example, some common catastrophic injuries include the amputation of one or more body parts, the loss of vision or hearing, severe burn injuries, partial or total paralysis, and moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). When you meet with your personal injury lawyer, you’ll be asked to sign a waiver to allow him or her access to your medical records.

    Identifying Past Expenses

    After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, your injury lawyer will need to determine the amount of compensation that is reasonable for you to seek. The compensation that may be sought in a lawsuit generally includes past, current, and future damages. Your past expenses will likely include costs for surgeries, hospitalization, diagnostics, physical therapy, and other specialized therapies. You might have needed to purchase durable medical equipment, pay for modifications to your home to allow accessibility, and perhaps hire an in-home health aide. It’s important to keep track of all of these expenses. Give copies of your receipts to your injury lawyer.

    Calculating Future Needs

    Since catastrophic injuries result in long-term, if not permanent deficits, your lawyer may consult with various experts to determine your anticipated future care needs. These might include additional surgeries, treatments for potential complications, long-term rehabilitative services, medications, and similar expenses. Additionally, you may request compensation for your anticipated partial or total unemployment.

    Get Compensated to Replace a Car Seat After a Crash

    After a car accident, there is a good chance that your child’s car seat should be replaced, even if there is no obvious damage. Many manufacturers suggest replacement after even a minor accident. If you are dealing with the aftermath of an accident that was not your fault, your personal injury attorney in Tracy or Livermore can help you navigate the process of seeking compensation for all of your damage, including your car seat.

    Expert Auto Accident Injury Attorney in Tracy, CA

    Under California law, a child’s car seat must be replaced if the seat was occupied at the time of the accident. If your child was in the car when the accident occurred, your attorney will pursue replacement on your behalf on these grounds. If the seat was not occupied when the crash occurred, then your attorney can still seek a replacement car seat at no cost to you based on the manufacturer’s recommendation or by demonstrating that the accident does not qualify as a minor crash.

  • How do I know if my dog bite is infected?

    Dog Bite Injuries in Tracy, CA

    What Injuries Are Common After a Dog Bite?

    Even the gentlest of dogs can inexplicably attack a person and inflict serious injuries. Puncture wounds, nerve damage, and infections can lead to significant medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. After a dog attack, you can find the help you need at the office of a seasoned personal injury lawyer serving Tracy and Livermore. Your lawyer will ask to review your medical records and documentation of your losses in order to provide effective guidance on your case.

    Dog Bite Attorney in Tracy, CA

    Puncture Wounds
    Given how friendly most dogs are, it’s easy to forget that they have very sharp teeth. When a dog attacks, the puncture wounds can penetrate deep into the tissues, inflicting significant pain and damage. As soon as you’ve gotten away from the dog, you should tightly press a clean cloth or bandage to all of the puncture wounds to slow the bleeding. Many dog attack victims must receive sutures in the hospital to close the wounds. To help your personal injury lawyer substantiate your case, you may choose to take pictures of your wounds.

    Nerve Damage
    Long after the puncture wounds have healed, you might still experience painful symptoms if the dog’s teeth inflicted nerve damage. Nerve pain can be debilitating, and it’s often accompanied by numbness, tingling, or burning sensations. You may also have muscle weakness in the area. Since nerves regenerate very slowly, these symptoms may affect you for months to come.

    Infections
    As your personal injury case progresses, you should periodically update your injury lawyer regarding any changes in your health. For instance, many dog attack victims develop secondary infections from bite wounds. If you experience worsening pain, increasing redness and swelling, or an abnormal, foul-smelling discharge from the wound, you need to seek prompt medical attention. It’s crucial to treat the infection before it can spread to the bloodstream.

    Emotional Injuries
    It can be emotionally traumatic to be attacked by a dog. You may find yourself becoming irrationally fearful when you see or hear dogs. In severe cases, dog attack victims are reluctant to go outside the home because they fear another attack. Consider speaking with a mental health counselor about these issues. Let your lawyer know if you’re receiving psychiatric care, as you may be compensated for these expenses.

    Common Injuries and Infections Caused by Dog Bites

    Even the most well-behaved, even-tempered dog can sometimes attack others. If you’ve been attacked and injured by another person’s dog, you’ll likely have steep medical bills and you may even have lasting health problems that require ongoing care. Fortunately, there may be legal recourse available to you. Consider talking to a personal injury lawyer in Tracy or Livermore. Your lawyer can review your case and discuss the process of seeking a settlement or filing a lawsuit. It’s important to keep careful records of your injuries and all related expenses; your attorney will need this information to obtain just compensation on your behalf.

    Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in Tracy, CA

    Puncture Wounds
    Puncture wounds are among the most common types of injuries caused by dog attacks. These can range from superficial scrapes to deep gashes. All types of dog attack injuries require medical care; even superficial scrapes pose a risk of infection. Plus, your medical records will substantiate the claim filed by your injury lawyer. Regarding mild to moderate puncture wounds, some experts recommend letting it bleed for a minute or two to cleanse the wound. Of course, if the wound is in your neck or head or is gushing forcefully, or if you’ve already lost a lot of blood, your first priority should be slowing the flow of blood by applying direct pressure. Then, call 911 without delay.

    Staph Infections
    Dog bite wounds are notoriously prone to developing infections. One common infection is the staph infection, which is caused by bacteria. These infections can be life-threatening. The signs and symptoms of staph infections can include skin redness, swelling, oozing discharge, and rashes with blisters. If the staph infection enters the bloodstream, fever and low blood pressure can result. The infection can also travel to internal organs. Additionally, staph bacteria produce toxins that can cause toxic shock syndrome, resulting in symptoms such as high fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and confusion.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can be terrifying when they attack. The fear a victim can feel during the attack can lead to PTSD. Individuals with PTSD may become unusually frightened of seeing dogs or hearing dogs bark. Some people may refuse to leave the house. PTSD can cause nightmares, depression, mood swings, and other debilitating problems.

  • 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.

    Get out of Debt Signage

    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.

    Traffic Laws in Tracy, CA

    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.

  • Shortcuts for the Probate Process in California

    After someone passes away, dealing with the transfer of his or her property can be challenging for loved ones, especially in the absence of a will. Because the probate process can be long and complex, it’s important to hire an experienced attorney in Tracy who understands California’s laws and who can help you navigate the system as quickly as possible. Here are some of the ways your lawyer may be able to help you speed up the probate process.

    California probate process shortcuts

    Spousal Property Petition

    For surviving spouses and registered domestic partners, the process of transferring property can be easy, even in the absence of a will. Your attorney can submit a Spousal Property Petition in your behalf to the probate court, which can be approved much quicker than traditional probate procedures. There are no limits on the amount of property that can be transferred in this way, as long as the surviving partner has a legal right to the claim it. Your attorney can help you understand your eligibility for using this petition.

    Simple Affidavit

    A simple affidavit can be used to transfer property that is under a specified amount. For this procedure, your lawyer will help you prepare a document listing the property that you are claiming, which you will then sign under oath. The affidavit can be submitted directly to whoever is holding the property along with a death certificate, and the party with physical ownership will release it to the party who is claiming it. This process lets surviving family members avoid probate court completely. This procedure can only be used for property that is worth $150,000 or less or for real estate that is $50,000 or less in value.

    Simplified Probate

    If you can’t use either of the previous solutions, your attorney may help you file a request for a simplified probate process. This process can be used for small estates of $150,000 or less, excluding real estate outside of the state, death benefits, life insurance, and property that is not automatically transferred to a surviving spouse. Your attorney will help you determine if this procedure is right for you.