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Alameda County business law attorney LLC corporationIf you are thinking about starting your own business, one of the first steps you must take is figuring out which type of company your business will be. Both LLCs and corporations are viable options, and both have benefits and drawbacks. Some of the key differences fall under categories such as formation and ownership, as well as taxes and management. Once you figure out which type of company is right for you, you can be on your way to forming your business.

Limited Liability Companies

LLC is a commonly-used abbreviation for a limited liability company. It is a legal entity that can hold real estate or other appreciating assets.

Formation and Ownership

A LLC is formed by an individual or a group of people who are the owners of the company. The owners are referred to as members, and they file Articles of Organization and come up with an Operating Agreement. Each member owns a certain percentage of the company. An ownership stake in a LLC is typically more difficult to transfer to a new owner than shares of a corporation, but a LLC’s operating agreement will usually specify how ownership interests can be transferred.

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Fremont wills and trusts attorneyThe last thing you want for your family is to worry about your finances and assets after you die. That is why it is so important for you to plan accordingly by creating an estate plan. Even people of modest means have an estate and multiple options to choose from to ensure that their affairs are in order when the time comes. Two popular options are wills and living trusts. Understanding the difference between the two will help you decide which one is your best option.

Wills

A will is a legally-bound written document that dictates how your property and assets will be distributed when you die. You can modify your will at any point during your lifetime, so terms are not set in stone at the time of writing them. You can use a will to name a guardian of minor children in the event of your death, decide how debts and taxes will be paid, and name an executor of your estate.

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CA injury claimIf you have suffered a personal injury at work, home, on your commute, or otherwise in your daily life in California, you are surely adjusting to a slew of unexpected short and possibly even long-term challenges. There are medical bills to be paid, rehabilitation to undergo, and the prospect of being partially or totally limited in your ability to perform your job duties, family responsibilities, and other obligations.

Fortunately for California personal injury victims, state law allows for financial damages to be sought from the individual, business, or institution responsible to account for the harms and losses suffered. The purpose of this article is to explain the most common sources of personal injury claims and the timeframe in which they may be brought in California.

Five Common Bases for Personal Injury Claims

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CA business lawyerSilicon Valley and the broader Bay Area are ripe with innovation, acquisition, and transaction. It is a good time and a great place to be active in business, especially from developmental and new venture perspectives. When doing so, however, it is important to protect your own intellectual property and not infringe that of others, offer and accept the deals that are truly right for your endeavors, and take action to protect your business from unnecessary exposure to legal liability. In accomplishing these ends, the long-established principles of contract law are a source of clarity and peace of mind. From real estate purchases to employment contracts to lease agreements to entity selection to non-disclosure and other privacy-related agreements, you can use the law to best position your business in the present and safeguard against risk and conflict in the future.

Important Agreement in Matters of Entrepreneurship

Silicon Valley and the entrepreneurial world, in general, are extremely competitive. Who generates the best ideas or ultimately comes to own and control them is a question that matters greatly. As such, it is important to protect the intellectual property that is your ideas – especially if your business concerns introducing a new innovation into the world. If you have partners or employees, you need to be on the same page about confidentiality. Here, a well-written non-disclosure agreement, whether between partner and co-partner or employer and employee, is essential. Non-disclosure agreements can also provide safety and peace of mind when pitching to potential investors or clients.

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CA probate lawyerEstate planning is at once under-discussed and an immensely valuable resource. You may have a will or have at least contemplated the importance of drafting one. But have you considered the additional, similarly important question of how the intentions embodied in your will are to be realized once it has been put into effect by your passing? You don’t simply provide your loved ones with instructions as to the will’s location, or expect them to read and comply with it on their own, after all. The answer to the question is what is known as probate and estate administration. Whether you die with or without a will, probate is necessary to administer your estate. The purpose of this article is to explain the basics of probate and estate administration.

Probate Begins with Notification

An estate most always contains not just assets, but liabilities. As such, estate administration concerns with the distribution of assets and the resolution of debts. In order for these two prongs to be addressed, all interested parties must be notified of your passing and timeline of your estate’s administration. It is through this protest of notification that probate commences. Just as you take care to ensure that your will is drafted in accordance with all applicable formalities and is thereby valid, it is wise to do the same with regard the oversight of all stages of the probate and administration processes.

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CA injury attorneyAutomation is remaking the world. Siri, self-driving cars, and Google Assistant are but a few examples of ways in which artificial intelligence is being integrated into day-to-day life. Importantly, just as humans have a responsibility to act in accordance with laws and norms, so do the companies and individuals who manufacture, design, or direct automated products. This is the case in every sphere of life in which artificial intelligence is utilized, including transportation, sanitation, security, and the service industries. If you are harmed by an automated product, as was recently the case in Tempe, Arizona when a pedestrian was struck and killed by a self-driving car, you may rightfully seek legal damages from the owner, operator, or designer, depending on the nature of event and injuries.

Automation-Related Accidents May Be Caused By Design or Negligence

When a human injures another human, the legal cause of action that is created is typically either negligence or intentionally wrongful conduct (e.g. assault). Negligence is the breach of a duty owed that actually and proximately causes damages. This legal doctrine may still be applicable when an automated product injures a human being, but the context is one of products liability rather than personal conduct. Obviously, it does not make sense to subject a robot, self-driving car, or other embodiment of artificial intelligence to civil or criminal liability.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_227581717.jpgWhen you are injured in a car accident, your first thoughts naturally go to the health and safety of yourself and any passengers – especially any children present in the vehicle. If physically able to safely exit the vehicle, a secondary consideration is exchanging insurance information with the other driver(s) and communicating with law enforcement and emergency medical technicians on the scene. While it may not become apparent in the trauma of the moment, the most lasting and consequential damage suffered may be your very ability to work. This is a devastating outcome for people who depend on their physical well being to earn a living. When a car accident changes your position in the world from one of strength to one of vulnerability in a split second, know that the law allows personal injury victims to seek compensation for not just medical bills, but also lost income due to missed work.

Types of Compensation Available to Car Accident Personal Injury Victims

While it is true that the world is becoming more automated (e.g. drones, self-driving cars, travel booking), many occupations still require traditional manual labor. Construction, athletics, landscaping, retail, and the service industries all require able-bodied individuals of good health and with ample energy to perform physical tasks. When a car accident causes injuries, whether temporary or permanent, to a manual laborer, he or she may no longer able to move or lift objects. This outcome is especially detrimental to non-salaried individuals – workers who earn income dollar-by-dollar, hour-by-hour. Fortunately, the law allows for car accident personal injury victims to seek compensation for lost income due to missed work from the individual and/or business responsible for the injury-causing accident.  This compensation is in addition to the monetary damages awarded to cover the cost of medical bills, pain and suffering, and consequences flowing from any short or long-term disabilities resulting from the accident.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_561396394.jpgThe loss of a loved one from an event other than natural causes is a deeply traumatic experience. It is natural to feel profound sadness, anxiety, and even anger – especially if the loss would not have occurred but for the negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct of an individual, business, or institution. Besides these already upsetting emotions, panic may creep in with regard to financial matters, especially if the lost loved one occupied the valuable role of a primary or co-equal income earner. While nothing can undo the trauma of losing a loved one, California’s wrongful death law does offer survivors of a wrongful death victim the opportunity to seek financial compensation from those responsible for the wrongful death and its consequences.   

Types of Deaths Considered Wrongful Under California Law

 The word “wrongful” speaks to both moral and legal culpability for a breach of the duty of personal liberty and bodily integrity owed between all members of society. When this duty is breached so egregiously by intentionally wrongful conduct (e.g. physical violence) or negligence (e.g. drunk driving) that a death results, the death is “wrongful” because the conduct that caused it is wrongful. Specific examples of negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct that constitute bases for wrongful death claims in California include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_337113344.jpgA will is an invaluable resource in ensuring that the assets that comprise your estate will go to the individuals and institutions you wish to benefit after your passing. If there is no will, California’s default rules – the laws of intestate succession – will determine what individuals (family members of increasing remoteness) and will inherit your estate and in what proportions they will inherit.

In some instances, it may be preferable to rely on intestate succession, thereby avoiding the cost and delay of probating a will in probate court. For many people, however, a will brings both precision and peace of mind in the distribution of wealth, property, and heirlooms after death. A will is powerful and a flexible estate planning instrument that is capable of even regulating many distributions over a long time in lieu of a one-time bulk sum. The intra-will device that allows for this is what is known as a “testamentary trust.” If you have young children or relatives, a testamentary trust is something well-worth considering as work in consultation with an estate planning attorney to draft your will.

Planning for the Future of Young Children with a Testamentary Trust

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_730813042.jpgWith spring weather coinciding with crowds of people flocking to California’s patio and garden bars to watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament and other sporting events, the combination of alcohol, tension, and competing team loyalties can lead to verbal and even physical altercations. People often lose sight of the fact that there exists no perceived slight or indignity relating to an event in the sports world that is grounds for assaulting another person.

When flared tensions produce personal injuries or even emotional distress in some instances, there are consequences – in both the state’s criminal courts, and if a personal injury victim so choose, civil courts. If you have been injured in a physical altercation in a California bar or restaurant, whether as an intended victim or mere bystander, you possess the legal right to hold the at-fault party responsible for the harms that you have suffered.

Battery is Both a Crime and a Tort

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1025098705.jpgIt is already so difficult to lose a loved one. When, after the grieving, remembrances, and respects paid, the loved one’s will does not seem to square with his or her stated intentions and wishes with regard to the probate estate, the sense of loss is joined by one of grievance and injustice. While some wills and trusts, though surprising in their dispensation of assets, are perfectly valid, others may be rightly contested on legal grounds for lacking validity. The purpose of this article is to set out the reasons which may render a will invalid upon formal contest in California.

 

Seven Reasons to Contest a Will in California

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_213994996.jpgThe increased size and weight of a truck often bears significantly on the nature and extent of personal injuries suffered in a collision between a truck and car or other vehicle. If you have been injured in such an accident, you know all too well the damage wrought and the time, expense, and personal suffering it will take to get back to the position you were in prior to the accident. Fortunately, the law provides recourse for personal injury victims to seek legal damages in the form of a monetary judgment against the person(s) responsible for the harms inflicted.

Types of Damages Available to Truck Accident Personal Injury Victims

While in some rare case, a truck accident is caused by intentionally wrongful conduct, negligence is a far more common source. A breach of a duty owed that actually causes damages, negligence is what is termed in legal parlance a “tort.” Under California’s Tort Claims Act, tort victims are eligible to sue for money damages in one of the state’s civil courts. In a personal injury suit against a truck driver and/or the driver’s employer, the governing theory of damages is commonly “expectation.” Under this theory, an award of money damages is designed to put the victim in the position he or she would have been in but for the negligence, collision, and harms sustained.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_716712862-1.jpgA personal injury in which the brain suffers a trauma represents a sometimes uniquely difficult challenge in the personal injury law context. This is because, if a traumatic brain injury victim’s memory, speech, or even consciousness have been severely limited, he or she may be unable to recall or speak to the events and persons responsible for the injuries suffered. During this time, medical bills may become astronomical. Worse still, a traumatic brain injury may ultimately result in a wrongful death with the victim losing his or her life as a result of brain damage. In either instance, traumatic brain injury victims and their loved ones so dearly need an advocate for their rights and needs.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The causes of a traumatic brain injury are all too many and include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_577056850.jpgWhen traveling on California’s roads and highways, a duty of safe driving is owed to all other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. It is this duty that necessitates that one refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications, and illicit substances. Driving while impaired, even if the reckless risk-taking does not actually cause harm to another person, is grounds for arrest and, upon conviction, fines, jail time, community service, license suspension, and the burdensome and costly installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in one’s vehicle. When impaired driving results in an accident in which personal injuries are suffered, those that have suffered harms may hold the impaired driver liable and seek financial damages for the consequences wrought.

Impaired Driving is a Form of Negligence

There is legal term of art for the impaired driving: negligence. Negligence, the breach of a duty owed that actually caused damages, is what is known as a “tort.” In the context of auto accident injuries caused by an impaired driver, the duty is the above-mentioned duty of safe driving. There are many ways to breach this duty (e.g. speeding, swerving, racing), but with regard to driving while under the influence of alcohol, the breach is first measured in terms of blood alcohol content (BAC). In California, it is unlawful to drive with a BAC above .08. It does not take very many drinks for such a measurement (typically obtained via breathalyzer at a DUI stop) to result. Often, even one or two within an hour will suffice. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_186289124.jpgWith so many wildfires wreaking terrible havoc on California’s hillsides over recent months, injuries from burns are a tragic inevitability. These injuries are under-discussed in comparison with other personal injuries, perhaps because of their especially painful and upsetting nature. Burn injury victims, however, must receive treatment and when burns have been suffered due to the negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct of another, compensation for medical bills, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and any short or long-term disabilities. If you have been the victim of a burn injury, turn to an experienced Fremont personal injury attorney.

The Causes of Burn Injuries Are Many

Wildfires are by no means the only cause of burn injuries in California. Some sources are commonplace, such as scalding hot coffee, water, or other liquids in the service industry. Others are more remote, such as burn injuries caused by exposure to certain chemicals. There are also burns inflicted by flash fires such as those that may occur when circuit breaker malfunctions on a construction or industrial site. Still others are the result of a cruel and unexpected chain of events, such as an automotive collision with a gasoline truck.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_130099715.jpg2018 is a year in which to either initiate or revisit the issues of business formation. The stock market is at an all-time high and new tax legislation has been passed. For individuals in business, it is essential to respond to the new legislation with thoughtful business entity selection and careful transaction negotiation, irrespective of government quagmires. This is the case whether you are the owner of a single member LLC or an executive in a traditional corporation. Whatever your personal business needs in planning for the effects of the new tax code, rely on the knowledge of an experienced Fremont business law attorney.

Limited Liability Corporations Are Forecasted to Receive Favorable Treatment

If you are currently receiving income as a traditional employee or freelancer in your capacity as an individual, it may be advantageous to consider registering a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) with the California secretary of state. It is possible for even one person to register an LLC and receive business income through the entity.  In this scenario, the registrant / business owner is typically classified as a “single member” owner of the LLC.  Importantly, an LLC is afforded status as a “pass-through” entity with regard to the taxation of income. Income earned by a pass-through entity is not subject to taxation when the income is passed through from the business to the individual. This is different from income earned by a traditional corporation, which is taxed once on the way out from the business to its shareholders, and then again at the individual level. 

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 b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_563882854.jpgNot all car accidents are the result of driver-related errors, negligence, or intentionally wrongful conduct. Sometimes, fault lies with the vehicle itself—whether in its design, manufacture, or maintenance. Importantly, for victims in accidents caused by vehicle defects, recourse exists just the same as for non-defect-related accidents. Products liability law (rather than negligence or battery) governs this area of auto accidents and allows victims to rightfully seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income due to missed work, the cost of vehicle repair or replacement, and when warranted, punitive damages. With the aid of an experienced Fremont personal injury attorney, the existence of a defect can be proven and compensation sought for its adverse consequences.

Manufacturing Defects May Have Dire Consequences

Cars are complex machines, and with California’s roads and highways being lawfully traveled at speeds of 70 mph, injuries and property damage stemming from a vehicle defect-related accident can be severe.  One common type of defect is “unintended acceleration,” which affected Toyota vehicles made in or around 2009 and Audi vehicles in the 1980s. There is the also the problem of tire separation, which, due to poor quality adhesives, caused tire treads to separate while the vehicle was being operated. When tire separation occurred on Ford’s Explorer model vehicle, the result was improper maneuvering and accidents in which serious injuries resulted. 

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Fremond product liability attorneyJust as one may seek compensation from a business, individual, or institution which was responsible for personal injuries suffered, whether these injuries occurred because of negligence or intentionally wrongful conduct, one may seek compensation for injuries caused by a defectively manufactured or designed product. While product-related injuries may not spring to mind as quickly as others in the personal injury law context, such as those resulting from vehicle collisions, construction accidents, or slip-and-falls, they are common, and they represent a valid basis for seeking compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income due to missed work, losses stemming from short- or long-term disabilities, and in some cases, punitive damages.

All Parties in the Retail Chain May Be Held Liable for Injuries Suffered

“How did this happen? How could a dangerous product like this be allowed to be sold in stores?” These are often the first questions that come to mind when one has suffered injuries due to a defective product, whether it be a hair dryer, bottle of cough syrup, lawnmower, toaster, space heater, or literally any other product sold in any store in California and beyond. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-38.jpgWhether driving to visit family and friends or shopping on busy streets and plazas, the holiday season, with its increased traffic, congestion, activity, and inclement weather is a time of exposure to increased risk of personal injuries. Auto accidents, slip-and-falls (whether as a customer or employee), and mishaps with defective holiday gifts and other products are all possibilities. Injuries, whether short or long-term, can upend not just holiday plans but also one’s employment and educational goals and responsibilities. When you have suffered personal injuries as a result of the negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct of an individual, business, or institution, and experienced Fremont personal injury attorney will advocate for your legal right to compensation for the harms and losses you have suffered.

Negligence is a Common Cause of Personal Injuries

With so many Californians on the state’s roads and highways in late December, there is an increased opportunity for auto accidents – especially when conditions are slick and dangerous on account of rain and low visibility due to fog in the Bay Area or snow in areas of increased altitude and lower temperatures. Importantly, no matter the amount of traffic or severity of the weather, all drivers, whether individual or on-the-job, owe a duty of safe driving to one another. This duty includes driving in accordance with the rules and regulations (e.g. speed limit) of the road and never getting behind the wheel when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications. When this duty is abrogated and an auto accident results, personal injury victims may rightfully seek compensation for injuries and vehicle damage sustained. The legal basis for doing is the tort doctrine of negligence. Negligence is a breach of a duty owed that causes damages. In the auto accident context, the breach is unsafe driving, the duty is that of safe driving, causation is the collision (the accident), and the damages vary depending upon the nature of the accident.  An experienced Fremont personal injury attorney will work to prove the occurrence of each of these elements in one of the state’s civil courts.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-31.jpgWith the passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and the Healthcare mandate in limbo, it is a difficult time to make big decisions concerning business, finance, and health in the United States. Whether you are already engaged in commerce or planning your entry into business operations (in California or anywhere in the U.S.), you need to know where you stand financially. That goes for both the present and the future. Taxation is obviously a key part of a business’s financial outlook. As such, it is imperative that you utilize the type of business entity that best suits your individual and business needs and goals with regard to income earned over time. General partnerships, traditional corporations, and the increasing popular and oft-mentioned “limited liability” entities are different in important ways. In discerning the entity that is best for you and your business, rely on an experienced Fremont business law attorney.

A Limited Liability Business Entity is a Pass-Through Business Entity

You may have heard of or are already familiar with “limited liability” entities, such as the Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). In such entities, income is not taxed at both the business level and the individual level.  Rather, income earned by the business “passes through” the entity to the individual without being subject to taxation. The individual’s income is subject to taxation.  However, the reporting of income and calculation of taxation on pass-through income factors in business expenses and losses. Depending on the complete picture of profits and losses specific to a given limited liability entity, pass-through income may not be taxed as highly as if the income were employment-based, for example, and not passed through from entity to individual. 

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Willett Law Firm

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Fremont, CA 94538

Phone: 510-791-2244

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